APRILIA TUONO V4 1100 FACTORY
For some years now the Tuono has been king of the castle in the super naked sector. It really is a hell of a bike, with its abundance of power, sporty handling and plethora of electronic aids. Not to mention its devilish good looks. I can remember my last jaunt on a Tuono being filled with laughs and happy memories, so I was slightly disappointed when I threw a leg over the V4 this time round; I hadn’t remembered it being so uncomfortable. Okay it isn’t like laying on a bed of nails but it didn’t seem to fit around my body as nicely as the other bikes; the rear of the fuel tank has unpleasant square edges that dig into your inner thighs and the angle of the handlebars seemed to emphasize the weight going through the outside of my palms. What didn’t disappoint me was the sound that big 1100 V4 motor made, a raucous boom on tick-over which growled aggressively with every twist of the throttle. And I can only imagine it would sound even sweeter should that big numb looking exhaust be replaced for a fancy little aftermarket number.
All that said, sitting on the Aprilia wasn’t a bad place to be. The dash is uber trick (if a little fussy) and as soon as I got going I forgot all about the Tuono’s minor faux pas. The motor was just as impressive as I had remembered it being. Like the KTM, the Aprilia pulls hard from the get-go with oodles of low down torque. More than enough to scare yourself silly if you aren’t prepared for it. Straight away, the Tuono is an exciting bike to ride, even before you start stretching the thing’s legs. And when you do start stretching its legs, things just get better. The V4 engine is like the gift that keeps on giving.
The motor was giving me so much that I decided to have a play around with the anti-wheelie and TC settings to see if I could settle things down a bit (for investigatory purposes only, I haven’t turned soft). The menus aren’t particularly user friendly on the Aprilia and it took a while to work out how to alter stuff, but I got there in the end. I wasn’t a fan of the anti-wheelie system if I’m honest; it seemed to cut the power too aggressively and have the front crashing to the ground quite unceremoniously.
The shifter and blipper both worked reasonably well, but there did seem to be a lot of movement on the lever before anything happened, so you have to be positive with your foot action. But when you are, it slots in nicely whether you’re going up or down the ’box.
The nice thing about the Tuono is that not only can you turn most of the aids off, such as TC and ABS, when you turn the bike off it doesn’t revert
back to a ‘safe’ mode (although I wouldn’t call a bike altering its settings by itself ‘safe’ at all), so well done, Aprilia.
For a £15,999 bike the switches all looked and felt a bit cheap to me. The indicator switch felt really vague and I had to keep checking on the dash if I had actually managed to turn the blinkers on as there was no positive ‘click’ on, or off for that matter. And the ignition switch on the right bar was like something off a kid’s cassette player. It wasn’t a game changer but it did seem a bit naff.
What you do get for your money with the Tuono is class leading wind protection. I know it’s only a little bit of bodywork and a diddy screen, but it doesn’t half make a difference. Bombing down the motorway, with the cruise control set to 70mph, the Tuono is miles less buffety than any other super naked on the market, in their standard, un-aftermarket-screened trim anyway.
Like the rest of the bikes in this sector though, the Tuono wasn’t designed to spend its life bombing down the motorway and longs to be thrown from one edge of its Pirelli Supercorsas to the other, be it on track or your favourite B roads. And the Tuono felt like it wanted to be ridden hard. It didn’t fill me with confidence in the same way that the Triumph did, and it didn’t feel as comfortable when the going got rough, as the KTM did. But when I started to push the Tuono it never once gave the impression that it wasn’t up for it. It wanted more. I couldn’t get it to wallow or protest when I pushed it harder and harder like the KTM had done previously and the masses of low down grunt meant I always had a wheelie-able amount of drive coming out of the bends that would have needed a downshift to match on the BMW, and probably two downshifts on the Triumph.
The Aprilia felt more like a sports bike than any of the others in our test – and it might not have been very comfortable, but it was fast. Yes you pay a price for it, but if you want to be noticed the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 would have to be the bike for you.
The Tuono had better road manners than Boothy.
Even with Frodo on board, the Tuono was stable in the bends. Bellissimo. 28.5 MPG
Masses of grunt meant this was a doddle.