Flashback; imagine yourself back in grade school, riding your first mountain bike with the big wide handlebars and the comfy seat. Remember the ease with which it handled and how much fun you had flying down the hills. Recollect
the big grin on your face, the wind in your teeth, the adrenaline you felt and the force of your heart pumping as you broke the barriers that once held you back. Remember all that… now add 116hp.
Suddenly you’re on a hungry, barely tamed lion of a machine. With no less of a grin, adrenaline or heart pumping going on, and a SIGNIFICANT increase in speed. I lied… there’s a LOT more adrenaline courtesy of a 2007 Aprilia Tuono needle plunged directly to the heart.
My normal mounts are a Suzuki GSX-R 1000 or an Aprilia RSV, but offered up the temptation of a Tuono 1000 R with Akrapovic slip-ons, one tooth dropped in the front sproket, and a full remapping of the fuel injection and derestricted for racing how could I refuse?
The engine is the same one found in the RSV 1000 and is still full of torque. Puttering around 4-5k the world vibrates around you resonating with the Akropovics. And torque is a mere twitch of the throttle away, as are the wheelies. Praise Aprilia for not seeing a naked bike as a chance to “neuter” an engine… and in the case of this plant that’s been fully opened up? Sportbikes beware.
Then there’s the handling, the inspiration for a youthful flashback. She tips in with such extreme ease, I found myself oversteering for the first few minutes of my ride. The Aprilia RSV1000, on which the Tuono is based, has always been exceptionally easy to corner, but with the extra leverage you have with the raised bars on the Tuono makes it a mere thought.
The test ride took us along the Vancouver Island Coastal highways providing a good sampling of twisties, passing and straightaway acceleration. The Tuono, well, she held up her end of the bargain admirably, passing with ease, with nay a downshift needed.
On the straights I took her up to 200 km/h with a big grin, helmet thrust between the handlebars and hanging on. Oh, she could easily go further with little effort, but the lacks of windscreen results in phenomenal wind drag on your helmet and upper body, demanding that you crouch low and practically rest your head on the instrument cluster.
The GSX-R 1000 rockets by at 260 km/h. Pffft. He has a windscreen. Wimp.
The high-speed corners are stable, planted and easy to negotiate. Again, the extra leverage with the big bars made tipping into the corners very easy, while like on the RSV, she corners on rails. No second guessing needed whatsoever.
Braking, as with the RSV, is a one-finger operation. The monstrous Brembos, are designed to decelerate a race bike from 300 safely and surely, thus grabbing a handful at 100 will result in unfavorable results. My first day on an Aprilia with taught me how to trust the binders right away, with a hint of caution. Use one finger to bring you to a comfortable and confident stop. Two in emergency stops, perhaps.
The Tuono actually has a viable back brake. Being a naked chassis this baby dissipates the heat that would render the brake useless on the RSV. I admit to not actually use the back brake more than once. Habit.
The suspension, when tuned to your own body, is simply sweet. At one point we crested a hill and caught some air. The Tuono came back to earth with attitude of a supermoto. No tank slappers or private smashing. Just pure fun.
Still, on an aggressive naked like the Tuono the lack of a stock steering damper is a negative. Especially with the wide bars where slight corrections can cause overcompensation, and a weight distribution that removes some weight from the front. I put an Ohlins damper on my RSV and I would do the same on the Tuono.
The instrument cluster could use a re-design. Right off the LCD screen is very hard to read in the direct sunlight. It also provides a distracting number of readouts on the main screen too, and I found myself searching for numbers too much.
There’s also no getting around this being a true naked bike despite the relatively large cowl. Admittedly, I enjoy the warmth and protection of full fairing bikes so this is not a con, but a preference. Thinking ahead to the fall and winter you’ll need extra layers, whereas the RSV cozies right up.
But there is a balance to be found in the ergonomics. The seat height allowed me to flat foot this bike at rest, something I cannot do on my RSV, even at 5’11”. The comfort of the upright seating position is a marvel for someone who lives on full race style bikes. This bike would be nice for around town trips that I couldn’t otherwise enjoy on the RSV. Plus seating position puts your body weight more centrally on the bike, which makes wheelies virtually unavoidable – a perk.
It’s tempting to put the 2007 Aprilia Tuono 1000 R in my stable, I’d definitely enjoy having her there. She’s perfect for local trips and semi-long road trips, keeping up with and surpassing most of the sportbikers. At the end of the day you will dismount without the wrist, neck and back aches they will experience. The power and controlled hysteria of the twin, packaged in this beautiful exterior makes the Tuono very hard to resist.
I think I want one. DOH!
Model as Tested: $16,995.00 CDN
Thanks to SGPower for supplying our Aprilia Tuono 1000 R for this ride impression.