First let's clear up a common factoid - The 'new' version of the Dorsoduro 1200 has a different paint scheme and slightly lighter wheels. That's basically it - ignore comments that it has more power or electronic aids, they remain unchanged since it's launch. I purchased mine new in 2011 and based upon my experience (5k miles to date) would offer the following comments:
1> It became apparent to me that most road tests of this machine are to be taken with a pinch of salt - if the bike wasn't tested in 'Sport' mode then forget it, as that is where the real action and purpose is. There has been much criticism of the 'aggressive' nature of the throttle response - for 'aggressive' read 'instantaneous' or if you prefer 'spot-on'. There is no indication that this is a fly-by-wire system at work here, it's simply superb fueling and control of that process. Accordingly if you are cack-handed it will bite you and it will bite hard - I have ridden with others on test days and seen several sportsbike owners get off this bike trembling and scared, presumably as they unthinkingly rode it in the same manner as they ride a four cylinder. Bad idea...
2> I have ridden many new bikes over the last few years and I have found NOTHING that competes with the Dorsoduro's party trick - at 4000rpm it's already hurtling forwards in a way that Ducatis (for example) can only dream of. If you want a bike that explodes off the line, here it is and the slightly weighty feel does assist here by keeping it stable.
3> The bike will be entirely docile if you ride it thoughtfully (even if like myself you never use any of the electronic aids, I want a machine that is just what it aims to be, not a partially castrated version). However due to the height and 210kg weight it does require some effort. I recently rode the 2014 Ducati Monster 1200, which has an engine that low-down sounds somewhat rattly low down but then takes off like crazy at 6000rpm - an easier bike to ride all round and certainly a sensation of a notably greater power hit, but then again if you seek power over torque I would instead go for the MV Agusta Brutale 1090 which is also a class act - reminded me of the GSXR1000 whilst I rode it. The Ducati Monster also had an irritating fueling surge on a constant throttle, never experienced this on the Aprilia.
Personally I love instant torque and here the Dorsoduro has NO rivals - possibly excepting the KTM 1290 which I have yet to sample.
4> Bang for your buck - yes it has lots, particularly when compared to Ducatis and KTMs, which typically cost approx half as much again. I don't care to pay over the odds for a name, do you ?
5> Reliability - nothing gone wrong at all.
6> Although the engine can certainly feel savage curiously enough over long distances, say 200 miles, you step off without numb fingers or toes, in reality it's a smooth and sophisticated lump.
7> Riding position - sublime if you are 6" and over. The motorcycle equivalent of a Range Rover, whereby you can look over hedges and fences to see where you are going - so you can simply tour or act the fool whenever you so desire at a mere nudge of the throttle...
8> Fuel tank is limited at 15 liters (ignore the brochure which claims 17 liters) - seat is a little too hard (same applies to comfort Gel version) - side stand is inconveniently placed and neutral can be hard to find. The bike is loaded as standard with high quality components and the finish remains excellent, despite having gone through the rain and not always getting cleaned immediately afterwards.
My conclusion is that whilst some other Super/Hyper motos certainly have more power nothing punches from low down like this one. To be honest I want power on the track; on the road I just can't imagine utilising 160+hp without losing my licence - I want an instant, massive torque hit because I adore it and this fun can be had at (somewhat) lower speeds than the instant go-to-jail alternatives. If you suspect you feel the same way take a Dorsoduro 1200 out and try it in Sport mode - just don't blame me if you then find you cannot live a moment longer without it !