APRILIA CAPONORD 1000 (2001 - 2004) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Power: 98 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: Medium (474 lbs / 215 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord is an excellent if flawed motorcycle which sells for an indecently low price on the UK new and used markets. It’s a big-off road style machine that works superbly on the Tarmac. Aprilia’s excellent 1000cc V-twin engine combined with a high-tech aluminium beam frame should have made it a class leader but it was marred by soft forks and poor build quality.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The primary fly in the Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord's ointment is the soft, unadjustable forks. The motorcycle gets bouncy if ridden hard. Luggage and/or a pillion compound the situation. New fork springs (Hyper Pro work well) are a cheap, effective solution. Otherwise the Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord is a smooth ride and quite capable of hustling along at a decent pace. Brakes are strong. Off road ability pretty limited.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord has one of the best power plants in any big trail-style motorcycle. It may be detuned to about 88bhp at the rear wheel but there’s plenty of torque. The gearbox makes the BMW GSs feel like antiques and there’s even a slipper clutch to keep things smooth when you up the pace. Heavy vibrations means attention’s needed. 

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
2 out of 5 (2/5)

Fly number two in the Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord ointment. Overall reliability is excellent but there’s niggles. Regulator rectifiers fail – and some just don’t work well anyway – at least replacements are cheap. Coils can fail, fuel hose connectors break, certain electrical connectors melt and spoke nipples rust. Simple pre-emptive maintenance can solve all the above.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord's real ace is price. New old stock motorcycles can still be bought for about £5500. On the used market they change hands for little more than budget middleweights like Fazers and Hornets of the same age and condition. Some dealers ask OTT prices but most will take a cheeky offer. The Cagiva Navigator’s similar and Suzuki’s V-Strom is a little less eccentric for a touch more cash. Find an Aprilia Caponord for sale.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord is well spec’d as standard. Ambient air temperature, remote shock adjuster, accessory socket, fuel gauge, mirrors that work and headlights among the best in biking are handy. Seats and riding positions that match the best touring motorcycles for rider and pillion comfort are a real bonus, too. Aprilia panniers are a cost extra but put many other brands to shame for ease of use. Compare and buy parts for the Aprilia Caponord in the MCN Shop.


Engine size 998cc
Engine type 8v V-twin, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminum beam
Fuel capacity 25 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 215kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 300mm discs
Rear brake 272mm disc
Front tyre size 110/90 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 43 mpg
Annual road tax £111
Annual service cost -
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 13 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 98 bhp
Max torque 72 ft-lb
Top speed 140 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 12 secs
Tank range 230 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2001: Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord launched.
2004: Minor updates including revised top fairing, uprated suspension and fully floating front discs.
2005: Anti-lock brakes fitted.

Other versions

Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord Rally Raid: More off-road orientated model with adjustable front suspension, lower gearing, aluminium panniers centre stand and more extras

Owners' reviews for the APRILIA CAPONORD 1000 (2001 - 2004)

12 owners have reviewed their APRILIA CAPONORD 1000 (2001 - 2004) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your APRILIA CAPONORD 1000 (2001 - 2004)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Engine: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Equipment: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
4 out of 5 Fun but mildly flawed - but then again, aren't we all?
22 April 2019 by Jules

Year: 2002

Suspension is a tiny bit soft, but easily sorted I guess.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Brakes are "OK", could possibly do with a little more stopping power but they're consistent..

Engine 5 out of 5

It's a peach..

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Fuel gauge! Never seems to show the correct amount of fuel remaining and the light seems to have a mind of its own too..

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

So far in the last year it's only needed tyres, brake pads, oil and filter. So just the basic consumables - oh and petrol, although even there it's averaging out at 13Km per Litre so pretty good considering the trips I normally make are quite short commutes..

Equipment 5 out of 5

I have crash bars, full Givi luggage, a Sat Nav.. hell it's as well equipped as my car and a damn sight more fun

Buying experience: Private Buyer, nice chap, knew nothing at all about the bike so didn't know that most of the "problems" these bikes have from new had been fixed already..

5 out of 5 Best used ADV bike you can get for value.
10 February 2018 by Lukas

Year: 2001

As we are talking about used bikes there is very high posibility that all the flaws and reliability problems are already fixed. And other than that you can work on brakes and front suspension and you have really amazing adventure bike! I had 990 adventure before, had opportunity to ride new GS around Balkans and form time to time I'm jumping on dad's new Africa Twin. Believe me or not but Capo have nothing to be a shame of. Engine is punchy enough, suspension veery comfy, ergonomic is always bit individual thing - for me it's absolutely perfect - fits like a glow and I like it more than GS. Perfect angle on knees and hands no pain even while doing 800+km. Downsides? Sure it have some, it's heavy and sounds like a big scooter on fabric exhausts. But it's great on every road you can thing off, tight cornering in Alps? It's great fun. Fast "getting there" on highways? it does it too as when you rev it higher sport twinsister RSV Mille wokes up and you can forget that you're sitting on adv bike. Believe me old generation of GS doesn't do that and they are twice expensive. For least but not last it's really good on tarmac having pretty nice ground clearance you can take it off-road. Off course light off-road, It's not as capable as KTM or new Africa Twins obviously, but it handles much more than V-Stroms or Versys. I think you can compare it to new Super Tenere in that terms. Concidering the price of used Caponord - it's probably the best used adv bike You can get. For saved money you can tune it a bit (suspension, bigger windscreen, heated grips) and You will still left with lot of cash for traveling the world.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I really love ride quality just put hypepro springs on front and there you go. Brakes can be much better as they are pretty soft.

Engine 5 out of 5

It's really great. Concidering engines from that time it's probably one of the best. Just giving you as much fun as LC8 in KTM but being more user friendly at the time, especially on low RMP's. It just sounds really bad on original exhausts.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Like I said, most known problems are probably already fixed. Just double check electric wires, rubber tubes and stuff like that an You will be fine. Rotax engine is pretty economic and It's a really solid thing so don't be affraid of bigger mileages.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Most of them on the market are already pretty good equipped; bigger winshields, central stand, panniers, heated grips. Those are the essential things you should look for. Handbars and engine protections those are also nice things to have.

4 out of 5 Great bike very underated
06 September 2016 by Steve

Version: my bike is a 2005 version non ABS

Year: 2004

Overall a really nice bike even though a little top heavy but great handling and low speed control, also a good smooth ride even at 80mph.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

A great ride with very good comfort (although my saddle had been lowered and padded) I can travel nearly all day (my FJR 1300 two hours max due to vibration) as this is my first Aprilia I wished I had got this ages ago! instead of my 1200GS!

Engine 5 out of 5

Engine has loads of low down grunt with good economy averaged 45/50mpg

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

well built some issues with quality

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

I have a higher screen fitted which is good, also crash bars I got of Ebay, Heated grips as the bike had all the modifications done ie uprated Rectifier starter cables etc.

Buying experience: Privately bought from Nottingham

5 out of 5 Worlds most underestimated bike!
25 October 2011 by Caponord03

No bike is perfect, so is Caponord. If you own one long enough (or me since 2002) you start to get to know the beast. All electrical complaints (charging, starter motor & selenoid, dashes, etc.) sources down to the underrated regulator/rectifier (RR) aprilia choose for this bike. The alternator produces 470 watts, but the RR is only good for half of this. So change the bloody thing with a better unit before any problems arise, you'll have no further electrical problems. Then you can add heated grips, fog lights etc. without worries, there is plenty of juice for all of them. If the front forks are too soft for your taste, just put 5cm spacers on top of the springs for more compression. No need to buy costly aftermarket springs. If your rear brake boils too easily it means you don't know how to use the front ones.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
2 out of 5 Seriously quality issues
15 May 2010 by

The Capo is great to ride, comfortable, good flexible engine. It is let down on a few fronts however; the quality of components is depressingly bad, the front springs are woefully weak and the brakes are just not good enough. I had my Capo for a couple of years, in that time the starter motor failed (replaced), the starter solenoid failed (replaced), two of the four coils failed (replaced), the clutch slave seals failed (replaced) and the clocks failed (replaced), the petrol tank connector snapped (replaced), spokes have broken and the output from the alternator is barely enough to charge the battery. It certainly won't maintain heated grips as well. There are numerous websites that detail the Capo's shortcomings and the Aprilia rep in the UK acknowledged that there are serious quality issues, but will they do anything about it? As soon as your bike is 1 year and a day old, forget any chance of help. The engine is great though, but then I believe it's a Rotax, and they're Austrian. Also delivery time for parts is measured in weeks... My local dealer (Rocket, Blackburn) will not reset the service indicator as this can blow the clocks (£500). These bikes are cheap, second hand, and rightly so as they are built down to a price. Buy one with your credit card ready to pay for repairs. And have a spare bike too. I've spoken with a couple of Capo owners and they've both had problems so it ain't just me.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 1 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5 Flawed mile muncher
08 June 2009 by lordmelbury

I had my Capo for about a year - which as you know is an age for most of us! It is fast, silky smooth & kind of the motorcycle equivalent of a Mercedes Sprinter van... I fitted mine with a massive suzuki Burgman screen which was fab for fast riding - the stock screen gave me the worst wind blast I've vere had to put up with (I'm 6'2). It's also very top heavy - I challenge anyone to do a stress-free U-turn on a side road with a full tank...I managed to drop it with the wife on the back just before we pulled out of a side road with a weird camber on it - it really doesn't take much to tip it on its side. The engine is very smooth, sounds good but I found it to be a bit unreliable and it needs decent dealer servicing. Check you have a fulkl service history (from Aprilia) and check all the relevant engine checks have been done or you'll be facing a big bill. I would like to receommend it - you certainly enjoy it - but you really need to save up & get a GS or a KTM. The Capo will be a false economy.... Good for pillions though - it's my wife's definate favourite - she fell asleep quite a few times...

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5 ETV Caponord
11 November 2007 by

Purchased in 2005, covered 10700 miles and toured europe 3 times on it.First job on the bike was a taller screen followed by: center stand, touring scotty, givi luggage, radio/mp3 bike2bike, gps (ive no sence of direction) braided hoses. The rear brake boils too easily due to the location of the reservior. The oe tyres are not good so get Battlewings fitted with ultraseal....bloody hell these are great. The front forks are very soft so had the springs/oil changed at 6000 miles. Adjusted the rear preload to suit and now she flys thru the corners. Very comfortable, exellent headlights and i get 140 miles before the reserve light comes on-passing traffic on a fast A road (steady 85)is great fun on my commute due to the torque of the motor at 4300revs. Replaced battery once and i'm on my second set of battlewings. Parts from an Aprilia agent has been bloody usleless- this is exasabated by the customer service. Instead i use a small bike shop who gets oe spares within days. Bike tells you when a service is due. I'm so happy with it i bought my own number plate.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Very under rated!!!
12 June 2007 by fazrd

Bought as a replacement to a Fazer and I love it. It looks better than any other bike in the big touring trailie class. It handles well enough and can be improved very easily if you want to. Engine is a stonker. Loads of low down pull. Build quality on the later ones is very good. Excellent forum as well at AF1. Capo is highly recommended.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Soooo Under rated
18 March 2007 by stueyjc

I've used this bike for 2 tours abroad and its been fantastic. It will keep up with most bikes on normal roads only losing out on top end speeds and yet comfy enough for day long trips. Seems to handle just as well whether 1 up or 2 up with luggage. Good spec as standard, 12 volt socket and easy to adjust suspension etc. Mine has never let me down in nearly 3 years of ownership .

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Great Bike!!!!!
16 March 2007 by kiteflyer2002

Great bike for our crap roads!!!Handles well and the unstressed Mille lump has plenty of pull. Great bike in traffic making it a useful and interesting commuter..well equipped with Brembo's and Trailwings..Totally under rated..get one and Enjoy!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Fantastic Value for Money
13 March 2007 by EdsETV

Comfortable, fast, good handling, quality build, reliable and such great value. Will cruise at very high speeds sitting comfortably; great on our potholed roads and quick cross country on roads that tie my Fireblade in knots. Ride it like a sports bike and the soft forks will annoy but ride smooth and it is a joy. Good tank range and handles two up riding well. There are great newsgroups and only a few known minor faults that are generally cheap to fix. Having said that mine has been 100% reliable (tempting fate here) Has some great detail touches with power socket and solo seat option converting to a bigger load area etc. If only Aprilia UK and the factory gave it the support it deserves it would sell by the shed load.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5 Caponord-most underestimated bike?
12 March 2007 by SteveT84

A good all-round bike that can be raised to "very good" status, in my opinion, by the addition of the a few simple modifications, i.e. stiffer fork springs(~£60) for the earlier models, a taller Givi screen(for taller riders) & better front brake pads-EBC-HH, etc. It's a little top-heavy and care is needed when manoeuvring at slow speeds, especially with a passenger and a full tank, but apart from that it’s a great all-round bike that handles twisting roads and long distances with ease(better than a VFR-800 one road tester stated). Reliability has been great also, with only a front brake micro-switch failing in 5 years. There are some real bargains to be had in the UK and they can now be purchased NEW for less that what I paid for mine 5 years ago. But would I sell mine? No way!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
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