Costing just £1500 more than the RR, the Factory has the obligatory fully adjustable Öhlins rear shock, fork and steering damper and comes painted in Aprilia Racing 'Superpole' colours. Engine, chassis, brakes and electronics are all the same as the base model.
It doesn’t take long for the Factory to fry your brain. It’s hard to believe how a production road bike can cover ground so quickly, with such little effort. The steering is light and accurate, the traction control cossets but never holds you back, the quickshifter is the best in the business and there’s huge amounts of feel and grip in, through, and out of corners.
And with its Swedish suspension keeping everything in check, the Factory tempts you to hold the brake harder into corners and begs you to get on the throttle earlier when the apex brushes past your knee. It has the DNA of a superbike on the track, is fun, safe and practical on the road and built with the precision and quality of a Swiss watch. It’s full factory sportsbike perfection.
But it’s not all about eye-watering speeds and savage acceleration. The impressive thing about the new Tuono is how easy all that power and torque is to manage. It’s all down to that smooth throttle, the predictable delivery and impressive electronic rider aids. But more than that, it’s the wonderfully balanced chassis the V4 is wrapped in.
It’s no secret the RSV4 sportsbike is regarded as one of the best-handling superbikes money can buy. It steers with little effort and goes exactly where you point it, no matter how fast you’re going. The new Tuono is more of the same. Forget the engineering behind the beautifully sculpted, compact frame, the sturdy swingarm, or the perfect steering geometry, just admire the way it goes through corners so quickly without even trying.
The Aprilia’s handling limit is a mile away from what normal riders like you or I can achieve, and if you get close to breaking the laws of physics you’ve still got the best ABS and traction control systems in the business to bail you out.
You get all this easy, well-balanced cornering stuff with the standard, Sachs-suspended RR, but here on the Factory the Öhlins takes things to another level. The upshot of all this is a creamy step-up in ride quality, grip, control and adjustability.
The Tuono Factory is more comfortable on the road, stable on the track and loads you with confidence everywhere. And of course the Öhlins adds a touch of class to an already exquisitely built machine. That polished frame, the quality of the fasteners, rearsets, switchgear and even the lurid red wheels all make the new Factory the sweetest of eye candy.
After our brief ride on the standard RR, this is our first chance to really get to know Aprilia’s new 2015 V4 1077cc engine. We had already been treated to its smoother ride-by-wire throttle and easy grunt off the corners, but here, with more space and time we get to see the wild side of this gem-like V4 motor.
With its bountiful power curve you could easily select top gear once you're moving, leave it there all day and purr down to the south of France. But stomp it down a few gears, watch the needle sweep round the white-faced clocks and from 9000rpm the Aprilia turns into a snarling superbike.
In the lower gears, the electronics go into overdrive trying to control the inevitable wheelies, but with the slick anti-wheelie system switched off, you can accidentally-on-purpose keep the front wheel hovering, or vertical – it’s your choice. Once the front wheel finally kisses the tarmac, feed in more gears and the Tuono drags the horizon towards it, kicking and screaming, ready to clash heads. Keep tapping the sweet-action quickshifter and you’re at the end of sixth gear before you can blink.
Early Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 owners have nothing but positive things to say, praising the strong engine and supportive dealer network.
That said, some mention valve issues on early bikes and, being an Aprilia, the dealer network is considerably smaller than the major Japanese and larger European manufacturers.
Fourteen-and-a-half-grand is a lot to spend on a naked bike, especially when you can get something like the new GSX-R1000 K5-powered Suzuki GSX-S1000 for over £5k less. Both the Suzuki and Aprilia will perform monster wheelies and shrieking skids, like a super naked should, and there won’t be much between them on initial acceleration.
So why spend the extra? Well, you get so much more for your money – the Tuono has better wind protection, the best electronics this side of a WSB paddock and sounds every inch like a wailing MotoGP bike. And once you’ve got it home you’ll be finding every excuse possible to go in your garage and gawp at it.
Forget your track-focussed race-replica superbikes - the Tuono V4 1100 Factory is the best road-going performance bike you can buy, bar none.
Aprilia’s APRC electronic rider aids were always the best in the business and are now powered by an uprated ECU. There’s now full power in each of the three riding modes (Sport, Track and Race), smoother traction control, anti-wheelie and quickshifter.
While the standard, £1500 cheaper RR model has Sachs suspension, the Factory comes with a fully adjustable Öhlins rear shock, fork and steering damper. It adds an extra layer of plushness and control to the Aprilia’s already immaculate handling, not to mention a touch of bling.