The Tuono V4 1100 Factory is basically an Aprilia RSV4 fitted with motocross bars and pumped full of midrange. It howls like MotoGP missile and goes like a superbike, but with its upright stance and tourer-like wind protection you don’t have to suffer with crushed wrists and a sore back for your speed. Put simply, it’s the best road-going sportsbike money can buy.
Eye-watering cost aside, there isn’t a single thing you’d want to change. The Tuono ticks every must-have box for the discerning thrill seeker: a brain-fizzing 1077cc, 173bhp V4 motor blessed by the gods of grunt and power and an exquisite polished aluminium, three-times WSB championship-winning chassis.
Aprilia’s wonder machine can be calm and relaxed one minute and a speed-crazed psychopath the next with its front wheel dangling in mid-air for all eternity. Perfect engine, electronics and ergonomics aside, the Tuono V4 1100 Factory is even more impressive in the corners with a supple, Öhlins magic carpet-ride that offers up just enough in the way of plushness and control. The way it rolls into corners, pumping your body with feel and confidence, borders on the spiritual.
It’s hard to imagine how the Tuono V4 1100 Factory could be improved, but Aprilia reckon it can with its new semi-active Öhlins ‘Smart EC 2.0 System’, similar to what adorns the Ducati Panigale V4 S and the latest Yamaha R1M, which adds a grand to the price.
Look closely and you’ll see a suspension setting icon on the Aprilia’s colour dash and wires sprouting from the tops of the Öhlins NIX forks, TTX rear shock and steering damper. Subtle graphics tweaks aside, there are no other changes from the previous model.
For normal riding conditions the semi active suspension doesn’t make a big difference. The old model’s mechanically adjustable forks and shock were hard to fault anyway, but the new electronics are worth their weight in Öhlins gold outside those ‘one setting fits all’ situations where you want extra comfort, grip, or control.
With the ability to choose between soft, medium or hard suspension set-ups, you’ve now got the mouth-watering proposition of having multiple Tuonos in one, perfect for any scenario – smooth and bumpy roads, motorway cruising and flat-out track riding.
At the Aprilia’s 2019 spring launch in the mountains of the Italian Dolomites we settle on the stiffly-set A1 mode. It gives the Tuono the kind of grip, poise and agility that few machines this side of a race paddock can get close to.
Aprilia reckons that on its semi active Öhlins the new Tuono can lap Mugello half a second faster than last year’s bike. That might not sound much, but that’s with suspension set with the touch of a button and not inched to the perfect setting after day’s testing.
Elsewhere, it’s hard not to be gushing about the Tuono V4 1100 Factory. That moorish V4 engine, flawless up/down quickshifter, savage braking power, unshakable grip and wailing soundtrack all serve to make the Aprilia an unbridled joy at any speed. Footpegs could be too high for some, but that’s about all you can find fault with.
A modern-day miracle, Aprilia’s compact V4 is unchanged for this 2019 model. No engine delivers such a perfect blend of searing power, sophistication, character and growling drama.
There’s little doubt the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory is exceptional, but whether you’d actually have the confidence to buy one is another matter.
MCN’s online pages are crammed with polarised Tuono owners’ opinions - some have nothing but praise for their bikes and dealers and some don’t. Aprilia need to sort this out because they make two of the best bikes on the planet and deserve to do well.
The 2019 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory isn’t cheap, but it justifies its price hike over the old model for the versatility the new electronic suspension brings, but if you know how to set up your own suspension, it’s not a big step on from the old bike.
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Aprilia’s traction control, wheelie control and an up/down quickshifter are some of the best in the business. You also get riding modes, launch control, a pitlane limiter and cruise control, as well as top notch Brembos and Pirelli Super Corsa SP rubber.
Semi active rebound and compression damping are adjusted by stepper motors inside the Öhlins forks and shock, based on road and wheel speeds, lean angle, rider aids intervention and IMU readings. Preload is still mechanically adjustable.
The TFT colour dash remains unchanged, except for a new suspension setting icon, which shows which of the three automatic or manual modes you’re in. Go deeper into the menu and fine tune to perfection in semi-active or manual modes.