Aprilia didn’t need to do much to their fiery supernaked to impress us, but as well as tweaking it to meet Euro4 regs this year they’ve improved the ride, handling, brakes and electronics… not that they needed to, it’s already the best of the breed by a very long way.
For 2017 the BMW S1000R, KTM 1290 Super Duke and Yamah aMT-10-beating Aprilia now has a new TFT Bluetooth enabled colour dash, switchgear, lighter 43mm Öhlins forks and tweaked rear shock, bigger 330mm discs and Brembo radial master cylinder, an up/down quickshifter, pitlane limiter and cruise control.
Eight-stage traction (easily adjustable on the move with paddles on the left bar) and wheelie control are now controlled by a new pitch/yaw sensor, for more precise front and rear wheel control in everyday conditions and on the track.
So while you might think the new Tuono is made from metal, rubber, silicone and plastic, even the shortest ride will convince you it’s actually crafted from velvet, butter and gun powder. The speed at which it dives into corners seems almost other worldly and the sensation of feel, grip and stability from the front end borders on the spiritual. It has the poise to lean further than its rivals and carry more corner speed. It explodes from turn to turn and demolishes straights with blissful speed and when the haunting V4 soundtrack ricochets off the scenery it sends shiver sdown an already electrified spine.
The perfectly sprung and damped Öhlins suspension doesn’t rattle your teeth out over cobbles, nor does the rear sit like a well-trained dog when you dial in immense torque available from that 1077cc V4 engine. This is a motor even more sensational to use than the Tuono’s RSV4 sister. It’s smoother, comes packed with bulging, real-world grunt and has a mesmerising arc of stinging power.
Few machines, even full-blooded race replica superbikes, serve up such exquisite feel through its chassis or shower the rider with a sense of speed and occasion. Take the Aprilia to a trackday and it continues to impress and even on the fastest circuits only the best-ridden superbikes will ever get a sniff of your exhaust fumes.
During its launch in Italy in the Spring I spent all day with the Aprilia marvelling at its brilliance. I was constantl yasking questions of it and it was always coming back with the perfect answer.
Our initial thoughts
It’s not often I fail to find fault with a bike, but I’m struggling with Aprilia’s new V4 Tuono Factory. After a long day riding stunning roads in northern Italy, I can’t think of any other bike on which I’d choose to repeat the journey. A superbike may have been faster on some sections and a tourer more comfortable, but overall I’d take the new Tuono anytime. It is comfortable, usable and fast.
Aprilia didn’t have to do much to the old Tuono to impress us but while making their leading naked Euro4 compatible (without sacrificing any power or torque) they’ve also added a new TFT full colour dash and new switchgear that allows you to make the most of a raft of new riding aids. They’ve also updated the front end with lighter, 43mm Ohlins forks, bigger 330mm discs and a Brembo radial master cylinder while the rear shock receives a tweak.
To ensure Euro4 compliance Aprilia have bolted on a larger exhaust with a larger catalytic converter, which has added an extra 2.5 kg overall. The good news is the Tuono’s V4 still sounds intoxicating and churns out a claimed 175 peak bhp while revving to 500rpm higher.
New front end aside, the biggest change is to the electronics, which now incorporate a pitch sensor (as well as the old model’s lean and yaw). As before it has eight-stage traction control, which can be adjusted or even deactivated on the move via a simple finger and thumb paddle system on the left bar. There are still three riding modes (Sport, Track and Race), wheelie and launch control and three levels of ABS intervention, including one that switches off cornering ABS at the front and all ABS at the rear. A new autoblip quick-shifter is now down as well as up while cruise control and a pit lane limiter (first gear only) are added.
To make life simple Aprilia have added a new TFT dash with Bluetooth connectivity and new switchgear. You can record you ride by connecting the new dash to your iPhone then, using an app, review the crucial data at your leisure.
These riding aids are class leading, better in fact than those found on some 2017 superbikes. They are intuitive, easy to use and allow you to tune the set up of the Tuono to suit your mood or the road (or track) ahead of you. The racy modes add an aggressive edge to the fuelling so I spent 75% of my ride in the softer Sport mode. There is no specific wet mode, but if you do get caught out in tricky conditions it’s easy to add more TC, which you can do on the move, or add more ABS intervention at the roadside as you throw on waterproofs.
The new front end, brakes and chassis are class leading. I’d argue the naked Tuono could give any pure sportsbike a run for its money on the road, or even on track. The suspension doesn’t rattle your teeth out over bumpy B roads nor does it sit like a well-trained dog when you dial in the immense torque. It’s hugely impressive.
During my test ride I constantly asked questions of the chassis and it always came back with the perfect answer. On the motorway I wasn’t jarred out of the seat as the wheels ran over potholes and in the mountains it gave me lovely feedback and the confidence to push hard on unknown roads. Even when I put the hammer down the suspension was more than up for the job and was hard to fault while the brakes stayed strong with no fade.
On one 30-mile section of road I couldn’t stop smiling as my knee sliders brushed unfamiliar roads and the exhaust note reverberated around the many tunnels cutting through the mountains. The new Tuono provided instant torque in any gear no matter what the rpm and the stunning head-spinning looks left passers-by open mouthed with envy. In towns I found myself on a bike that was easy going and fuss free.
This is an exceptional bike: a compliant, comfortable race bike for the road, supported by class leading electronics a sound track which will make you smile every time you open the throttle. I may have fallen in love.
V4 Tuono Racing - The facts
Engine: 1077cc V-four
Frame: Aluminium Deltabox
Seat Height: 825mm
Suspension: 43mm Ohlins, fully adjustable; single rear Ohlins shock, fully adjustable
Brakes: 2 x 330 mm discs with four-piston Brembo radial calipers; 220mm rear disc with 2-piston caliper
Power: (claimed) 175bhp @ 11,000rpm
Torque: (claimed) 89 ftlb @ 9,000rpm
Weight: 186.5KG (dry)
Tank capacity: 18.5 litre
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