Aprilia Shiver 900: "An SV650 with balls"
Despite not appearing that much of a change compared to the outgoing Shiver 750, the new Shiver 900 proved a pleasant surprise delivering the kind of refined and smooth ride that is certainly not what you would traditionally expect from a naked Aprilia model! In fact, in many ways it felt like a Suzuki SV650 that had been given a much-needed performance boost.
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Boasting a new 896cc capacity through an 11mm longer stroke on what is essentially a slightly tweaked Shiver 750 motor, the new 900 makes the same 93.9bhp as the outgoing Shiver 750, but has 6.4ftlb more peak torque and a healthier mid-range thanks to its longer stroke motor.
On the throttle it is really smooth and feels far more like a Suzuki SV650’s motor than a Ducati Monster 821 in its character, which is a good thing. There is constant torque right through the rev range and while it isn’t the most powerful of lumps, it does respond really nicely with a pleasant throttle pick-up and lovely light clutch action.
Matched to this surprisingly chilled-out nature is a chassis that is really confidence-inspiring in the bends. It’s not super-agile, but it is assured and when you add the safety nets of traction control as well as strong radial brakes backed up with ABS you can ride it pleasingly hard in total confidence.
But it’s not all plain sailing and for my money the Shiver lacks a bit of sparkle when compared to the competition. Where the likes of the similarly-priced Yamaha MT-09, Kawasaki Z900 and Triumph Street Triple R excite with their performance when you ask them to and then return to being docile when you want to chill out, the Shiver only operates on one easy-going level. Is this a bad thing? It kind of depends on what you are looking for in your naked bike.
The Shiver 900 is certainly the best V-twin middleweight, but is it a viable option to the excellent triples or the Z900’s inline four? For me it needs a bit of extra zing, but if you love the SV650 and just wish Suzuki had the balls to give it a few extra ponies, try the Shiver 900 out for size.