THE CapoNord is going to be a genuine rival for bikes like BMW’s R1150GS and Honda’s Varadero.
It even coped with a little bit of off-road riding in Sardinia.
" I tried it on a bit of green laning Italian style…gravel and dust. I even went up a few hills and round the odd bush, " said MCN’s Bill Spurdens.
He was surprised at how well the heavyweight coped.
That may be down to the low centre of gravity that Aprilia’s design team has worked hard to give it.
And that meant on twisty roads the bike was so easy to flick from side to side that Spurdens found himself forgetting what kind of bike he was riding.
" It might feel heavy when you get it off its stand but It’s very nimble on the move, " he added.
He feels the front suspension is a little soft, and it isn’t adjustable. And he fears it would dive even more with a pillion and luggage on board. Lighter riders may not share the same concerns.
The engine is essentially the same as found in all Aprilia 1000cc V-twins, with changes made to add grunt at the expense of top-end power.
It has a bigger flywheel, different cams and pistons and different-shaped combustion chambers. The compression ratio is reduced compared to the RSV Mille. Even so, the bike is good for 135mph.
Wind protection is excellent, says Spurdens. Even at 90mph the rider travels in a bubble of still air.
It will cost £7300 in the UK and luggage will be available to help it meet its touring role.
Despite the spoked wheels, the tyres are tubeless.
MCN will publish more on this first test in the March 21 issue of the paper.