Aprilia MY16 Tuono V4RR
April 15, 2015
by Samuel Quarelli Fleming
I love the RSV4 with all my soul, but unless I really had a full season of track activities scheduled for the bike, it would be tough to justify the purchase. At the start of a non-track related weekend of riding, I would undoubtedly grab the keys to a different bike rather than force the RSV to suffer the indignities of speed limits, gravel, and spilled diesel fuel. I would saddle up a bike with more street friendly ergonomics and maybe more power lower down in the rev range. Something almost exactly like the new Tuono.
I know that the English language is the bastard love child of elegant and sophisticated Latin and guttural and glottal German, but even so, the Italian construct of "naked" and the English use of the term have diverged greatly over the centuries. For although Aprilia insisted that the Tuono is a naked bike, it quite noticeably has a fairing that extends from above the gauge cluster all the way past the 1 part of its 4-1 exhaust system. It is so faired, in fact, that at first glance the bike looks like a full on no compromise sport bike. Really, only the handlebars give it away.
In Sam's long tradition of riding bikes with the wrong color scheme for the official magazine photo shoot,
the blue Tuono will not be available in the US. He claims this mismatch was through no fault of his own.
(Photo by AOD Ministry of Information)
The Tuono has all the electronic technology of the RSV (anti-wheelie control, traction control, ABS, smart phone integration) but instead of being fitted with a peaky, rev hungry liter engine, it is fitted with a big bore 1.1 liter V4 with a cam specification that pumps out an ample 175hp (which, of course, would have been a crazy high number just a couple years ago) instead of the 200hp of the RSV. However, the extra 100cc and the different cam spec take that missing 25hp and redistribute it lower down in the power band, you know, where you can actually use it on the street, at least until the traction control, wheelie control or polizia intervene.
Not really all that naked when you stop to think about it... (Photo by AOD Ministry of Information)
Unfortunately we were a bit pressed for time so I was only able to ride the bike for about an hour on the back roads near the Misano circuit. The road surface was very slippery and, in many places, the narrow lanes were topographically enhanced from sliding hillsides (apparently, along with the loss of the understanding of the Roman vocabulary was the loss of Roman civic engineering) so what we ended up with was a lot of very tight and very bumpy riding in second gear. Just the kind of road which is pure torture on a bike with clip-ons but, astride the Tuono, there was nary a tingly hand or strained wrist.
There is no shame in price points and it is great that there are bikes built to different budgets. The Aprilia,
for what it is, is not actually that expensive. An FZ1 is $10,800 new. For the extra $6,000 the Aprilia
delivers full race electronics, more power, Brembo monobloc calipers, full Ohlins suspension, and an
exquisite looking and performing chassis instead of a cast lump. It's not like you can't see where the
extra money is going. (Photo by AOD Ministry of Information)
The V4 engine is so smooth and fuels so precisely that it was equally happy lugging around a gear high, pulling hard in the correct gear, or screaming if I left it one short. The steering, brakes and power were all well above any possible street riding limits and I was only riding the base model, not the fancy one with the Ohlins suspension.
The only real draw back to the Tuono, which performs like a sportbike but has the ergonomics of a street bike, is that Aprilia kept it a little too close to the "naked' motif when, with a little taller fairing (the bikini looks great but is pretty non-existent when you are riding it) and some soft bags, it would be a formidableweapon for weekend mountain trips.
You have to do a double take before you realize
this is a standard. (Photo by AOD Ministry of
That said, like suburban moms buying SUVs just to avoid the mini-van stigma, gray beards like myself are often drawn to adventure touring bikes just to avoid facing the ugly truth that the joints hurt too much for long stretches on a repli-racer. The Tuono hits just the right balance of styling and full blown sport bike performance.
If you really can't find the extra $1,700 here is the RR version. But seriously, just default on your student
loans or something to get the Factory version. (Photo by AOD Ministry of Information)
Of course, being one of the best street bikes in the world comes at a price when the build quality is from Italian artisans. The MY16 (model year 2016) Tuono V4 1100 RR with Sachs suspension is $14,599 in Portimao Gray, and the MY 16 Tuono V4 1100 Factory with Ohlins suspension is $16,299 in Superpole Color scheme. I think if you have already gone to the effort to find an Aprilia dealer I'd cut the check for the extra $1,700 for the Factory despite the questionable mall teen clothing store branding (am I alone in reading the giant Aprilia as "Aeropostale" or "Abercrombie")because that is an absolute steal for Ohlins suspension (shock, forks and steering damper? I mean, I'd buy that for each of the five running motorcycles in my garage if that was the price). The Tuono would be more at home at the occasional track day than the RSV would be on the occasional street ride and, of course, for the price of the RSV RF you could get the Tuono as a street bike and have enough left over for a used GSX-R 750 to ball up at the track.
Race Track Electronics, Stop-and-Go Handlebars. (Photo by AOD Ministry of Information)
Although it's a different engine than anything Aprilia has produced before, the design clearly progressed in parallel with the new RSV engine and the Tuono benefits from similar technological progress with lower friction bearings, more venting for the crankcase, Pankl rods, and new crankcases. The new engine is prodigiously powerful, producing 20 more horsepower than the MY15 version at 8,000rpm.
Really all they need is to make an old school clubman handle bar accessory kit for track days and you'd
be all set. (Photo by AOD Ministry of Information)
The MY16 also receives a new fairing with new, lighter headlights. The handlebars are slightly narrower while the seat is both lower and more (word missing?) with purportedly more comfortable foam and grippier fabric. It was indeed plenty comfortable for our hour ride. I offered to further test the road going comfort of the bike by taking if from Misano to Mugello on the Blue Ridge Parkway of Italy but, alas, the schedule was not to permit it.