Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 – Motorbikes Reviews, News & Advice – bikepoint.com.au

17 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 – Motorbikes Reviews, News & Advice – bikepoint.com.au
Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200

Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200

If you really want the most commanding view of traffic, coupled with an engine that has animal written all over it, then this bike could be for you

There’s still something to be said for explosive power; that feeling of trying to click through the cogs as fast as possible to keep us with the ponies being transmitted to the tarmac.

I’ve just been through experience with Aprilia’s Dorsoduro 1200, the company’s answer to Ducati’s Hypermotard 1100EVO. Without overstating the case, the Aprilia is 130hp (96kW) of pure adrenalin, one that propels you forward at such a rapid rate that it’s virtually impossible not to arrive at your destination – hopefully with your licence intact – content that you’ve just been through an impossibly enjoyable and manic commute. How often can you say that?

The 1200 is a city bike, no two words about it. Not only does it meld that wicked 1197cc liquid-cooled V-twin with plenty of cornering dexterity, but the seat is not the most uncomfortable going around (par for the course in this category) and you won’t be travelling more than 150km before the fuel warning light comes on.

But that’s just fine by me, because my guess is that the majority of people who buy this bike won’t be looking to carve up the back blocks of Australia, but instead choosing to tear apart city streets with complete authority – all with a view of the traffic that only truck drivers would turn their nose up at.

And if you buy one, the chances are that you’ll be the only one in your group of friends taking this unique sports riding route. But you certainly won’t be any poorer for it.

TORQUE IT UP

The star of the Dorsoduro 1200 show is undoubtedly the 1197cc V-twin, with a ride-by-wire throttle system offering three modes of riding – Rain, Touring and Sport.

Aprilia has long been an advocate of ride-by-wire and, although there have been some forgettable moments (just ask Colin Edwards in his first year of MotoGP racing for Aprilia!), the Italian company has now got it down to a fine art.

There’s still a hint of hesitation at low revs, mainly on a partial throttle, but it’s certainly not enough to upset the balance of the bike too much, which is a good thing when you’re threading through traffic.

Most of that really low speed commuting is spent in first gear, which is quite tall on the Dorsoduro (and for such a sporting bike) before tightening up in the higher cogs. But top gear is quite tall again, which had me purring along a highway at 100km/h registering just 3400rpm. Better fifth gear in those situations.

But I digress a little. While the ecosystem may be a little fragile below 4000rpm – both in fuelling and power delivery — above that the acceleration in Sport and Touring modes delivers a wicked and killer blow, as the tacho works overtime trying to keep up and the underseat pipes deliver an intoxicating, fruity voice. And once that ‘detonation’ occurs, it’s a fabulous experience, with the slick-shifting gearbox coming along for the ride.

The genesis of the aggressive power delivery has lot to do with the engine dimensions – 106mm x 67.88mm. That’s really oversquare, but a vital part of why this thing just loves to rev when it’s tapped on the shoulder. Aprilia claims 130hp (96kW) at 8700rpm, and 115Nm at 7200rpm.

I toggled, via the starter button after the engine is fired into life, between the Touring and Sport modes most of the test period, as I found the Rain mode just too listless – although there’s still around 100hp to play with. But it’s like dragging a ball and chain compared to Sport and Touring, although as an owner I could see it being a relaxing respite from the volcanic eruptions in the other modes.

The Dorsoduro’s hydraulic clutch feels okay, although I’d be perfectly happy with a cable one in this instance – a little more befitting the bike’s raw flavour.

MUSCLE POWER

The 1200 has a fairly long wheelbase of 1528mm, with rake and trail dimension of 27.3 degrees and 118mm respectively. Those figures don’t scream razor sharp, and are probably a little bit at odds with the bike’s sporting powerplant.

But the reality is that the Dorsoduro still slices through turns with plenty of conviction, although sometimes it takes a bit off effort – especially if body positioning isn’t quite on the money.

The Dorsoduro isn’t like a sports bike where you’re wedged against the tank as some kind of reinforcement, as its flat and wide perch allows any number of seating options.

For really aggressive riding it’s best to go forward of the cabin to push on the front end, with that firm stance supported by the tapered, fairly low one-piece handlebars and the slightly rear positioned pegs.

If you want to keep understeer in check that’s definitely the best strategy, because as you move back on the seat the steering – understandably – loses some of its bite. But there’s certainly no issue with a lack of stability.

It does take a while to sort out body positioning, but once that’s mastered the real fun begins – with the bike really at home on punchy straights and tight turns. And let’s not forget the brakes are also an important element in all that fun, with the Brembo radial-mounted four-piston calipers providing tonnes of power and a nice progressive feel through the lever. There is an ABS version of the Dorsoduro 1200, but it’s not available in Australia.

The Aprilia’s suspension certainly isn’t softcore, which certainly falls into line with the bike’s sporting prowess. The suspension (trick-looking Marzocchi upside-down gold forks and Sachs shock barber) is fully adjustable at both ends, with the shock positioned off centre to accommodate the engine architecture, or more precisely the location of the headers on the rear cylinder. Rear preload is adjustable via a c-spanner, but the access is unfettered.

Despite the stiff suspension, the ride isn’t too onerous. Really, what’s more of an issue in the comfort stakes is the hard seat, which probably sometimes makes those hard hits on the road seem worse that what they really are.

If you can get 150km out of the seat in one stretch, that’s a herculean effort – and you won’t get much further anyway before it will be time for a refuel. The tank holds 16 litres, although it looks much bigger than that.

During the test, fuel consumption averaged out at 7.73lt/100km.

DASH HOUND

The dashboard on the Dorsoduro isn’t a departure from what’s recently come off Aprilia’s production line. No complaints though, as there’s more than enough information to quench anyone’s thirst, which can be toggled through via a switch on the left-hand side of the handlebar.

At $17,990, the Dorsoduro 1200 is all about fast and furious, and its ability to ‘nurture’ school boy antics has it in the same ilk as the Ducati Hypermotard 1100EVO. These bikes deliver a two-wheel party that’s just about unmatched in an urban environment — but they are certainly not a mainstream menu item for most people.

But that’s okay, as the denizens who do hand over their hard earned will be in for an experience they won’t forget. I never thought terrorising the streets would be so much fun.

SPECS: APRILIA DORSODURO 1200

ENGINE

Type: Liquid-cooled, eight-valve 90-degree V-twin

Capacity: 1197cc

Bore x stroke: 106.0mm x 67.8mm

Compression ratio: 12.0 ± 0.5: 1

Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200

Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection

Emissions: Euro 3

TRANSMISSION

Type: Six-speed

Final drive: Chain

Clutch: Wet

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR

Frame type: Tubular steel fastened to aluminium side plates. Removable rear aluminium subframe

Front suspension: 43mm Sachs upside-down forks with fully adjustable compression, rebound and spring. Wheel travel 160mm

Rear suspension: Aluminium alloy swingarm, with piggyback Sachs shock with fully adjustable compression, rebound and preload. Wheel travel 155mm

Rear brake: 240mm stainless steel disc with single-piston Brembo caliper.

Wheels: Aluminium alloy — front 3.50 x 17, rear 6.00 x 17

Tyres: Pirelli Diablo — front 120/70-17, rear 180/55-17

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES

Rake: 27.3 degrees

Trail: 118mm

Claimed dry weight: 203kg

PERFORMANCE

Claimed maximum power: 130hp (96kW) at 8700rpm

Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200


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