Aprilia Tuono V4 R APRC – Cycle Torque Magazine

20 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Aprilia Tuono V4 R APRC – Cycle Torque Magazine
Aprilia Tuono V4 R APRC
Aprilia Tuono V4 R APRC

Smart Sports

Test by Nigel Paterson. Pics by Adrian Fowler

IF YOU’RE after a sportsbike but can’t abide the cramped riding position of today’s racetrack refugees, the Aprilia Tuono V4 R might be for you. With an engine developed from the Superbike World Championship winning RSV4 in a stiff aluminium chassis with top-quality suspension, trick APRC electronics, big brakes, a slipper clutch and a whole lot more, this is a serious sportsbike, sans fairing.

Priced at $23,500 (plus ORC), the Tuono doesn’t come cheap. This is the real deal though, not a dumbed-down RSV4, but a variant designed to provide the real-world performance only a sportsbike can deliver but without the bulky fairings and aggressive riding position.

Engine and APRC

The motor in the Tuono might be ‘de-tuned’ from that of its more famous sibling, the RSV4, but not by much. Serious mumbo, folks, and it’s available pretty well on tap, and if you’re left wanting for more, well you probably should see someone about that horsepower habit you’re developing. Aprilia is claiming 162 ponies at 11,000rpm, which makes it a hellishly powerful naked.

Creating said mumbo is a 65-degree V-four with all the bells and whistles you’d expect – four valves per pot, liquid cooling, fuel injection. Nothing unusual or surprising here. It’s in the electronics things get really interesting – in particular the APRC.

Cycle Torque has covered APRC with the test of the latest RSV4 in the June 2011 issue (you an find it at www.cycletorque.com.au/more ) but here’s the short version: APRC is awesome. It adds to safety and speed in ways we couldn’t imagine a few years ago and is a great example of racing making production bikes better.

APRC incorporates ATC (traction control), AWC (wheelie control), AQS (quick shift) and ALC (launch control). Surprisingly there’s no ABS system, but rumours are abounding that’s under development for a future model. ATC means you can drive harder out of corners, especially in tricky conditions, than you might wish to try, and set to its most sensitive level it kicks in at a fairly low level, so you can feel how it’s working before it needs to save you from a highside.

It’s one of the hardest things about traction control: learning to trust it. With APRC, you’ve got a better chance.

The quick shift is awesome when you’re charging along – just bang the gears through, swapping cogs in the six-speed cassette transmission fast and easy. I’m not convinced launch control and wheelie control are quite so important on a naked, but they are part of the package and certainly do their job well. The APRC joins the ride-by-wire throttle technology and Weber-Marelli fuel injection system to make the 2011 Tuono one of the most technologically advanced bikes Cycle Torque has ever ridden.

Chassis and suspension

If there’s an area where naked bikes derived from sportsbikes often disappoint it is in the suspension – too many manufacturers over the years decide road riders don’t need the same level of suspension sophistication as their more track-oriented machinery. Aprilia, however, hasn’t skimped in this area: the Tuono has quality Sachs suspension at both ends, fully adjustable and more than capable of offering good control for most riders, even on track day. The wheels are actually lighter than those on the RSV4, which helps explain why the bike turns in so well, while the huge Brembo stoppers haul the bike down from speed with an effortless squeeze.

The huge aluminium beam frame is out and proud on the RSV4, wrapped around the compact powerplant and visible for all to see. Running in an almost straight line from the steering head to the swingarm pivot it gives an impression of strength and stiffness which can’t be mistaken. The banana-shaped rear swingarm is similarly tough and flex-free. Styling and ergos How much plastic can be installed on a bike before it isn’t a naked anymore?

The Tuono has plastic shrouds around the headlights, small fairing panels on the sides and a bellypan… but none of this actually provides any weather protection, so let’s keep describing the bike as a naked.

The riding position tries to get you out of the wind a little by leaning you forward into the wind, and the high, rearset footpegs make you realise this really is a sportsbike without a fairing. The riding position isn’t anywhere near as aggressive as the RSV4, but it’s no touring bike. Passenger accommodation is, well, secondary.

If you’re really going to regularly going to carry a friend they better love you despite your choice of motorcycle.

On the road

The Tuono fires up easily and settles to a raspy idle without fuss. Throw a leg over and you immediately notice the firm suspension and lean toward the ‘bars. Click it into gear, feed a few revs and you’re in motion, feet up on pegs higher than you expect on a naked.

Potholes are looked for and avoided after the first one jars your back. The urban crawl has you wondering why a naked should feel so aggressive. Gearchanges feel crappy as the quickshifter gets in the way of conventional traffic-inspired clutch-and-throttle changes.

Sure, the engine’s delightful, but everything else hates the traffic, the low speeds, lack of flow.

On the freeway things improve. The wind is lifting you off the ‘bars, the engine is spinning more happily. But it’s on the exit ramp heading for the twisties you start to appreciate the Tuono – smooth surfaces and fast corners meaning doubling those yellow advisory signs is easy.

Into the mountains it starts to come together. Get lazy with the clutch, just bang the gears through on the quickshifter and back torque limiting clutch. Keep the power on and feel the APRC kick in as you drive hard out of turns.

Brake late on the big Brembos, and realize you could have easily left it even later. Shove the knee out and pretend you’re max Biaggi heading for coffee 100km down your favourite road. Now we understand.

Now the Tuono makes sense. Compared to an RSV4 the Tuono is comfortable, civilised and easy to own and ride. Compared to most nakeds it’s aggressive, uncompromising and uncomfortable.

But ride it hard and you will understand.

This is a bike for the experienced sportsbike or cafe racer owner who has learnt racetrack riding positions and fairing don’t actually make much sense on public roads where time spent at stratospheric speeds is rare, dangerous and expensive. For this rider having something which works really well to punch you from one corner to the next is more important. This rider will find the compromises of most nakeds – cheaper suspension, less power, no traction control, more weight, reduced cornering clearance – compromises they won’t accept.

Even though you could buy two big-bore naked machines for the price of a Tuono. Nope, the Tuono is a bargain. You get 90 percent of the performance of the RSV4 and a lot more civility for thousands less dollars. You get the ARPC, without the backache. You can even run one on the track and have an awful lot of fun.

If you believe a sportsbike should have a registration plate, the Tuono makes a lot of sense.

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