Road test: Aprilia Dorsoduro 750-News & Reviews-Motorcycle Trader

19 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Road test: Aprilia Dorsoduro 750-News & Reviews-Motorcycle Trader
Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Sport Bike

03 Oct 2011 | V-twin street fighter

For storming city streets or attacking a winding road, Aprilia’s Dorsoduro takes no prisoners. Rod Chapman investigates…

(Photos: Lou Martin)

The motorcycle world is in a constant state of evolution. From the age of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle of not so long ago, we now have a greater choice of models than ever before, catering to an ever-more-diverse array of riders’ tastes. Scooters have been joined by maxi scooters, touring bikes now come in all shapes, weights and sizes, and dirt bikes have spawned supermotos.

More recently, this latter category itself has fragmented, and now you can buy a number of higher capacity machines that represent a blend of both supermotos and sportsbikes. So what do we call this relatively new breed of bike? That’s a tough one.

Ducati’s already claimed the term ‘Hypermotard’ as its own, and BMW’s grabbed the term ‘Megamoto’ with its HP2. KTM has its 990 Supermoto – no fancy tags there – so maybe, for the sake of this review, we’ll go with ‘maxi moto’.

So now Aprilia has waded into the maxi moto fray with a model that sounds every bit as exotic as it looks – the Dorsoduro 750. The product of a close collaboration with Aprilia’s racing department, and also drawing upon technology employed in the marque’s SXV range of dirt bikes, the Dorsoduro offers supermoto styling and geometry with the knockout punch of a larger capacity powerplant. Throw in Aprilia’s uniquely provocative styling, a raft of quality components and a surprisingly modest price tag, and you’ve got a recipe for thrills aplenty.

After living day in, day out with the Dorsoduro for over a week, it quickly became clear this machine has a fairly limited scope – but if that scope and your own two-wheeled intentions coincide, you’re in for one hell of a ride.

The supermoto theme won’t appeal to everyone. Touring? Forget it – thank to a plank-like seat, a tiny fuel range and limited luggage carrying ability. Pillions?

It’s possible, but only really for short city trips, once again care of that seat. Commuting? Definitely – riding to work has never been so much fun.

The Dorsoduro is light, punchy and has an excellent steering lock, although its wide ’bars require extra attention when lane-splitting, lest you leave a trail of shattered mirrors in your wake.

So what does that leave us with? Track days and winding mountain roads – green tick central. The Dorsoduro carves up a winding road with surgeon-like precision.

It’s such a minimalist machine there’s nothing to distract you from the ride itself – it’ll clear your mind, as you charge the next corner, set-up, squeeze, ease, then blast out from the apex, the rear Dunlop Sportsmax Qualifier scrabbling for grip as the torquey V-twin vents its anger.

Before we get too carried away, let’s take a closer look at just what’s on offer. The first thing that strikes you about the Dorsoduro, at least after your eyes have lapped up its exquisite angular styling and quality finish, is its height. At 870mm tall that seat will put more than a few off, and matters aren’t helped by the bike’s stiff suspension.

However, once you’re up there, you’re placed in a commanding upright ride position with a clear view ahead. Thumb the starter and the thing explodes into life. That eye-catching underseat exhaust provides a wonderfully soulful tune for a stock system, and its bellow as you click down through the gears to a red light will send a tingle up your spine.

This bike is all about low-down and mid-range mumbo, and it’s ready to rock ’n’ roll from as low as 2000rpm. The fairly heavy hydraulic clutch has a very narrow take-up band, so you’ll need to be concentrating if fast starts are in order.

Also requiring your attention is the fuel mapping in ‘Sport’ mode. Yep, the Dorso’ has a fly-by-wire throttle system, mated to a three-position programmable fuel map offering ‘Sport’, ‘Touring’ and ‘Rain’ modes.

‘Sport’ is full-on – throttle response is instant, power delivery aggressive. It makes things a little too jerky around town for my liking, so after 15 or so minutes I switched to ‘Touring’. This was more like it – response was still crisp and accurate, but it was much easier to keep things smooth.

I never got to ride the Dorso’ in the wet, but I thought the ‘Rain’ mode perhaps knocked out a little too much wind out of its sails, effectively making it feel like a LAMS machine. Bottom line? For me, I stuck with ‘Touring’ – even on a sprint through the hills – although I’d happily give ‘Sport’ a go at a track day.

The engine is a beauty. It’s grunty and flexible, and at 100km/h in sixth you’re sitting on 4500rpm – right where Aprilia says it’s producing peak torque. Certainly there’s enough go here to make light work of highway overtakes.

On the move it’s agile yet stable, thanks to its 186kg dry weight and fairly conservative geometry. Even if the rear hoop does break loose on a bend, it’s not alarming, thanks to the control afforded by those wide ’bars combined with a long 1550mm wheelbase.

Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Sport Bike
Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Sport Bike

The gearbox works well, while those front Brembo stoppers are awesome, with oodles of power and feel. The rear stopper could have been a little stronger for town work, but it still does a reasonable job.

The inverted front fork and off-set rear monoshock are both adjustable for preload and rebound. Together they deliver a fairly stiff ride – it’s a bit harsh in the city, but it all makes sense when you’re storming corners in anger.


The instrumentation is certainly comprehensive, with the analogue tacho complemented by a sizeable digi display providing everything from speed, time and engine temp to trip meter, odometer, average fuel economy, actual fuel economy, max speed, a timer and a lap computer – all accessible via a ‘mode’ switch above the left handgrip.

Speaking of economy, the over the course of my travels I found the Dorso’ to be good for 15.7km/lt. Not great, not bad – but when you consider it’s only got a miniscule 12lt tank, we’re talking about a paltry 150km before it’s time to look for fuel. I s’pose it gets back to the bike’s narrow focus – if you’re sold on the Dorso’s maxi moto theme, you’ll put up with foibles like this in the pursuit of the ultimate supermoto sports thrill.

At $15,990 plus ORC, the Dorsoduro 750 is a whole lot cheaper than you might expect. In fact it’s about $3000 cheaper than Ducati’s Hypermotard, and it’s over $12,000 less than BMW’s exotic HP2 Megamoto. Admittedly both those competitors are packing some pretty high-spec gear, but the Dorsoduro ain’t no slouch either.

If this maxi moto niche appeals, you’ll love the adrenalin-pumping ride the Dorsoduro delivers – and you can put the wad of cash you’ve saved over its rivals towards a stock of fresh, sticky, sacrificial rubber!


The Dorsoduro may well share the same frame and engine with its Shiver stablemate, but there are plenty of technical points that separate the two. The Shiver is a sporty streetfighter, with a short 1440mm wheelbase, and lower spec brakes and suspension. The Dorsoduro, on the other hand, is cast from the supermoto mould, with high and wide ’bars, a high seat height (870mm), a longer wheelbase (1550mm), a slightly more rangy steering head angle (26 degrees, versus 25 for the Shiver), and a smaller 12lt tank (as opposed to the Shiver’s 15lt item).

While the two machines essentially share the same 750cc 90-degree V-twin powerplant, the Dorsoduro’s engine has been tuned for low-down and mid-range grunt, and as such produces a maximum of 8.4kg-m of torque, versus the Shiver’s 8.25kg-m. Maximum power on the Dorsoduro is 67.3kW, versus the Shiver’s 70kW.

Of course the pair’s styling is markedly different too, and then there’s the price – the Dorsoduro retails for $15,990 plus ORC, while the Shiver is $1000 less at $14,990 plus ORC.

Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Sport Bike
Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Sport Bike
Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Sport Bike
Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Sport Bike
Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Sport Bike

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