Aprilia's Tuono V4 1100 Factory has been the benchmark for sportsbikes - and the best just got better with the introduction of the current model
I’M hurtling up the road at breakneck speed, my eyes feel like they’ve been left behind in the middle of the last corner, my ears are filled with the delicious groan of what sounds like a MotoGP machine, the next corner’s fast approaching and I’m smiling from ear to ear.
Welcome to the bonkers world of the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory, which is pretty much the best sportsbike money can buy. And at €21,495, it doesn’t come cheap.
But just look at the kit you get with this machine. Semi-active suspension is the main upgrade over the previous model, which was widely lauded as the best in class even before it got the plush new ride.
Top-drawer Ohlins work with the Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension system to give the rider simple and customised calibration of the fork and shock, with two operating modes on the units: semi-active mode and manual mode. Both can be selected on the handlebar. There’s also Cornering ABS as well as an advanced package of APRC electronic controls, a suite of electronic goodies that give you ATC (Aprilia Traction Control), AWC (Aprilia Wheelie Control), ALC (Aprilia Launch Control) and AQS (Aprilia Quick Shift).
Riding modes, launch control, a pit lane limiter and cruise control complete the bewildering package.
And, oh, this engine – the Aprilia V4 engine delivers a mind-and licence-blowing 173hp of power and torque of 121Nm, with increased power on tap in the mid-range versus the RSV4 from which the engine is derived.
There’s so much customisation available, and so easily accessible, that the Tuono can turn from Jekyll to Hyde in the blink of an eye. One minute you’re meandering through city streets at every corner as heads turn to look at the Italian beauty, the next thing you’re negotiating the twisties at warp speed, making full use of the up-and-down quick-shifter as you struggle to keep this wheelie monster’s boots on the ground.
The wide bars and surprisingly decent wind protection are complemented by a reasonably upright riding stance for such a full-on machine. The result is a perfect blend of mad power and relative comfort.
With the electronics package in full swing, the technology works in the background to tweak everything from how gently or abruptly the ABS kicks in, to split-second changes to the suspension’s rebound and damping settings, to taking account of the lean angle of the bike and changing the traction control settings accordingly.
This all makes for a machine that exaggerates the skill level of the rider. Without even realising it, you tend to push harder than you would on an ‘ordinary’ sportsbike without all this gadgetry.
That’s not to say you won’t get into trouble if you push your luck – it’s just that the Tuono V4 1000 Factory is very forgiving for such a beast.
Pirelli Super Corsa SP rubber delivers levels of grip I’ve rarely, if ever, come close to on a bike. And the savage stopping power of the four-piston radial monobloc Brembo calipers at the front and single-disc twin piston caliper at the rear, coupled with the Cornering ABS, give you unrivalled levels of control.
The last time I rode an RSV or Tuono was way back in 2005. On that occasion, I picked up two penalty points for my troubles. I wouldn’t bet on the now-clean licence remaining unblemished if I owned one of these.
But let’s face it, if you’re into motorbikes this is pretty much the pinnacle. I dare you to take one for a test ride and not walk away planning to re-mortgage, sell the family car, cash in the pension…whatever it takes to own one.
If you are seriously curious, give the team at Megabikes in Dublin a nudge to arrange a test ride – megabikes.ie or call 01 4784200.
TECH SPEC: Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory
ENGINE: 1077cc, liquid-cooled, 16v V4
PERFORMANCE: 175hp @ 11,000rpm; 121Nm @ 9,000rpm
SEAT HEIGHT: 825mm
TANK CAPACITY: 18.5 litres
WEIGHT: 209kg (fuelled)
FRAME: Aluminium dual beam chassis with pressed and cast sheet elements
CONTACT: www. megabikes.ie or phone 01 478 4200