‘Tuono’ used to mean only thunder in Italian. But ever since Aprilia applied the name to its first stripped superbike the 2002 Tuono, a less-faired RSV Mille it has also meant kick-ass naked bike. Every Tuono since the first has been massive fun and big thrills mixed with a dose of practicality rare at such a high level of performance. It seems as if the ears were burning at Aprilia’s Noale, Italy, factory while the crew worked on the next iteration of Tuono V4. It’s hard to believe how a production road bike can cover ground so quickly, with such little effort. The steering is light and accurate, the traction control cossets and never holds you back, the quickshifter is the best in the business and there’s huge amounts of feel and grip in, through and out of corners.
There is no other naked bike as sporty and effective as the Tuono V4 1100; its close derivation from the seven times World SBK champion is clear when you look at the beautiful double rail frame made from pressed and cast brushed aluminium elements, a structure that boasts unrivalled balance between torsional stiffness and flexibility; the new 65 degree V4 engine is set inside it in all of its purity and uniqueness, just like a precious stone set in a ring. In order to make the Tuono V4 1100 more agile on the road, without losing its legendary fierceness on the track, the headstock angle was changed from 25.1 to 24.7 degrees and the trail went from 107.4mm to 99.7mm. These sleeker chassis dimensions combine with the 6 mm longer aluminum swing arm, the various suspension setups and the consequent adjustment of the electronic controls, including the wheelie control feature, to obtain a rock solid chassis at high speeds but more agile in direction changes.
Superpole graphic of the Tuono V4 1100 Factory has that decidedly non-conformist spirit so typical of the Aprilia stylistic tradition that demands bright and very distinctive colours. Tuning refinements of the tri-map power modes and Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) have coincided with what’s undoubtedly the most tantalizing update: a substantial power boost that spans the entire power range from off idle to 12,000 rpm.
While last year’s 999cc engine didn’t suffer from anemic low-end punch, when it was compared with the latest entries from BMW and KTM, it came up short against those big-power machines. As the adage goes, “There’s no replacement for displacement,” and Aprilia’s 1,077cc via a 3mm-larger bore, liquid-cooled, 65-degree V-4 offers proof. Rear-wheel horsepower and torque as measured on our Dynojet dyno show that the Tuono 1100 is now on par with the S1000R across its entire rev range and is endowed with bottom-end balls any street rider will appreciate. Whether pulling away from a traffic signal, rolling on the throttle in top gear to swing around a semi, or simply flowing through a canyon road at relaxed revs with little need to row the six-speed gearbox, this newfound on-demand torque along with lower overall gearing has made for an improved all-around road bike.
There are eight levels of traction control that can also be changed or turned off via a paddle switch on the left bar. A change to TC sensitivity is instantaneous and doesn’t require closing the throttle. You would not only find levels 7 and 8 good for wet roads but also a viable choice when working a technical downhill section of dry road. Settings 4–6 offered a good sense of non-intrusive safety for general riding while serious frolic on familiar sport roads warranted use of the minimal TC levels.
While there are also three levels of wheelie control and three levels of ABS, the bike must be stopped in order to access the submenu for adjusting either of these parameters. Driving hard out of lower gear corners with minimal TC and WC settings delivered unmatched excitement as the front begins to rise while still leaned over and consistently maintained a foot-high wheelie that would set down softly so long as you stayed on the gas. Turning off TC and WC allows unabated wheelstands, but be forewarned that while this hyper naked willingly paws the sky, achieving a sustained mono requires a steady throttle hand due to its startling power reduction when notching back the throttle.
The race-quality Ohlins fork and shock are well calibrated, having the golden quality of supple bump compliance yet also providing tactile feedback and solid chassis stability. Steering is light without any nervous twinge, and the front end gains your trust with a planted feel from turn-in through the apex. Stability under hard braking is augmented by a slipper clutch, electronic engine-braking reduction, and Bosch ABS that works front and rear in each of the three modes. The different ABS settings tailor the intervention sensitivity and rear lift mitigation (RLM) strategy. Mode 3 is for wet roads, Mode 2 reduces RLM at higher speeds, and Mode 1 has no RLM. As with the other, ABS can also be turned off if you like it raw.
Overall, European manufacturers have led the charge in the naked superbike category, and bikes like the new Monster 1200R and the Tuono 1100 V4 Factory continue to keep the class fresh and interesting. The price for this Aprilia is ₹17.99 Lakhs and is worth purchase.
This 2015 Aprilia Tuono is a thunderstruck aboard the Italian naked superbike.
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