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Aprilia Tuono sport bike rides like a cruiser

June 17, 2005|by ARV VOSS/Motor Matters

I would never have imagined I would find a sport bike that I would actually enjoy riding, since I am a "dyed-in-the-wool" big cruising bike fan.

I've ridden sport bikes before, and the experience always proved to be less than an enjoyable one - in most cases, it was actually downright uncomfortable. It seems that as the body ages, flexibility diminishes dramatically, and creature comforts take on an elevated level of importance in one's chosen lifestyle activities. That would tend to explain the ever-increasing popularity of cruisers over traditional sport bikes, whether metric or domestic.

Enter Aprilia's RSV Tuono R - not your typical everyday sport bike, but rather an aggressive two-wheeler with a more universal streetfighter, naked hyper look to it. The bars are mounted high and adjustable for optimum control with a more upright riding position. It was actually designed to be a comfortable superbike, and serves its purpose well.

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The Tuono R may be ridden in a docile manner about town or pushed to its limits on a challenging road course. It retains the captivating chassis and engine package of the RSV Mille while adding the tapered upright handlebars and reduced fairing (a small flyscreen) package for a lean, high-performance machine.

Power for the Tuono R comes from a 997.62 cc, longitudinal 60 degree V-Twin, four stroke, dry sump motor. It is liquid-cooled with three-way pressurized circuit, indirect electronic multi-point fuel injection, DOHC, 8-valve, mixed gear/chain timing drive and patented AVDC anti-vibration double countershaft. The 130 horsepower is delivered at the crank at 9,500 rpm. The exhaust exits via a two-into-one-into-two affair that appears in an anodized gold treatment with carbon fiber clamps for a classy touch.

The Tuono R weighs in dry at 410 pounds and is fairly compact, with a wheelbase of 55.7 inches. Seat height is a comfortable 32 inches for me, but some height-challenged riders may find it a stretch. The seat length may be an issue for those individuals with long legs, due to the foot control positioning, and I thought the sculpting in the tanks sides prevented tucking the legs in neatly. There is a passenger pillion of sorts, but no stock pegs. The suspension is fully adjustable for load and conditions, and the Brembo brakes and wheels handle the chore of reining the bike in from the outer limits in admirable fashion.

My demo Aprilia RSV Tuono R was finished predominately in Tulip Red with black and gold accents. The base price was set at $12,599 - add approximately another $500 for destination charge and dealer prep.

SUMMARY: The RSV Tuono R comes across as a sport bike, with a ready-to-race look about it, but it is so much more comfortable to ride. It is exceptionally well-balanced and easy to control, regardless of one's riding style. The fuel tank is made from ding resistant rotational nylon, which also aids in weight reduction. The bike is considerably easier to horse around than a cruiser -chrome accessories weigh a lot.

The instrument panel, or gauge bank, is comprised of digital-analog readouts and covers a myriad of essential functions, and there is a neutral start fail-safe. The headlight lens is manufactured from a special lightweight polycarbonate material that distributes light evenly for high visibility. Aluminum footrests, levers and heel guards attest to the Tuono's racing heritage.

The Aprilia RSV Tuono R is enough to lure any cruiser type away from his or her ride of choice. It is fine as it is, but also lends itself to personalization, with a host of prestige accessories such as: a lightweight screw and component kit; Sachs Boge or Ohlins adjustable steering damper; Ohlins rear monoshock; and racing exhaust and control unit. If you want to stand out to an even greater degree, there is a dedicated clothing line as well.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Aprilia Tuono RSV 1000

Base Price: $12,599.

Price as Tested: $13,099.

Engine Type and Size: 997.62 cc longitudinal 60 degree V-Twin, four stroke, liquid -cooled with three-way pressurized circuit, indirect multi-point fuel injection, DOHC, 8-valve, mixed gear/chain timing drive and patented AVDC anti-vibration double countershaft.

Horsepower: 130 at 9,500 rpm at crank.

Torque (ft./lbs.): 101 at 7,200 rpm

Transmission: Six-speed manual. Drivetrain: Primary drive - straight toothed gears/Final drive - chain

Suspension: Front - Showa 43 mm upside-down fork with adjustment for preload, compression and rebound dampening with 120 mm wheel travel.

Rear - Aluminum alloy swing-arm with differential section members and APS (Aprilia Progressive System) linkage.

Brakes: Front - Brembo double floating stainless steel disc, four-piston caliper with 2 sintered pads and metal braided line. Rear - Brembo stainless steel disc, twin piston caliper, metal braided line and sintered pads.

Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 120/70 - ZR17 front/90/50 - ZR17 rear mounted on-swirl-spoke alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 1415 mm Length Overall: 2,070 mm

Steering angle: 25 degrees Curb

Weight dry: 417 lbs.

Fuel Capacity: 4.75 gallons

Seat height: 31.8 inches

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2005

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