Packed with a modest, yet fun, engine and a practical chassis, Aprilia’s supermoto is the perfect everyday sports bike.
There’s something extra special about supermotos. The fact that they’re more manageable and fun than superbikes makes them a hit with more experienced riders. The trend shows that enthusiasts, after switching from superbikes to supermotos, very seldom go back to the former. In fact, the world over, professional superbike racers use supermotos on smaller tracks to improve their skills during the off-season.
My first encounter with a supermoto was the Ducati Hypermotard 1100EVO. It was a hooligan bike that suited my riding style. And once I rode it, boy, I was hooked! While superbikes do have that drool factor, the fact of the matter is that supermotos are way more fun and practical. This holds true especially in India because superbikes, in my opinion, cannot achieve their full potential on Indian roads. And riding on a track is a distant dream, unless you live in Delhi or Chennai.
More fun than a superbike?
So, the question is – why would anyone want to spend so much money on an uncomfortable and unusable machine? If you’re looking to have fun with a superbike, what you need are super high-speed sweepers or open highways to enjoy blasts of acceleration. If you can’t find such roads – which are scant in India anyway – the bike becomes boring and painful, and quickly too. But with supermotos, you don’t have to worry about all that. Don’t take them seriously, and they’re still fun all the time at a fraction of the speed, risk and expense. Moreover, you can also get a knee down or ride it like a dirt bike.
This is exactly what the new Aprilia Dorsoduro 900 offers you. When I first got on the bike, I was instantly in love with the riding position. And once I began to ride the Dorso, my admiration for supermotos only intensified further. It’s high seat and neutral riding position makes it so much easier to control and that much more comfortable to ride than any super bike I’ve ever come across. Even though I haven’t had the chance to ride many supermotos before, and don’t have much to compare the Dorso with, I’d still say that the performance of the Dorsoduro really impressed me. With an 896cc V-Twin engine, good for about 83bhp, you get all the power you need – especially when you’re riding in urban areas. The throttle response is immediate and the power delivery is super smooth. The bike moves off the line very quickly, and yet you don’t feel that overabundance of power – which is difficult to handle. Instead, you continue to twist the throttle until you can’t twist anymore.
The soft suspension setup of the bike makes it very enjoyable in the city. And if you so desire, you can hit dirt trails too without a problem. This is no off-roader, but it can handle the worst of Indian roads very well, and that’s saying a lot. The fact that you can confidently handle the power and ride over anything without the slightest worry in the world only makes the Aprilia Dorsoduro that much more fun. You can push the bike to its limits, and you’ll enjoy doing so to such an extent that you’d never want to stop. And the best thing is that you can also use it as an everyday commuter without any problem – and it might just make you a happier person in general.
The perfect sports bike
The Dorsoduro has the new Marelli 7 SM ECU, which is the same as on the Aprilia RSV4 and Tuono. This controls the ride-by-wire throttle system, as well as the three fuel maps – Sport, Touring, and Rain – capable of cutting power by 30 percent. It also controls the three-level traction control system and ABS. The Dorso is also equipped with a new, coloured 4.3-inch TFT digital instrumentation display.
Even though the bike is heavy, at a weight of 219 kilograms, it feels light on its feet once it gets moving. The steering is light, and even though the bike’s 26 degrees of rake isn’t aggressive, it does make the Dorsoduro eager to comply with even the slightest inputs. Add to that the high centre of gravity, and you have a bike that turns so well that you can push it into tight turns at a good speed.
The only thing that could be improved on the Dorsoduro are the brakes. The four-piston, radially mounted calipers on dual 320mm discs up front and a single piston caliper with a single 240mm disc at the rear just don’t have enough bite in them.
Barring the brakes, I think the Dorsoduro is really a perfect everyday sports bike. The Dorso took everything that I threw at it, and exceeded my expectations. It’s fast enough to keep you excited, comfortable enough to keep you smiling and handles well enough for you to do basically whatever you want with it. I haven’t ridden the new Ducati Hypermotard 939 yet, but it does offer a higher power output than the Aprilia and is slightly cheaper. Nonetheless, the Aprilia promises to be a fun and exciting ride that’s well worth your money.
- Aprilia Dorsoduro
Engine: 896cc / 90-degree V-Twin
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Power: 83bhp @ 8,990rpm
Torque: 76Nm @ 6,000rpm
Price: Rs. 13.84 lakh (Ex-showroom)
X-factor: You can use it anywhere, at any time, and have more fun with it that any track-focused machine.
• Incredible handling
• Great suspension
• Usable engine
• Braking power could be better