With the Tuono V4 1100 Factory, Aprilia wants you to get a taste of its racing pedigree with a touch of ‘supernaked’ practicality. But can you really say racy and practicality in the same sentence?
Two days of riding the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory, and yet I was struggling to – or rather not feeling brave enough – to open the throttle by more than a quarter. Time was quickly running out, since the Aprilia would have to be returned to its rightful owner shortly. Now I could argue that I’ve already had bucket loads of fun pushing the Tuono around the twisty bits of tarmac around Lavasa. But whom am I kidding? You see, the moment I fired up the Tuono for the first time, there was only one thing that I kept telling myself: “Got to have that throttle wide open, at least once!”
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the world of the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory – a world that revels in power wheelies, racing pedigree, street hooliganism, craned necks, bloodshot eyes and sweaty palms. It’s not every day that you come across a wild child of a superbike like this one. So you can only imagine how mind-bogglingly terrifying it was for someone who had only just been introduced to the litre-class by means of this full-on race-spec machine.
Aprilia, however, will tell you, rather modestly, that the Tuono V4 1100 Factory is not a race-bike. They sell this thing saying that it’s a practical ‘Supernaked’ meant for the road. But Aprilia is fooling no one with these statements – at least not when you have access to the Tuono’s spec-sheet. A brief look at its brochure makes it clearly apparent that this thing is a fully blown stripped-down racer – a motorcycle that has as much muscle as the firm’s multiple championship winning RSV4 flagship.
On the looks front, it may not be as visually arresting as some of its compatriots – especially those from Bologna. Still, there’s no denying that it looks spectacularly sharp and focused. Bearing in mind that this is the ‘Factory’ edition, it gets ‘Superpole’ graphics and red wheels – which give it a racy stance to say the least.
If you’re into motorcycles and memory serves you right, you may recall that the current RSV4 is powered by a 65-degree 999.6cc V4 engine – its displacement is restricted to a litre as per the rules of motorcycle racing worldwide. With the Tuono V4 1100 though, Aprilia is on the warpath – since there are no rules to stick to. As a result, the cylinder bore has been increased by 3mm to 81mm – taking the engine displacement up to 1,077cc. Of course, its power output of 173bhp at 11,000rpm, produced at the crank, is way less than that of the race-bike’s 200 horsepower. But, in Aprilia-speak, the whole purpose of bumping up engine capacity was to increase torque delivery at low and medium revs, so as to make its performance more flexible on the road. Again, 121Nm of twisting force kicking in at 9,000rpm may not sound like a revelation, but when you’re riding the bike, you quickly realise that torque is something that the Tuono’s V4 pours on thick.
Even when you’re pussyfooting around the town, a slight twist of the wrist can launch an assault on the rear wheel. Start pulling in any of the six gears from any engine rpm, and the way it shoots forward is beyond belief. There’s so much torque, and the motor is so throttle happy that you’re almost fearful of opening the throttle by even a whisker more than needed. And, like I said at the beginning, during the two days we spent with the Tuono, unleashing the V4 to its full potential was looking like an unattainable feat. But then I told myself: OPEN THE THROTTLE!
Finally, the moment came when I found an empty stretch of road. I gathered just about enough gumption, and gunned the Aprilia down the straightway. The gear-lever must have been slotted in second, or third, or fourth maybe – I can’t remember because the way the Tuono V4 annihilates straights is an all-consuming affair. Full-bore acceleration sees the Tuono V4 attack the horizon like a wild cat – except, cats don’t do power wheelies and growl like a hurricane. At full chat, I’ve never heard anything on two-wheels sound as sinister as this V4.
Around a bend, the Tuono V4 feels completely at home, which is all thanks to its race-bike derived aluminium dual beam chassis and ‘Factory’ exclusive Ohlins fully-adjustable rear shock, front forks and steering damper. Turn-in is sharp and crisp, and you can lean around corners doing speeds that will make you look like a superhero. Couple that with clever APRC electronic aids (check out the box above to see just what it packs) and super sticky Pirelli Diablo Supercorsas, and there’s a good chance of you mistaking yourself for a professional racing rider as you stitch corner-after-corner around your favourite section of twisty tarmac. Race-spec ABS and Brembo M432 monobloc radial calipers, with twin 320mm front and 220mm rear discs, bring the Tuono to an instantaneous halt in case you overcook corners or get carried away on the straights.
As a mediocre rider, it’s nigh on impossible for me to match the skillset of this motorcycle – so I honestly can’t comment on how good or bad it is compared to the other bikes available on the market. What I do know, however, is that the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory is a double-edged sword. It’s an amalgamation of clever electronics, raw power, scalpel-like precision and unaltered performance. But you’ve got another thing coming if you think it’ll simply let you jump on and exploit its vast ability. Au contraire, instead it asks you to raise your game or quit altogether. And when you can’t win over someone or something that easily – well, that’s when your best emerges. And you certainly need to bring your best if you’re going to ride the Tuono V4 1100 Factory!
- Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory
Engine: 1,077cc / V4 / Liquid-Cooled / DOHC
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Power: 173bhp @ 11,000rpm
Torque: 121Nm @ 9,000rpm
Price: Rs. 19.93 lakhs (Ex-showroom, Pune)
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