2014 Aprilia Tuono V4R ABS Test
One of the most powerful “race-fighters” is now a little bit more streetfighter. Without loosing any of its racing pedigree, the 2014 Aprilia Tuono V4R is now more civilized for road usage with the addition of high-tech ABS brakes.
The 999cc V4 still features some serious thunder, but it’s even more powerful. The 2014 model has a three-horsepower increase, raising max power to 170 horsepower.
Let’s start with the seat. Rather than the old plank of a seat, the 2014 Tuono now features a better padded seat for additional comfort.Let’s face it, more people cruise and joy ride than race the mighty Tuono.
Coupled with the tall and wide handlebar, the 2014 Aprilia Tuono V4R ABS is now a lot more comfortable than before. At a wet trackday in the North of Italy I found this extra comfort reassuring. The new Tuono also features a larger 4.8-gallon (4.5 on previous models) fuel tank with better grip for your knees while cornering.
Our Aprilia Tuonos were shod with Pirelli racing rain tires for the test sessions. This enabled the usage of traction control settings very similar to what I’d chose for a dry day with road tires.
I started out with a high level of TC intrusion, but found this to be working against me. I instinctively hold back a fair bit on the wet anyway so I quickly went down from the highest level of eight to two to make the ride realistic at least for me.
The ABS that can be adjusted to three levels was set to Track level as we were on rain tires, which takes away the need to use the rain setting you’d probably want to use on road tires on a rainy day. It took me a whole 20-minute session to get used to the rain tires but then I was ready to go for it and I had plenty of grip on a slow drying circuit.
The new San Martino del Lago circuit features a straight just over a half of mile which is long enough to hit sixth gear and some serious speed with the Tuono V4R ABS. We’re talking a top speed in the range of 155-160 mph followed by hard braking.
Due to the rain tires I experienced rather heavy buffeting if I went all the way to the red line in each gear, so I started short shifting between 10-11K rpm to avoid this. It was only on the long straight I experienced this and everywhere else I could max it without issues. The RSV4 Factory ABS inherently behaves better at high speed with much better stability.
Despite having over a half-mile straight, it was on the short start/finish straight the hardest braking happened. And on this rainy day, the race ABS really could be tested to its full.
The 2014 Aprilia Tuono V4R ABS features new Brembo brake calipers, and the latest in high tech ABS with the ability to control rear wheel lift to different degrees depending on which of three ABS settings you chose in advance. I even managed to out-brake myself once ending up in the gravel trap. There was no drama, and I stayed upright. But to get out, I had to turn traction control from level two to off. The brakes are very powerful and the ABS never intervened in a negative way so the algorithms in the Bosch 9MP set-up work really well. These ABS brakes will be of great benefit to road riders.
Some very good things have happened to the Tuono version of the V4 engine, too. Both power and torque is up, but even better it all happens at lower rpm than before. The engine now produces 170 horsepower @ 10,500 rpm and 82 ft. lbs. of torque @ 9,500 rpm, which is very good news on the road biased Tuono V4R ABS.
The top-end feels richer and there’s more oomph earlier in the midrange making everyday riding more satisfying without having to break too many traffic regulations. The previous Tuono V4R had a much more similar set-up to the RSV4, making it more hardcore than necessary. But Aprilia have addressed this issue on the 2014 model, making all that V4 deliciousness more accessible from earlier in the powerband. A more refined Tuono V4 experience you could say. When I did a session turning the wheelie control off I found a fringe benefit in being able to hoist wheelies more controllably than before. And as some know, the Aprilia V4 never was the easiest bike to perform such antics on due to a sudden rush of power around 10,000 rpm. In the road scenario I much prefer this version of the V4 engine and as such it’s the best one yet.
In terms of handling in the corners the Tuono V4R ABS is superb as it inherits the RSV4 chassis but with tall and wide handlebars which really puts the rider at great control. The Tuono is simply put a very entertaining motorcycle on circuit and it has no problems at all keeping up with superbikes if the riders are of the same caliber.
Straights are a different matter though as I wasn’t 100-percent pleased with the high speed stability compared to the RSV4 Factory. This was to be expected though, and the rain tires didn’t help in this part of the test. The Tuono has a Sachs steering damper but at very high speeds I wasn’t about to put my full trust in it being able to save a full on tank-slapper on this day.
2014 Aprilia Tuono V4R AB vs RSV4 Factory
First of all there is no doubt that the Aprilia RSV4 Factory ABS with its 184 horsepower V4 will always be the faster motorcycle. The RSV4 Factory is also better at high speed stability with a higher top speed. All is not lost for the Tuono V4R ABS, though, as it scores very high on the pure fun element and that’s why most people do track days isn’t it?
The Tuono V4R ABS is one of the best nakeds to do a track day and then ride home in relative comfort after the event. For some people nothing can beat a full on superbike such as the RSV4 Factory ABS and it will never disappoint because it’s one of the fastest and best handling superbikes you can buy.
New for 2014 is that the Tuono V4R ABS features the same APRC electronics package, which can only be a good thing as it increases safety to the highest level and it’s easy to change the handling characteristics just using buttons. The lack of a fairing, different tune of the V4 engine, more comfort and softer standard suspension set-up are the differences really. The Tuono is more rock ‘n roll and works better in the everyday scenario and for that reason I’d chose a Tuono.
2014 Aprilia Tuono V4R ABS Conclusion
The re-tuned V4 engine with a smoother, more powerful mid-range is the standout new feature for me. The feel through the throttle is better than before with or without traction control.
The softer standard suspension set-up with a more comfortable seat ensure a better experience doing many miles on the road and the larger fuel tank takes you further. High-speed stability wasn’t the best on rain tires, but it’s a naked, so you probably won’t spend as much time in the three figures as on a RSV4 anyway. New state of the art racing ABS is a great feature for the road and also for track days such as the wet one I attended.
+ That V4 engine never disappoints
+ Next generation ABS brakes
+ Handling and more comfort than before
- High Speed stability