2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 | Preview

2011 Aprilia Maximotard

As the Motard lifestyle continues to become more and more popular, many manufactures are improving on their Motard machines, including Aprilia.

But one thing that the Italian motorcycle company has over many is a rich history in racing, including 277 GP wins, and the 2010 World Superbike title with Max Biaggi at the controls of the famed RSV4.

And this racing heritage was spilled into the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200, a machine that Aprilia considers a “maximotard.” This Maximotard machine combines the best features of the Supermoto and sportbike genres, bringing together massive power and agility.

Aprilia already had a large following with the Dorsoduro 750, but the new 1200 brings the model to an explosive new level of performance with a 90-degree V2 that puts out 130 hp. And as for the chassis, it’s designed like all race-winning Aprilias, and is ready to take whatever twist the road throws at it.

Style? Think two-tone frame, exhaust with black heat shields and unmistakable smooth lines. And there’s all the other tasty features: radial Brembo calipers, hydraulic clutch, Ride by Wire with 3 different engine maps and the Matrix instrument panel with on board computer. The Dorsoduro is also available with ABS and Aprilia Traction Control (ATC).

The Dorsoduro 1200: A World-Class 130 HP Engine

The Aprilia V90 is a completely new design. It is a modern, technologically advanced unit with a highly oversquare cylinder geometry for a markedly sporty temperament and smooth power delivery.

Every internal element of the Dorsoduro 1200 has been designed to optimise power delivery and make full use of the incredible 130 hp unleashed by the engine at 8700 rpm. Every single detail is conceived to complement the outrageously acrobatic character of the bike.

Here’s a breakdown of the features:

  • New 90° V-twin engine with four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshaft, liquid cooling and twin spark ignition
  • Triple map Ride by Wire technology (with Sport, Touring and Rain maps)
  • Electronic fuel injection
  • Mixed gear/chain valve timing system
  • Exhaust system with three-way catalytic converter and oxygen sensor
  • Ultralight modular frame made from tubular steel trellis/aluminum castings offering outstanding torsional stiffness
  • Aluminum saddle mount
  • Aluminum swingarm with lateral shock absorber
  • Fully adjustable 43 mm upside-down front fork and piggy-back design rear monoshock
  • Brembo racing brake system with radial calipers

The latest generation injection system uses micro-nebuliser injectors. In conjunction with optimised fluid dynamics, this solution ensures ideal combustion, for an engine that is not only powerful but also extremely clean. Twin spark ignition also contributes to cleaner emissions, as well as ensuring totally smooth power delivery.

With sophisticated electronic engine management, the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 is the new benchmark for technology and performance in its class.

Aprilia was the first manufacturer to believe in the potential of Ride by Wire, a highly sophisticated technology that helps the rider extract every ounce of performance from the motorcycle. The electronic throttle management system used in the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 represents the current state of the art.

Even more precise and sophisticated maps ensure optimised engine management, keeping the engine in the perfect conditions to deliver maximum acceleration at all times for a riding experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. This solution also ensures smoother, fuller power delivery at low and medium engine speeds, for optimised engine efficiency even in low load, partial throttle conditions.

With its triple maps (Rain, Touring and Sport), the bike has three distinct personalities that the rider can choose from at any time to suit every possible condition and preference. Simply close the throttle and press a button to choose the desired setting:

SPORT: extreme, for when you want to put yourself to the test with immediate and direct explosive power.

TOURING: smooth, for making full use of the shattering power of the 1200 cc engine in all conditions.

RAIN: balanced, with power reigned in to 100 hp for maximum fun even in poor grip or wet conditions.

With its state-of-art technology, the Aprilia V90 unleashes class-beating levels of power. No other maxi motard comes close to the performance of the Dorsoduro 1200: with 130 hp at 8,700 rpm and a maximum torque of 115 Nm at 7,200 rpm, this engine sets new records for the motard genre.

To further emphasize the performance of the engine, a new 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust system has been designed specifically for the bike. Made entirely from stainless steel, the generous internal volume of the system ensures a spine-tingling and distinctive sound.

The Dorsoduro 1200: The Design

Just like a proper race machine, the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 eliminates anything that is of no use to the rider. No frills, for a bike that prefers to put its superlative mechanicals and componentry on show instead. Every detail is minimal and focused on pure function, such as the all-new hand guards and the motard-style race number panel, which also offers wind protection at higher speeds.

These elements complement the pure design of the Dorsoduro 1200 perfectly, with an outstanding attention to detail evident in features such as the two-tone paintwork of the frame, the tail fairing color-coded with the rest of the body elements and the new dual exhaust with black heat shields. Even the 15-liter fuel tank is perfectly integrated into the sleek forms of the Dorsoduro 1200.

The Dorsoduro 1200 is a bike with the soul of a pure motard racer. The ultra-narrow mid section of the bike – the area that interacts most with the movements of the rider’s body when riding hard – emphasizes the extreme compactness of the bike itself.

The rider becomes an integral part of the machine and can move freely in the slender and perfectly straight saddle to dominate the brutal power of the engine in all situations. None of the typical acrobatics of the motard style are beyond the reach of this bike.

The Dorsoduro 1200: Chassis Excellence

While tailored for total riding fun, as with all Aprilia bikes, the chassis layout of the Dorsoduro also earns respect for its formidable dynamic balance. With the Dorsoduro, extreme agility does mean a nervous temperament, and its highly effective chassis layout ensures total precision and a sensation of being directly connected to the front wheel.

And this is something that can only be said of very few motards out they. The mixed frame design, constructed with a sturdy tubular steel trellis mated to lateral aluminum plates, is highly acclaimed by both enthusiasts and experts alike, while the aluminum saddle mount contributes to lightening the bike.

The product of Aprilia’s experience in the world Supermoto championship, the frame offers perfect balance in terms of stiffness to deliver supreme handling, even with the explosive power of the new 1200 cc V90.

The lateral and steeply raked position of the rear shock absorber is a precise engineering choice, determined after testing numerous different configurations. This solution frees up precious space for the generously sized exhaust headers, which are needed to fully exploit the potential of the 1200 cc engine. This made it possible to optimize the layout of the exhaust system without adding unnecessarily to the length of the bike, while also protecting the shock absorber – a vital component in its own right – from high temperatures.

The Dorsuduro 1200: Extreme Suspension

The 43 mm Sachs upside-down fork with shell-cast caliper brackets features adjustable spring preload and hydraulic compression and rebound damping. In addition to permitting total adjustability, this extremely sophisticated component offers class-beating progressiveness and a full 160 mm of wheel travel, in perfect keeping with the supermoto riding style.

The side-mounted Sachs gas shock absorber with separate canister is pivoted directly onto the swingarm in a cantilever configuration and features adjustable spring preload and hydraulic compression and rebound damping.

A component allowing experienced riders to explore the full potential of the bike’s performance, even on the track. The rear wheel stroke is 155mm, again in line with the supermoto philosophy that aims for an effective, controlled suspension but with a long stroke.

The Dorsoduro 1200: Brakes Built from Racing Technology

The Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 adopts the state of the art in brake technology: at the front are 4-piston radial Brembo calipers gripping 320 mm floating discs.

The 240 mm rear disc is also braked by a Brembo caliper – in this case a single piston unit.

Both the front and rear brake systems employ aeronautical grade metal braided hoses, which eliminate the undesirable pressure fluctuations of conventional hoses for maximum braking precision and truly class-beating stopping performance.

Dorsoduro 1200 is also available with a two-channel ABS system, which can be deactivated by the user directly from the instrument panel. This ABS system is specifically calibrated to let the rider fully exploit the power of the brakes and the grip of the tyres in the dry, so as not to detract from the immense fun of this bike.

The Dorsoduro 1200 is also the only maxi-motard available today with Aprilia Traction Control (ATC): an exclusive traction control system working in conjunction with the sophisticated ABS system, which allows the rider to make full use of the performance of the exuberant 1200 cc engine, to tackle even the most challenging terrain and most difficult conditions in safety. When active, the system offers three different selectable traction control levels.

Level 1: for an extreme riding experience and maximum fun and adrenaline, when curbing the incredible power of the engine is the last thing on your mind.

Level 2: for total control in all terrain conditions and maximum thrill factor.

Level 3: ideal for tackling challenging conditions, such as slippery roads where grip is poor.

Dorsoduro 1200: The Essential Features

Motards are by definition essential or even spartan. This, however, does not mean having to do without class-beating premium content. Aprilia moves the bar even higher for its rivals with top class features and components. The following list contains only the main features offered:

Matrix instrument panel: the mixed digital-analogue instrument panel receives information via the CAN line and, with its own dedicated event log memory, is an integral part of the self-diagnostic system.

The ultra-compact unit boasts a modern design and is extremely light. All functions are accessible from a control on the handlebar. The LED backlight – white for the analogue area and red for the digital display – has three different brightness settings.

The anodized aluminum tapered handlebar is an unequivocal reference to competition supermoto bikes. An incredibly light component, designed to guarantee top dynamic control of the bike.

Hydraulically operated clutch. Ensuring consistently precise engagement and exemplary smoothness, the clutch is self-adjusting and, as a result, maintenance-free.

Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200: Specs 

Engine type

Aprilia four-stroke longitudinal 90° V-twin, liquid

cooled, double overhead camshafts with mixed gear/chain timing system and

four valves per cylinder.


Unleaded petrol

Bore and stroke

106 x 67.8

Total engine capacity

1197 cc

Compression ratio

12.0 ± 0.5: 1

Maximum power at crankshaft

130 hp (96 kW) at 8,700 rpm

Maximum torque at crankshaft

11.7 Kgm (115 Nm) at 7,200 rpm

Fuel system

Integrated engine management system. Injection system with

triple map Ride by Wire throttle management: Sport (S), Touring (T), Rain (R)


Digital electronic ignition integrated with injection




Exhaust system

100% stainless steel 2-into-2 exhaust system with dual

catalytic converters and oxygen sensor


450 W/6000 rpm


Wet sump


6 speeds, drive ratio: 14/36, 17/32, 20/30, 22/28, 23/26,



Multiplate wet clutch, hydraulically operated

Primary drive

Straight cut gears, drive ratio: 40/69

Secondary drive

Chain. Drive ratio: 16/40


Modular tubular steel frame fastened to aluminium side

plates by high strength bolts. Removable rear aluminium subframe

Front suspension

Æ 43 mm Sachs upside-down front fork with fully adjustable

compression and rebound damping and spring preload. Wheel travel 160 mm.

Rear suspension

Aluminium alloy swingarm

Piggy-back design Sachs hydraulic shock absorber with

fully adjustable compression and rebound damping and spring preload. Wheel

travel 155 mm.


Front: Dual Æ 320 mm stainless steel floating discs.

Brembo four-piston radial callipers. Metal braided brake hose.

Rear: Æ 240 mm stainless steel disc. Single piston Brembo

calliper. Metal braided brake hose. Two channel Continental ABS with Aprilia

Traction Control (ATC) (specific version)

Wheel rims

Aluminium alloy

Front: 3.50 X 17″ Rear: 6.00 x 17″


Radial tubeless tyres; front: 120/70 ZR 17; rear: 180/55

ZR 17


Max. length 2248 mm

Max. width 925 mm (at outer edges of hand guards)

Max. height 1205 mm (at instrument panel brow)

Saddle height 870 mm

Wheelbase 1528 mm

Trail 118 mm

Steering angle 27.3°


15 litres (including 3.5 litre reserve)