2017 Aprilia Tuono Long Term Review
After covering the better portion of California, hitting more than a couple track days, and running through more than one set of Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tires, I’ve come to know the 2017 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory intimately. I sorely miss it, now that my Tuono Summer has ended.
It’s been a year of refreshment and refinement for the revered Tuono line. If I were to judge the 2017 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory off of its spec sheet alone, I could make the foolish assumption that Aprilia has done nothing more than an electronic spit-shine—massage the motor and bestow it with a few ego-boosting component upgrades to make conversations at the coffee shop easier by elevating your nose five-to-seven degrees higher.
Don’t fret. These changes do warrant a raised pinky while sipping your morning joe. Collectively, the upgrades have raised one of the most impressive open-class upright bikes on the market to new heights. Though the chassis remains unchanged, Aprilia has gone through the Tuono with a fine-toothed comb and improved upon many of its critical systems.
The centerpiece of the Tuono is its 1077cc powerplant. The V4 motor has received DLC treatments to its piston pins and has had its connecting rods honed to improve revving characteristics. In addition, a new ECU has raised the rev ceiling to 13,000 rpm—500 rpm higher than the previous iteration. This also allowed Aprilia engineers to eke out a bit more performance. Peak horsepower is now claimed to be 173 at 11,000 rpm and the peak 89 ft/lbs. of torque comes at 9000 rpm.
The payoff is immediately noticeable. The 2017 Aprilia Tuono Factory’s engine is just as visceral as before, yet delivers its power in an astoundingly tractable manner, all while being disturbingly smooth. It quickly lures riders to make use of its power, reaching ludicrous speeds without a thought, throwing pilots into the proverbial deep end.
From the lowest regions of the powerband, the Tuono Factory roars. It allows riders to take advantage of stout low-end muscle and amazing mid-range, while still producing enough high-rpm power to keep you happy on some of the fastest circuits in North America.
Aided by impeccable fueling and throttle response, the Tuono’s motor is the embodiment of performance riding, and even with its containership-sized Euro 4 compliant exhaust can, its savage notes ring true.
Now imbued with a quickshifter unit providing up and down shifts, you’ll be able to focus on the ride no matter the setting. Kill times have been dramatically improved over previous iterations, making shifting at any engine speed a snap.
Shifting is precise and effortless, allowing you to quickly get your downshifts down on corner entry, or click through the gearbox while pouring on the power—impressive. Unless I am coming to a stop or trolling around at parking lot speeds, I don’t use the clutch.
That is life at the fun end of the spectrum for the engine. In the city, the motor fumbles its previously torn off shirt back on and makes do with lower speeds. It does well, without lurching or twitchy throttle responses that you might expect from a high-powered performance motorcycle. Of course, a bit of clutch feathering might be needed when below the 2500 rpm mark.
There are also three engine maps available: Sport, Track, and Race—note that none are Urban or Tour. These modes adjust the throttle application and engine braking. That’s technology taken straight from the Aprilia RSV4 that competes in World Superbike, friends.
In town, you may notice some heat coming off the V4. On hot days at low speeds, it becomes apparent that you need to get this machine the wind.
Its upright riding position is quite sporting, but not taxing. I can state that with confidence, as I’ve done five hours of arduous Interstate droning aboard the Tuono, several times.
At 5’10”, my 32-inch inseam allowed for complete control at stops when in the Tuono’s 32.5-inch tall saddle. It is a decidedly Italian affair, in that riders will find themselves sitting atop the chassis as opposed to sitting in the chassis, as you do in the more street-friendly Yamaha FZ-10. However, the Tuono is a far more sport-focused machine. Despite all that, I felt no excessive knee bend.
A direct offshoot of the RSV4, the Tuono allows its pilot to easily shift body position and use its sculpted five-gallon fuel tank as a handy anchor while changing direction, which is supplemented by the leverage of its wide handlebars. In all, I found the Tuono to be a comfortable machine, albeit leaning towards the sporting side of things—everything about this bike encourages spirited riding.
Getting all of that power pointed in the right direction is a challenging job for sure, but not one that the Tuono Factory’s chassis and suspension can’t handle. Though the twin-spar aluminum frame and swing-arm are carryovers from the previous year, feedback and handling has improved due the addition of the Factory Öhlins NIX fork and STX shock, both of which are fully adjustable.
Over the course of our long-term review, I did have the opportunity to dial in suspension settings and that is something owners will need to do in order to get the most out of their Tuono. From the factory, the Öhlins suspension is set up is on the conservative side. This improves comfort, but detracts from its sporting nature.
I opted to bump up to the manufacturer recommended track settings, which raises the rear ride height a bit and improves the Tuono’s agility, while also giving us good tire wear on the road and track.
In the city, the Tuono’s taught nature becomes quite apparent, as it is a race-inspired bike, but avoids moving into regions of discomfort that a Supersport might be in while on public roads. The Tuono settles rapidly after hitting inconsistencies in the road, keeping the bike inline, without directing energy into your wrists or spine.
Where its handling prowess can be felt is in the canyons or the track. The Tuono Factory’s 57-inch wheelbase allows for a great amount of agility, while aiding in its unbeatable stability. The Tuono wants to dive into corners, remaining assuredly planted on the edge of the tire even under hard corner exits. Transitions through fast chicanes can be done with subtle inputs as well.
The track is where the Tuono can stretch its legs and come alive. Every positive attribute is highlighted at speed. It is truly is a machine that rewards its pilots in direct proportion to what they throw at it. Feedback from the chassis is unquestionably confidence inspiring thanks to the information that is delivered to the rider—any amount of grip loss is felt and can be negotiated.
The 2017 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory requires a rider that understands the mechanics of motorcycle riding to get the most out of it. That doesn’t mean you have to be a world-class racer or the local track-day hero, it just means you need to have a good knowledge base from which to work from. If you aren’t that type of rider in terms or skill or mindset, it could be challenging.
All of this is aided by the supremely sticky Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa rubber. The 120/70 front and 200/55 rear tires keep the Tuono virtually glued to any surface. While these tires might not be the most mileage minded option on the market, they will easily offer enough grip for even the most spirited street rider and still remain a great option for track day enthusiasts. In fact, our long-term 2017 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory went through multiple sets – that’s certainly a testament to all the fun we were having in the canyons and on the track.
Offering a helping hand when it comes to safety is Aprilia’s fourth-generation APRC electronic suite. It includes ABS (three-level), wheelie control (three-level), traction control (eight-level), rear-wheel lift mitigation, pit-speed limiter, launch control, and cruise control. Aprilia didn’t simply drag-and-drop those programs and algorithms onto the new ECU. Instead, they optimized the sensor positions for more precise data collection.
Each level of ABS, traction control, and wheelie control is far more progressive in the way it behaves. For example, with wheelie control in its lower settings, you can still hover the front wheel while getting on the power down the front straight—a handy tool, indeed. If you’re a bit greedy, it will cut power, and it will do so without slamming the front wheel down.
The lean-angle detecting IMU allows riders to test their mettle when trail braking, throwing themselves deep into corners without any negative repercussions. With the ABS setting at level 1, both UltimateMotorcycling.com Online Editor Ron Lieback and I have tested this on separate occasions and have drawn the same conclusion—it is sorcery. We both were able to maintain grip and feedback perfectly, never experiencing any intervention.
It might be silly to proclaim display software as one of the most important updates for the 2017 Aprilia Tuono Factory, but if you’ve experienced the previous Tuono user interface, you’ll know what I mean. It was inexcusably bad and ridiculously unintuitive. That is no longer the case. While the TC can still be adjusted with paddle shifters, you can now adjust every other parameter with a joystick style control, found on the left handlebar.
Braking is another aspect in which the Tuono line has been given a boost, moving from the Brembo M432 calipers to the Brembo M50, as well as a slightly larger 330mm floating rotors package. Feeling at the lever is impeccable, allowing for wonderful modulation throughout the entire stroke—characteristics that improve the control when trail braking. In spite of the fact that these are the same binders of the WSBK RSV4, they don’t have a horrendous initial bite; they’re quite amicable.
Often, readers will want reviewers to proclaim a bike victorious above its competitors. That simply won’t do—we are all different riders who want a different experience.
However, when I look at the 2017 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory within its scope of aggressive sport riding, it quickly pushes to the front of the pack, offering one of the most uncompromising and breathtaking motorcycling experiences available.
Between its hardware updates and electronic updates, the Tuono Factory stands to reassert its dominance in the open-class upright sport market.
For specs and a photo gallery, click to page 2