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Aprilia's Tuono is that rare thing; a full power, no nonsense factory streetfighter that actually delivers the goods.

With an engine taken from the RSV Mille sportbike, the Tuono isn’t short on power and its compact chassis gives it an almost Supermoto feel through the twisty stuff. Can we also mention that it sounds like Thor hammering up a thunderstorm?

Alastair Walker did the arty-farty pics and the words.

The formula is fiendishly simple; Take one Aprilia RSV1000 sportbike, rip the bodywork off, tweak the suspension slightly, add a set of higher handlebars, then sell it by the truckload.

Hats off to Aprilia. Whilst other manufacturers detune 1000cc engines into wheezing imitations of their original sportbike spec, Aprilia have a 150mph, full throttle, raving maniac of an engine powering the Tuono. Its violent power punches the whole bike forwards, and sometimes skywards, as soon as you get on the gas - the thing is a beaut.

Once you’ve got past the sheer exhilaration of nailing the Tuono through the 6 speed gearbox, whilst hanging on to the flat, gold anodized `bars, you’ll soon discover that the chassis is willing to play ball with your chosen method of malarkey, despite the odd twitch at high speed.

A pair of 43mm, upside down, front forks and a firm monoshock combine to give a stiff ride, matched to what feels like a very short wheelbase.

According to Aprilia, the Tuono is identical in length to the Mille, which makes sense, but the naked bike feels as if it has much quicker steering, especially on low speed corners. The only visible difference I noticed was the headstock, which is set an inch or so higher - it looks like the forks are slightly longer than the units fitted on the Mille. The factory says that the new triple clamp is designed purely to fit the flatter `bars, but I reckon you could drop the bike in its yokes a touch and steady the front end a bit.

In a perverse kind of way, I began to enjoy the Tuono’s twitches and head-shaking antics, when you rode it hard out of bumpy corners. This bike really needs a steering damper, although the handlebars are almost MX wide, so you can countersteer well enough. It never feels dangerous, but the bike is pretty lively and it demands a bit of work to get the best from it on less than perfect road surfaces.

The front brakes are same Brembo items found on the Mille and work superbly well, despite only having two piston calipers fitted. It is ridiculously easy to scrub off speed into bends. There may well have been a back brake, but I didn’t ever feel the need for it. The bike is an ace trackday tool.

Thing is, the Tuono could - in theory - be fine for 50-70mph trundling trips, but nobody in their right mind would buy a bike like this to ride so steady - it begs to be caned, abused, send sideways into a roundabout with the back wheel skipping off the deck.

If you like every ride to be an adventure, this bike delivers, full stop.

RELATIVE VALUES

Although I ventured to Newcastle-On-Tyne on the Tuono, it has to be said this ain’t no tourer. You only have to look at it for five seconds to see it is closely related to the Mille. That big Vee motor is squeezed inside the alloy frame, pipes and radiators everywhere, same enormous exhaust slapped onto the back of the bike, booming out its gruff music.

The Tuono’s dinky screen offers zero weather protection, the pillion perch is best suited to a Madagascar tree monkey and it has a 17 litre gas tank, which needs refilling every 100 miles or so. It’s also quite an ugly bike from certain angles, much less pretty than the Ducati Monster S4, or Suzuki SV1000S.

The Tuono’s John Major grey paint job doesn’t work for me either - a bike this raucous should look like a riot inside a Smartie factory I reckon. On the upside, the seat was surprisingly comfortable, OK for about 70-80 miles on the M6 before my Nobbys started barking.

But the Aprilia Tuono is undeniably, a nonstop laugh to ride. A real Italian V-sign to the rest of the world, that says `Sod you lot, I’m just havin’ a laugh here.’

The motor is well proven, reliable, easy to chip `n’ tune. There are loads of Apriller accessories on the market, both factory and independently made. The fuel injection works very well, with just one tiny backfire heard during 600 miles of riding. The thing is well made and should be, for £7500.

That’s a grand more than Suzuki’s SV1000S, which is a mighty fine machine, albeit not so stylish as the Italian, but it’s a more sensible commuter/light tourer, if that rings your bell. The bottom line is this; ask yourself why you want a retro/streetfighter bike - is it because you want to slow down, save your licence, tour quietly on Sundays in a 65mph convoy?

Wrong bike. What you need is a porky old XJR1300, or smoothly sensible Suzuki Bandit 1200 - both of which are damn fine bikes. But if you’re a hooligan who never quite grew up, still think it’s fine to razz down the shops in a jacket and jeans, or secretly enjoy irritating mobile-yakking drivers as you rev a V-twin engine at traffic lights, then the Tuono is your kinda bike. It’s got balls, attitude, muscle - everything a Buell should have, but doesn’t.

Outstanding effort Aprilia.

Get Aprilia bike insurance for the aprilia the tuono 2003.



Vital Statistics
Engine
Engine 60 degree, V-twin, four stroke, liquid cooled
Capacity 998cc
Gears 6 speed
Carbs None, digital fuel injection
Compression Ratio 11.4:1
Claimed peak power 126bhp @ 9500rpm
Chassis
Frame Alloy beam type
Front suspension USD Showa 43mm, multiadjestable forks
Rear suspension Monoshock, multi-adjustable
Brakes Front: Twin 320mm discs, 2 piston callipers, Rear: Single 220mm, 2 piston calliper
Wheelbase 1415mm
Wheels/Tyres 120/70 ZR 17 inch front, 190/50 ZR 17 inch rear
Performance
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Buying Info
Current price £11,250 (Limited edition of 200)

 

960 x 200