2019 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory Review – the best production bike ever built?

BikeSocial
By Michael Mann
MannOnABike BikeSocial's Web Editor. Been riding bikes since 1984 and writing about them since 2013. Commuted in Central London for 10 years, fast and smooth road rider, does a reasonable job in a track day quick group. 6 ft and 14 st.

 

It’s been 17 years since Aprilia whipped the fairings off an RSV and claimed to have created the hyper naked class. A class which the Noale-based firm hasn’t necessarily dominated in terms of the outrageousness and quality of its machinery… until recently. The 2017 Tuono V4 1100 was something to behold. An absolute beast of bike with poise, power and precision and one which I fell in love with. In the BikeSocial office we earmarked it as the best ever, worst-selling bike.

Beautiful on the eye, ear and probably tongue if licked, this stunning Italian supermodel really does go as well as it looks in its 2017 guise. With a rear-end reminiscent of its sportier RSV4 sibling, the emphasis of this naked is torque, road handling and an electronics package that allows for the most personal of rides. The 2019 upgrades are easy to list: the introduction of Ohlins’ Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension. That’s it. Because the raft of settings, both automatic and manual in conjunction with the already ace APRC (traction control, launch control, wheelie control, etc.) system, the most advanced electronic suspension system on the market can only be found on two other machines; Yamaha’s R1M and Ducati’s Panigale V4 and all-of-a-sudden this level of exclusivity makes the £1,000 price hike over the outgoing model becomes seemingly justifiable.

The Italian manufacturer has provided a second bike in as many months with the ‘Factory’ name and with a component list that includes Ohlins, Brembo, Bosch and Pirelli, there’s little chance this 2019-enhanced 170.5 bhp monster won’t live up to its billing. Off we went to the foothills of the Dolomite mountains in Northern Italy for the press riding launch to find out.

 

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Review (2019) | BikeSocial

It’s been 17 years since Aprilia whipped the fairings off an RSV and claimed to have created the hyper naked class and the latest incarnation is the 2019 Tuono 1100 V4 Factory. And oh boy, what a bike it is!

Above: An asset to every one of our human senses

 

2019 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory Price

Top-end components make for a top-end price but compared to the 2017 model (which didn’t have semi-active suspension), then a £1,000 increase makes for decent value on the face of it. It’s still a hefty price but exclusivity comes at a premium. £16,999 is the RRP and while the Ducati Monster 1200 R is just £500 less, the KTM 1290 Super Duke offers a whole £2,200 saving.

 

Here’s a PCP example to whet your appetite:

OTR Price

£16,999

Deposit

£3,000 (18%)

37 Monthly Payments

£258.09

Purchase fee

£10

Final Payment

£7,583

Representative APR

8.9%

Total amount payable

£19,874.24

Annual Contracted Mileage

4,000

 

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory (2019) - Launch Review

Above: 1077cc makes 170.5bhp

 

Power and torque

The Tuono-based power headlines of the last couple of years have been to compare to the KTM Super Duke, whichever has the bragging rights doesn’t tell the full story though. A handful of bhp’s here and there don’t make the difference, nor necessarily does torque; it’s about where through the rev range they perform in accordance with your riding style and how they’re delivered. In the battle between Italy and Austria you’re looking at the silkiness of a 65-degree V4 versus the thud of a 75 degree V-twin.

Aprilia have coaxed a savage amount of grunt out of the mid-range. Anything north of 4,000rpm is potentially eyeball-straining if the throttle is open and the front wheel is grounded.

 

The all-important figures are:

Power: 175 hp (170.5 bhp / 129 kW) @ 11,000rpm

Torque: 89 lb-ft (121 Nm) @ 9,000rpm

 

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory (2019) - Launch Review

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

Ah, the three pillars of strength through which the Tuono’s heart beats and that give it an advantage over any rival. Starting with the super-slick gearbox; the electronically-assisted quickshifter is nigh-on perfect while the auto-blipper matches the revs on the downshift and the pop from the Akrapovic-equipped (an official accessory) bike is a glorious feature. The pressure required on the gear-shift for both up and down is ideal for the short and knowing ‘click’, it’s fast, accurate and rewarding just like its faired and sportier sibling, the RSV4 1100 Factory.

The six-speed ‘box is connected to the Euro-4 spec, liquid-cooled, 1077cc, 65-degree V4 masterpiece of a motor. It remains untouched from the 2017 model and continues to sing its happy song conducted by the sharp throttle connection that, once above 3,500rpm, encourages a ferocious beat. The engine’s reactions from each degree of throttle twist are electric. It ploughs through the revs; 6,000, 7,000, 8,000 are gone in a blur as the Tuono goes from snarling, crouching beast to roaring, fire-breathing dragon in a heartbeat.

Anything below 3,000rpm is a little groggy by comparison to the epicness of the roll-on performance on the mid-rev range. Ferocious power and torque is the cornerstone of the Tuono’s performance and more riders should have experienced them by now, I’m surprised that so few are sold in the UK and a £1,000 price increase for semi-active suspension won’t be the key that unlocks the floodgate of sales, unfortunately. Aprilia says it now has a network of over 50 dealerships throughout our shores, so I urge you to click on this link and get yourself a test ride >> click here. But after reading the rest of the review, obviously.

The character of the V4 gives the Aprilia such an identity. Because the V is narrow, the engine is compact which aids weight centralisation and that translates to an impressive ride via the awesome chassis and suspension set-up. Talk about being made-to-match, individually they are fine components but, like the Power Rangers, when they all come together, it’s mighty morphin’ time and the Tuono ‘Megazord’ can kick any rivals’ ass. But with less spandex.

Even the standard exhaust end-can, while garish on the eyes, is gorgeous on the ears but if I owned a Tuono, the Akrapovic would be at the top of my shopping list – after all, ‘Tuono’ means ‘clap of thunder’, oh and we all have a bit of hooligan in us.

 

2019 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory Economy

You might want to brush over this section if you’re looking for an economic return on your 18.5 litres of unleaded because ferocious performance and a snarling exhaust come with a cost of 37.6mpg, a figure recorded on the press launch ride. The fuel tank’s shape is such that it’s not possible to provide an accurate measurement for the remaining fuel hence no fuel gauge, although it’s something they’re aware of and working on, according to Aprilia’s Product Marketing Manager, Cristian Barelli.

 

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory (2019) - Launch Review

Above: Sublime handling and an audio track worthy of a Christmas number one

 

Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

If engine, gearbox and exhaust are the three pillars of strength, then prepare to meet the foundations of this magnificent motorcycle. While any old thrill-seeking fool can sit on an upright bike and snap the throttle back to explore a power-to-weight ratio that would embarrass every production car ever made, the secrets to an accomplished ride are in the way its frame and suspension handle that power and weight. I dare you to find an appropriate and legal setting, sit at 30mph in second gear and give it a handful. The hairs on the back of your neck won’t know whether to stand-up, sit down or do the hokey cokey.

The Tuono has always been set-up to cope with the stresses and strains of harnessing 170bhp+ and finding a way to lay it down on all sorts of road conditions. On track, in Track Mode and with the new state-of-the-art semi-active suspension set to A1, the thing will fly. Aprilia claims a ½ second faster lap time at Mugello with this setting versus the 2017 RF model with its standard Ohlins.

But how does it work?

Nicolas Dalla Costa from Aprilia’s R&D department explains; “The essence was always to maintain the sporty riding feeling but increase the level of features, so three ‘A’ modes and three ‘M’ modes are the basis of the new Ohlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension system. A is for active which still has adjustable parameters while M is for manual and you need to be quite a pro to set the bike up.

“Essentially the on-board SCU (Suspension Control Unit) receives input from the bike including the IMU, ABS, wheel speed sensors, engine performance and rider preferences, all to controls the front forks and rear shock.

“The Aprilia Suspension Control is adjustable via the TFT dashboard via the left-hand joystick on the handlebars. We have six modes for ‘active’ or ‘manual’, three for each.

For compression and rebound it’s adjustable from 1 - 31 clicks and 1 - 21 for steering damper. 1 means fully closed (i.e. maximum damping).

“In manual mode there are three modes; M1 for track optimisation. M2 is optimised for mountain or winding roads. M3 for improving comfort during city or highway riding. Inside these modes are five different customisable parameters – front/rear compression, front/rear rebound and steering damper.

“The semi-active mode (or ‘A’) works a little differently because of the SCU. It operates the damping and optimises the vehicle behaviour based on rider preferences. A1 is active track – the focus is the same as M1. Then A2 is like Sport mode and A3 is like Road mode where the damping is low and the bike is softer. A2 and A3 maps have four customisable factors while A1 has six (adjustable from -5 to +5 for front/rear firmness, brake support, acceleration support, mid-corner support and steering damping).

“So, to sum it all up, there is now 120mm travel instead of 117. Active mode is more customisable. Comfort is increased as is the improvement of track performance while the whole system is more user-friendly.”

Got that? Like any new gadget, the instruction manual will be your friend until you try all the options and find the settings most suited to you based on the terrain. Is the 2019 Tuono worth the extra £1,000? Well, considering the quality of the suspension and its adjustability for all situations then yes, especially if you’re going to get the most out of it by using the system by actually using it… or just flaunting it to your mates. But if all you’re doing is riding on the same roads each week and can’t be bothered to understanding suspension settings then it’ll be harder to justify. The 2017 Ohlins are hardly budget.

Cast aluminium wheels are shod with the sticky Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa’s and together mean the Aprilia turns quickly. Its electronics take over and keep you stable mid-corner where the IMU comes into its own. Feeding the power in and feeling the mechanical grip as well as that from the rubber on corner exit is just one combo on this bike that gives you that rewarding buzz, when in actual fact it’s probably the bike that’s been doing all the subtle work to keep everything smooth and on the correct course. Here is a machine that makes you look and feel good.

 

Above: Semi-active front and rear suspension interchangeable via the left-hand ‘bar joystick

 

2019 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory Brakes

Put simply, the twin 330mm front discs and single rear 220mm version equipped with Brembo calipers are the best brakes of any road bike. And for that you get sublime feeling with an initial bite and progressive powerful stopping ability with each mm you squeeze thereafter. Cornering ABS comes courtesy of Bosch and the IMU (the brains of the bike) and is an extra safety layer that provides cornering confidence. The system is adjustable through three levels and can be turned off completely if required, it also works in conjunction with the RLM (Rearwheel Lift Mitigation i.e. stoppy control).

 

Comfort over distance and touring

Despite the seat height being marked as 825mm on the spec sheet it feels a little higher. It’s a firm but fine seat which is comfortable enough for the 106-mile press ride (albeit that was split into three so I’m reluctant to offer a comprehensive view at this stage). I was in a one-piece leather suit and suffered zero discomfort or leg-stretching requirement. The peg position is high enough to allow for the plenty of ground clearance yet low enough not to feel cramped. The motocross-style handlebars are raised-up from the triple clamp and offer top level steering feedback and comfort in their position, and because it’s not an out-and-out sportbike there’s less weight on your wrists.

That said, it is like a sportsbike in its practicality. There’s barely any room under the pillion seat for a packet of tissues let alone a phone charger or a Twix. Factory accessories do include a tank bag so if big miles are your forté then be prepared to sort your own luggage. Also, for the chillier months/climates, there’s no heated grips.

The sweeping and stylish front fairing includes lights and a small screen which complement the gorgeous Italian styling and do a fine job of offering a degree of wind protection – though it is a ‘hyper naked’ machine so don’t expect full weather defence.

 

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory (2019) - Launch Review

Above: The flat seat is a handy compromise for touring or track

 

Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

The last Tuono didn’t have a fuel gauge and there’s not one on the 2019 version either but don’t let that influence your buying decision because a working out how much go-juice you have left isn’t hard to work out and besides, look at the plethora of acronym-laden goodies on offer instead!

APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) covers the whole kit which includes the three pre-set engine modes: Sport, Track and Race which affect throttle response and engine braking without compromising the overall power output. ABS has three levels (as well as having Cornering ABS built-in), as does anti-wheelie control and is operational via a dedicated up/down toggle switch on the handlebar. The same goes for the + and – buttons underneath the left ‘bar for the eight traction control settings. Launch control, cruise control and a pit lane limiter are also included and can be configured and deactivated independently. All very useful when dashing to Tesco’s for the Twix that doesn’t fit under the seat.

In terms of official accessories then an Akrapovic titanium silence must be first on everybody’s shopping list (although it will set you back an extra £1800 inc. VAT) and, even though they have one job and do it very well, to me the mirrors don’t fit with the overall style of the bike so I’d soon have a funkier pair. Same for the clutch and brake lever but we’re getting into personal preference as opposed to crucial aesthetic issues.

The other accessory worthy of note is the MIA kit which, when installed, allows the official Aprilia app on your phone to talk to the bike. While the app is free, the multimedia platform costs around £300 and allows all the usual phone, text, navigation gubbins is available but so too is the possibility of setting your suspension up for each corner of the circuits available via the app. Proper MotoGP spec stuff. The app also acts as a datalogger, pulling together lap times, splits, top speed, braking performance, etc.

 

Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory (2019) - Launch Review

Above: The rider’s eye view

 

Rivals

In a class only outshone by big puffy-chested superbikes, the hyper-naked manufacturers do their own fair share of willy-waving with strong showings in their respective spec tables. Brake horses aplenty and dexterity to boot, those that can get anywhere near the latter day Tuono hail from Italy, Japan, Austria and Germany in the shape of Ducati’s Monster 1200R, Yamaha’s MT-10SP, KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R and BMW’s getting-long-in-the-tooth-and-needs-an-update-soon S1000R. Special shout outs go to the Triumph Speed Triple RS and Honda CB1000R+ who didn’t quite make this table:

 

 

Ducati Monster 1200R

Yamaha MT-10SP

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

BMW S1000R

Engine

1198cc, liquid-cooled, L-Twin

998cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke

1301cc, 4-stroke, V-twin

999cc, water-cooled, in-line 4-cylinder

Power

148 bhp (112kW) @ 9250rpm

156 bhp (118kW) @ 11,500rpm

172 bhp (130kW) @ 9750rpm

160 bhp (121kW) @ 11,000rpm

Torque

92 lb-ft (125 Nm) @ 7750rpm

81.9 lb-ft (111 Nm) @ 9000rpm

104 lb-ft (141 Nm) @ 7000rpm

84lb-ft (114 Nm) @ 9250rpm

Weight

207kg (wet)

210kg (wet)

195kg (dry)

205kg (wet)

Seat height

830mm

825mm

835mm

814mm

Fuel tank

17.5 litres

17 litres

18 litres

17.5 litres

Price (from)

£16,495

£14,299

£14,799

£13,050

 

Above: It might sound good but the Euro-4 spec silencer isn’t the prettiest yet the TFT display is and even automatically inverts its colours when it gets dark

 

2019 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory verdict

I’m under its spell and if you’ve not tried a modern day Tuono then do yourself a favour and book a test ride. It’s refined ride, punchy power, luscious looks and awesome agility make it a stand-out package, and if the £17k price tag is a little overwhelming then just think about the exclusivity of such a model. For a magnificent mixture of the top spec brakes, tyres, engine, build quality, electronics and, of course, semi-active suspension then look no further for your next bike because the Aprilia has them all.

You’ll never need a Tuono if all you do is city commuting and plodding through town, that’d be like going to The Savoy and ordering bread and water. Find the right suspension setting for the type of roads you’re facing, unleash the bike’s ability and the reward will be that feeling that you don’t want the ride to end. You know the one. I didn’t want the press ride to end and am already plotting when I can next swing a leg over the Tuono V4 1100 Factory. OMG.

 

Three things I loved about the 2019 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory…

  • Powerful and noisy V4 engine
  • State-of-the-art electronics for a bespoke set-up
  • The most incredible road-riding experience

     

    Three things that I didn’t…

  • Lack of fuel gauge (still) and heated grips, even as a factory option
  • Pointless pillion pegs
  • Couldn’t fit a Twix under the pillion seat but at least it comes with one Allen key

 

2019 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory spec

New price

£16,999

Capacity

1077cc

Bore x Stroke

81mm x 52.3mm

Engine layout

Liquid-cooled 65° V4

Engine details

Double overhead camshafts (DOHC), four valves per cylinder

Power

170.5bhp (129kW) @ 11,000rpm

Torque

89lb-ft (121Nm) @ 9,000rpm

Average fuel consumption

37.6mpg (as tested)

Tank size

18.5 litres (inc. 4-litre reserve)

Max range to empty (theoretical)

150 miles

Frame

Aluminium dual beam chassis with pressed and cast sheet elements.

SmartEC 2.0 electronically managed Öhlins steering damper

Front suspension

SmartEC 2.0 electronically managed Öhlins NIX fork with TIN surface treatment. Forged aluminium radial calliper mounting bracket. Completely adjustable spring preload and hydraulic compression and rebound damping. 120 mm wheel travel.

Rear suspension

Double braced aluminium swingarm; mixed low thickness and sheet casting technology.

SmartEC 2.0 electronically managed Öhlins monoshock absorber with piggy-back. APS progressive linkages. Wheel travel: 130 mm

Front brake

Dual 330-mm diameter floating stainless steel disc with lightweight stainless steel rotor with 6 pins.

Brembo M50 monobloc radial callipers with 4 Ø30mm opposing pistons. Sintered pads. Radial pump and metal braided brake lines.

Rear brake

220 mm diameter disc; Brembo floating calliper with two 32-mm Ø isolated pistons. Sintered pads. Master cylinder with built in reservoir and metal braided hose.

Bosch 9.1 MP ABS with cornering function, adjustable on 3 maps, featuring RLM strategy and can be disengaged.

Front wheel/tyre

Cast aluminium with 3 split spoke design.

3.5”X 17”

120/70 ZR 17

Rear wheel/tyre

Cast aluminium with 3 split spoke design.

6”X 17”

200/55 ZR 17

Rake/Trail

27°/99.7mm

Dimensions (LxW)

2070mm x 810mm

Wheelbase

1450mm

Seat height

825mm

Kerb weight

209kg (dry weight: 185kg)

Warranty

24 month warranty, extendable for an extra 12 or 24 months. Warranty is dependent on bike being dealer serviced.

Website

www.aprilia.com

 

To learn more about what the spec sheet means, click here for our glossary

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Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory (2019) - Launch Review
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