NEW Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Review 2021

 

Some days you wake up and everything is perfect. You look in the mirror and appear younger and slimmer. The kids are being well behaved and ready for school, your partner has cooked you a full English breakfast, the sun is shining, birds are singing… Which is how the Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory feels on track – near perfect. Let me explain why.

For 2021 Aprilia has produced two quite different versions of its hypernaked: the standard Tuono V4 and the Tuono V4 Factory, which we have on test (on track only) in Misano, Italy. The standard version is very much a break with tradition; with a larger top fairing, higher bars, a comfier seat, grab handles even, lower pillion pegs and a taller top gear, you could almost describe it as sensible. Certainly, it is focused on practicality and high mileages in a manner unfamiliar to Tuono fans. Engine performance is the same across both models, but the standard version comes suspended on manual fully adjustable suspension.

What we have on test is the more expensive, arguably more desirable, track-focused Factory version with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension. The bodywork reduces in size and for 2021 gets built-in winglets, while the ergonomics are more directed to sporty track riding.

For 2021, Aprilia has made the V4 motor Euro-5 compliant, increased the RPM, added a much-improved 5in TFT dash and new switchgear, and improved the electronics with a new Magneti Marelli ECU. Along with other changes such as a completely new swing-arm, new fuel tank, headlights, more rider aids… this is the best Tuono to date. And today we also have fresh Pirelli slicks, the Misano MotoGP racetrack and the perfect weather conditions to test Aprilia’s latest Tuono V4 Factory.

 

For and against
  • Electronics and rider aids
  • New dash
  • Handling and power
  • Over £18k
  • Full race exhaust is not legal
Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory 2021 track review
The most advanced Tuono to date with new Marelli ECU, combined with an all-new 5" colour TFT dash, allows more advanced rider aids than ever. New looks, a higher revving #V4, new swing-arm and a new aerodynamic package. Chad takes it for a spin around Misano.
2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Review Price Spec_013

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Price

The price has edged up from to £18,100 from £17,200 in 2020. But, considering the new technology and upgrades, I guess that is to be expected. And that price is still below the competition with similar spec.

Ducati’s V4 Streetfighter S uses the similar Öhlins smart suspension platform, similar rider aids, and is similarly desirable. The Duke comes in at £20,000 considerably more expensive than the Aprilia, but also offers more engine performance with another 30bhp.

MV has the stunning Brutale 1000RR, which also uses similar suspension, but this time prices start at £27,290 (yes, you did read that correctly). Like the Ducati, the MV is also a member of the 200hp plus club.

KTM’s 1290 Super Duke R and Triumph’s significantly updated Speed Triple 1200 RS are comparable in terms of on-paper performance, and are cheaper (KTM £15,700, Triumph £15,100) but can’t match the tech of the Aprilia as they both come equipped with conventional suspension.

For reference, our test bike was fitted with the track-only Akrapovic exhaust with titanium silencer, all £1575 + VAT of it.

 

Power and torque

Aprilia has been forced to conform to tight Euro-5 emissions regulations, but unlike the RSV4 they haven’t increased engine capacity for 2021, staying instead at 1077cc. The Noale factory has managed to clean up the V4 with a completely new and lighter exhaust and revised fuelling. Peak power and torque remain the same at 173bhp/129Kw @ 11,350rpm and 121Nm/89ftlb @ 9000rpm respectively.

The familiarly narrow 65-degree V4 has been tickled, which has increased the maximum rpm by 300, from 12,500rpm to 12,800rpm, and according to Aprilia this gains an extra 5kph in top speed.

Quoted peak power is comparable to the KTM and Triumph but down compared to the Italian competition from Ducati and MV.

 

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

You could say Aprilia has a slightly unfair advantage as they cleverly fitted the full Akrapovic race exhaust to the test bikes, to add to the aural and power enjoyment at the Misano-based launch. It does sound amazing, even at tickover. I know from experience that Aprilia’s V4 has always had distinctive ‘character’ but now, with more rpm to play with and a full and hardly-shy Akrapovič exhaust, this has amplified the experience to overdose levels.

Just leaving the historic pitlane at Misano, and the new Factory sounds stunning, the V4 blasting pulsating vibrations off the pit wall. Out on to the track on pre-heated Pirelli slicks (no need to warm up) the bike is straight into it, accelerating hard to join the throng of Italian hotshots already scraping various body parts on the red-and-white kerbs. 

My word. This is sensational. The noise is lovely, what a voice! But this is accompanied by the smoothest of quickshifter changes I’ve experienced on a road bike. The gearbox feels like it's seamless. The changes are quick, perfectly matched in rpm, it’s like the peg, selector and gearbox have been purposely designed for me – once again, this is as perfect as it gets.

The fuelling and throttle response, like the clutches gear changes, are faultless. For 2021, Aprilia has uprated the electronics with a new Magneti Marelli ECU, which is essentially the brain that controls the fuelling and rider aids. This is four times faster than the previous ECU, which results in possibly one of the most precise, perfectly fuelled bikes I’ve ever ridden – even in Race mode (one of six modes to choose from). I always praised the old bike’s fuelling and electronic rider aids, especially the quickshifter, which I didn’t think could be improved. But it has been and it is incredible.

Within a lap the new Tuono felt like my bike, one I’d owned for years. The fuelling and up-and-down shifts instantly boost rider confidence and that all-important connection between rider, bike and road – so much so that I was pushing hard from lap two on an unfamiliar bike and racetrack.

The new Tuono may ‘only’ have 173bhp/129kw, on paper significantly down on power to the Italian competition, but that power is usable, nothing goes to waste, meaning you can use every last horsepower. It’s certainly fast, accelerates hard, but it’s not overly intimidating, and the rider aids (more later) are, like the fuelling, outstanding and make the Tuono so usable.

The anti-wheelie is perfect, balancing the front wheel lift while still accelerating, while I love the fact that the traction control can be changed on the move, even at full 100% throttle. And unlike other naked bikes, that small aerodynamic top fairing, now with built-in winglets, offers some wind protection, meaning my arms weren’t getting stretched out of their sockets as they would be on other similarly powered naked bikes in this sector.

The combination of the fuelling, rider aids, gearbox, power delivery, and the aero-package make the Factory ultra-usable on track, and, relative to the competition, easy to ride, too. Certainly, less physical.

 

 

Handling, suspension and weight

Ok, you’ve got the hint; I’m impressed by the engine and precise throttle connection. And I have to report it’s the same for the semi-active suspension and handling. Yes, again Aprilia has bent the rules slightly by fitting Pirelli SC1 slicks (Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa are the standard fitment) and they chose the perfect setting for the very grippy Misano racetrack – but still the Tuono was mighty.  

I opted to stay in Race mode, which automatically sets the Öhlins semi-active suspension to A1 (active 1), a setting purposely optimised for track use with slicks. You can change the electronic suspension, compensate for the rider’s weight and conditions, or even revert to the manual modes without semi-active assistance. But I stayed with the recommend A1 settings, which for my style and weight were faultless.

Nothing appears to unsettle or worry the new Tuono; it makes life ridiculously easy. Brake late and you still hit the apex with perfect precision. Accelerate early and it continues to hold its line. Even though Misano’s very fast turn 11 is taken in fifth gear and with lots of lean, the Tuono felt balanced and accurate­ – thoroughly rewarding.

The handling boosts confidence and is so assured it always feels like you have time in hand.  Everything is controlled. You’re not panicking, it doesn’t feel like you are rushing or in a fight with physics – more in a dance that gets better with speed. A bike with this much power and that weighs 209kg with a full tank of fuel shouldn’t be this easy to ride quickly, especially on a demanding track like Misano, but it is.

Mid-corner the slicks and track’s MotoGP-spec surface meant grip was never an issue, so just keep leaning. The newly formed fuel tank allows you to move around freely but still offers support. Ground clearance isn’t an issue, which is handy, because the Tuono loves lots and lots of corner speed.

The new fairing – yes, a fairing on a naked… – with built-in winglets is designed to improve high-speed stability by increasing downforce, stopping the front lifting and the rear sitting. In the A1 setup, I had the very slightest of bar movement at the top of fifth gear, but it was virtually nothing.

I didn’t touch or change the suspension all day because the set-up was perfect out of the box. Sometimes electronic semi-active suspension can feel a little vague, like you’re trying to text while wearing gloves. But this wasn’t the case with the new Tuono. The translation from the suspension and tyres was excellent.

 

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Comfort and economy

As this was a track-only test it’s hard to categorically comment on comfort and economy. However, in the past, the Tuono has always scored highly, essentially because it’s not a fully-naked bike and the small top fairing goes a long way to deflecting some of the windblast compared to the competition.

The seat, now narrower, and the fuel tank have been reshaped but the tank retains its 18.5-litre capacity. Aprilia quote 39mpg, therefore you have a theoretical range of 160 miles. Cruise control comes as standard and the new and clear 5in TFT dash is informative and easy to navigate. The three road-orientated riding modes – Tour, Sport and User (a personalised mode) – change the power characteristics, rider aids, and the support and actuation of the semi-active suspension.

If you want something more ‘sensible’ don’t forget the standard model, which has conventional suspension and more road focused ergonomics for both rider and pillion but with the same performance and new technology.

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Brakes

Brakes remain as the same M50 Brembo calipers found on the previous model, stunning stoppers that were not broken and certainly didn’t need fixing. Three-level cornering ABS (co-designed with Bosch) allows ABS to be removed from the rear on one setting. The system works in partnership with the Rear Lift Mitigation (RLM), which prevents the rear wheel from rising during heavy braking.

New for 2021 is the Aprilia Engine Brake (AEB), which adjusts the engine brake control, and is now independent of the selected engine maps. You can now personalise and trim the engine braking ‘strategy’ to the way you want to ride and the conditions. AEB also takes lean angle and acceleration into consideration, as you brake and roll into a turn, for example. And although the mechanical components of the brakes have remained the same, the algorithms and calculations activating the system are quicker – the ABS is more alert.

Simply fitting the best brakes and pads in the world doesn’t automatically equate to excellent braking. You must also have grip and feel supplied via the tyre, forks, chassis, electronics and rider aids. Aprilia has mixed all these ingredients together to produce a bike that is brilliant on the stoppers, even as you break, lean and turn into the apex.

 

 

Rider aids, extra equipment and accessories

All the rider aids come as standard on the Factory so you don’t have to buy an additional accessories package. And the list impressive.

As noted, the Magneti Marelli ECU is key to the advanced rider aids as it is now able to operate four times faster than the previous ECU. This is linked to the 6-Axis IMU which also takes information from various sensors around the bike, like brake pressure and wheel speed, to name but a few. The systems work in harmony to deliver a sophisticated suite of performance-focused rider aids.  There are six riding modes – three for the track and three for the road –which link to the rider aids and act accordingly to set the semi-active Öhlins suspension. 

ATC (Aprilia Traction Control) has eight levels and can be changed on the move, even while accelerating, which is extremely welcome. In one particular session I had to leave pit lane on a brand-new slick, so I increased the TC to six. Then, after one lap, whilst tucked in and accelerating down the main straight, I flicked it back to level three. On lap two I performed the same action and finally flicked down to one. This is simple and easy to do, via the toggle finger-and-thumb switch on the left bar.

Additionally, there is AWC (Aprilia Wheelie Control), which has five levels and like the TC can be changed while on the gas, an added bonus that not only shaves lap times but makes the bike it easier and more fun to ride. There are three different engine maps (AEM), those three engine braking levels (AEB) and, as before, three settings for Aprilia Launch Control (ALC). Aprilia Pit Lane Limiter (APL) can be used as a pit lane limiter or, on the road, to comply with specific speed limits. And let’s not forget Aprilia Cruise Control (ACC) and the praiseworthy (AQS) Aprilia Quick Shift, which has a new operating strategy for 2021 that even allows downshift with the throttle still open.

Add the cornering ABS trickery and all that equates to a lengthy list of features and safety aids, all easily accessible via the new TFT dash and easy-to-use switchgear. The dash alone is a substantial step up over the previous bike, whose clocks were starting to appear a little dated next to the competition.

Our test bike was fitted with the track-only race exhaust system made by Akrapovič. As you’d expect, there’s a selection of other useful accessories for the track like aluminium footrest kits, an inverted racing gear lever, and several carbon accessories. But there are also practical products available, such as a comfort seat, side panniers, a larger top fairing, USB port, and the MIA kit for Bluetooth connectivity.

 

Rivals

It’s a competitive world in the super/hypernaked class, and bear in mind it should be about how useable the power is and not which has the most peak performance. Here’s a little comparison chart for you:

 

 

Power

Torque

Weight

Price

Ducati Streetfighter V4S

205bhp (153kW) @ 12,750rpm

90ftlb (123Nm) @ 11,500rpm

199kg (kerb)

£19,999

KTM1290 Super Duke R

177bhp (132kW) @ 9500rpm

103ftlb (140Nm) @ 8000rpm

189kg (dry)

£15,749

MV Brutale 1000RR

205bhp (153Kw) @ 13,000rpm

86ftlb (116Nm) @ 11,000rpm

186kg (dry)

£27,290

Triumph Speed Triple RS

177bhp (132kW) @ 10,750rpm

92ftlb (125Nm) @ 9000rpm

196kg (kerb)

£15,100

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Verdict

The out-going Tuono V4 Factory was a superb bike, one that I’ve ridden extensively in the past, both on the road and track. I’ve always praised its ease of use, electronics, and handling, and didn’t think the bike could be significantly improved – but it has been. The rider aids and other electronic goodies are some of the best I’ve ever experienced on a road bike. They are that good. The new dash and switchgear make the rider aids all the more usable, too.

The added extra rpm and over-rev is a nice touch and, while the V4 may not churn out the headline power figures of other Italian supernakeds, all the power is usable. You don’t have to be a racer to get the most of the new Tuono. Meanwhile, the handling is superb, and the semi-active suspension takes none of the raw feeling away like some systems, and the bike looks stunning.

Admittedly, the test conditions were perfect, we were at Misano in Italy and on slicks, and we didn’t get to ride on the public highway. But the old bike shone on the road and I see no reason why the new V4 Factory won’t do the same.

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Review Price Spec_005

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Technical Specs

New price

£18,100

Capacity

1077

Bore x Stroke

81x 52.3mm

Engine layout

65-degree V-Twin 2-cylinder

Engine details

Water-cooled, 4v per cylinder

Power

129kw/173bhp @ 11,350rpm

Torque

121Nm/89lbft @ 9000rpm

Top speed

180mph (EST)

Transmission

6 speed

Average fuel consumption

39mpg (7.2/100km) claimed

Tank size

18.5 litres

Max range to empty

160 miles (claimed)

Rider aids

Riding modes x 6, Engine maps, lean sensitive traction and braking, wheelie control, launch control, engine brake management.

Frame

Aluminium dual beam

Front suspension

Öhlins Smart EC 20 43mm inverted 120mm Travel

Front suspension

Fully adjustable (semi-active)

Rear suspension

Öhlins Smart EC 20 single rear shock

Rear suspension

Fully adjustable

Front brake

2x 330mm disc, radial Monobloc Brembo M50 four piston caliper

Rear brake

220mm disc, Brembo two-piston calliper

Front tyre

120/70ZR17 Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa

Rear tyre

200/55 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo SuperCorsa

Rake/Trail

24.7°/99.7mm

Wheelbase

1450mm

Seat height

825mm

Dry weight

185kg Dry

MCIA Secured rating

Not yet rated

Warranty

Unlimited miles / 2 years

Website

http://www.aprilia20.com

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Review Price Spec_077

 

What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.

 

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