The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.6
When it won our Best Naked award in 2017 we thought Aprilia couldn’t make it any better – they have. The brilliant V4 engine, fine chassis, quality cycle parts, class-leading electronics and thrilling experience are largely unchanged, but the addition of Ohlins’ aemi-active suspension lifts it to an even higher level.
Reasons to buy
- Same astonishing performance and handling
- New ‘semi-active’ suspension adds to electronics’ class
- Upright style makes for a great real world sports bike
At a glance
Aprilia’s best just got – somehow – even better. The Italian firm’s compact V4 always worked better in ‘super naked’ Tuono form, as first introduced in 2011, as opposed to superbike V4R, thanks to its mix of potency, Italian style, top spec components and effectiveness and it’s been steadily improved ever since. The result is both true Italian exotica and a modern techno delight, is beautifully built and equipped and, with its distinctive half fairing is impressively versatile, too. While this latest update, with the addition of new, semi-active suspension, might not be a big leap forward but it’s enough to keep it at the very top of the super naked tree.
No changes here – but then there wasn’t much wrong with the old ‘un. One-piece, slightly raised bars combine with a slightly rearset footpeg position to give the Tuono an upright but adequately sporting forward cant. On top of this, the Tuono’s proportions also manage to be ample for most riders. Finally, by virtue of the effective but slightly contradictory frame-mounted half-fairing, protection from the elements is surprisingly good for a so-called 'naked' as well.
Super-nakeds were never conceived to be practical. Instead, as originally inspired by homemade ‘streetfighters’, such as high-barred Suzuki GSX-Rs, they were all about hooliganistic fun. Thirty years on, however, factory versions have evolved so far that the very best, like the Tuono, can be both. The Aprilia’s comfort and manageability are good, weather protection reasonable, and it can tour, commute and more, better than most – although in this top-spec Factory trim, most owners are unlikely to.
Performance & braking
The original 1000cc version was enlarged to 1100cc in 2015, which mostly gave it extra grunt. As such, with 175bhp and a fat 89ftlbs of torque, it’s powerful, fast and tractable. Indeed there’s probably no more potent supernaked. Tweaks for 2017 to get through Euro4 emissions regulations didn’t dull that performance at all, while Aprilia’s electronics (which include three riding modes, eight-stage traction control, wheelie and launch control, and more) remain among the best. Braking, meanwhile, comprises Brembo radial calipers biting on big 330mm discs. True superbike-standard stuff.
Ride & handling
Many super nakeds promise superbike handling, but don’t quite deliver. The Tuono Factory, does so and more and with its slick new Ohlins semi-active suspension is better than ever delivering an intelligent magic carpet ride with just the right amount of plushness and control and providing extra comfort and support when you really need it.
Owning high-end Italian exotica never comes cheap, whether it’s a Ducati, MV Agusta or Aprilia; and, the same is as true of top-spec super nakeds as it is of more familiar superbikes. By producing a hugely impressive 175bhp, the Tuono Factory has as big a hunger for consumables, such as fuel, tyres, brake pads and chain, as similarly-powered sports machines, while insurance is costly, too, as it sits in group 17. What’s more, Aprilia residuals have yet to match those from, say, BMW, Harley-Davidson or even Ducati while this new version also costs more than its predecessor, too.
Aprilias sometimes get mixed reviews due to a historical reputation for patchy spares and dealer support, among others. However its impressive V4 superbike family has proved generally reliable and the Tuono super naked has followed suit. Although it's complex and sophisticated, we’ve no major concerns and this is reinforced both by impressively high build quality and by the quality of components used, especially on this top-of-the-range Factory version.
Warranty & servicing
As with the previous version, there are no major concerns here. The Tuono 1100 Factory, like the rest of Aprilia’s line-up, benefits from the industry-standard 24 months/unlimited mileage manufacturer warranty for parts and labour. Service intervals are fairly typical, too, with major checks every 12,000 miles, although costs are higher than on less sophisticated machines because of the complexity and compactness of the machine.
Aprilias have a deserved reputation for pioneering high-tech, the Tuono’s never been exactly basic, the Factory version is the top of that particular tree and this new version is better still. You get the idea. So, as before there’s a top-notch TFT digital display, quality Brembo brakes, electronics which are among the best in the business and include traction and wheelies control, an up-and-down quickshifter, riding modes, launch control, pitlane limitar and even cruise control, while there’s now also semi-active suspension whereby rebound and compression damping are controlled by stepper motors and automatically adjust based on wheel speed, lean angle, IMU and rider aids intervention data.
Once upon a time super nakeds were the fairly crude, ‘streetfighter’ versions of superbikes, which ultimately lost out to their faired siblings in on-track performance. The Tuono changed all that and this latest Factory version raises the bar further still. Simply stunning both on road and on track, Aprilia’s greatest is also decently versatile, fabulously equipped and a true poster bike in its own right. All it lacks is quite the same kudos, dealer network and residuals as a Ducati. If it had those, then it’d be perfect!