Aprilia Dorsoduro

Aprilia_Dorsoduro_09

By Kevin Ash


Pictures: Aprilia Press




You’d expect a road bike based on Aprilia’s world supermoto championship winning V-twins to be a raw, uncompromising beast of a machine with little real world use except scaring people, rider and all. That seems to be pretty much what Aprilia would like you to think too, which is why the gorgeous Dorsoduro 750 is almost disappointingly versatile. I say almost because it’s a much better bike for being usable, especially as it hasn’t lost too many of its wilder genes.

Aprilia_Dorsoduro_13Click on image for galleryIt’s the looks that beguile initially, and genes play a part here too as the Dorsoduro is the first Aprilia styled by creator of the Ducati Monster, Miguel Galluzzi, arguably the most enduring design of the 1990s, and certainly one of the most influential. When the Monster first appeared many people were referring to it as a retro, simply because the only naked, style-conscious bikes we had then were retros, there wa s nothing else quite like the Monster. Like the Monster, the Dorsoduro has poise, purpose, and visual balance, but unlike the Ducati it’s dripping with aggression too. And thanks to Aprilia’s high build standards it’s convincingly put together as well. Swing a leg across the reasonably comfortable seat (another supermoto surprise) and there’s a substantial feel which continues when the bike’s fired up and rolling. The suspension is firm almost to a fault, keeping the front end well controlled in severe braking but kicking around on poor surfaces, especially while leaned over, but once you get used to the bike shifting and shimmying it doesn’t develop into anything worse and ends up adding to the sensation that you’re really pushing things and having fun.

Aprilia_Dorsoduro_10In fact the bike’s agility can be breathtaking, far better than you’d expect of the claimed dry weight of 410lb (186kg) which speaks volumes for the integrity and balance of the chassis, and it’s helped by the natural, commanding riding position, even if this is inevitably windblown at speed. The payback is the sensitivity at high speeds (very post legal ones...) when any movement affecting the rider, such as wind buffeting, translates through the bars as wobbles and shimmies. So relax your grip on them and the bike steadies instantly, but it’s no long distance motorway tool, as the fuel tank confirms, with the low level warning flashing at you after less than two gallons have been consumed. The on-board mpg gauge is desperately optimistic too, telling me I’d achieved 44mpg when the Shell pump said it was closer to 36mpg in mixed riding.

Aprilia_Dorsoduro_08That limits the bike to commuting and weekend fun rides, but a Dorsoduro customer wouldn’t be expecting anything else anyway, and boy those rides can be fun... The engine is operated by a full fly-by-wire system which offers three settings: sport, touring and rain. Where the Japanese go for a normal setting and two softer ones, the Dorsoduro’s middle setting is the best for everyday use, especially around town, as the sport setting is pretty aggressive and makes trickling through traffic and pootling about hard work with the bike feeling like a bulldog straining at the leash – holding a steady slow speed takes some pretty delicate throttle control. But when you’re in the mood it’s fabulous, crisp and punchy backed up by a growling, blood curdling exhaust note that makes you wonder if Aprilia don’t have some dodgy pictures of the noise emissions tester on a weekend away. This is a much better use of the facility to alter power characteristics, as you really do use the switch rather than just tell people about it in the pub.

The bike has limitations but only generic supermoto ones and these don’t interfere with general riding as much as they should. What it offers is glorious handling and a cracking good engine packaged in some fabulous looks.


The_Sandman
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Joined: 07/08/2009

Hi Kevin!

I've been reading through some of your articles and they are great.
If you've taken the Shiver 750 for a spin, could you do write up on that too?

kevash
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Joined: 05/10/2008

Hi Sandman!
Yup, it'll be the Shiver 750 GT in fact as I rode that recently, and the Mana GT too. I'm on holiday at the mo but I'll see if I can post it on here anyway shortly. In short, it's a high spec, sophisticated bike but the engine's relatively soft and suits the GT role better than the naked bike where it's not quite exciting enough.

sv20man
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Joined: 21/03/2010

Can't find the Shiver 750 GT review. Is it up somewhere?

kevash
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Joined: 05/10/2008

I'm doing a big catch-up in the coming week, a lot of features and so on are backed up as I've been very busy with some other projects, but I'll try to get that up during next week. It should be obvious once it's there, flagged on the home page and listed in the Bike Tests page.

sv20man
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Joined: 21/03/2010

Thanks Kev.

ariwerf
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Joined: 01/11/2010

Hi Kevin

Any chance of your words on the Shiver GT

kevash
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Joined: 05/10/2008

Ah yes, now what's my excuse for taking this long? Hmm, can't find a good one, I'll put that story up as soon as I can! If it's not there soon, give me a nudge again please...

ariwerf
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Joined: 01/11/2010

Having read your review of the Dorsoduro again and some of the comments on the forum I think I put it ahead of Shiver so a test ride is in the frame.

With any luck I can get a ride on both.

Fingers crossed.

kevash
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Joined: 05/10/2008

Don't make it a long test ride or you'll need to refuel...

ariwerf
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Joined: 01/11/2010

Yes I spotted your comments, I did not want to discount the bike on that issue alone.
That said if I end up with a bike with limited range the opportunity to take the p... out of some of my mates will be a thing of the past.
Versys ticks a lot of boxes.
Remind me again why am I looking at other bikes......
I just read the link on naked bikes, one issue thats slightly bothering me is as I like to get a move on and the wind blast when your nudging 100mph.
I know its a spitting blood issue but I think naked with a mini screen is a potential compromise.
I got the taste of relief from the wind blast when I flopped down on the tank and got behind the screen
This was on a prolonged stint on the M6 after a day in the saddle.
I immeadiatly got an inkling of the protection that I assuume a sportsbike achieves.
Selections on bikes seem to always include some sort of compromise.
Good enit.

ariwerf
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Joined: 01/11/2010

Kev.

Spotted the Shiver GT review.

Well done.

Will let all know the outcome of my test rides.

Both the Shiver GT and the Dorsoduro 750 if I am lucky.

silvercub
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Joined: 01/04/2010

Ariwerf,

I've posted a comment on my experience with the Shiver at
http://www.ashonbikes.com/forum/aprilia-dorsoduro-factory-and-2010-shiver

The Dorsi is great too but probably not for touring.

Have fun & let us know how it went.

ariwerf
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Joined: 01/11/2010

Silvercub
Thanks.
I did read your comments
Together with Kevs reviews and comments by forum members you I am finding this journey to selecting a replacement bike quite rewarding.
Getting to trial bikes is up there in the process.
Based on my bike use, touring is not an issue as yet although I might get 4 day spin round the Lakes in 2011.
I am into back lane spins 50-70 miles, 1 day spins 200+ miles, and the odd track based training days.
I will try my first open track day at Cadwell in March 2011.
Looking forward to that.