First Ride: Aprilia Dorsoduro 900
Aprilia's updated Supermotard-Esq hooligan bike enters the modern age with a suite of electronics brought over from the Tuono and RSV4, a revised power-plant and confidence inspiring chassis to please inner hooligan.
I had two days to test Aprilia's Supermotard-Esq Dorsoduro, and what better road than the B500. 308kms of undulating, tight, twisting, double apex-ing turns, winding through valleys, mountains and forests, along rivers and past vineyards.
The blokes who forged the Great Alpine Road must have been motorcyclists.
The fun began after the town of Bairnsdale where the GAR starts off with some easy-to-settle-into sweepers, allowing me the time to get used to the Dorsoduro's upright riding position, a far cry from my ZX9 that I'm used to.
As the road tightened and sweepers flowed into hairpins, It didn't take much saddle time to realise how well designed the chassis is, Aprilia's development team nailed it. No matter how tight the corner was, if it caught me off guard, all I had to do was crank it over a little more, apply a bit of trail braking and find my line again.
The flat torque curve is made for roads like this, with very few long straights and just one corner after another there was no lag in the throttle response, no hunting for more top-end, just pure grin-factor acceleration on exits slingshotting you from one corner to the next.
Just point, shoot, lean and hammer down on the throttle and enjoy the flashing light display the colour TFT dash puts on, as the tacho climbs to the redline, revel in the swell of torque and then short-shift up a gear and do it all over again.
It turns the average rider into an apex-chasing lunatic.
On paper, you might think it lacks a bit of kick in the power/torque figures, but you have to realise, unlike say a 160hp naked supersport, the Dorsoduro's power and torque delivery is all useable, and with its sublime, agile handling it's a four-banger hunter through and through.
The Dorsoduro is a fun-filled bike that provokes outlandish behaviour in a controllable manner. It’s the type of bike that might suit someone coming over from a dirt bike background, or the sportbike rider who’s after the same thrills but with a more comfortable riding position. Either way, you’re guaranteed to step off the Dorsoduro with a grin like a Chesire cat.