Well, after my Upgrade Comparison scribble found here , I couldn’t shake the itch, and I found myself buying the Tuono. I have had a request by a fellow rider to do a bit of a ‘post 1 month of ownership’ review, so here we go.
Gosh, where to start. So I purchased the bike from Adam at Causeway Aprilia. He was (and is) an absolute pleasure to deal with. I wasn’t going to name names here, but I am a really, really big fan of dealing with nice people (something I find rarer and rarer these days), and Adam is an example of this. The purchasing procedure was really great, I walked away with what I considered to be an acceptable deal.
I should mention what I got with the bike. Akrapovic are the exhausts that Aprilia have a deal with, something that didn’t bother me in the slightest as I think Akrapovic are of the best quality you can buy. It was a bit of a decision for me, as I also absolutely love the Scorpion shorty that you can get for the Tuono, but I’ll explain my choice. The Akrapovic pipes (whether you opt for the slipon, or full system) come with something I (and many, many Tuono/RSV4 riders) consider to be almost compulsory, which is the code to unlock the ‘race map’ on the bike. To purchase this separately it is around $600 (around that price anyway). I opted for the slipon for my bike, as it comes with a normal link pipe, and a de-cat link pipe (hurray), and also the race map unlocked. The race map changes the bike. When I road my first Tuono V4 somewhere else, it had the standard exhaust on it, the normal mapping, and it just wasn’t the same. The race map adjusts the fuelling so it is much nicer down low, and everything feels better, from pottering around to hard accelerating. The Akra slipon and the race map were the only accessories I got with the bike.
The Tuono experience:
I’m going to start off with what I consider to be my very, very few ‘bad’ points about the bike. I say ‘bad’, in the same way it is ‘bad’ that the unbelievably gorgeous girl you’re lucky enough to be falling on repeatedly doesn’t enjoy orally satisfying your man-cumber (ie. You’re still having sex with an unbelievably gorgeous girl).
Firstly, I found first gear to be horrendously long for a naked/road bike. After reading around the digital information zone, I found many people with similar feelings, and it seemed either adding a couple of teeth on the back or dropping one on the front was the way to go, so I ordered a 15t sprocket for the front. This is now installed, and I am hugely satisfied with it. Please don’t read this as “my 160HP machine needed more acceleration”, I made this change because I wanted the gearing a little more road friendly, and it drops the top speed by around 10 km/h, and I don’t see me worrying about going 270 instead of 280.
I have heard people complain about the seat on the Tuono, but to them I say, go and sit on a standard Street Triple for 4 hours, and then come and complain to me. I don’t have an issue with the seat, at all. It’s hard, but for some reason it doesn’t hurt my ass, it’s tapered and seems to just be designed very well.
Like every (newer) bike I have ridden, there is a point in the rev range that it doesn’t quite like. For the Tuono it pretty exactly 4500rpm. I think this may be where the emissions standards change, or something of that nature, because it is rough. Before or after that point it is perfect, but within that 100 rpm, it is unsure of itself.
The only other negative thing I have experienced with my Italian Stalion is a starting issue, which I have read has happened to a few people, and is heat related. The Tuono does run quite hot, and a number of people are reporting ‘hot start issues’. I rang Adam and mentioned this, got an instant reply, and told me to bring it in immediately so they can have a look. The diagnostic tool reported a ‘voltage fault’, and it appears a faulty battery was to blame, so that was replaced and I was back on my bike the same day. Others have reported that their starter motor was at fault, but it is too early to tell if this will reoccur. What I do appreciate is the promptness and eagerness Adam and Shaun (the Aprilia mechanic) addressed my concerns. On that noted, one thing that always concerns me is who services my bike. I can obviously take care minor services and oil changing, but for warranty required services, I want to know who is touching my woman. Shaun assures me that when my bike comes in, he, and ONLY he makes sweet love to my Toblerone. I like this. If another man puts his hands my girl, I would prefer to know that he is kind, gentle, and knows what he is doing.
The bike is magnificent. I’m not going to lie about it, I fucking love it. Every time I look at it, think about it, hear it, imagine sitting on it, touch it, lick it, I smile. The attention to detail on the bike is fantastic. The welding on the frame is simply a work of art. I have had the front fairings off the bike to fit my radiator/oil guards (which was harder than scratching the back of your hand with the same hand) and everything is so nice. The only thing I saw, which I put down to Giuseppe wanting to get off early to take his Mum to the Opera) was a bit of incomplete painting on the inside of one of the fairings, which you can’t see, ever. I don’t mind inconsistencies like this, it’s Italian, have you seen how they order food in road stops? Enough said.
My friend and I often joke that Italian motorbikes are a representation of Italian people, and share their (generalised and stereotypical) characteristics. Vibrant, a little unpredictable, a little crazy, but very special. When my bike wouldn’t start, I laughed and said to my friend (while pretending to smoke a rolley between my thumb and index finger) in my best Italian accent, “Naow, I will do it a leetle laiyta boss”. The bike is noisy, the slipper clutch and hydraulic cam chain tensioners make it rattle and donk, it’s normal, and I love it. To be honest, when you press that button and you hear that engine roar to life, you forget about all important things, what your name is, why you like women (or men), or why Sarah Palin is allowed to procreate, let alone breath. The sound is intoxicating. At idle, or when you’re exercising your right to control wind speed, you are experiencing bliss via every sense you have.
The more I ride the bike, the more I get used to it, and this makes me appreciate this bike more. It is a bike that you can’t jump on and ‘baby’. I think it’s important to distinguish that I am not saying you need to ‘ride the tits off it’, what I mean is, you need to be confident with it. With my Street Triple, it wasn’t important, it road the same whether you were confident, tired, or a bit smelly. The Tuono performs best when you are the boss, that is when you start to really feel at one with the machine. Every day I find myself a little more ‘in tune’ with my Italian mistress.
As far as I am concerned, and I really am trying to be unbiased here, you can’t really fault the equipment that comes with the bike. The traction control is state of the art, the brakes are absolutely fantastic, the quick shifter is smoother than a lady’s bosom, the engine is just stunning. The acceleration is just stupid, I don’t know how else to describe it, it’s so hideously powerful, it feels like you can’t go as fast as it can because you can’t hang on. It’s a thrill.
I hope this hasn’t been a complete waste of time, and it has been of benefit to someone. I know I love reading peoples experiences on their machines, so this is just ‘another’ one of those.
The Tuono is expensive, and in fact, the most money I have ever spent on anything. But testament to how unbelievably happy I am with it, I have never once had a thought of regret or buyer’s remorse. It continues to dazzle me, and I am thoroughly, thoroughly in love.
Happy to answer any questions.
Thanks for reading, ride safe, enjoy the open road, and I hope to see you out there some time.