AMCN 2016 Motorcycle Of The Year – Aprilia 1100 Tuono Factory | Bike Tests | Latest Tests | Top Sellers in Australia
Just a couple of months ago (Vol 66 No 09) we pitted the standard model Tuono RR against some mightily strong competition in our big supernakeds group test. Although it was pipped at the post in that shootout, we wondered how the top spec Tuono RF (F for ‘Factory’ edition) would have stacked up. With the Achilles heel of the RR being its lower-spec and overly soft suspension, we knew the Öhlins-equipped Factory model simply had to be on our MOTY list. Getting hold of one of these exotic pieces of mechanical art isn’t easy, as they tend to be sold well ahead of arriving on our shores. But get one we did, and suffice to say we weren’t disappointed.
The Tuono Factory is three grand more than the RR, but is worth every penny of the premium. Far from being the same Tuono with fancy brand names and a race replica paint job, the Factory rides like a completely different motorcycle. A motorcycle which has few if any equals in terms of pure street sports-riding performance. What … a … weapon!
The closest thing I can compare it to is a former AMCN Motorcycle of the Year, BMW’s S1000R. The Tuono RF shares the German in-line four’s phenomenally sharp handling, and both bikes induce a front-end faith which is the closest I’ve been to understanding religion. But the luscious Italian V4 aces the Beamer screamer with smoother, more soulful and greater overall power output, plus greater torque and improved grip at the rear. As far as performance streetbikes go, the Factory package is obscenely good. My advice for anyone lucky enough to be on the waiting list for the next batch of Tuono Factorys landing in Oz, is fear for your licence, but prepare to know life on a new high.
Even if the Tuono was only defined by its engine, it would still be an amazingly desirable object. What Aprilia has done with the latest 1100cc incarnation of its V4 is nothing short of spectacular. More power than anything in its class, and a delivery so linear you could iron a shirt on it. Its rulered dyno trace and smooth acceleration remind me of another legendary V4, Honda’s WSBK winning RC45.
The Tuono Factory is one of those rare bikes that connects with everyone who tries it, and makes them all feel like better, faster, and safer riders. There are other bikes which are more user-friendly in their application of technology, more comfortable, and definitely more attainable. But when you strip everything away and analyse the raw experience of just riding a winding road for pure pleasure, the Tuono has got the magic.
MOTY 2016 was one of the closest fought ever. Just two points out of a maximum possible score of 64 separated our winner the Aprilia 1100 Tuono Factory from the Ducati XDiavel S in second place, with Yamaha’s MT-10 in third place a mere three points behind.
The XDiavel scored top points from three judges, with both the Tuono and MT-10 topping the list of two judges. The only other bike to gain top spot from one of our judging panel was the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. The Aprilia, however, was the only bike to feature in every judge’s top four, proving it has universal appeal and an ability to connect with and impress a wide range of riders. This swung the final scores in its favour.
Even though ownership is but a dream for those of us who voted it Motorcycle of the Year, the experience of riding the Tuono Factory is a memory which is sure to linger long in those dreams. It is a benchmark for streetbike performance, and is one of the most invigorating and intoxicating motorcycles ever created.
The late night post-ride discussions over ales unveiled another side to the MOTY 2016 story, one which only goes to cement the final results. Even most of those who vowed to lay their Motorcycle of the Year vote elsewhere, still admitted the Tuono was the bike they would own if money were no object.