Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory Review: God of Thunder

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Added in: Aprilia

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Looking at the silhouette of clouds rising up from the horizon, and the exhaust note that resembled thunder still echoing in my ears, I recalled the two fun filled days which I had spent astride the 175 hp Italian stallion. Equipped with all the bells and whistle from top of the shelf, this warhorse came from the house of Aprilia Motorcycles, the Tuono V4 1100 Factory. Oh, and in case you are wondering, the Tuono literally means “Thunder” in Italian.

The clock ticked closer to sunrise while I was thinking about the motorcycle, excited and intimidated at the same time when the long hand of the clock pointed at 12 and the short hand stood at 5. Here I was, not able to blink an eye in excitement throughout the night, ready to leave my home and spend the Valentine’s weekend with a motorcycle that I had seen only in videos and on my desktop background.

Images: Chirag Mondal

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Ride Experience: Our road tester Karan Tripathi shares his views about the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory

From the hilly locales of Lavasa to the misty forested roads of Mahabaleshwar, the Tuono Factory grabbed the attention of every living soul surrounding it. As one of the perks for being a motoring journo, we got an over 400 km ride experience on one of the most tech-laden, yet elegant and easy to ride litre-class motorcycles out there.

Pulling the bike out from the showroom saw at least a dozen onlookers curiously admiring the Venetian beauty. PYTs riding pillion dropped their sunglasses in awe while their rider friends on their puny economuters, bore an envious yet desirous look on their faces. This hooligan in disguise, draped in Superpole livery, triggers and amplifies the formation of dopamine in the brain. While Aprilia calls the Tuono V4 1100 Factory a supernaked, the motorcycle gets a semi-fairing which acts as a guarding angel against those massive windblasts that come by aplenty as you climb up the speed ladder. More on that later.

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The engine on the Tuono has a heavy appetite and the 18 litre fuel tank is the perfect platter for it, and it’s a neatly carved unit. While doing speeds that should land you in jail, or hospital, depending on your riding skills or temperament, that sculpted fuel tank lets you lock your legs in just the perfect position to cling on to the motorcycle. Crouching against the windblast is ridiculously comfortable as you lay your chest on that chiseled fuel tank.

As signature on the masterpiece it has created, Aprilia has splattered the V4 powered monument with its name, thus ensuring every mortal who looks at the Tuono knows the name of its masterful maker. The throne on this machine is a well thought out unit as well, providing ample room for riders of all shapes and sizes. It also has enough room for the rider to slightly slide back and crouch better while going into motion warp.

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My colleague and I had a slightly different take on the design with him not being inclined towards the way the motorcycle looked. On my part, on the contrary, I loved almost every bit of the design, right to the last nut and bolt. Sure, it might not be as exotic to look at as some of its compatriots but I’m a man of simple choices and that design is just about perfect for my functional, no-fuss inclinations.

If I, however, really had to point a few things that I disliked, I would say that the headlight requires some improvement. The upper beam comprises a single illumination unit that is flanked by the two low beam headlights and the arrangement doesn’t work as well as one would want it to, especially at speeds that the Tuono can effortlessly attain in within a blink of an eye.

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The switchgear quality is commendable, though we missed the hazard light switch. Also, for the amount of money one has to shell out for the motorcycle, I would have preferred forged aluminium wheels instead of cast wheels and an actual carbon fibre fender on the Tuono. It’s not that the forged wheels and the carbon fibre fender would have had a drastic effect on the performance but such things do help earn a few more bragging rights.

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Cosmetically, the Tuono V4 1100 Factory isn’t as radical as some of the other Italian machines but it still stands apart from the crowd, especially in that Superpole livery

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The switchgear is easily accessible and doesn’t require you stretching the thumb too much, translating into great ease of use while fiddling with the electronics on the fly. A hazard light switch could have been a good addition. The high beam switch has been smartly clubbed with the “Pass” light button.

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The value input switch sits right below the left-side switchgear. You can set traction control, wheelie control, ABS level and launch control using the plus/minus switch

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The compact LCD display shows all the required information, and much more. Daylight visibility is pretty appreciable too.

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The compact, “A” shaped tail light sits right below the pillion seat.

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The pillion seat may not appear to be of  much use but it was surprisingly comfortable. 

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Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tyres are the perfect tool for track and around canyons, providing fantastic grip at all times. You wouldn’t, however, want to go over uneven surfaces with this pair though. The odometer on the test motorcycle read nearly 2,500 km, yet the tyres appeared to be pretty healthy!

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That dual tone exhaust pipe, black and silver, gels well with the Superpole Livery of the Tuono V4 1100 Factory.

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Brembo brakes with three stage Race ABS developed in collaboration with Bosch is the most potent combination to bring this raging thunder to a halt

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That’s how the key to a treasure trove of thrill and excitement looks like 

Cosmetically, the motorcycle somewhat resembles the Aprilia RSV-4 RF limited edition. The two machines are, however, worlds apart in terms of character. So, after a good initial photo session of the motorcycle, we turned towards Lavasa, the place which possible holds the Indian record for the most number of superbike shoots.

Engine, Performance and Braking

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Turn on the key and a Tuono V4 welcome screen flashes on the LCD, along with over half a dozen indicators that lighten up to greet you. The instrument cluster displays a plethora of information including:

  • Analogue Tachometer
  • Speedometer
  • Engine Temperature
  • Time
  • Ride mode
  • Traction Control level
  • Odometer
  • Trip meter
  • Ride time
  • Top Speed achieved
  • Average speed
  • Average fuel consumption per 100 kms
  • Fuel gauge
  • Menu with following settings: Language, Settings, A-PRC settings, Lap Timer, Calibration and Diagnosis

You can also switch into race display by long holding the mode button on the switch gear to the right side. This mode would display your lap time, ride mode, traction control level, speed and temperature. Wheelie control, launch control and ABS can be adjusted in this mode.

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It was time to ride!

The key for this mystical machine felt as though I was holding the Mjolnir in my hands. Shoving my right thumb into the start switch brought the motorcycle to life as fuel ran through the veins of the Tuono V4 1100 Factory into its 1077 cc 65° V4 heart and a grunty roar filled the environment. The new Tuono gets engine has been re-bored from 78 mm to 81 mm. This has resulted in  an increase in displacement with a peak power increment to 175 hp from the previous 170. The crankshaft has also been tweaked and now has connecting rod pins reduced to 36 mm in diameter. The pistons too are new and the Pankl connecting rods are lighter, thus tipping the scale nearly half a kilogram lower than the previous model.

Don’t expect the bass filled hum of the inline fours. Like a thunderclap, this V4 surprises, at times scares, the mortals.

As intimidating that engine may sound, the V4 on that Tuono is one of the most rider friendly motors out there. The peak power of 175 hp is produced at 11,000 clicks while the peak torque of 120 Nm comes in at 9,000. But that does not necessarily mean that you have to keep the engine on the boil all the time. You can ride at as low as 2,000-3,000 rpm in reasonably high gears, cruising at city speeds or crawling through bumper to bumper doesn’t require any effort on the Tuono’s part. Get past the 5,000 rpm mark and the exhaust note starts to turn violent and the sound just gets merrier as you climb up the rev-band. The engine sounds like a crack of thunder from the heavens above; a petrol head’s exhilarating wet dream, a bed wetting phenomenon for the noobs.

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Whack your right wrist and that engine would make you attain meteoric speeds at the blink of an eye. There are three Wheelie Control levels, third one being the safest. Even at its lowest levels, the tech works rather effectively, though it wouldn’t be sufficient to help the overenthusiastic rookies from flipping over. The 6-speed transmission, as it always should on such machines comes equipped with a quick shifter. The Quick Shift electronic gearbox allows you for ultra-fast shifting without closing the throttle or using the clutch. All you have to do is upshift using the gear lever and let the electronics handle the rest. The fuel supply is cut just for a fraction of a second as the gearbox climbs up the ladder to give you the best possible result. But if you like it old-school, using the clutch isn’t as tiring as many of the performance motorcycles out there.

The Tuono can hit the ton with the tachometer needle pointing at about 4,000-5,000 rpm in the top gear, with another 7000 revs to go. You get three ride modes – Track, Sport and Road, all three modes allowing a discharge of the full 175 hp peak output but with varying throttle response and engine braking. We spent most of the time on the Sport mode with occasional, adrenaline filled Track setting on empty stretches of tarmac. It’s advisable to stick to the Sport until you are properly accustomed to the motorcycle, as Track mode does require some skills, letting this monster show its fangs which are otherwise concealed behind its Italian visage.

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The Tuono can go fast, really fast, and you need a solid anchor to bring this mayhem on wheels to a halt and Aprilia installed one of the best hardware and software out there. A set of Brembo brakes with three stage Race ABS that has been developed in collaboration with Bosch provide the stopping power and is possibly the most potent combination to perform the task. Double 320mm discs with aluminum flange Brembo M432 mono-block radial calipers and metal braid line upfront and a 220 mm single disc new Brembo caliper pump with integrated tank and metal braid brake pipe at the rear perform the braking duties. Add to that the saving grace of God in the form of aPRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) and the Tuono V4 1100 Factory comes across one of the most forgiving motorcycle out there on the Indian tarmac.

Apart from the three stage ABS, the aPRC system comprises of an eight level traction control – adjustable on the fly and a three level wheelie control. The aPRC system also gets a launch control for the best acceleration off the line. The 9MP system also uses Rear wheel Lift-up Mitigation (RLM) which moderates rear wheel lift under abrupt braking. The RLM system can be used in three adjustable settings and can also be turned-off completely.

Ergonomics and Handling

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Something that is as visually appealing and mechanically strong as the Tuono v4 1100 Factory is expected to ride and handle with utmost precision and so it does. This has been achieved by a minor tweak in the chassis. What Aprilia has done is that they have changed the headstock angle from 25.1° to 24.7° while the trail went from 107.4 mm to 99.7 mm. Add to the mix an aluminum swing arm that is now 6 mm longer and you have a motorcycle that introduces you to levels of flickability nimbleness which you may not ever have experienced with the crop of the other, lesser litre class machines.

There is one small problem, though. The Tuono, with a seat height of 825mm, is slightly on the taller side. So if you are anything below 5’7”, your feet might might not reach the ground as easily as you’d probably want them to. Pulling the motorcycle backwards is also a relatively tiring task due to that height and a wet weight of 472 lb or 215 kg.

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While much eulogized, and rightly so in places, Lavasa also has its own set of blind corners and hair pins which aren’t exactly the best conditions for a litre class sportbike to be unleashed. Initially, we were somewhat skeptical to ride the Tuono V4 1100 Factory around some of the bends, but the Italian machine alleviated our apprehensions with its razor sharp precision and a rider friendly engine that revved happily and had ample grunt in store across its entire range.

As we spoke in the performance segment, the Tuono can accelerate hard enough to push your eyeballs into their sockets in ridiculously low amounts of time. But crouch on that massive fuel tank and let the semi-fairing take care of the windblasts as you propel yourself towards the horizon. From carving canyons to tackling slow moving city traffic, the Tuono would not let you down. Adding to its razor sharp cornering abilities is the super sticky pair of Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tyres that provide colossal amounts of grip at all times.

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The riding position is surprisingly upright for this kind of a focused machine. Inexplicably, though, Aprilia have managed to make that riding position work in a manner that never hampers you as you maraud those corners. The fantastic ride quality offers the proverbial icing on the cake, and is complemented well enough by the saddle, which, again, is one of the best out there with a heavy padding and offering great comfort during those long rides. The rider seat, to my surprise, was longer than most of the split seat motorcycles I have ridden and one can easily slide back on the saddle, while crouching at high speeds. Pillion seat, which may appear rather compact, does a decent task too.

Comfort levels are right up there. The suspension duties are performed by one of the best hardware in the market, Öhlins. Up front are inverted 43mm gas-charged shock absorber while the rear gets Öhlins Racing monoshock that soak in uneven surfaces with utmost ease. The motorcycle is an absolute treat to ride and I really do not see any reason why the Tuono should not earn top points in the comfort department.

What’s the final word?

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Meeting the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory was like falling in love with motorcycling all over again. After returning it, I distinctly remember myself constantly looking back at it as I walked away from the showroom, wishing it were with me for a longer duration. The Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory is one of those things in life that motivate you to work hard, make tons of money so one of these machines can be parked in your garage.

The simple and elegant design, the massive 1077 cc 65° V4 and the aPRC system are spot on and make the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory a worthy piece of equipment for everyday ride while holding enough firepower and excitement to quench even the biggest of the egos.

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At a price tag of Rs 21 lakh (ex-showroom Pune), the Tuono is slightly on the expensive side. But for that amount you get a motorcycle that is one of the most mechanically strong and desirable machines out there in the market today. Would I buy it? Well, I have already started an account that is reserved for the Tuono.

Meet the Tuono V4 1100 Factory through the image gallery below. Do let us know your views about the motorcycle and the review through the comments section below.

ENGINE
Engine typeAprilia 65° V4, 4-strokes, with double overhead camshaft /DOHC), four valves per cylinder. Ride By Wire with 3 engine mappings (Track, Sport, Race)
Capacity1077 cc
Max power (at crankshaft)175 HP (129 kW) at 11,000 rpm
Max torque (at crankshaft)88.5 ft lb (120 Nm) at 9,000 rpm
Fuel systemAirbox with front dynamic air intakes. 4 Weber-Marelli Ø48-mm throttle bodies with 4 injectors and latest generation Ride-by-Wire engine management. Choice of three different engine maps selectable by the rider with bike in motion: T (Track), S (Sport), R (Race)
COOLING
Coolingliquid
CHASSIS / SUSPENSION / BRAKES
Front suspensionÖhlins adjustable steering damper.
Öhlins upside-down fork, Ø43mm stems. Fully adjustable spring preload, hydraulic compression. Wheel travel: 120 mm
Rear suspensionÖhlins Racing monoshock with piggy-back, fully adjustable in: spring preload, wheelbase length, hydraulics in compression and rebound. APS progressive linkages. Wheel travel: 130 mm
Front brakeDouble Ø320mm disc with aluminum flange. Brembo M432 mono-block radial calipers and metal braid line.
Rear brakeØ220 mm disc. New Brembo caliper. Pump with integrated tank and metal braid brake pipe.
ABSMulti-map Bosch 9MP ABS (3 Track, Sport, Rain + Off), deactivable and with RLM (Rear wheel Lift-up Mitigation).
Wheels3 spoke – 3.5”X17” aluminum alloy wheel. Rear: 3 spoke – 6.00”X17” aluminum alloy wheel
Front tireRadial tubeless. 120/70 ZR 17
Rear tireRadial tubeless. 200/55 ZR 17
FrameAluminium dual beam chassis with pressed and cast sheet elements.
DIMENSIONS
Max. Height42.9 in. (1090 mm)
Seat height32.5 in. (825 mm)
Fuel tank capacity4.9 gal.
WARRANTY / ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE / APPROVAL
WarrantyAll 2016 and newer Aprilia Motorcycles include a 2-year unlimited-mileage warranty. *Limits are outlined in the warranty booklet. See dealer for details
Roadside Assistance1 Free Year of Road Side Assistance provided by Road America
ApprovalEPA and CARB.
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