I took the Tuono back home to my parents house from Lex, KY to Orion, IL (~490mi one way) over Memorial Day weekend and thought I'd give a little update for a long ride review.
Being just shy of 1k miles round-trip I thought it'd be a perfect opportunity to showcase or endure the Tuono's touring capabilities, short-comings, and strong-points.
Going with it's upright and commanding seating position and bar feel, I had an inkling that it would be a decent touring machine and I wasn't disappointed. The upright seating and position of the bars is very comfortable for long rides of subjecting yourself to the interstate disease with such a great feel for the road.
I had previously bought some soft saddle bags and tail bag for the 919 and was eager to try them out on the Tuono and see how they'd fit. Having used the tail bag before when I picked it up, I knew it wouldn't be a problem, however the saddle bags might pose a threat to the gorgeous Titanium exhaust cans that are mounted on mine. Luckily, there was no interference with the saddle bags and the cinched up quite nice and tight to the body, leaving not much, if any wiggle room or play. I was pretty pleased at how my set-up worked and even more so that I don't have to buy a different configuration of bags for these long trips.
Cruising up to and maintaining interstate speeds is third nature for this beast, second being it's desire for twisties. The suspension, ride, and feel on the interstate is dead smooth and absolutely begs for as many miles as you and your behind can put it through. A slight misgiving is it's gearing though; 5th gear has plenty of power and acceleration from 70mph, without being too buzzy in the RPM's to make it uncomfortable. However, shifting to 6th and keeping that 70-75 mph zone bogs the engine down and causes it to chug quite unhappily during the need of quick acceleration.
Therefore it leaves you with a choice, cruise the suggested speed limits or, kick it up in gear and speed. Since I am part of the, oh 90% of the world that doesn't cruise the interstate at
the speed limit, I decided to go up to 6th and keep a steady speed of ~85-90mph. Doing so completely softens the beast and turns it into a long distance tourer. The miles fly by with the silky smooth suspension and power. That conscious decision not to take it faster comes in again and you have to remember that being in 6th and cruising along comfortably already means that you're doing ~20 over the speed limit. Eating up the miles and getting into the mindset of cruising the interstate is fairly easy as the vibrations and quips of the V-Twin smooth themselves out and happily carry you along for the ride. Even more so with having the fly screen to tuck behind. It is no chore to accelerate quickly in 6th and find yourself doing 120+, realizing it only after looking down at the digital display. For the record, the bike, with a full load of saddle-bags & tail-bag, (I would approximate 50lbs worth overall) and a 220lbs rider will do 163mph and be DEAD SOLID
without any lack of control or feeling of instability. *Note* (163 was uncorrected, though I passed a construction site radar @ 100mph and the bike was off only 2-3mph)
I mounted a 'Laminar Lip' fly screen to the small headlight fairing already on the bike and enjoyed it's offering of a bit of wind-break. However, at the chosen speed of 85mph, it didn't do a whole lot of good until I tucked down behind it and cruised along. Doing so, provides a nice little pocket of dead air where you can rest yourself on the tank, look up through the screen and cruise for miles. Lifting your head above the screen at 90 can give you a bit of a wind-shock, but it's nothing that anyone used to riding naked bikes hasn't succumbed to before.
The seating position, though upright and with comfortable arm position, quickly turns tiring after 100+ miles and my butt started to get a little antsy for a break. Unfortunately, for my 6' height, the slightly high foot-pegs and configuration of the passenger pegs do not offer much of change in foot position to rectify a cramp or lax foot position. I tried kicking my feet back to the passenger's, but they are mounted too high for me to use them and the alternation between resting my arch and the balls of my feet on the rider's pegs was getting tiring. Additionally, I found out quickly that placing the balls of my feet on the rider's pegs subjects the heels of my boots to the exhaust tube behind them and when I wasn't being careful, melted quite a bit of my boot onto the pipes.
Lastly, gas mileage. The V-Twin engine does gobble through gas a bit more than other bikes I've owned. However, the Tuono's 5.8 gal tank is quite large for it's class and with the low to mid ~30mpg I was getting, it is quite possible to get 170-180 miles out of a tank. On the trip I averaged about 34mpg and was able to see 155miles before I decided to stop for gas, even then only putting 4.9 gallons in the tank. Not bad for my size and with a load of gear. Slightly annoying at first, but easily figured and adjusted for with math, is the fuel warning light. The manufacturer states there is a 18liter tank with a 4 liter reserve. (~4.8 gals with 1gal reserve) and that the warning light comes on when 4.5 gals have been consumed +/- 1gal. Well, my light was coming on just over 100mi and at first a worry, I quickly figured out that my Tuono's light seems to come on around 3.6 gals consumed leaving me almost 2 more gallons of reserve. (I found this by fueling immediately after the light came on) It's not much of a nuisance, but just takes a little figuring for how much you can actually do on a tank.
Overall, I know the Tuono was never built or conceived to be a long distance touring machine, but I think it fairs quite nicely. It is no FJR or Concours, but it is
(and then some) what naked bikes can be; versatile. There is plenty of room with a larger rear-end to affix tail and saddle bags with gobs of clearance. The seat is fairly comfortable, much more comfortable than a stock 919 and even more so than an upgraded Sargent seat on an S3, though few may argue, I stand by the fact that some are just more well-endowed than others. With an upgraded seat, and for me, slightly lower foot-pegs, it could very well be a fine sport-tourer. With the suspension, travel, and ride being silky smooth for long stints as long as you feel comfortable cruising well above the speed limit, I don't see any reason why I wouldn't feel more than comfortable taking it on even longer rides.
Long distance ride highlights:
- Footpegs slightly high and not many options for adjusting foot position
- Seat uncomfortable after 100+ miles
- 5th/6th gear cruising choice. (To speed or to bog? Your call)
- Gas mileage/light
- Boot melt on pipes (I'll be fixing with some heat wrap)
- Decent comfort on stock seat
- Commanding feel/ride
- Plenty of room for gear
- Suspension/Ride/Power at faster speed
- Great stability at speed with full gear
- Eats up the miles at a happy cruise speed
- Fly screen definitely a plus for long trips
My get-up. Fieldsheer saddle-bags and a Nelson-Rigg tail bag.
Convenient mounting to the passenger foot-peg bracket. You can see some of the 'boot-melt' on the pipe.
Just enough room for my chunky ass
Just because...Jared is still upset that he is slower