Tuono Ride Review
Let's just start with this premise; I bought a bike without having ever seen it, heard it, touched it, or sat on it. I bought a bike based off of reviews, plenty of research, and hours of owner's forum trolling and youtube video watching. Until just a few weeks ago, I had never even seen this particular bike in person and the rare meeting at Deal's Gap while riding the 919, I was sold.
It's something to read reviews and owner commentary about how awesome a bike is, taking each positive with the negative, making your own pro and con list, then forming an opinion without ever seeing or touching the bike in person. We do it all the time, read magazines, criticize someone else's tastes or opinions, wonder why the hell he'd do whatever, or ride like that, or put that there, or blah blah blah. Don't act like you've never done it, I have...plenty of times.
The thing is; unless you've experienced it in person, touched the metal, smelled the exhaust, felt the front tire lift, you don't know shit.
I bought a bike knowing nothing other than the countless reviews, videos, and countless forum postings without ever seeing it in person. We'll just say Kentucky isn't the center for affluent people in the US, but it does what it does.
I purchased the Tuono off of a mixture of a craigslist and aprilia forum ad, and after talking to the owner a couple times and finalizing a price and pick-up point, it was game on for finally experience first hand the pros and cons of what I've read about this bike.
I rode down to Newport, TN with a friend from work last Sunday (yes mothers day and though mine was far away, I didn't neglect talking to her) and we met up with the owner, talked the shit, heckled a little more and came to an agreement. I tell you it was pure eroticism as soon as I saw it. Dripping wet in lust, warm to the touch despite the cool May rain. I touched it, it quivered, I straddled, it eased. Turning the key and pressing the start, it purred low and methodic, excited at the prospect of a new owner; eager to please and entice.
Moments later the deal was made, papers signed, and the bike was mine. I couldn't help but feel touches of remorse, anxiety, playfulness, and pure joy. After all, I had just spent $6,700 on a chance. Yes, I rode the bike around the block a few times, tested it as best I could, did all the 'purchaser looks' and 'once-overs' but it wasn't until I was on the Tennessee by-ways cutting through the early trimmings of an Appalachian range until I realized the amazing decision I had made to purchase this bike.
Being my first V-Twin owned, it was a bit getting used to. Hydraulic clutch and brake levers, smooth as silk in operation, wide and commanding handlebars reminiscent of a dirt bike gave a great solid feel for the road despite the downpour. But oh, that motor, how it purrs and roars, justly mixed with each application of the throttle. I've never been a fan of the feline variety, but this bike is part house cat, part lion. Capable of softly purring along in mid-range revs down the streets but more than eager to roar with excitement with the twist of the throttle and an open road.
0-60 is just...there, I can't even think of a time-frame to give you as it just happens and you have to accept the fact that you're already speeding. The suspension gliding along, and the minute fairing providing just a break in the wind combine to trick you into a false sense of slower speed than what you're actually doing. 90 mph comes without a thought to slowing...100...110...120 and my conservatism starts to scream slow down while the devil inside screams keep going it's so smooth. 140 comes screaming and pulling at 6th gear, eager to take your head along with the miles if you fail to tuck behind the small fly screen. Though I did not reach the posted top speed of 150 mph, I couldn't help but realize just how quickly and smoothly the bike reached such a speed, it was a conscious thought, yes, but one that came so effortlessly; like the selection of ordering your favorite drink or meal.
Paired with the acceleration, the ride of this bike is dead on smooth. Bumps and dips in the road are accepted fairly easily by the suspension granting not much discomfort to the rider. The occasional dip or un-forseen pothole that you run over are not as apparent of surprising as you might expect to encounter. Even as I rode home, torrential downpour and all, the bike was rock solid at 85mph on the superslab, eating up the miles as quickly as I would give them. I never once felt unsure of the machine I was riding and never after at first realizing how fast I was going with the conditions I was more than at ease and comfort with the stability at speed.
Comfort in suspension with the handling pairs together better than Gump's peas and carrots with the wide handlebars giving such a good feel for the road in every turn. Corners were almost effortless; just choose a line and the bike is more than willing to accept your choice and power through. It didn't matter that I was on wet pavement, as the lines were well chosen and the bike was solid throughout. Later in the week with drier conditions, I found myself easily sped through much trickier twists with plenty of confidence and speed, quite often not even having to get off the bike and lean into corners more of a concern with my previous bike. It is just rock solid. The commanding bars, suspension, and light 'flickability' grant confidence, once the proper gear is chosen, in every turn.
Braking and the essence of stopping the higher power out-put and acceleration is also up to par, as the big rotors are quickly and firmly stopped by a dual set of Brembo calipers on the front, though the rear brake is about as much use as a french tickler is to a nun. The adjustable suspension and anti-dive stabilizer on the front brakes harness your weight as you downshift and brake before a turn with ease and give almost no front-end dive whatsoever, even if braking hard. This further heightens the confidence you gain from the power and suspension the Tuono has to offer.
While the stock seat and positioning of the ride is a bit more aggressive than my previous 919, it is far from uncomfortable. Riding the long 3+ hours from Newport, TN back home to Lex started to get a bit stiff after 100+ miles and I was more than ready to get off the bike for the break of a refuel and stretch. An upgraded seat, and perhaps a tad lower footpegs, have much like with any bike, become a serious consideration for me and would make the long rides and touring more pleasurable for my rear end, though pairing 'pleasure' and 'rear-end' in the same sentence has me squirming as much as the non-stop 125 miles I was able to do on the stock seat did.
In the end, it was a risk well worth taking. The reviews, owner insight, and recommendations were far from exacerbated with this machine. It is what I have read about and then some; for me it is such an upgrade from the previous ride. Smooth as silk shifting and power delivery, fairly comfortable ride, and handling roads like Cassanova did ladies, made for a great experience. One that I look forward to enjoying more and more.
- Touchy throttle in low RPMs
- For me (just shy of 6') its a bit high on the footpegs.
- Fuel efficiency (my light comes on around 100miles) Though I'm sure it's premature as it has a 5.8gal tank and I've been getting ~35mpg
- Top end speed (At 140 it is very sluggish to gain much more) Spec rating of 150mph for top speed.
- Seat uncomfortable after 100+ miles
- Silky smooth shifting and power delivery in mid to high RPMs
- Handling is confidence inspiring
- Commanding ride
- Power-band is nearly everywhere
- Power to 140mph is very fast
- Fully integrated computer display unit with onboard diagnostic computer
- Built in ECU
- Easy to wheelie
- It's an exotic, so of course the looks you get
- Absolute bang for the $!!! Bought mine (An '08 with 5,3k miles) essentially brand new with plenty of extras for $6,7K
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.