Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory review | 6 things to know

Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory review

We’ve been spinning about the place on the Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory for the last few weeks. Here’s what we’ve learned

LAUNCHED in 2012, the first Tuono V4 thundered into the market offering superbike (and championship-winning) levels of performance, super naked comfort, and a thumping soundtrack that is often imitated though rarely matched.

Now after 10-years in production, the Tuono goes through its most extensive makeover to date, with technological and aesthetic changes for 2022. We took the top-spec Factory version out for a two-week loan, ticking off many motorway miles and even more sunny day B-road blasts.

Here’s what we think you need to know about the new model.

1. Of the two Tuono V4s on offer – this is the one you really want!

Okay, so it may be around £2,500 more than the stock Tuono, but what you get for that money far outweighs the £40 or £50 more you’ll be paying on a PCP or HP deal. The Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension is the best in the business. It’s a sublime mix of on-road functionality and on-track performance. It’s definitely worth the extra cost alone.

On the road, it’s a magic carpet ride over bumps, potholes, and sun-dried horseshit. Then on the track it’s everything you’ll ever need, to carve a line through Craner Curves and keep up with the sports bike heroes.

And it’s not just the handling either. The riding position is only slightly adjusted from one model to the next, with the stock Tuono gaining slightly higher bars, a softer seat and a flyscreen – the latter can even be bought and added to the Factory should you wish. It’s so close you’d need to be really critical to notice much of a difference.

And for the vain amongst us (I’m talking to myself here), the Factory version is the one that comes in the paint schemes that you actually want, Aprilia Black (as ridden), and the uber-sexy and stealthy Ultra Dark.

It really is a no-brainer.

2. I’m pretty sure the electronics are stolen from Roswell

Modern sports bikes and super nakeds are all equipped to the hilt with top-spec electronics that can both flatter the rider and save their skin should they run out of talent. That can make it hard to put your finger on whether what you are actually riding is any better or worse than the last bike you hopped on.

That wasn’t the case with the Tuono. The Aprilia press bikes are all stored at Silverstone in a super secretive bunker not dissimilar to Area 51 – there are just fewer Americans with guns hiding in bushes. Notice I said ‘less’…

It took me all of about 300-yards to have been completely and totally won over by one of the Aprilia’s electronic systems – its throttle. That connection between rider and machine is pitch-perfect. In sport mode it feels almost 1:1, feeding you exactly what you ask for, from the bottom of the rev-range, right to the redline. It’s a wonderful thing to use, and not just for brain-out hooliganery. You always get what you ask for, in any riding mode, meaning you can place the bike where you want it with laser-guided accuracy, then get on the power knowing precisely what you are going to get.

I’m not sure who designed that stuff, but for road and track riding, you are going to be very hard pushed to find a more perfectly designed and executed system.

3. The comfort is actually okay

It’s not been all B-road blasts on the Tuono, with some airport runs and flyaway launches in April, Toni (pet name, sorry) and me were schlepping out some miles, mostly A14 and M11 for the dreaded early morning Stansted flights.

My first impression of the seat was that it was overly hard, although I’d just traded a Tuareg 660 for the Tuono, and a futon would feel uncomfortable after riding that. In truth, it’s not that bad. It is firm, but nicely contoured and gives you plenty of room to shuffle about when needed.

I could go on here about how it makes me want Aprilia to make a proper touring version, al la GSX1000 GT (and I do) but that’s another idea, for another column…

The riding position is just on the right side of sporty, the lower legroom is okay (I’m 5’7”) and the upper body stance is the same. I felt good on the bike for more than an hour of riding, be that on a B-road or motorway. And anyway, after that the tank would need refilling…

The petrol station is the natural habitat of the Tuono V4 - there and a twisty B-road of course!

4. It is a thirsty little beast

Okay, the fun things in life are never healthy, and that definitely applies to the Aprilia’s penchant for drinking. It’s not like it has a small tank either – around 18-litres – it’s just one of those bikes that is fairly thirsty. I’m sure there are more ‘restrained’ riders out there who could squeeze more MPG out of it, but for me I was glancing around for watering holes around the hundred-mile mark, just to be on the safe side.

5. The exhaust note is worthy of its own album

I’ve said it before but, modern bikes must make aftermarket exhaust makers really sweat. There are so many great sounding bikes out there, each one arrives straight out of the factory, playing a tune that makes you want to bite the back of your hand… It’s a really tough act to follow. Worse still improve on.

The Tuono is very near the top of that list. Around town, it's personable, approachable, but ever so slightly menacing thanks to that distinctive, angry V4 grumble. Get it on the open road wait for that exhaust valve to open though, and this thing sings. It’ll howl with the best of them and is backed up by some deliciously in-tune induction howl that just makes you want to do very naughty things.

Backing it down the gears with the quickshifter will also unlock more aurally pleasing loveliness, with barks, pops, and burbles to warm the heart. If NME were still a newspaper (newspapers, remember them?) I’m pretty sure this would get a 10/10 from them.

6. This is the most refined and elegant European-built super naked I’ve ridden

Okay, it’s a bold claim, but I’m standing by it. Yes, there are faster, more track-oriented super nakeds out there but isn’t that really missing the point of a super naked. They are road bikes first and foremost, making a pure track bike with no fairing is missing the mark a bit.

The Tuono V4 Factory doesn’t feel like that. It’s every inch a road bike, with more than enough ability to hold its own on a trackday when needed. It’s a really stunningly executed piece of kit that I can only fault in one very specific area – the headlight is utter crap. It’s absolute candle in a jam jar territory but it really is the only thing I can fault.

I’m always a little sad to hand the keys to a bike back, even if it’s not been all positive. I can hand on heart say that had Aprilia not had a press day planned next week, this thing would have been staying with me for an extended period of time.