Super-Naked class was unofficially found back in 2002 when Aprilia RSV Mille was stripped of its faring and added a one-piece and leaving its V-twin engine’s thunderous 130bhp output untouched.

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Three years ago a similarly uncompromising approach resulted in the Tuono V4R, which was based on the super-sports RSV4 and powered by a 999cc V4 engine that produced 160bhp.

My first ride on the Tuono V4R ABS was a thrilling experience, the machine that combined fierce performance with V4 character, light weight, superb handling and cutting-edge electronics. It was very nearly as fast as the RSV4 and arguably more fun to ride, even on a track day. DSC_5176 (Custom)

The Tuono V4R ABS, which keeps the basics of the V4 engine and aluminium-framed chassis while adding some features. Its name comes from the belated addition of an ABS system which, like those of most leading superbikes, was developed by Bosch. The front brake is also upgraded with Brembo’s Monobloc calipers.

The compact, 65-degree V4 engine is mildly modified for reduced internal friction. A revised fuel-injection system, new silencer and other minor changes increase the maximum output by 3bhp to 163bhp_MG_6098 (Custom)

The 16-valve V4 is a wonderful engine: powerful, flexible and bursting with character, all enhanced by a soulful exhaust note. It makes the Aprilia addictively quick and fun, especially when the bike is revving hard through its six-speed gearbox, its fierce acceleration aided by the electronic quick-shifter that is standard fitment.

Like the RSV4, the Tuono benefits from Aprilia’s sophisticated APRILIA PERFORMANCE RIDE CONTROL(APRC) electronics package, which incorporates a traction control system that can be regulated while riding, via buttons on the left handlebar. This works brilliantly, adding a useful safety net, and is further refined for this bike with a new sensor that optimizes performance to suit cornering speed.

Part of the appeal of naked sports bikes is that their upright, relatively exposed riding position enhances the sense of speed. That’s true of the Tuono, although its half-fairing gives some wind protection, as well as adding stability. It’s a compromise that comes in useful long before the bike reaches its top speed of more than 245km/h. _MG_6071 (Custom)  DSC_5150 (Custom)

Aprilia has also tried to improve comfort and practicality. The engine’s Achilles’ heel is its thirst, which can drop below 7.8l/100km with hard use. That hasn’t changed but the tank is enlarged to give a usable range of 200km or more. The more generously padded seat makes covering that distance a less painful prospect, though the footrests are set high and a pillion doesn’t have much to hold. DSC_5161 (Custom) _MG_6096 (Custom)   _MG_4886 (Custom)

The multi-adjustable suspension’s standard settings are softened slightly to improve comfort, without detracting from the superb handling that is another of the Tuono’s greatest assets. The wide, raised handlebar’s leverage helps make the commendably light Aprilia gloriously agile, yet it’s stable at speed.

Even this slightly softened Tuono should not be mistaken for a luxurious long-distance machine. In super-naked tradition it’s effectively a high-barred sports bike, designed primarily for performance and entertainment. The important difference from the old model is that it is now also respectably, if not outstandingly, practical.

Inevitably the Tuono is far from cheap, but its price of RM 91,272.25 is not excessive given its performance and electronic sophistication – and, more to the point, its sheer fun factor. Competition in motorcycling’s super-naked division is hotter than ever, but Aprilia’s updated original is arguably still the one to beat. RC.Moto

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Photos credit to Rob Armstrong & Philip Chong 

Tuono V4 R APRC


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BMW S1000R Sport

This higher spec version of the stripped-down S1000RR combines its 160bhp performance, agility and keen price with an array of features including semi-active suspension and heated grips.

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Kawasaki Z1000 

Revamped for 2014, Japan’s leading super-naked complements its aggressive style with 140bhp output and taut handling but can’t match the Tuono’s performance or electronic refinement.


KTM 1290 Super Duke R

The bike they call the “Beast” packs a 180bhp V-twin punch with thrilling midrange power delivery, fine handling, all-round ability and a refined electronics package


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