-- Aprilia takes WSBK technology to the sport-touring class with new
-- By Trevor Hedge
Aprilia has fitted their new Caponord 1200 with a full electronics suite: 3-stage traction control, ABS, semi-active dynamic suspension adjusts the damping as you ride (taking acceleration, throttle and/or brake position into account), ride-by-wire with various engine map (sport, touring and rain) modes and cruise control. Both traction control and ABS can be switched off should the rider choose to.
The one thing that most Aprilia aficionados do crave, is missing; that is a large-capacity engine based on the Italian brands evocative V4 used to great success in World Superbike.
Instead, the Caponord 1200 is powered by a new version of Aprilia’s long running 90-degree v-twin. Itself, still quite an evocative motor and with Aprilia boasting of significant hardware and software improvements it promises to raise the twin to new heights. 125hp @ 8250rpm and 115Nm of torque at 6800rpm the tweaks are also likely to significantly improve the manners of the engine markedly. A 690-watt alternator ensures there are enough amps to power plenty of accessories.
The active dynamic suspension can also be adjusted by the rider. Rear preload is push button adjustable through four pre-set levels, or can be set to adjust itself automatically for the current weight load and the rider can also select their preferred rebound damping pre-set). The inverted 43mm forks can also have their preload, rebound and compression settings adjusted by the rider.
Braking power is prodigious with radial-mount four-piston Monoblock Brembo calipers gripping 320mm discs supported by a 240mm disc at the rear. The ABS system is a two-channel affair and can also be deactivated.
As you would expect with all the extra electronic functionality of the machine, a new instrument panel debuts on the new Caponord 1200 which, in addition to showing the various traction, ABS, suspension and mapping modes, also includes a gear indicator and a fuel gauge to keep an eye on the level in the generous 24-litre fuel tank.
A comfortable looking perch (840mm seat height – optional lower seat) for both rider and pillion includes handguards for the rider and a hand- adjustable screen.
The muffler is adjustable in regards to how it is positioned on the bike depending on whether the 29-litre colour matched panniers are installed, or not. Allowing for a sporty looking higher mount for the muffler when riding without luggage.
One of the most exciting things about the new Caponord 1200 is the impressive $21,990 price (Aprilia originally told us the machine would be $20,990 but have since informed us that the price will actually be $21,990 plus on road costs) Australia is pitching the model at. Especially considering that we are only getting the up-spec Travel pack complete with electronic suspension and panniers as standard.
Available in June in red or grey, the Caponord 1200 boasts an incredible level of technology for the money. I can see some Japanese brands scratching their heads at how the Europeans can bring such full-featured motorcycles to Australia at such competitive prices. Their head offices better sit up and take notice…
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