Aprilia, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer owned by the Piaggio Group, has competed successfully on the track for decades. Its SMV 750 Dorsoduro, a middleweight sport bike new to the U.S. market in 2009, reflects that heritage in its styling and in its components.
The SMV shares many features with Aprilia’s SL 750 Shiver. It has the same 749.9cc, liquid-cooled, V-twin, four-stroke engine, set at the same 90-degree angle, with dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, and fuel injection. The engine is paired with a six-speed transmission, with overdrive, and a hydraulic clutch with adjustable levers. The front suspension is an inverted fork with 6.3 inches of travel, and the rear is a twin-sided swing arm with an adjustable spring preload monoshock and rebound damping. The suspension is one area in which the Dorsoduro differs from the Shiver: the swing arm is longer, the rear sub-frame was developed specifically for the Dorsoduro, and the front suspension has been tuned to a supermotard standard. Radial brakes—a 12.6-inch dual hydraulic disc in front and a 9.4-inch disc in back—provide plenty of stopping power.
Aprilia employed the same ride-by-wire triple-mapping feature used in the Shiver, which lets riders choose one of three power modes. With the bike in idle and using the ignition switch, riders can toggle from rain mode (which cuts down on the bike’s power, rendering it, in one reviewer’s opinion, gutless) to sport (making the throttle extremely sensitive) to touring (for smooth riding). Different riders have very different reactions to the three modes: some feel that the sport setting is touchy and difficult and they stick to the touring mode; others consider the touring mode dull and prefer the sport setting.
Standard multilingual instrumentation includes displays showing the time, the triple-map setting, and the average miles per gallon, as well the speedometer, odometer, and analog tachometer. The fuel tank holds 3.2 gallons, and estimates of mileage range from 32 miles per gallon to 45 (perhaps this says something about the style of riding). The SMV 750 weighs about 450 pounds loaded with oil and fuel, heavy for a supermotard but fairly light for a street bike—and it can reach 120 mph without undue vibration.
With its hand grips and guards, 34.3-inch seat height, fork guards, and foot pegs, the bike’s styling underlines its supermoto heritage. In 2009, it came in black and red.