2011 Aprilia Shiver 750 | Doin’ Time

Staffers' Rides

Photography by Putter Power Media

Wrist: Eric Putter
MSRP (2011): $9499
Miles: 9142
MPG: 33
Mods: Avon 3D tires, Bazzaz fuel-control unit and self-tuner

I have enjoyed my 16-month courtship with the Shiver. Our life together has been mostly sweet. Exclusive, too. From the First Ride (MC, Oct. 2011) to this final Doin’ Time entry, I’ve been her sole suitor.

For most of the 1741 miles since the last installment, I’ve been trying to cure the rough low-speed fueling (mainly below 4000 rpm). As previously mentioned, the Shiver’s throttle response is fine in Touring mode, but abrupt and inconsistent in Sport mode. I knew it could be better, and I’d hoped a Bazzaz Z-Fi fuel-control unit ($379.95; www.bazzaz.net) and Z-AFM self-tuner ($299.95) would be the answer.

Once the bodywork, tank and airbox were removed, installing the Z-Fi was a relatively straightforward, four-hour affair. Tuning was more of a challenge. It turns out that Bazzaz used a California-spec Shiver to define the base map, and 49-state bikes like mine have a different map in the stock ECU. (It’s also likely, according to Bazzaz, that different Shivers have different base maps or even different ECUs, further complicating matters.) The baseline map provided by Bazzaz didn’t work well at all, so the company supplied a second map developed by an owner in Virginia. That map was better but still not the performance I’d hoped for.

To fix this, I turned to the Z-AFM “self mapping” module. This accessory uses an oxygen sensor and a connection to the Z-Fi module to correlate map settings with measured air/fuel ratios, and then creates new map parameters that should help reach a desired air/fuel ratio on the road. A Bazzaz rep said a few 20-minute info-gathering rides, followed by data dumps and map adjustments should make the Shiver run happily. More than 10 rounds later, the motor still ran poorly across much of the rev range. Washington Cycle Works’ dyno ($80 for a multi-run session, www.washingtoncycleworks.com), which recorded the Shiver’s earlier stock and Akrapovic slip-on runs, confirmed that power was down slightly from before. (I didn’t use the dyno for data acquisition; that took place on the street.)

It’s difficult to blame the Bazzaz hardware here, but it’s also obvious that even the Z-AFM-tweaked map isn’t the final solution. Additional time on the dyno, where a custom map could be plotted the old-fashioned way using measured air/fuel data, would seem to be the path to a workable solution. Fair warning to Shiver owners: remapping your bike isn’t plug-and-play, which is one of the hazards of choosing an uncommon bike.

Moving on. Avon 3D Ultra Supersport tires ($197 front, $271 rear; www.avonmoto.com), mounted at 7422 miles, made the bike quite content to the end of the test period. The stock Metzeler skins were 85 percent shagged in all-around use, including two track days. At more than 9000 miles, brake pads, chain and sprockets appear to be at half-life.

While doin’ time, the Shiver was reliable. The only problems were the fluke shift-cam failure reported earlier—it cost less than $200 in parts and labor to rectify—and two dead taillight bulbs. Other than fueling issues, she has few flaws, limited to low-tech suspension, an inaccurate gas gauge, a slow gear indicator, and floppy front turn signals.

The most positively transformative mods were a taller Renthal handlebar and windscreen from Puig. Because the Shiver’s high center of gravity is readily apparent, Akropovic’s beautiful slip-on system, which lopped off 12 pounds, was by far the best item bolted on. Shorai’s 6.7-lb.-lighter battery and Evotech tail tidy are runners-up.

So, would I marry her? Absolutely. Naked is my favorite motogenre, and the Shiver is a stellar example of this breed. With a fiery Italian bloodline, chiseled body, gorgeous semi-trellis frame, trick swingarm, and smart paint scheme, she’s a real looker. Even so, if the Shiver were mine for life, she’d mature into a Factory model. A few go-fast goodies, better suspension, lighter wheels, an array of carbon fiber and more black paint on various bits would make her the perfect mate.

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