2003 Aprilia Tuono R Motorcycle Preview

Getting wild with Aprilia's nasty Tuono R motorcycle.

We've ridden Aprilia's new Tuono R a lot these last few weeks, and let us say right here and now that we officially love it. It's wild, it's nasty, it's fun.

The complete run-down will appear in the January, '03, issue of Motorcyclist, due to hit newsstands in a few weeks. But in the meantime, enjoy this bite-size chunk from the story:

"The following is a true story: A major Japanese manufacturer built a prototype of a motorcycle just like the Aprilia Tuono from its leading-edge liter-class sportbike. Same idea: Strip off the plastic, fit a tall, standard bar to the upper triple clamp and give it a try. The development engineers, no doubt saucer-eyed from the experience, reported up the ladder that the bike was too hard to ride--wheelie-prone in the extreme and inclined to shake its head when the front tire did eventually contact the ground-- to even consider for production. Up through the management chain you can imagine the sucking of teeth, furrowing of brow and consultation of the meatheads with law degrees until the project was forced, metaphorically at least, upon its own sharp sword.

"Aprilia, thank goodness, is too small for all this teeth-sucking, brow-furrowing and lawyer-consulting, and just went ahead and did the thing. Screw the weaklings. If the Tuono is too demanding, signore, buy something else.

"Tasty bits and pieces of carbon fiber and Kevlar cover up the less-attractive exposed bits and pieces, but otherwise this bike is exactly, precisely a Mille R. It's worth beating on this horse a bit more: Aprilia did not detune the Mille engine, did not soften the suspension, did not in any way, shape or form dumb-down its top-rung sportbike in the transformation to wicked-fast cop-baiting Naughty Mobile.

"The fact that the Tuono, at least in the R-spec you see here, demands your full and complete concentration all of the time should come as no surprise when you consider its foundation. Even more so than most, appearances do not deceive. The Tuono R is a Mille R sans forward bodywork and clip-ons, fitted instead with a classy, frame-mounted half fairing and an improbably tall and wide tapered handlebar. That bubble-topped fairing displaces an amazing amount of wind, offering better protection than the optional miniprow on the Triumph Speed Triple, but, predictably, not quite as much as a Yamaha FZ1's barn door."

Check out the January issue for more, as well as a meaty feature on Yamaha's venerable V-Max. You won't be disappointed.