Aprilia has flagship motorcycles covered. If you want the baddest naked or the fastest superbike, the Italians in Noale have Tuono 1100 and RSV4 offerings that will melt your face and most (if not all) of the competition. But what if you’re not ready for 150 or 180 hp? What if you dig the Aprilia brand but want something less raucous and less expensive? Well, measured and reasonable rider, wrap your eyeballs around the new Shiver 900.
It’s a middleweight naked bike with about 82 hp at the rear wheel, tipping the scales at 500 pounds with the 4-gallon tank full, and carrying a price tag of $9,399. That power-to-weight ratio might not seem as favorable as you were expecting, but bear with me. There’s more to this new Shiver than meets the spec sheet, and it starts as soon as you flick the key in the ignition.
The first thing you’re likely to notice is a 4.3-inch, full-color, TFT dash coming alive at the head of the cockpit. That’s the same one that’s mounted to the Tuono and RSV4—this time with a simple left-right toggle to control the three-way adjustable traction control, switchable ABS, and even utilize an optional multimedia platform that allows Bluetooth connectivity with your phone. It’s a good-looking dash, and it’s easy to use. That’s worth noting, considering Italian brands have sometimes struggled to make dashes intuitive in the past.
The good news really starts when you fire up the new, 896cc engine. It’s basically a stroked version of the old Shiver’s 750 mill—what that means is more bass in the exhaust note and more torque on tap. Two mufflers set under the seat use some, uhh, interesting styling, but I have to say I like the smooth oval shape better than the Transformer-wannabe cans on the previous Shiver. Caps on the end of each pipe make for a distinct look and a nice rasp when you blip the throttle
On the bad news front, you might notice the Shiver’s heft when you pick it up off the sidestand. The 500-pound wet weight is 30 more than Aprilia’s own Tuono 1100 and heavier than any other bike (that I can think of) in the class. That’s not nothing, but that’s pretty much where the bad news ends. To Aprilia’s credit, the Shiver carries the weight well. The seat is around 32 inches from the ground, and the ergonomics on this Shiver 900 are just about as neutral as they come. At 6-foot-2 I could stand for just a little more legroom, but other than that it feels exactly like a naked bike should.
On the road, the Shiver 900 is a treat to ride. The transmission is crisp, the chassis is balanced, and Aprilia went to the trouble of reducing the clutch pull by 15 percent. Sure, it’s nominal, but progress is progress and marketing this bike in the sub-$10,000 bracket means putting effort in where it can count. Same goes for the suspension, which is sporty-stiff to start but offers adjustment to preload and damping (something the old Shiver did not). These are steps forward that aren’t always easy for manufacturers to make, and Aprilia bit the bullet. Respect.
On the fueling front, I much preferred the Shiver in the Tour throttle map. Sport was just a shade too sporty, and Rain is ultra gentle but cuts power by about 30 percent (can’t have that, unless it’s actually raining). Tour is the best balance, plus it suits the Shiver’s personality. This isn’t a rowdy naked bike that wants to wheelie off every corner. It’s strong, but also mellow and dignified. Throttle maps are the last remnant of Aprilia weirdness in the switchgear, incidentally—everything else is controlled by the toggle on the left bar, but switching modes means tapping the starter button while the bike is running.
Cruising through the mountains north of Los Angeles, I couldn’t get enough of exiting corners and hearing the Shiver send a salvo of V-twin reports off the canyon walls. It sounds wicked, especially from the cockpit with the wind rushing around your helmet. It feels like a bike that has been thought out correctly. Traction control is adjustable on the fly, which is something Aprilia pioneered and has stuck with. The dash is bright and beautiful and automatically darkens when ambient light goes down. Smart. Lastly, the Shiver was the first production bike with ride-by-wire fueling, and it feels like the evolution is complete.
I want to say that Aprilia’s Shiver is back. But did it ever leave? No, it’s just always been that bike that waited in the corner of the school dance, hoping for someone to venture into the shadows of the scoreboard and ask it to dance. With these updates, 2018 has the potential to be the Shiver’s breakout year. It legitimately covers (at least a little) new ground in the category. It’s a grown-up SV650; an elegant and charismatic evolution of every midsize naked we’ve ever wanted to love. Adjustable suspension, comprehensive electronics, a beautiful and functional user interface, and genuine sporting character—the Shiver 900 is a versatile and righteous contender.
|Introduced in 2007, the Shiver gets a refresh with an 896cc engine, full-color dash, and updated styling.|
|Ducati Monster 821, Kawasaki Z900, Suzuki GSX-S750 & GSX-S1000, Triumph Street Triple S, Yamaha FZ-09|
|ENGINE||896cc, liquid-cooled 90° V-twin|
|MEASURED HORSEPOWER||81.5 hp @ 8100 rpm|
|MEASURED TORQUE||56.0 lb.-ft. @ 6250 rpm|
|FRAME||Steel-tube trellis with cast aluminum spars|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||KYB 41mm fork adjustable for spring preload and compression damping; 4.7-in. travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Sachs shock adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping; 5.1-in. travel|
|FRONT BRAKE||Four-piston calipers, 320mm discs, with ABS|
|REAR BRAKE||Single-piston caliper, 240mm disc, with ABS|
|SEAT HEIGHT||31.9 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||4.0 gal.|
|MEASURED WEIGHT||500 lb. wet|
|Versatile, unique, and fun. A more stately and refined middleweight naked bike than we’ve ever seen for less than $10,000.|