2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 First Ride Review | Motorcyclist
Kevin Wing

2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 First Ride Review

Crossing an SV650 with a Super Duke

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.

Aprilia Shiver 900

Is there anything more Italian than a red trellis frame and an undertail exhaust? Aprilia’s new Shiver 900 is sort of futuristic and classic at the same time.

Kevin Wing

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.

Shiver 900 dash display

A fat, color screen graces the dash of the Shiver 900, and all of the info is there (except a fuel gauge, which is a bit of a miss). The white background turns black when ambient light goes down, and the menus are easy to navigate.

Kevin Wing

Shiver 900 muffler

How’s that for a funky muffler? The Shiver 900’s cans are distinct, both in looks and the way they sound.

Kevin Wing

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

Shiver 900 urban mobility

The Shiver 900 was redesigned for 2018 with urban mobility in mind. But Aprilia can’t help its sporty roots, and this bike carves through twisty tarmac with plenty of confidence. It’s a stellar commuter or day-tripper.

Kevin Wing

Shiver 900 saddle

The Shiver’s saddle is nicely shaped but, like the suspension, is pretty stiff. It might break in over time, but my glutes were calling for a fuel stop after about 100 miles of freeway.

Kevin Wing

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.

Shiver 900 front brake

Same wheels as the RSV4 RR! Yes, really, and 5 pounds lighter than the old Shiver’s dubs. Not the same brakes though—these are radial-mount, four-piston units but Brembo they are not. There’s plenty of power, just not much initial bite. More aggressive pads might help.

Kevin Wing

Shiver 900 wheelie

Nothing like a nice profile shot to show riding position. The flared tank and peg position are sporty, but the handlebar leaves your torso pretty upright. It’s a great combination of sport and comfort.

Kevin Wing

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.

Shiver 900

It’s a handsome bike, the Shiver 900, with just enough flair to make it stand out of the naked-middleweight crowd.

Kevin Wing

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.

Shiver 900 turn

Don’t think the Shiver 900 is boring on the road. It’s not. Handling is super predictable and the suspension is ready to tackle curves.

Brian J. Nelson

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.

Shiver 900 wheelie speed

Show this photo to anyone who says the Shiver 900 looks too heavy and slow on paper to be fun, and tell them I said they’re full of it.

Brian J. Nelson

2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 dyno power chart

The Shiver's power, on paper: 81.5 isn't a huge number, but it's nice and linear. "Tuned for torque" gets thrown around a lot, but you can see that this engine walks the walk, too—more than 50 foot-pounds pretty much anywhere you want it.

Motorcyclist

TECH SPEC

EVOLUTION
Introduced in 2007, the Shiver gets a refresh with an 896cc engine, full-color dash, and updated styling.
RIVALS
Ducati Monster 821, Kawasaki Z900, Suzuki GSX-S750 & GSX-S1000, Triumph Street Triple S, Yamaha FZ-09
TECH
PRICE $9399
ENGINE 896cc, liquid-cooled 90° V-twin
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
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
RAKE 25.9°
WHEELBASE 57.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 31.9 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 4.0 gal.
MEASURED WEIGHT 500 lb. wet
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT aprilia.com
VERDICT
Versatile, unique, and fun. A more stately and refined middleweight naked bike than we’ve ever seen for less than $10,000.

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