Long-Term Aprillia Tuono: Stompgrip Tank Traction Improves the Ride

Adding traction—for the rider’s knees!—makes the Tuono easier to ride.

Stompgrips make locking your legs to the tank of your motorcycle a whole lot easier.

Every riding school under the sun talks about how important it is to be anchored to your bike. Stompgrips make locking your legs to the tank a whole lot easier.Julia LaPalme

WRIST: Ari Henning
MSRP (2016): $14,799
MILES: 825
MPG: 30
MODS: Tank traction

Have you ever seen one of those bull-riding machines in a bar? Patrons who have maybe had a few too many Buds get up and straddle the mechanical beast, only to get tossed to the mat after slipping out of the saddle as the machine bucks forward and back. It's entertaining for spectators but frustrating for riders.

It feels a little like riding a bucking bronco when I get frisky with the Tuono's throttle or clamp down hard on the front brake lever. This bike stacks speed so quickly and stops so fast that sometimes I have a hard time holding onto the tank and staying in the seat! The Aprilia's tank is perfectly contoured to provide lots of surface area for your knees and thighs to press against, but my riding jeans (Kevlar-reinforced and armored) just slip on the slick paint.

That's exactly the sort of low-grip scenario Stompgrip (stompgrip.com; $55) is made to address. I've slapped these bumpy rubber pads on various bikes over the years, and they really boost grip and make it easier to latch onto the bike. The pads are made from a tacky rubber material and have small, flexible spikes (Stompgrip calls them "volcanoes") that lock your knees to the bike when you clamp down on the tank. They come in black and clear, cut to fit the Tuono's tank.

Out on the road the added grip is a big help, not just while riding hard in the canyons but also while going for ice cream with my wife on the back. Instead of slipping on the tank my knees are solidly locked in place. If the flanks of those mechanical bulls had Stompgrips on them (and if the riders were less inebriated) the ride would surely last longer. But it probably wouldn’t be as fun to watch!