The Experience: Peter Marshall’s 2003 Aprilia Tuono-R

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Following the success of the Aprilia RSV Mille, Aprilia released their first sport naked bike, the Tuono. The first generation Tuono was different than most sport naked models; it had an aggressive edge and offered the same power as its fairing swaddled counterpart.  Its sound audaciously erupted upon start up. The Austrian built Rotax v-twin 997cc power plant made sure there is no shortage of low-end RPM thrust. The Öhlins front forks and rear shock equipment enhanced the ride.  The bike sent a fierce message of what was to come from Aprilia.

Few people saw the need for more power. The Tuono is far from mild mannered and riding on the streets was already a handful. Fortunately for me Peter Marshall was one of those few. In 2007, his quest landed him at a niche motorcycle shop carved into the downtown landscape of New Braunfels, Texas. A car dealership turned motorcycle hooligan hangout complete with a showroom, parts, service department and an eddy current dyno. The bike received a 1060 big bore kit, custom made adjustable cam gears, Arrow high mount exhaust and a list of supporting mods.

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Throwing a leg over the bike reveals the analog side of motorcycling, years before the digital age took control. There is no TFT dash, no driver aids and nothing to tame the throttle except your own wrist. A mechanical fast idle circuit helps bring life into the cold V-twin as I start the beast. The V-twin pulses similar to a heartbeat as a loud crackle departs from the Arrow high mounts. Shifting into first further reveals just how mechanical the bike is with a clunk. The bike breathes heavy as if it were an aggressive dog chasing a cat. It begins to lurch as my left hand tries to restrain it via clutch control. I enter the freeway corridor and begin to twist the throttle. My hands death grip the Aprilia logo’d grips as my right foot hovers cautiously above the brake lever. I immediately feel the sensation of power from the dominating torque monster. At 3000 RPM with the Öhlins front forks unloaded the tire begins to rise up off the ground and set back down just in time to repeat itself in the following gear. The Aprilia forged wheels lower the reciprocating mass and allow it to be effortlessly propelled forward. I quickly speed through the gears before decelerating into upcoming traffic.

 

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Removing myself from the mundane straight line speedway places me in the prime of Texas hill country. I journey to my favorite series of bituminous filled winding roads. The pavement is coarse and far from perfect, but the upright handle bar position relieves my wrist as I bump over tar strips and small rock debris. Entering into the first corner I tap the clutch pedal down and watch as the tachometer needle jumps up 1200 RPMS. The back tire kicks right with each downshift in a moment of breaking loose despite its pneumatic clutch from the factory. The chassis corrects itself quickly before dipping into the apex. I mentally fight myself from man-handling the bars instead of issuing proper lean angle. Throttling up shows where the bike really shines as the corner exit speed is quickly met. As the front tire lifts the Öhlins damper works overtime to keep the front end stable. Each corner provides me the same feedback as the previous. My humble Texas roads are no match for a bike that was raised on the Futa Pass in Italy.

 

The Tuono is more than just a bike with soul or character. It is an experience that is just a wrist flick away from taking you through the mind of Ivano Beggio. It will keep pace if you are a proficient rider and embolden you if you are not.  It’s was designed during the height of Beggio’s career. It was also one of the last projects to come to fruition under his management.  The bike could not have been a better farewell statement if it tried.

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Build sheet

2003 Aprilia Tuono R (Yellow Carbon)

AF1 1060 big bore

Acculign machined stock cam sprockets for adjustability 106/109 lobe centers

PCIII USB

Factory Pro 1413 EPROM

Arrow true-dual full system

54mm short Evoluzione velocity stacks

Stock Filter

Öhlins suspension and damper

 

Literature and Photography: James Elkins

Special Thanks: Power Commander, Factory Pro, Arrow Exhaust, Öhlins , AF1 Racing

Thunder Struck: Nick Carter’s Tuono 1100

The Italian word for ‘Thunder’ is ‘Tuono’; it is also what Aprilia decided to name their naked sportbike. The second the fuel combusted in the cylinders and the engine note left the exhaust, it was nothing short of a thunderstorm rolling through the hills. Formerly powered by a Rotax V990 v-twin motor, the current Tuono is now powered by Aprilia’s production-built 65 degree V4 configuration motor. The storm is no longer approaching upon start up.  You are standing next to the storm front waiting to be struck down by the gods.

Nick Carter has been an Aprilia fan since purchasing a 2016 Tuono to fuel his demand for an upright-position motorcycle that would provide more fun on the lower end of the torque curve. The bike slowly morphed from a stock Donnington Blue into a carbon-adorned work of art. The bike was nearing completion. Then the 2017 was released. The new TFT dash and auto blip shift down shifting convinced Nick to make the switch over along with all his components and bodywork:  a Race ECU, Akrapovic slip-on, forged wheels and an abundance of blue Rizoma pieces.

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Nick offered to let me take his Tuono for a ride to feel the latest upgrades. The carbon barded Tuono fires up ready to charge like an equine marching into war. The throttle is crisp and precise with any wrist motion causing a deviation in RPM thanks to the ride by wire throttle. As I pull onto the frontage road, the bike effortlessly accelerates deceivingly quickly as my judge for speed deteriorates with sheer joy.  I have to remind myself three times that this is not my bike as I clutchless downshift twice before a tight left hand corner via the auto blip. A grin erupts as the Akropovic full system exhaust barks with each progressive downward motion of the shift lever. The auto blip performs flawlessly allowing me to avoid overloading or locking up the rear Pirelli Supercorsa. The tires stay glued to the pavement as the Tuono cuts through the corner like an obsidian scalpel. Exiting the corner, the low rpm torque makes up for any neophyte riding styles I may have.  The BST carbon wheels, 520 chain conversion and quick shifter all shine through on the acceleration. The traction and wheelie control tries its best to meddle in my love affair while under hard acceleration in third gear. The bike rocket ships through the rpm range towards its peak power rpm of 11,500. A few more spirited blurts of power and I have to caution myself that it’s neither my bike, nor my gas and begin to head back.

Aprilia got it right, Nick perfected it. The Tuono is a thunderstorm, but not just of sound. It also rains down homage to early generations of race bikes. It reminds me of Aprilia’s story of a bicycle factory that started making 2-stroke mopeds that would blaze the narrow Italian roads as I do on the backroads of Texas. Somewhere in the heavens Aprilia’s founder Cavaliere Beggio and son Ivano Beggio are smiling from above waiting to hear the noise of thunder again.

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Literature : James Elkins

Photography : Micah Shoemaker

 

Build Sheet

2017 Aprilia Tuono V4

Akrapovic EVO II Full System

OFTTablet Race ECU

AF1 Racing Stage III Airbox Kit

Black Stone Tek (BST) Carbon blue weaves wheelset

Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP V3

Samco hose kit

CRG carbon levers

Rizoma bar ends, brake master cylinder, spools

Clearwater Darla flood lights

Ilmberger bellypan and rear hugger

AMC-Carbon  Frame and swing arm protection

Motocomposites  stator and clutch cover, fuel tank cover, front hugger

Puig windscreen

Austin Paint Works tail section

Gtechniq Ceramic Paint Protection

Spring of 2017, some big changes!

We have added in the past few months Norton Motorcycles and Ural Motorcycles/Sidecars in order to continue bringing to Austin, Texas the most interesting motorcycles on the planet! In case you had not heard by now Norton is back, and back with a vengeance whether you just want to ride the most bitchin' Modern Classic on the market or if your putting down a deposit on quite simply the most awesome V4 powered sporting motorcycle ever built for delivery this fall! Getting Norton back into Austin has been a long time dream of mine, to me at least Norton represents some of the very best things about riding, design and styling to ever roll on two wheels!

Adding Ural Motorcycles which all come with sidecar attached has been a very fun process, riding sidecar bikes is unlike any other experience in motorcycling. Ural is made in Russia and built to be one of the toughest options out there for true all weather, all roads or total lack of roads riders, they are basically the UNIMOG of motorcycles! They do indeed ride VERY differently from conventional two wheeled bikes and are not high speed machines with 65-70mph being about as fast as you will want to go. If your dog, child or significant other always gives you "that lookwhen you pull out of the garage, Ural might just be the thing that changes perspectives around your house.

New 2017 Zero Motorcycles demo bikes have arrived, one with the stupendously powerful 117 ft/lbs of torque motor and the other with the lighter 6.5 kilowatt hour battery and smaller 78 ft/lbs motor. As of this year you can add a standard EV charger port for REALLY FAST recharge times at any free EV charging station supporting Nissan Leaf of Chevy Volt/Bolt or other plug in EV's or hybrids...you simply have to ride one to see how far and how fast the EV revolution has come! 

April 15th is Tax Day, if you are getting a refund do you already have better plans? If you are like me and have to pay every year, well bikes sure help me de-stress and forget about how much of my savings I just wrote-off...see it works either way!

new bikes bring the heat!

Austin has experienced something of a bursting of the skies this summer. While the rains are keeping rides shorter and less frequent, the excitement here at AF1 Racing hasn't been dampened. New machines from Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, and Vespa are more than enough to keep us going. Here's a little run down of what's new.

The Future is Now

Aprilia may be one of the most talked about manufacturers this year and this summer. Aprilia's Corse department is working hard towards more WSBK success with the Red Devils Roma team, or seeking improvements in Moto GP with Aprilia Gresini Racing. But that's not why people are talking. A New RSV4, a new Tuono, and another Caponord model – that's why people are talking. The RSV4 RF and RR are evolved packages of the venerable RSV4 putting into place much of the engineering learned from racing. Peak horsepower of 201, a tweaked chassis, improved aerodynamics, and blurred lines between Factory and base models. The RSV4 will continue it's history of being the superbike to own.

Where the RSV4 RF and RR have been further tuned for the track, the Tuono has been improved in only ways a machine not bound by homologation can – with displacement. An increased bore has brought the heart of the beast up to nearly 1100cc and with it a monstrous increase in midrange power. Peak horsepower is up to 175, but with nearly 20 more horsepower in the midrange, expect brutally linear acceleration. The Tuono returns with a Factory package featuring Öhlins suspension, steering damper, special livery, and an RSV4 tail. The gnarliest naked superbike just got gnarlier.

Where the new V4 bikes are potent, the Caponord 1200 Rally is adventurous. A whole host of changes have been made to the technical Caponord 1200 to create a true on and off road adventure tourer. Spoked wheels in new dimensions allow tires better suited for riding where the roads aren't. Aprilia has tweaked the aDD suspension for added off-road performance with new geometry – giving comfort and performance without compromise. The scout's motto of "be prepared" would also apply to the Caponord 1200 Rally with it's heavy duty side cases, added skid plate, engine guards, and additional LED for lights. Planning a summer adventure? This is the bike for you.

Cool off with Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi has again brought ultimate coolness with it's new Eldorado and V7 II. The Eldorado has a historic name with a modern ride based off the California 1400. Classic details and lines are enough to throw it back while keeping modern proportions. In addition to the new looks, a softer ride and more comfortable ergonomics are bound to leave a yearning desire to blaze down dusty roads. Believe us when we say you've got to see this bike in person!

The V7 has received an upgrade in the V7 II. Transparent technology in ABS and traction control now provide additional safety, but that's not why you're reading this. The V7 II adds an all new 6 speed gearbox for fine shifting and closer gearing, improving the "everything a motorcycle should be" character of the V7. An adjusted engine angle gives the bike a better profile while improving legroom for taller riders. If you haven't ridden a V7 yet, now is truly a time to experience one.

A twist of fun

Piaggio and Vespa didn't rest over the winter either. Piaggio has brought Europe's most popular scooter back to the US. The MP3 500 returns to much fanfare and with many improvements. Too many to really list at that. Make sure to read the MP3 500 page to have a real understanding as to why this bike is the ultimate urban transport. 

Where there's smoke, there's fire and a BBQ right? Vespa's new Sprint sport in smoky matte titanium grey has plenty of fire to burn up downtown. A unique color combination with subtle striping and black wheels will look good parked (for free) anywhere in Austin. The Sprint Sport is the ultimate in cool small-frame scooter.

It's easy to see why we're all excited this summer. While the rain may be interfering, it's just time to plan that next ride – you'll enjoy it that much more. Make sure to visit us to see all the newest and hottest Italian bikes sure to be cruising Austin this summer. 

Moto Guzzi Night - Thursday May 14

We're hosting a special event for Moto Guzzi lovers tomorrow evening from 6-9 PM! Come visit our Austin showroom and get a sneak peak at the 2016 Moto Guzzi Audace and Eldorado. Also on hand for a special viewing is the very special Moto Guzzi MGX-21 concept motorcycle unveiled at EICMA!

Make sure to be here and experience what's next in Moto Guzzi's long heritage of fantastic and unique Italian machines. Food and drink will be on hand along with special Moto Guzzi apparel, and a cool V7 Special showing off some of the new Moto Guzzi accessory line. 

We look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow evening!

 

Moto Guzzi Night

AF1 Racing Austin
Thursday, May 14
6-9PM

A Successful Moto GP weekend!

The 3rd annual Austin Moto GP round was another to remember! Fun filled events, unpredictable Texas weather, and a great weekend full of exciting racing proved Moto GP is at home in the heart of Texas.

We spent the week leading up to the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas with one eye on the weather. Rain was a constant threat to the weekend's festivities more than 10 days out, but if there's one thing that's unpredictable in Texas, it's the weather. The rain came and went early Friday, making life interesting for the riders and one poor (later lucky) dog, and proved to be a relatively minor threat for the rest of the weekend. At least if you aren't in the Motoamerica pits.

The worry over the weather was unnecessary and only added to our grey hair growth. Friday evening cooled off, and our event went off without a hitch! With a queue at the front door, we opened up and let a flood of guests in to begin checking out the new Aprilia RSV4 RF, Tuono V4 1100 Factory, a nice collection of track machines from Aprilia's past, an awesome collection of Moto GP & WSBK race leathers, and apparel from REV'IT!. DJ Dan Gentile of Flying Turns provided the tunes and the drinks from Deep Eddy Vodka began to flow and wouldn't stop until an hour after we were supposed to shut down!

Throughout our event there was much to talk about. One thing that stood out was our announcement regarding our future move to a new location a short distance North of downtown Austin. We'll be providing more details on that in the future. Alvaro Bautista was in attendance showing gratitude to all of the Aprilia fans with photos and signings. It was very cool to have such a talented and friendly rider at our Austin shop!

We hope you enjoyed our event as much as we did and we cannot say thank you enough to our collaborators at Aprilia USA and REV'IT! USA! We also have a huge thanks to Austin's very own Deep Eddy Vodka for providing great spirits for the third year in a row. And lastly, the biggest thank you is for all of our customers and friends of AF1 Racing – without you, we wouldn't be here! We hope you enjoy the photos and got a keepsake from the evening. See you next year!

Aprilia x AF1 Racing x REV'IT! – A GP Inspired Event!

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Mark your calendar for the evening of April 10 as Moto GP returns to Austin and AF1 Racing throws another event to kick off the weekend of premier motorcycle racing! We're partnered with Aprilia USA and REV'IT! for something really special.

Sign up for our Austin mailing list and keep an eye out for RSVP information and full details – we'll have them out soon enough!

EBR Track Day Experience

Erik Buell Racing is coming to Ridesmart events in the month of March, bringing the 1190RX, 1190SX, and EBR rider Cory West!  We've had a lot of questions about how the EBR  performs and now is your chance to get first hand experience.

At Motorsport Ranch Cresson (March 8-9) and Circuit of the Americas (March 14-15), EBR will be on hand with bikes for demo rides. Cory will be riding an EBR 1190RX in the advanced group, showing what the bikes capabilities in the hands of an AMA pro rider.

This event is open to anyone registered for the accompanying track days. If you're looking to purchase an EBR or just curious, make sure to register and get a ride on the new EBR 1190RX and SX. 

 

Registration can be found at Ridesmart.com.
Ridesmart Motorsport Ranch Cresson - March 8-9
Ridesmart Circuit of the Americas - March 14-15