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.
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.
Literature : James Elkins
Photography : Micah Shoemaker
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
Austin Paint Works tail section
Gtechniq Ceramic Paint Protection