The new Tuono V4 Factory is still a thoroughly hypernaked sportbike with improved suspension and new electronics. (Photos by Larry Chen Photo)
It was a lovely morning in Pasadena, California, and the huge windows overlooking historic Colorado Boulevard bathed the Aprilia Advanced Design Center office in natural light. Miguel Galluzzi, who is credited with saving Ducati when he designed the groundbreaking and hugely popular monster, sat listless as the room filled with journalists. Galluzzi is also the designer in charge of Aprilia’s RSV4 and Tuono V4 models, which take full advantage of the extremely compact and powerful 1,077 cc V4 engine.
Galluzzi explained that the Advanced Design Center enables his team to sit in the heart of the North American market, where proximity to a diverse group of drivers and their views can flow directly and unfiltered into their design process. The latest CAD technology and 3D printing make it possible to prototype and test feedback-inspired design ideas, coupled with the latest advances by Aprilia’s factory racing team, more efficiently than ever.
The two models – Tuono V4 Factory on the left, Tuono V4 on the right – are almost identical on paper, but offer different experiences.
The result, we are told, is the most advanced Tuono models to date, a combination of incremental updates designed to improve handling and meet a wide range of rider needs. The V4 engine is now Euro 5 compliant, and with some tweaks Aprilia has managed to match the performance of the previous model. The stated peak power is 175 at 11,350 rpm and the maximum torque is 89 lb-ft at 9,000 rpm.
Influences from the racetrack are a redesigned fairing with integrated winglets and improved geometry to improve handling at the limit, as well as a new inverted swing arm that improves traction on the rear wheel. The updated seat is wider, longer, and surprisingly comfortable. A new molded fuel tank looks beautiful and maintains the same 4.9 gallon capacity. The Tuono V4 gets an improved 5-inch TFT dash and a new switchgear. The headlight array features the triple LED headlight and a DRL configuration common to the rest of the Tuono line, with additional cornering lights.
The Tuono V4 is designed to take you along with all the thrills, extra comfort and, if necessary, even luggage.
Although almost identical on paper, the new Tuono V4 models differ in terms of experience. Track rats will be happy to hear that the V4 Factory model is still a thoroughly bare lunatic and the more expensive track-focused of the two. The road-facing Tuono V4 represents a new direction designed to reach places that involve more than just a driver and a minimum of gear.
The factory version is now equipped with the semi-active suspension Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 and a new Magneti Marelli control unit that controls the fuel supply and offers a full range of electronics. Four times faster than the previous ECU and fully integrated via ride-by-wire throttle and a six-axis IMU, the new setup promises more precise and programmable handling for road and racetracks. There are three preset and three route-oriented, user-programmable driving modes and a variety of adjustable driver aids, including traction control, wheelie control, launch control, engine mapping, engine braking, cornering ABS, cruise control and an up / down shift lever.
The Tuono V4 is billed as naked, but a minimalist fairing now includes racing-inspired winglets.
It sits astride the factory and feels a lot more compact than you’d expect from a liter bike. The body position is definitely athletic, but the wide bars and seat feel spacious, even for my 6-foot-2-inch size. When starting in Tour mode, the V4 Factory feels somehow familiar for the first few kilometers. Even on the freeway that leads us to the winding mountain roads, it is impossible to fully accelerate for more than a moment before the road runs out, and any real test of the factory model would require a racetrack.
The throttle response is instant, but the initial deception is miraculously smoothed out before I can get myself into trouble and throw the Tuono into the corners with some confidence. The steering is smooth and yet purposeful and precise, the front wheel holds its line despite the imperfect ground conditions. A single bang when downshifting causes a smile, and ballistic acceleration on corner exits, accompanied by one of the most fantastic, croaking exhaust noises ever made from a production can, makes me grin like an idiot.
The Tuono V4 Factory is agile and precise, even on imperfect roads.
The Factory is equipped with Brembos M50 monoblock calipers, which have a progressive feel and no braking ability. With my knees firmly in the molded tank, I can keep my weight off the handlebars, grip the bike with less effort, and lean into corners with an associated conviction. The V4 Factory’s comfort and ergonomics are quite good compared to rivals like the KTM 1290 Super Duke R and Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RS, but their sportbike references remain intact.
The standard Tuono V4 feels similar. The slightly raised handlebars make for a less aggressive posture. Despite the lower passenger pegs, the rider footpegs are positioned identically on both models and offer plenty of space, but also a potential source of fatigue on long journeys. A slightly larger fly screen and upper paneling, a practical pillion seat, grab handles and optional luggage make for a hyper-naked sports tourer with a strong focus on sports.
The performance is identical to the factory model, and the standard model becomes a capable track-day machine when needed. Its larger upper aisle makes for comfortable, economical cruising on the freeway as you make your way to the next winding back road. The Standard comes with fully adjustable Sachs suspension front and rear, but on the road, its handling is pretty similar to that of the factory.
The new Tuono V4 and Tuono V4 Factory are exhilarating motorcycles. They offer amazing performance in a compact, lightweight chassis that is exhilarating. And yet, thanks to the adjustable electronics, they are both worthwhile and handy. And you can never forget – or get tired – the machine gun salute attached to your right wrist. While the Factory will keep the Tuono loyal, the standard model will open the Tuono range to a multitude of new drivers who, like me, are actually on the road and want to bring more than just wallets and smartphones.
The new Tuono has a wider appeal. Race track enthusiasts will love the factory for its suspension and impressive range of programmable settings, while sports riders who love to travel miles can now add the Tuono V4 to their list of options.
2021 Tuono V4 / Tuono V4 factory specifications
Base price: $ 15,999 / $ 19,499
Engine type: Liquid-cooled, transversely installed 65-degree V-4, DOHC with 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x stroke: 81.0 x 52.3 mm
Horsepower: 175 @ 11,000 rpm (stressed, on the crank)
Torque: 89 lb-ft @ 9,000 rpm (stressed, on the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, rope-operated slip / auxiliary wet clutch
Axle drive: X ring chain
Wheelbase: 57.1 in
Rake / Trail: 24.8 degrees / 3.9 inches.
Seat height: 32.5 in
Wet weight: 461 pounds.
Fuel capacity: 4.9 gallons.