Lean and mean in its original hornet-yellow-and-black paint scheme, the 153-horsepower Aprilia Tuono V4 R won “Best Superbike” honors in Cycle World’s Ten Best Bikes in its debut year. Based on the RSV4 Factory ABS tested this past May, the 2014 Tuono V4 R ABS will surely be the most advanced version of this stunning naked Italian sportbike that Aprilia has produced thus far.
This new Tuono shares its highly advanced electronics suite—arguably the best tuned and most effective in production today—with the more powerful, fully faired RSV 4 ABS. This is a further evolution of the Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) and, in addition to the “ride-by-wire” multi-map engine-management program, now includes a complete array of electronic supports for the rider that will make the Tuono even more enjoyable while delivering an extra margin of safety.
The list starts with Aprilia Traction Control (ATC), whose eight levels of action can be adjusted on the go via a selector next to the left-hand grip without shutting the throttle. Software operating logic has been improved to the point that it can sense and take into account speed and lean angle around a given corner and then modulate tire slippage. Response is said to be more linear, and the system can control slip in high-speed corners without killing torque delivered to the rear wheel out of slow turns, where the rider can more easily deal with slides.
Aprilia Wheelie Control (AWC), is three-way adjustable and recalibrated to better control high-speed wheelies without hurting ultimate performance. Aprilia Launch Control (ALC) is intended for track use and is also three-way adjustable. Aprilia Quick Shift (AQS) is possibly the best production software to assist extremely fast shifting without shutting the throttle.
Bosch’s latest ABS 9PM ECU teamed with the equally advanced Brembo M 4-32 Monobloc radial-mount front-brake calipers and twin 320mm discs complete the Tuono’s electronics suite. ABS is tunable on three levels to optimize action according to riding conditions: Track, Sport and Rain.
Engine output has been increased from the previously claimed 167 horsepower to 170 at 11,500 rpm and 82.2 foot-pounds of torque at 9500 rpm, with a flatter curve through the rev range. This slight increase in power and better torque delivery come from revised cam timing, a more efficient exhaust system and 20mm-taller throttle bodies. In addition, flywheel mass has been increased to make power delivery even smoother and more tractable. As for the chassis, like the Sachs shock, the new 43mm inverted Sachs fork is fully adjustable via conventional means—no electronics here.
Despite its more advanced electronics, the Tuono V4 R ABS is not a videogame. It is a piece of further honed, great motorcycle engineering. Price in Italy is 16,100 euros.