As mentioned in an earlier post, I traded in my 2018 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS on a new Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory in late October. This is the model that has the Ohlins semi-active suspension, which is particularly of interest to me since my back road surfaces are so varied and it gives me a way to build a better feel for suspension adjustments without having to break out tools. I’ve put ~750 miles on it so far and it’s nuts. Honestly, it’s way too much for the street, but it is fun! I asked the dealership (Scuderia of San Francisco) if they could switch out the red seat for a black one, which they did. The bike got its first dealer service at just over 600 miles (I generally prefer to do those at the dealership and then I’ll do the rest other than major services).
This bike is going to be mostly street and a little track (80/20 forecast). Having had it for ~6 weeks now, there are some aspects that remind me of my previous Italian bike ownership: body panels are something of an origami project, it’s not immediately obvious how some of the panels attach but I’m getting it figured out. Italian metallurgy in the bolts leaves something to be desired–the bolts are often made from soft metals and shallow receiving heads for the drivers so it is easy to strip out the heads. I just have to make sure I don’t use ball-end Allen drivers and that the key is fully inserted before turning. I think the Triumph experience kind of spoiled me in a few regards. The other observation is that most of the color patterns are stickers but they aren’t clear coated so I just have to be mindful when cleaning the bike. I suppose the positive side is that if I want to clean it up by removing stickers it’s not a big deal.
By the way, before selecting the TV4F, I had a couple of other bikes in my shortlist. This included the Ducati Streetfighter V4s–great engine, crazy fast, but the ergonomics didn’t feel well-suited to track or sporty riding, it lacks cruise control and a fuel gauge. I do like my local Ducati dealership though. The other contender was the Triumph Speed Triple 1200 RR. A good friend let me ride his in September 2022 at Thunderhill East and it is such a good bike. It’s super polished, refined, and gorgeous. It was a serious contender however I wanted to try something new and the sound the the Aprilia V4s is so intoxicating. The power delivery on the Tuono is amazing too, the midrange thrust is outstanding. Another oddball thing though is the steering lock–you’re not going to make tight U-turns on this bike. It also runs hot. Prior to installing the slip-on, I was stuck waiting on road construction and while idling the bike hit high 230s on the temperature gauge. I keep hearing that’s part of riding an 1100cc V4 near-superbike. I don’t think the Triumph would do that…
That said, since the TV4F is primarily going to be a road bike for me, my modifications are oriented as such and they won’t be too extensive. Mod list:
- OEM Aprilia USB power port – this goes in the front left cover behind the fairing, kind of a must since I use my phone for navigation. Finding the OE plug was a nightmare though. You have to remove the windscreen, dash shade, dash, and then fish out almost all of the connectors behind the dash mounting and the USB connection is at the bottom. Once I found it and re-routed it, the rest of the procedure was maybe 5 minutes but locating it took an insane amount of time.
- 3x RAM ball mounts – one is a left-hand side of the handlebar and then I replaced two of the four riser bolts with RAM balls, this will mostly be for the lap timer and a camera
- Powerlet outlet in the right-hand cover behind the fairing – I ran this one to always-on 12v so I can use it as a port for the battery tender and I use it to power my heated vest.
- 520 chain conversion – SprocketCenter had a good holiday sale going on so I got my favorite chain (ThreeD GP) and stock gearing (15/42) as well as a 16 tooth front sprocket, the 16 tooth is on there now and it has done very little to calm the bike down but I can already tell that the fuel mileage is improved. The overall gearing ratio is now slightly taller than the non-Factory version of the bike. The chain looks awesome too, as well as saving nearly 2 pounds.
- AF1 had a sale on the forged aluminum wheels so I got a set of the titanium finished wheels along with brake rotors and ABS tone rings. I put the original SuperCorsa tires on these wheels and a set of Angel GT tires on the stock red wheels. This way I’ll have track wheels/tires so I can do double-duty easily enough. The Angel GT tires are working great in the cooler, slightly damp conditions. In my experience, the SuperCorsa tires aren’t quite as happy in the winter. Once things warm up and I use up the SuperCorsas, I’ll go with a Pirelli or Metzeler TD tire though I want to try out the Q5 too. For me it’s a tremendous luxury having spare wheels.
- Pitbull front stand pin and the TRS pins–the bike may be too long to go into the back of the pickup with the TRS I haven’t checked yet. I might be able to let enough air out of the tires that it would squeak in.
- AiM Solo 2 DL ECU connection cable – this is a slick one, it plugs in directly between the MIA (if equipped) and the bike’s harness so it’s elegant. That part of the bike’s harness is switched so it won’t drain the bike’s battery if I leave the S2DL plugged in. It would seem this bike would also work with the more generic 21+ Euro5 ‘red’ plug, although that one isn’t on a switched circuit so you have to remember to disconnect the lap timer if left unattended for a while. I don’t love the routing of the cable so far but I think I’ll have to take the tank and side fairing panels off to route it where I want it to go but it’ll work for now. The only bad thing is that AiM’s ECU profile doesn’t cover the electronics changes that happened with the 2021 model so some channels aren’t working yet, although they do exist as I’ve seen the data in the Aprilia smartphone app that hooks into the bluetooth MIA module. Front & rear wheel speed, gear position, and hand throttle position are in the stream so the most important items are there but I would also like to capture TC, WC, and ABS intervention, as well as throttle body position sensors and wheel slip measurements.
- Front turn signal delete + UpMap + Akrapovic slip-on – these bikes, as well as the Ducati V4s, as I understand it, are kind of cool in the sense that the catalytic converter is within the silencer so you actually do a de-cat when you do a simple slip-on, but then that requires a tune. Gabro Racing (UpMap vendor) is highly regarded in the Aprilia community so I went with that for the tune. That tune also enables the Euro turn signal functionality in that the signals are a part of the DRL so you can remove the front stalks without throwing a code. The bike is louder, not super-offensive, but a little louder than I’d ideally have. I’m definitely keeping the db killer in place. The tune is really nice, the initial throttle is super smooth, the power band is supremely linear, and it just works great. It’s easy to do, and really doesn’t take very long. Unlike most of the other tunes for this bike, it does not require a subsequent trip to the dealership to get the throttle alignment done. The other benefit is that the bike runs decidedly cooler with the slip-on.
- Stompgrips tank grips and tank guard, I use this stuff on all my bikes.
- Woodcraft reverse shift lever – easy and just over $100 and you get GP/race shift on it with a good degree of adjustability. I usually don’t have any issue switching between standard and race shift however this bike kind of seemed to call for race shift.
- Helite tether for my airbag vest
- R&G slim frame sliders – I don’t like sliders that stick way out (I flipped a bike in a simple on-track low side one time so I’m wary)
- EvoTech radiator and oil cooler guards – this is a bit of an involved installation compared to the Triumphs. I bailed on the first attempt but finished it up last weekend. It did give me a good excuse to finally figure out how the mid-fairing panels go together.
- EvoTech front axle sliders and tail tidy. I told myself I wasn’t going to do a tail tidy but seeing it makes you realize it’s begging for a tail tidy.
- Powerbronze tall screen, light smoke – I wanted more wind protection for both road and track and while the non-Factory screen fits, I prefer the look of the Puig and Powerbronze screens.
- SW-Motech tank ring and Sport tank bag – this tank ring completely replaces the OE tank ring and I can snap in my existing SW-Motech tank bags, pretty much a must-do thing since I like to carry a tire patch kit, water, and protein bars whenever I go for more than 20 minutes. The SW-Motech bags are supremely engineered and manufactured.
- Lightech chain adjusters–I’ve had these on the Daytona and Street Triple and they’re gorgeous and make chain alignment super easy so I put them on the TV4F, though they’re a lot bigger on this bike and look kind of bling-y.
- Heated Gear – I’m not finding an elegant solution I like so far, mostly because of the Aprilia TC buttons that kind of interfere with most heated grips. I’ve gone ahead and purchased my first heated gloves (battery powered Gerbing gloves). I was hoping to figure out elegant mounting of the wired controller for my heated vest but no dice so far. I’m presently using the Powerlet outlet next to the dash to power the vest. There are battery powered vest options but I prefer the additional heat of a wired option and don’t want to have to think about charging it.
- I just ordered the Kriega Tuono tail mounting kit and a US-30 Drybag – sometimes I want to carry more than what I can in just the tank bag and I’d rather not carry a backpack.
- Lightech Superbike lifter kit – since the swingarm is so wide, it barely fits on the Pitbull rear stand. I wanted some beefier swingarm spools but those put it out too wide to even fit in the Pitbull stand. The Lightech kit lets you use the reverse method where it has spools on the stand and hooks on the swingarm (technically the chain adjusters). I think they may build these to order so it may be a few weeks still on these.
- The only other things I have in mind are relatively small–pre-drilled titanium caliper bolts, oil plug, pinch bolts, etc., basically doing most of the safety wiring as you would for N2 Track Days in the fast group.
So far, the bike is amazing. The electronics are a whole world beyond anything I’ve used before on a sport bike, the sound is unlike anything else, and the fit of the bike for me is like it was custom made for me, yet all I’ve done is adjust the angle of the brake and clutch levers. It seems like Aprilia is kind of like the KTM of Italy–I know parts supply is not great, some things are often barely past beta testing, factory communication can be frustrating, etc. My Triumph experience had been good, from the manufacturer, the products themselves, to the dealership and while I don’t have an Aprilia dealership as close as my Triumph dealership was, it is in San Francisco and they seem competent and friendly. I will admit, perusing the AF1 Racing website while I was figuring out which bike to get was a huge factor in my decision. The site and the personnel there are excellent.