With an engine derived from the Dorsoduro 1200, sophisticated electronic riding aids, and unique character, the amazing and captivating Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS takes on a crowded field that includes the Ducati Multistrada
, Kawasaki Versys 1000, KTM 990 SMT
, Moto Guzzi Stelvio, Triumph Tiger Explorer
, and Suzuki V-Strom 1000.
The Italian manufacturer also banks on RSV4-inspired looks to remind everyone about its superb racing pedigree which includes multiple world championships.
Based on the Dorsoduro, the 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS uses the same frame and 90-degree V-twin rated at 128 hp and 85 lb-ft of torque, as well as a number of technologies sourced from racing such as 3-level traction control and dual-channel ABS.
The Travel Pack (the only version available in Canada) adds 29-litre saddlebags that you can easily remove without tools, Aprilia Dynamic Damping suspension, cruise control, and a centre stand. The windshield is manually adjustable, while the two-tier seat stands 840mm above the ground. Expect a range of about 325km with the big 24L fuel tank.
|Based on the Dorsoduro, the 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS uses the same frame and 90-degree V-twin rated at 128 hp and 85 lb-ft of torque. (Photo: France Ouellet)
I tested the 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack on a cold and rainy day -- ideal conditions to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the chassis and electronic systems. Right off the bat, I revelled in the abundance of comfort from the natural riding position to the soft rider's seat that still provides decent support. Protection against the elements has also been cleverly though out.
The suspension is super-easy to adjust: pick your own settings or let the bike automatically adapt to the load (solo, two-up, with or without luggage). The system even takes road conditions and your riding style into consideration. Therefore, expect supreme comfort at all times without feeling like you're rolling on a giant marshmallow. Nosedive is effectively controlled so as to put less stress on the rider and passenger, especially during frequent braking.
The 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack proves surprisingly smooth on gravel roads and patchy stretches of pavement. It may take some time to feel confident on the machine given the lack of feedback, but once you get used to it, you'll be treated with class-leading comfort and fundamentally sound riding dynamics.
|Right off the bat, I revelled in the abundance of comfort from the natural riding position to the soft rider's seat that still provides decent support. (Photo: France Ouellet)
Naturally, when drops start to fall, it's best to use the Rain mode that restrains power delivery at medium and higher revs. Seasoned riders will prefer the Sport mode and its more spirited ways. Given the odd choice of tires, I was thankful for the competent and transparent traction control system, as well as the subtle intervention of ABS. The latter works in harmony with monoblock brake callipers and a remarkably precise master cylinder.
The V-twin that powers the 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack comes alive at 3,000 rpm and really fills your ears when it reaches 6,000 rpm. Look for great responsiveness and character in typical Italian fashion. On the other hand, touring enthusiasts need to use the throttle with moderation to limit fuel consumption and avoid violent acceleration, otherwise the passenger better hang on tight. Luckily, the grab bars can be held in different ways whether you're braking or sprinting.
Never to be confused with the old ETV 1000 Caponord that was sold in Europe several years ago, the new 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS has all the ingredients to make a name for itself in the hotly contested adventure segment, between the less comfortable KTM and the more expensive Ducati. A bit overwhelming at first, it ultimately proves safe and sound, and quite enjoyable to ride. No matter the surface, the Caponord will shine with a great mix of comfort and sportiness.
|The new 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS has all the ingredients to make a name for itself in the hotly contested adventure segment. (Photo: France Ouellet)
- Comfort and handling combination is hard to beat thanks to ADD
- V-twin engine is powerful
- Electronics you can always count on
- Each saddlebag is big enough to hold a full-face helmet
- Odd choice of tires
- Behaves and sounds a bit too aggressively for touring