Dorsoduro’s driving ambition

2012-09-17 11:43

From time to time I have to remind colleagues, friends and family just how successful motorcycle giant Aprilia really is, especially when you consider its motorcycle racing heritage.

Whichever class it cares to enter, from the 125cc tiddlers to World Superbikes (WSB), Aprilia is right up there with the very best.

Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 specs

One of the bike maker's star riders, Max Biaggi, took yet another victory for the marque (make that a double win) at the 2012 Misano WSB on his Aprilia RSV4 factory machine.


Interestingly, here in the Western Cape* there’s a friendly new home for Aprilia encompassing bike sales, parts and service. I paid them a visit eager to learn more about current models from this proud Italian group.

I was told that in the first three months since taking over the franchise they’ve already reached double-figure sales deals.

Looking back at Aprilia’s heritage, acquired by the Piaggio Group in 2004, the fourth largest bike manufacturer in the world, the rugged-looking Dorsoduro that we take a closer look at this week continues on that company’s success.

Ostensibly a “max motard-style” bike, the big brother to the 750cc Dorsoduro boasts a powerful 1200cc vee-twin motor and is something of an agile and performance-oriented bike.

With its sleek looks, wide handlebars with hand protectors and wind deflector-type fairing up front, it looks the sort of bike that can criss-cross South African roads - dirt, potholed or otherwise – very, very quickly.

The lusty 90-degree vee-twin motor pushes out 96kW at 8700rpm, while developing 115Nm with a torque peak of 7200 rpm. With three riding modes (sport, touring and rain) the rider is able to dial up just the right amount power inputs in a given situation.


Factor in the option of ABS and traction control and it is easy to see why this Dorsoduro could well be the perfect all-rounder.

The bike has plenty of features including electronic fuel injection, ride by wire technology, Brembo brakes, hydraulic clutch, and a three-way catalytic converter dual exhaust system. The model rides on modular three-spoke alloy wheels and a trellis-type frame that offers large amounts of torsional stiffness. It is finished in a two-tone colour scheme. 

Suspension wise, the Sachs front forks (43mm), are of the upside down variety and are fully adjustable, plus there’s a piggyback design rear monoshock arrangement to be found at the rear.

When all that engine power needs to be harnessed in the rider can count on those Brembo racing brakes doing their job well – incidentally, very similar to those fitted to factory race bikes.

While other manufacturers continue to chase after the benchmark-leading machine in the adventure market (such as the BMW’s R1200GS) Aprilia seems perfectly content to debut and market its latest offering in the motard/supermoto class … and I can see why.

It’s somehow a very different kind of machine. Imagine if everybody bought the same bike or car, what a boring world we would live in!

The 2012 Aprilia Dorsoduro sells for R119 995.

*If you reside in the Western Cape and would like to take a closer look at Aprilia products, Aprilia South is the well-stocked local agent. They can be found in Plumstead, Cape Town. Contact 0217610157.

  • trevor.bush.9655 - 2012-09-17 16:58

    Sorry but the Dorsoduro was first punted as a "SuperMoto" but fell waaaay short when it was launched as it go against EVERYTHING that makes a Supermoto, agile, quick and light...going by weight, 223kg in 2012 which you don't mention and the de-tuned +-115RWP for a 1200 V-twin still makes it a bike that does nothing well but be called a 1200 V-Twin, Aprilia can't give these bikes away going by sales in SA.

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