October 8, 2009

Aprilia SMV750 Dorsoduro ABS: Riding impression

The Aprilia Dorsoduro seems to be an interesting machine, though we don’t suppose Aprilia are selling too many of these bikes - most people don’t even seem to remember that Aprilia have something called the SMV750 Dorsoduro in their line-up.

Earlier this year, Aprilia had announced the availability of an ABS-equipped version of the Dorsoduro, which surprised a lot of people. How would ABS work on a supermoto-style bike? Would it still be possible to ride the bike aggressively and slide it around? Well, Solo Moto had the opportunity to ride an ABS-equipped SMV750 and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about this bike:

The Aprilia Dorsoduro has a riding position like that of a big trail bike, though it behaves more like a regular streetbike – it’s easy to ride, isn’t as radical as some other supermotards and potentially, it could be a useful machine for a large number of riders.

The Dorsoduro shares its steel-tube/aluminium chassis and 90-degree v-twin engine with the Aprilia Shiver. The SMV’s ABS comes from Continental, who work closely with Aprilia. [Tyre manufacturer Continental has a dedicated division for manufacturing various automotive components, including braking systems for motorcycles.] In this case, the ABS has two independent ‘channels’ that manage the front and the rear disc brakes. Now, this setup isn’t likely to satisfy experienced, aggressive riders, though it’ll probably be useful for the less experienced, especially in emergencies and/or on sand, gravel and other potentially slippery surfaces.

While entering a corner on the ABS-equipped SMV, ‘violent’ braking doesn’t work – the ABS takes some control away from the rider and upsets the balance of the machine. Gentle braking at all times is a much more effective way of riding this thing. The Dorsoduro’s seat is a bit too high, but the bike’s steering is very neutral – it’s nowhere near as radical as, say, a Ducati Hypermotard or KTM Supermoto. The Aprilia is easier to ride, friendly and more comfortable…

The SMV's spacious riding position allows complete freedom of movement – something you really appreciate over longer distances. The chassis offers good levels of feel and stability, though the rear suspension could have been better. Despite its supermoto-type styling and riding position, the Dorsoduro behaves more like a big streetbike with wide handlebars.

The 92bhp Aprilia v-twin engine offers three different maps (Sport, Touring and Rain) that can be selected via a button mounted on the left handlebar. The ‘Sport’ mode makes for a very aggressive power delivery and for dealing with city traffic, it’s the ‘Touring’ mode that feels best.

Like we said earlier, the Dorsoduro could easily be a useful machine for a large number of riders, though experts may prefer the non-ABS version simply because it offers more control. Of course, the ABS version offers a bigger margin of safety. Also, Continental are said to be developing a much more advanced version of their ABS system, which we might get on some Aprilia bikes in 2010.

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