Aprilia SL750 Shiver


Fast track

The Aprilia boogie, with a lighter beat

Its looks might make you think, but there is nothing unusual about the design of the Aprilia Shiver. Upside-down forks, multi-faceted headlight, trellis frame, exhausts under the seat … it’s all been done before. But not like this. It’s not just pretty; it could have been designed by Alessi, if Alessi’s designers knew motorcycles.

The bike looks good from any angle in a modernistic, Transformerish sort of way. But the best angle is the rear, with the pipes, tail-light, pillion grips and blinkers combining in a sharp techno-look.

That’s just as well because that’s the view riders of other bikes in the same class will be seeing a lot of. The Shiver’s top speed is no higher but it gets there much faster than, say, a Ducati 696 or a Kawasaki ER-6n. It takes the Aprilia only 17.9 seconds to reach 200 km/h, whereas the Duke takes 23.6 and the Kawasaki a full 26 seconds*.

And life on the road? For a start you need to remember that because this is an Aprilia you have the choice of three injection maps via your left thumb. The rain setting is the most sedate, followed by touring with full power but more gradual acceleration and the full-on sport.

The throttle is very responsive and the bike has enough torque to transform extra fuel into extra acceleration in a completely linear way. Twitch the throttle, go a lot faster and over a wide rev range. Actuation is by way of a servo motor and I think some of the bike’s enthusiasm is due to the way this is set. Handle with care in tight stuff; enjoy the rest of the time. It sounds good, too.

Alas, the bike we had was not happy at low speed; it seemed as though the fuel injection wasn’t coping too well with small throttle openings. Once you’re moving, the fuelling is perfect.

There’s no front suspension adjustment but the side-mounted rear shock is easy to set up. The front is perhaps a little soft and it dives noticeably when you use the potent front brakes in anger. ABS is coming.

Suspension and the stiff, utterly reliable frame produce excellent handling. Steering is light and the bike turns happily. But why the relatively fat rear tyre? When you’re cranked over, you can feel road unevenness more than you might like. It’s a very small criticism of an otherwise superb handling package.

A very pronounced step in the seat means rider and pillion ne’er shall meet but it leaves the pillion fairly comfortable. The seat is also hard but the relationship between it, the wide handlebars and the footpegs provides a relaxed but alert riding position. The levers are adjustable and the digital speedo and analogue rev counter well laid out and clear.

There’s no doubt about it; the Shiver is a lot of fun. What would I change? I’d buy a guard for the exposed radiator, given the condition of many Australian roads. Other than that, it’s pretty sweet!

*These figures are from a comparison test conducted by my friends at MOTORRAD magazine in Germany.

Model: Aprilia SL750 Shiver
Price: $14,990 (plus on-road charges)
Warranty: Two years, unlimited distance
Power: 70kW @ 9000rpm
Torque: 79Nm @ 7250rpm
Engine: Liquid-cooled 90-degree vee-twin, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, fuel injection and digital ignition
Bore x stroke: 92 x 56.4mm
Displacement: 749.9cc
Compression: 11:1
Transmission: Six-speed, wet multi-plate clutch, chain drive
Suspension: Front, 43 mm upside-down telescopic fork, travel 120mm. Rear, single side-mounted shock, preload and rebound damping adjustable, 130mm travel
Dimensions: Seat height 810mm, weight 217kg (with full tank), fuel capacity 15 litres, wheelbase 1440mm
Tyres: Front, 120/70 ZR 17. Rear, 180/55 ZR 17
Frame: Steel trellis with aluminium side plates
Brakes: Front, twin floating 320mm discs with four-piston radial calipers. Rear, 245mm disc with single-piston caliper
Top speed: 210km/h
0-100km/h: 4 sec
60-100km/h: 4.5 sec
Fuel consumption: 4.5 litres per 100km, unleaded
Theoretical range: 333km
Colours: Silver, black

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