The Aprilia demo rides started at 10am today. Perfect weather. I got there at 10:30, figuring that the first wave of riders would be finished. I couldn't believe there was no one there. I signed up for the Tuono for my first ride and the Mille Factory for my second ride.
The Tuono was nice. A real honest-to God handlebar and great seating position. A slight stumble off idle, but tons of torque. We went on a short 8-mile ride that included streets and interstate. I hit the horn button several times while using the turnsignals. The little windscreen didn't block much wind. The bike handled and accelerated smartly. There was some potholes I couldn't avoid, but the suspension soaked it up. I liked it. I couldn't wait to try the Ohlin forks and shock on the Factory.
Getting on the Factory from the Tuono was like night and day. The clip-ons were set so low it felt like they were connected to the front axle. Not only were the clip-ons super low, they were set at weird downward angles. The mirrors showed a nice view of my elbows. No matter how I adjusted them. The seat was hard and sharp-edged.
For an expensive bike, the Factory's body work was a mixture of flat black, shiny black, and carbon fiber. Looked kind of boring, but the frame and Oz wheels were a nice muted gold color. I guess I'm not used to stubby clip-ons, but they needed a good shove to get the bike turned. I much preferred the Tuono's handlebar.
I was actually scared on the highway. Since the mirrors were useless, I had to really crank my head to see if there was a car or bike next to me when I changed lanes. It's pretty hard to see around your shoulders when you're laying on the gas tank. And I do yoga. On the streets, it had the same stumble off idle as the Tuono. The suspension was better than the Tuono, but not that much better.
Did I mention the brakes? Terrific brakes on both bikes. We had a different leader the second time and I asked her if she was taking the same route. She said yes. I was the second bike behind her coming off the interstate. We rode staggered and I was by the curb. There was no traffic to merge with, so I was leaned over about to accelerate onto the street. There was a concrete triangle that separated traffic going south from traffic that had to stop at the light to turn north. With the other leader we turned south.
All of a sudden she slows and turns on the other side of the triangle to head north. Meanwhile, I'm on the inside of the curve accelerating south. I grab the brakes. The bike stood up and decelerated with some skidding. This put me on the outside of the curve, but I was past the turnoff to go north. I stopped the bike without hitting the triangle or falling down. But now I'm facing south and I can't back up on the off ramp. She turns south and I catch up with her at the next light. She said she went the wrong way, but I felt like a jerk.
Even though the Factory was super uncomfortable, I liked the engine, suspension and brakes. I never revved the engine over 9 grand and I'm sure it's terrific on a race course, but I would take the Tuono over the Factory on the street or a race course. They served food and drinks and had three stunters give a long demo on wheelies, stoppies and burnouts. I talked to a rep from the demo truck and mentioned the engine stumble and he said the bikes had come from sea level in southern CA. Anyway, I had a great time and am looking forward to the next demo truck. Triumph or Ducati anyone?