’14 Aprilia Caponord 1200
You know, there are times when manufacturers send something off their factory floor that catches the eye, and then there are times when they simply bless you with a product that blows your hair back. Aprilia did just that with this all new Caponord 1200!
The last Caponord I rode was on a weekend trip from Durban to Kroonstad, and I was taken but not sold on the brand. I just cannot say the same today; I am sold! Collecting the bike from East Coast Motorcycles, for a weekend and going through the different settings, I couldn’t help but stay out loud, “stuff this, let’s ride”! I’ll figure it out later… Simply every angle of the bike caught my attention, even the sound, the trimmings, the lights, the exposed mono shock on the right… man, I just fell in love with everything.
Your daily adventure awaits!
The latest Aprilia design changes the world of street adventure bikes: the utmost comfort, for one or two riders, combined with the sportiness that only Aprilia Racing’s experience can guarantee. The Caponord 1200 will surprise you with its evolved cycle parts, its powerful twin cylinder 1200 cc engine, and its exclusive electronic equipment which comes standard on all versions. Multi-mapping Ride by Wire, three-level Traction Control, ABS with switched-off system, the latest cutting-edge semi-active ADD suspension system in the Travel Pack version, Cruise Control and, for the first time ever on a bike, a fully electrically adjustable automatic shock-absorber.
Aprilia Dynamic Damping
The ADD (Aprilia Dynamic Damping) is the semi-active suspension system that measures the energy transmitted by bumps on the road surface to the bike and adjusts the hydraulic fork calibration and shock absorber in real time to minimise accelerations on the frame and consequently maximise comfort. To achieve maximum performance at any fork and shock absorber operating frequency, ADD uses a patented “comfort oriented” algorithm which combines the principles of the well-known skyhook and acceleration driven damping algorithms.
Multimap Ride by Wire
Ride by Wire system, the fruit of extremely sophisticated technology which helps the rider to get the most out of the bike’s performance potential, dialogues perfectly with the engine ECU, managing the power in the best possible way at each point of the power output arc in order to have jerk-free manageability at low RPM, extreme responsiveness at medium RPM and exemplary spurts at high RPM. With its triple maps (Rain, Touring and Sport), which the rider can select even with the bike in motion, provides the possibility of having a bike with three distinct personalities, able to instantly adapt to any possible condition and preference.
SPORT: maximum performance with responsive and direct power output in order to satisfy an aggressive riding style.
TOURING: the maximum power expressed is the same as the Sport mapping, but output becomes more fluid and suitable for daily riding or touring.
RAIN: power is limited to 100 HP in order to guarantee maximum control and safety in conditions of poor grip.
Aprilia Traction Control
ATC (Aprilia Traction Control) is the exclusive traction control system derived from the Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) system on the extraordinary RSV4, designed and fine-tuned by Aprilia to get maximum grip out of any type of surface, able to give the rider great riding confidence, simultaneously increasing safety. The 3 levels of control can be adjusted based on different riding styles and asphalt conditions:
Level 1: for a pure sport riding experience, all fun and adrenaline.
Level 2: suitable for the city and touring and in general to manage the engine’s great power on any route.
Level 3: ideal for safety taking on difficult situations such as low grip surfaces, staying in complete control.
Aprilia Cruise Control
Aprilia Cruise Control allows the desired speed to be set and maintained even on uphill and downhill, without touching the throttle control. The system disengages automatically if the rider touches any of the brake/clutch Cruise Control commands and is very useful on long motorway routes because it helps save fuel and makes the ride less tiring. It is a perfect ally to eat up miles stress-free astride the Caponord 1200.
The two channel ABS system is particularly finely calibrated and allows the rider to take full advantage of the chassis potential in sport riding without ever being invasive, even in the most intense braking operations, whilst still guaranteeing maximum safety on slippery surfaces.
The shock absorber connects the frame to the aluminium fork and is positioned laterally to leave sufficient space for the exhaust manifolds, away from heat sources. Its position facilitates adjustments in preloading the spring and its extension hydraulics. The Travel Pack option, on the other hand, has suspensions (shock absorber and fork) with hydraulics electronically controlled by the ADD system. The shock absorber also has electrically adjustable spring preloading in four predefined settings (rider only, rider and passenger, rider only with panniers, rider and passenger with panniers), or in automatic mode, which allows the spring pre-loader to automatically adapt to the type of load on the bike.
The Aprilia twin cylinder boasts extremely advanced construction technology and a careful study of internal fluid dynamics aimed at improving combustion, decreasing friction and maximising performance. The engine was the object of some significant advancements, both in software and hardware, in order to obtain more progressive power output from low rpms (to the advantage of comfort) and to enhance riding pleasure thanks to even higher torque values (to the advantage of fun), at the same time improving fuel economy.
On the highway, it rumbled along in 6th gear at 3500rpm, not even requiring a downshift for acceleration, but I dropped two cogs for rapid passing. Stopping is provided by powerful Brembo callipers, twin 320mm discs up front and the latest two-channel switchable ABS.
I found I could leave the ABS on when riding on dirt as it adapts well to the low-friction conditions. If needed, and for fun, you can use downshifts to lock the back wheel to turn into corners.
The riding position is upright with a comfortable reach to the high-bend ‘bar and the adjustable windscreen provides a reasonable amount of weather protection, although I felt buffeting at highway speeds, despite it being developed in a wind tunnel. Maybe at 6’ 2” I’m too tall for the bike, or it could’ve been the aerodynamics of my helmet, who knows.
Sitting up high and proud, the bike offers a good view in the traffic and, together with its wide ‘bar, is a highly manoeuvrable commuter bike, with gears as smooth as silk. The comfort and touring features make it a dependable touring bike, with more than 400km of range from the generous 24-litre tank. Touring options include tank and tail bags, gel seat, top box, alarm system and heated grips.
It’s a touring bike for cross-country travelling on our roads, with the occasional stint on well-groomed gravel. While the small front wheel and road tyres are the biggest limiting factors for dirt, the electronics package of three-stage traction control and semi-active suspension does its best to accommodate the occasional gravel stint.
The most exciting bit of the Caponord is the ADD (Aprilia Dynamic Damping) system. It’s a dynamic and semi-active suspension system that you can set for single rider or two-up, with or without luggage, or set to auto so it detects the rider, pillion, luggage and even the fuel load and adjusts the spring preload. How’s that for technology!
So for all the journeys that you have yet to take and even for your city adventures, with the Aprilia Caponord 1200, freedom has no boundaries. Take one on your adventure today?
Bike supplied by:
EAST COAST MOTORCYCLES
Tel: (031) 566 3024
10 Meridian Drive, Umhlanga Ridge