Myself and Maja Kenney of Maja’s Motorcycle Adventures were invited along to Piaggio press day to try out some of the brands bikes. My short musing can be read here below are Maja’s thoughts on the day and machines.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend Piaggio Press Day in Silverstone. That means riding Italian bikes for the day. I couldn’t be happier. Aprilia, in particular, was always one on my want list.
I have made my selection of bikes I wanted to ride before I arrived at Silverstone and I was a little bit anxious and very much excited to get going. A number of us attended and were greeted by the very friendly team at Piaggio. Once the paperwork and the initial briefing were done we set off on our first ride.
Each had four time slots to ride four different bikes and we were guided around Silverstone by Mark from Spyder Motorcycles Hire.
My first choice was a Moto Guzzi V85 TT. I am on the lookout for a good adventure bike to run my tours on and with my passion for everything Italian and something that is a little bit rare, this seemed like it could be just the ticket. I jumped on and started the engine and was surprised by how much the bike shook. The engine vibrated so hard it felt the whole bike was moving sideways. Once we got going the shaking stopped and the ride was very smooth. I did find the V85 quite tall and was on my tiptoes as it usually happens on adventure bikes and I stand at 5’6” so not exactly short. The bike was easy to ride, smooth gear changes, easy to corner and it was very comfortable. Suspension is great and I barely noticed the raised ironworks or potholes. In fact, it almost felt as if I was sitting on a sofa and not riding the bike myself. When we returned back to base I dismounted the bike and didn’t even look back. It hasn’t really made much of an impression on me, I would say it would be a useful tool rather than the passion inducing Italian machine.
My second bike choice was the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory. I was really excited about riding this one, having experienced a V4 engine on another Italian a couple of months prior, I was really looking forward to seeing how it compares. The sitting position on the Tuono is more upright, similar to my Ducati Supersport which makes it great for covering the miles in relative comfort. It rivals the Ducati Streetfighter and the BMW S1000R in its design, purpose and looks. The ride is rapid and smooth, the power delivery is consistent and it corners beautifully. It is a beautiful machine that sounds amazing and looks stunning. However, I felt there are too many electronics controlling the ride and I wasn’t really in charge, more of a pillion. It was almost too perfect for enjoyment and whilst I did have a big grin on my face once the ride ended I can’t say it moved my soul.
We stopped for lunch, a proper Italian wood fired pizza oven was waiting for our orders and it was delicious. The weather has turned and it has started to rain which was a bit annoying given that my next bike was the new Aprilia RS660.
I am always a bit anxious sitting on a sports bike because of the riding position. I worry about putting too much weight through my wrists and losing the control of the bike when needed but it always turns out to be an unnecessary worry and in fact, I quite enjoy short rides on such bikes. The RS660 has full fairings which I am used to and that certainly helped because the winds have picked up and at times I felt the winds will pick me and the bike off the road too! An opportunity for an overtake reminded me that you need to work a little bit harder to have enough speed for a safe overtake. Similarly to the V4 Tuono, the bike seems to ride itself and I was very surprised at how small the bike is overall. I felt I was literally sitting on top of it with very little of the bike in front of me. It felt odd to start with but I quickly got used to it and actually felt more in control of the bike and the ride.
My original plan was to leave early and head back to North Wales but was talked into staying for the last ride and to try the Aprilia Tuono 660. The truth is, I was enjoying the other two so much I didn’t really need my arm twisting. And I was glad I stayed! The upright sitting position and the slightly smaller bike to the V4 felt instantly comfortable and oddly familiar. I couldn’t wait to get going. Even in the rain, it felt stable and connected to the road. Somehow it felt faster than the RS660 and less controlling than the V4. I actually felt like I was in charge, not the bike. The cornering was super effortless, incredibly responsive to all of my commandes, it felt raw and willing to listen and follow my lead. I think it was quite obvious when we returned just how much I enjoyed the bike and which ones was my favourite of the day! Huge grin and I wouldn’t shut up about it. I am looking forward to spending more time on this bike to give it a proper review.
After the rides finished we stopped for a cake and more coffee, chatted amongst ourselves and compared notes whilst hoping the rain would stop. No such luck and eventually we felt we better leave our wonderful hosts to wrap up their day as I jumped back on my Supersport for a very windy and rainy ride back to North Wales.
Many thanks to Niels/Lea and also Spyder Motorcycles Hire for sorting things on the day
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