This is the second new premier-class Italian adventure motorcycle to arrive on the South African scene, following the 2012 launch of the Moto Guzzi Stelvio.
The all-new Aprilia shares nothing but its name with the earlier 998cc Caponord 1000 that was discontinued some years back. The latest version's 1197cc V-twin engine is derived from that of the Aprilia Dorsoduro.
The Travel Pack version of the Caponord to be sold in South Africa also boasts Aprilia Dynamic Damping (ADD), a semi-active suspension system that measures the energy transmitted by bumps on the road and continuously adjusts the front and rear damping to lessen the impact on handling and comfort. In addition, numerous sensors monitor rider input and recalibrate the suspension to take things like throttle position and braking forces into account, all in real time. Unlike other electromechanically adjustable suspension systems, the rider need not press any buttons to select the mode. The bike's computers can do this automatically to suit the conditions and riding style.
Also standard on the Caponord Travel Pack is a piggyback rear shock absorber that is electronically adjustable over a range of four preload settings. These modes - for rider only, rider and passenger, rider with panniers and rider with passenger and panniers - can be switched via a button on the handlebars, but most owners will, once the novelty wears off, leave the system in automatic mode. This monitors the load on the machine and automatically fettles the spring preload accordingly. It even takes into account things like the continuously diminishing fuel load as the kilometres slip by. The Travel Pack comes with Aprilia's electronic cruise control (ACC) that maintains a pre-set speed up hill and down dale, but disengages when the rider uses the clutch or brake.
The Travel Pack version of the Caponord offered for sale in this country is the perfect adventure tourer for our conditions. It comes with a pair of colour-coded panniers, a centre stand and the full complement of electronic rider aids not available on the standard version sold in other countries. The factory put a lot of effort into making the rider and passenger as comfortable as possible for long hauls and the adjustable windscreen holds the wind at bay at speed. Ride and handling are superb on tar and on gravel, power delivery is excellent and fuel range, thanks to the 24-litre fuel tank, is good for many hours in the saddle.
The Aprilia Caponord Travel Pack will be available at your nearest dealer towards the end of May or early in June. The motorcycle comes with a 2-year/unlimited distance warranty. Pricing is not yet available but is set to be competitive.