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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

More Bikes from EICMA: The Big Dorso, Bad-Ass BMW Scoot and an Itty-Bitty RSV4 Look-Alike

This year’s new-bike season has yielded a bumper crop of new bikes, despite a weak global market for large-displacement motorcycles. In addition to the Ducati Diavel, Honda Crossrunner and various nakeds we’ve already told you about, there are all kinds of odds and ends at the massive EICMA show in Milan, where tens of thousands of visitors are expected to come to drool and ogle through Sunday. Here is some more of what they’ll see:

Aprilia: 1200 Tuono and RS4 125

Apparently, Aprilia’s product planners were charging ahead despite the recession; they’re continuing to widely expand Aprilia’s streetbike lineup. The new Dorsoduro 1200 shouldn’t surprise you. This might qualify as the worst kept ”secret” in the industry … the owner’s manual and pictures have been online for months.

I have ridden the 750 Dorsoduro and found a very impressive motorcycle, a bike that belies an underwhelming spec sheet. It’s heavy and has horsepower numbers that won’t exactly win bar bets. But when ridden back-to-back with its competitor, the Ducati Hypermotard 796, it comes out ahead, with more compliant suspension, a smoother motor and a more refined, usable feel. So how can you go wrong adding another 450cc of displacement? You can’t.

At the heart of the Dorso Grande is the liquid-cooled, dohc, 90-degree 1197cc V-Twin. Unlike previous Aprilia Twins, this one is designed and built by Piaggio, Aprilia’s parent company, rather than Rotax. Piaggio is known for building ultra-reliable scooter (as well as aviation and marine) engines, but this is no buzzy little weed-wacker. It makes 130 horsepower at 8700 rpm and 85 ft.-lbs. of torque at 7200 rpm—not exactly an 1198R, but plenty strong for the street.

The chassis is well-suited for a streetbike. The bike’s pushing 500 pounds or more wet, so it looks more like a supermoto than it really is, but the hybrid steel-tube and aluminum chassis should be rigid and nimble enough. Fully adjustable, sportbike-spec suspension and radial-mount Brembo brakes make this a potential track weapon (again, maybe a bit too heavy) and a definite twisty-road tool. Like its 750cc little brother, the 1200 has fuel-injection, ride-by-wire throttle and three fueling maps the rider can switch between on the go. The bike will be coming to the USA in April, but no word on pricing—my crystal ball says about $12,000.

Aprilia’s other new model (there’s also a new version of the RSV4 Factory V-Four—read about updates to the electronics in our Nakeds story) may be a tougher sell. Our readers love small-displacement bikes, and constantly ask why the USA market doesn’t have more available, so they may be excited by the RS4 125. It’s a replica of the RSV4 in an 8th-liter package, with an aluminum twin-spar frame, full bodywork, inverted 41mm fork, radial-mount four-piston caliper and 300mm disc. Wet weight will probably be well under 300 pounds, which should keep the claimed 15 hp of power output interesting enough for the teenaged audience (most European countries restrict new riders to small-displacement motorcycles) the bike is intended for. It’s actually coming to the States, and for USA buyers, this bike will probably be an interesting disappointment—it will probably be priced well north of $5000 and won’t be freeway legal in most U.S. states, even if it will probably be capable of 80 mph.

Which makes me wonder why Aprilia is going through the trouble to bring this model in. Just getting a product in compliance with Federal and California emissions requirements can cost many times the profit margins on 1000 of these. I would wager it’s a way to keep a buzz going about Aprilia products, or maybe the Aprilia people just think it’s cool. Why don’t they put the 550cc SXV V-Twin or maybe a 650cc Single in there? That would be so many shades of awesome even I would run out of metaphors, but it will probably never happen. But who cares? I’m going to try to get one on a go-kart track and have a good time anyway.

BMW: Concept C

BMW is bound and determined to go into markets it has no business being in traditionally. But at least now it has some credibility when it does, thanks to the wild success of the S1000RR superbike.

So why not jump into the maxi-scooter pool? When there are superhighways everywhere in India and China, well-heeled interurban commuters will want a stylish and sophisticated way to get stuck in those emerging giant’s traffic jams. So BMW—which says it will be making big scooters in its Berlin plant—rolled out this tough-looking big scoot in Milan.

Unlike some concepts we could name, there are a lot of well-developed details about this bike, which means we could see it as a production model sooner than we think. It uses a twin-cylinder engine, CVT transmission (of course), and big superbike-style swingarm—which indicates the motor is mounted motorcycle-style in the frame for optimum weight distribution and handling. Inverted forks and radial-mount brakes hint at the bike’s sporting nature, and a GS-style bash plate gives the bike adventure-touring cred, if not actual ability. LCD displays (with Nav!) and rear-facing cameras replace mirrors—hey, it’s a concept bike—and everything about it looks clean and modern. Think of it as a scooter for James Bond. Or at least James Franco.

BMW promises two “premium scooter models” and is also considering some kind of alternative electric drivetrain as well. I think there might be a bubble in the maxi-scooter market, so BMW might want to take a lesson from Mini and develop a premium, yet affordable smaller scooter for developing nations. But I’m not the one with a multi-billion-dollar global corporation. There’s probably a reason for that…


  1. Norm G. says:

    nice design language. did bmw just spend more effort on the appearance of a scooter than they did on the s1000…?

  2. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    Love the Tron-inspired scooter. There’s a bit of Transformers in there as well. The designers are movie buffs

  3. chornbe says:

    Why the 2-stroke fascination?

    • MikeD says:

      Personally because of the way it works, feels, smells and sounds. Nothing out of this world really… different folks different strokes.

    • mpolans says:

      I’m guessing you’ve never ridden a two stroke. it’s about the ability to have a decent amount of power in a smaller, lighter package than a four stroke bike with equivalent power.

  4. duckboy says:

    that’s one badass scooter!!! i just looking at getting a tmax but now i’ll have to reconsider and possibly wait for this to get to market!! please, bmw, make it happen. my r12rt needs a sibling. 🙂

  5. Cranky Bob says:

    Mankind can go to the moon but it can’t produce a clean burning two-stroke for the street. I beginning to doubt that we ever went to the moon! I would like to see a 250 two-stroke instead of a 125 four-stroke in the RSV4. I guess I’ll keep on waiting for the Mars shot for technology to improve…

  6. Drew Kazee says:

    I have owned many big bikes over the years, and still do. I also ride Vespa 150, Yamaha 125 scooters. The Aprila RS4 125 is welcome at my house.

  7. mpolans says:

    Funny, everyone here wants a multicylinder 250 sportbike that makes at least what the current Ninja makes (30hp). If all the Japanese manufacturers would just re-introduce their 250cc 4-cylindernsportbike lineups from 15-20 years ago, they’d be golden. Imagine…325lb bikes making 40-45 hp, revving to 19,000rpm! If they would just re-introduce them, their R&D costs will already have been amortized, so they could sell them relatively cheap. For emissions, they could lean it out at the lower revs the bike would be tested at (hopefully easily derestricted). People would love them for lightweight racing classes.

    • Cranky Bob says:

      Don’t hold your breath. They rarely take the advice of the folks that actually ride and buy the motorcycles.

  8. Hank says:

    Dear Aprilia,BMW,Ducati,Honda,KTM,Kawasaki,Suzuki,Triumph,Yamaha……

    125-250’s look good, buy no one with any experience will buy one. No young guys (or gals) just starting out will buy them either, not fast enough or cool enough. 600-675’s have gotten too fast to be beginner bikes, but that is what they buy.

    Bring back 500 twins (V or parallel) in modern chassis, with looks like the new bikes you have now. Make adventure/supermoto and SuperSport bikes that are LIGHTWEIGHT with good horsepower. Beginners will buy them if they look cool and us with more experience will buy them to RIDE !!!

  9. Tony Gatts says:

    The BMW scooter…. Batman meets San Francisco??? some ones spending too much time playing video games!

  10. ROXX says:

    Please Aprilia, an RSV550!!!!

  11. Josh Coombs says:

    I was so excited thinking Aprilia was going to unleash a 125cc V4 on the market… then I saw it’s a boring single… bah.

    • martin says:

      You’re bummed a little 125 ISN’T a V4? Sorry dude, I think you’re wierd.

      • MikeD says:

        Not really, i think he’s allright.
        Have u heard of and heard the 250cc 6cyl Honda RC166 GP Bike ?

        A tiny 4stroke V4 125 would be very sweet if anything a technical masterpiece to use as a center piece in the livingroom, like those running mini Supercharged Hemis, Fords Flat Heads, V12s, etc that people build in their garages.
        LOL, i can imagine already the size of the valves…like wood nails on steroids,lol.

        Now, is it profitable to design, build and market? PFFFF… Most probably not when u can have a 125cc Single doing the same or more for less money, effort, maybe better fuel economy(really? on a 125? lmao) and it’s an already built and tried engine.

  12. steveinsandiego says:

    ok, where’s the suzuki g-strider?

  13. Cranky Bob says:

    Aprilia better offer at least a 250 in the RS4 or ain’t nobody gonna buy that thing. They must currently have dumber marketing people than HONDA.

  14. Bill says:

    Looks like the Dorso 1200 is targeting the Ducati MS1200. Say what???

    When you think about it, the MS1200 is really just a gussied-up supermoto:
    1. Duc claims it has dirt bike cred but in fact doesn’t, check.
    2. It’s got 17 inch wheels and sportbike rubber, check.
    3. It’s got extended travel suspension, check.
    4. It’s got wide dirt bike style bars, check.

    Put the Dorso12 and MS12 side by side and you’d have a hard time disagreeing. The biggest delta is the lack of windscreen and smaller tank capacity on the Dorso 12.

  15. todd says:

    That RS4 is awesome. I can’t wait until they’re a few years old and I can buy a used one to slot a 450 single into – even a 250 single would be fine for the tight roads I ride.

  16. LeatherWings says:

    BMW Concept C… AKIRA, anyone?

  17. Tim says:

    Love the Dorsoduro. It looks like something MV Agusta might design. Check out that beautiful swingarm and, in a world of increasingly ugly exhausts, this one actually looks good and shows some character. I also love the look of the RSV4’s, and have since they first came out, and they sound glorious.

    Aprilia designers are earning their keep.

  18. Gyaerny says:

    The dash with the rear view cameras rocks! That dash belongs on my next bike!

  19. Tom Barber says:

    I like the scooter, but only if the production model comes with the cool blue wheels.

  20. ziggy says:

    Ok, let’s be honest: BMWs are getting goofier looking by the minute.
    Some of the decent ADV bikes have freakin’ Bill the Cat headlights, and the rest of the line up looks like pure mush.

  21. jimbo says:

    Gabe wrote: “…Why don’t they put the 550cc SXV V-Twin or maybe a 650cc Single in there?…” My source, an ex-high ranking executive with an Italian motorcycle importer, who said every single one of the 1st gen 450/550 motors imploded, as did every replacement motor sent from Italy because those motors were identical to the motors that had imploded. No idea if reliability of the current generation is improved.

    IMO Aprilia is nowhere near ready for USA prime time in the following ways: parts availability, parts cost, service availability, service interval (at least on the 450/550 motors), and dealer support. YMMV.

    If readers notice volatility in this post it’s because my first preference is to own and ride something with performance promised by the 450/550 twins. But who can or would with the associated perceived risk, with an owner experience that may make KTM look like a picnic? The 450/550 architecture seems perfect if they were reliable and had a more reasonable service interval, even with commensurate lower performance.

    How many have they sold? I’ve never seen one in the flesh. Has any reader ever seen one? I don’t even know why its existence is acknowledged except to prove what not to build.

    Call your local Aprilia dealer and ask if has some of the most obvious parts in stock, and check prices.

  22. MikeD says:

    I was bouncing off the walls when i saw the RS125, i thought: maybe they came around with a way of cleaning the 125cc 2Smoke enough to be street-legal using the DI System currently used on the sporty SR50 Scooter?…yeah, good luck with that…LMAO.
    It does need to be at least a 250(Single,V-Twin,P-Twin and slap EFI on it while u r at it) and make as much power as the current Ninja 250(30hp?) OR it won’t have a chance to sell on “The Land of BIGGER IS BETTER”.
    If i can’t use it on the Highway because it doesn’t have enough power to get out of it’s own way and keep up with 80-85mph flowing traffic then is not enough for me to justify buying one. I know is not intended to be a highway bike but it would be best if it had the capability build in already for the $$$ im sure Aprilia feels it’s worth.
    The Frame Spars look beefy enough to support Aprilia’s own 450 & 550 V-Twin…Now, if only they could figure out a way to make the oil changes and valve adjustment interval come in-line with today’s industry standards {3k miles or longer oil change intervals, 10k-16K Valve Adjustment Intervals}.

  23. Cranky Bob says:

    That scooter probably cost more than my last 3 bikes put together!

  24. ABQ says:

    The original BMW C1 scooter was one of those with a roof and a big box on the back:

    I think that they would have sold if they put a 500cc engine and larger wheels on them.
    If this new model is designed to go up against the Burgman 650 or the Yamaha T-Max it may do well. But, it MUST have storage to match these other models to be bought by commuters.

    • Mickey says:

      My wife and I actually saw some of those running around when we were in Germany on an Edelweiss tour earlier this year.

    • Ron says:

      It’s got zero storage. For a scooter that’s missing a fundamental point. It will fail in the US. Guaranteed.

    • yeah.. says:

      You’re right. The C1 was woefully underpower, family cars would outrun it. It made no sense with that miserable engine it had, and consumer knew that.

  25. Steve says:

    love the RS4… but it needs to be a 250..the 125 / 15 hp just wont cut it on the street. As everyone commented last week when Honda rolled out the little CBR… it needs more power..
    If Aprilia built a 250cc RS for ~ $6k, I would be interested… I’m an older guy & a 600 sportbike is too much power for me to have any fun on, but the 250 with maybe 40hp would be just right!
    Even the 125 would be cool if you could bump the hp to about 25 or so….

  26. Chris says:

    The scooter is pretty cool, though I’d probably never buy one.

    Aprilia needs to put a 250cc engine (v or parallel twin) in the little RSV. Otherwise, that is a cool little bike.

  27. Don S. says:

    Scooter breakthrough. Now let me have it in at least 400cc size for under 8k.

    • MikeD says:

      Being we are talking BMW here by the time this Thing reaches the Market its MSRP will be in-line with that of a compact car. I know, apples to oranges, but does makes u think hard what are u gaining besides the pleasure of riding against driving.
      Besides that, i really like, REALLY SPORTY…more than any current offer…just hope the sportiness don’t kill the practical side of it(storage,etc) if it had it to begin with.

      • Ruefus says:

        Not so fast – their superbike isn’t anything close to as expensive as folks would have anticipated.

        We’ll see.

  28. falcodoug says:

    A Beemer in a scooter? Huh?

  29. falcodoug says:

    A Dorsoduro in a 1200? Love it.

    • MikeD says:

      +1. A 1200 (in) a Dorsoduro. Would like to see Japan Inc match this one(NO I4 PLEASE) and have another choice to consider when time comes to replace my current SV1000N.