The subject of leaked images, the Aprilia Caponord 1200 was officially unveiled at EICMA last week. The big, powerful v-twin adventure bike does not disappoint in its specifications. Although based on the manic Dorsoduro 1200 we thoroughly enjoyed during testing, the new Caponord nevertheless receives significant chassis and engine changes to suit its unique purpose. These include, but are not limited to, much larger fuel tank (6.34 gallons), increased wheelbase and revised rake/trail geometry for improved high speed stability, and greater torque delivered lower in the rpm range. The Caponord 1200 also gets much higher alternator output (a big jump from 450 watts to 690 watts) to power all those goodies long distance travelers employ.
The Caponord 1200 features the latest computer controlled systems, including ride-by-wire throttle, three selectable engine maps, defeatable ABS, defeatable and adjustable traction control and available cruise control and electronic adjustable suspension damping (Aprilia Dynamic Damping or ADD).
The available “Travel Pack” adds the ADD, cruise control, center stand and saddlebags. All together, the Caponord 1200 represents a very serious contender in the adventure touring category. Below is the complete press release from Aprilia, with additional photos:
APRILIA REVOLUTIONIZES THE ADVENTURE SEGMENT, CREATING THE PERFECT BIKE FOR TRAVEL, FUN AND DAY TO DAY USE. THE NEW CAPONORD 1200 TAKES ADVANTAGE OF THE EXPERIENCE APRILIA HAS ACQUIRED IN TOP LEVEL COMPETITION, MAKING – ONCE AGAIN – TECHNOLOGY AVAILABLE TO ALL.
SAFETY, PERFORMANCE AND COMFORT COME TOGETHER IN A NEW BALANCE, A NEW FRONTIER DESTINED AS ALWAYS TO BE THE REFERENCE POINT, THANKS IN PART TO THE INTRODUCTION OF “ADD”, THE PATENTED, CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY, SEMI-ACTIVE SUSPENSION SYSTEM. THE LATEST INNOVATION FROM APRILIA, TOGETHER WITH CRUISE CONTROL, COMPLETES THE ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS SUITE THAT COMES STANDARD ON THE CAPONORD 1200, SUCH AS RIDE BY WIRE MULTIMAP ACCELERATOR, TRACTION CONTROL WHICH CAN BE ADJUSTED TO THREE LEVELS, AS WELL AS TWO CHANNEL ABS.
The new standard
After shocking the naked sport bike world with the incredible Tuono V4 R and after creating the best superbike of the new millennium, the super fast RSV4, Aprilia aims at leaving an indelible sign in the street enduro segment as well, achieving the objective and exclusive objective of obtaining a perfect balance between sport and comfort. Introducing Caponord 1200, the perfect bike for any occasion. Easy to handle and agile in the city, thanks to its advanced and lightweight chassis, quick and fun in the countryside, thanks to its sophisticated electronic management and its generous twin cylinder engine, comfortable for rider and passenger in touring due to the particular attention to ergonomic detail and its excellent protection against the air, thanks to wind tunnel shape studies.
Caponord is not a new name for Aprilia: the first ETV 1000 Caponord, introduced in 2001, represented an advanced interpretation of the street enduro concept, boasting distinctive elements such as the dual beam chassis in aluminium and the 998 cc 98 HP twin cylinder engine, both clearly sports derivations. More than ten years have passed and in the meantime Aprilia motorcycle technology has taken leaps forward: the proverbial ability to build exceptional chassis has been joined by top notch skill in applied electronics, thanks to the experience gained in top level racings, which has always been the maximum centre of research and development for Aprilia of solutions which are then used in factory models. Proof of this is in the characteristics of power and especially the torque of the 1200 V2 engine, completely revamped to provide the maximum in terms of power output and riding pleasure. The needs and desires of bikers have also changed, attracted as never before by the global bike, that is, the bike which is capable of providing great satisfaction in any riding conditions. Caponord 1200 aims to establish a meeting place between the new needs of bikers and Aprilia’s technological skills.
The three-fold personality typical of Italian design combined with a sleek body: these are the primary characteristics of a long series that sets the Caponord 1200 apart. Form and function find a point of contact. The sport nature comes through clearly in the stylistic traits: the distinctive Aprilia “gaze” characterises the Caponord 1200 too. Numerous wind tunnel sessions designed the shapes of the top fairing and the windshield with adjustable height in order to ensure the best aerodynamic penetration, with particular attention given to the indispensable protection of the rider and passenger against the wind. To guarantee maximum comfort in touring use, the handguards and particular side fairing profiles come into play, designed not to be invasive, but to offer plenty of protection. The same concept characterises the Caponord 1200 chassis: the new Aprilia has a frame made of steel piping and forged aluminium plates, a true and proper modern sculpture which deserves to be left on display. The mixed structure guarantees the right amount of rigidity and the essential characteristics of stability and precision expected from every Aprilia, allowing the Caponord 1200 to rise above where its rivals stop – in sport riding. The perfect balance between sport and touring is an alchemy that only those with in depth know-how like Aprilia are able to create.
The erect and relaxed riding position is the fruit of specific ergonomic studies to find a dominant position, but one that would not be tiring during long trips; the saddle, enhanced by its elegant red stitching to give it a racing flavour, has a particularly comfortable cushion and sits just 840 mm off the ground, allowing riders of any height to always be in full control of the vehicle at a standstill. The passenger accommodations were also given particular attention: the portion of the saddle, large and flat, is separate from the rider’s seat and shaped in such a way that prevents sliding forward, guaranteeing optimum comfort in any riding situation, while the grab handles provide a firm and comfortable grip. “Rotational” technology allowed a thin walled nylon tank to be realised with great freedom of shape, favouring a reduction in weight. This way the lateral dimensions were reduced to a minimum and cater to the perfect leg position for the rider. The 24 litre capacity guarantees a range of more than 300 km with one fill-up.
The Caponord 1200 design was conceived from the beginning considering the bike panniers as an integral part of the vehicle: this, together with the choice to adopt a layout of the exhaust system with a low silencer, allowed dimensions to be contained significantly. The 29 litre capacity panniers, once installed, stay particularly adherent to the tail fairing profile (total dimensions stop at just 908 mm) and they do not create any inconvenience for the passenger, facilitating mounting and riding comfort. Aprilia also considered sport purists: the silencer is height adjustable, in the event that the panniers are not fitted, giving it a more sporty and aggressive look. The colour coded panniers which match the bodywork that you’ll find in the rich Caponord 1200 accessories catalogue, do not require any further hardware for installation, thereby leaving the clean lines of the motorcycle unaltered when they are not installed.
Caponord 1200 has a wealth of standard equipment which includes, but is not limited to:
- Ride by Wire system
- Three engine maps, Sport, Touring and Rain
- ABS (which can be disabled)
- ATC (which can be disabled and adjusted to 3 different settings)
- Adjustable windshield
- Hand guard
The Travel Pack outfitting adds:
- ADD (Aprilia Dynamic Damping)
- Cruise Control
- Shock absorber with built in piggy back, spring preload electrically adjustable to 4 predefined settings (rider only, rider and passenger, rider only with panniers, rider and passenger with panniers)
- Pair of panniers colour coded to match the body
- Center stand
These last two items are available in the rich accessories catalogue even for Caponord 1200 standard customers.
Caponord 1200 stems from the technical base of the sporty and efficient Dorsoduro 1200, the reference fun-bike of the sector; nonetheless, given the different way the two motorcycles are used, the chassis of the new Aprilia has been extensively modified. The layout of the frame is still a mixed structure, made up of a trellis in high resistance steel tubes connected to a pair of die cast aluminium plates. This exclusive and well tested configuration allows a perfect balance of weights to be achieved, as well as optimum torsional and longitudinal rigidity values. The frame has undergone an in depth revamping, seeking to raise the bar for the segment in terms of handling, without neglecting high standards of stability at the high speeds which the powerful twin cylinder is capable of reaching. The new rear subframe ensures extreme solidity for trips with a full load, while the lateral positioning of the shock absorber, which connects the frame to the aluminium swingarm, is useful for providing the right amount of space for the exhaust manifold, leaving the unit far from heat sources in a position which favours any adjustments that may be required. Caponord 1200 has a manually adjustable shock absorber in spring preload and in rebound hydraulics as well as a completely adjustable USD fork (rebound, compression and spring preload) with 43 mm stanchions made precious by cast shell mounting brackets. The extremely lightweight aluminium wheels, both 17 inches, stem from the ones which equip the super sport RSV4 and they contribute to reducing gyroscopic moments of unsuspended weight to a minimum, all to the advantage of handling. The wheels are shod with tyres which were designed and developed specifically for this type of bike; thanks in part to the generous cross section of the rear tyre (190/55), they are able to accommodate even the rider’s most extreme leans as well as ensuring maximum grip on slippery surfaces. The particular sculpting of the tread provides the further possibility of safely tackling light off road routes, in search of a more adventurous type of touring. The Brembo braking system provides, on the front end, a pair of floating 320 mm steel discs and monoblock callipers with 4 pistons and radial connection. The rear mounts a single piston floating calliper that grips a 240 mm disc. An advanced two-channel ABS system which can be disengaged completes the standard equipment.
Caponord 1200 shares the same exceptional engine base as the Dorsoduro 1200. 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 revamping, 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.
The general specifications of the Caponord 1200 engine are:
- Twin cylinder 90° V
- Max power: 128 HP @ 8.500 rpm; Max torque: 85 ft. lbs @ 6,500 rpm;
- Triple map Ride by Wire technology (with Sport, Touring and Rain maps);
- Highly oversquare bore/stroke ratio which is highlighted by the sport attitude and increases the amount of power generated from a low RPM;
- Offset cylinders for maximum lateral compactness;
- Double overhead camshafts driven by a mixed chain/gear valve timing system and four valves per cylinder;
- Twin spark ignition for fluid but full power output;
- Speed density type electronic fuel injection with two throttle bodies and micro-nebuliser injectors;
- Stick-coils integrated in spark plug boots;
- Three-way catalytic converter with double oxygen sensor;
- Hydraulically operated clutch.
First and foremost the gear ratios have been modified in order to increase manageability at low rpms and to take full advantage of the power that this powerful highly supercharged 90° V twin cylinder engine is capable of. The change to the final drive ratios contributes to increasing top speed, thereby allowing the engine to turn at lower rpms while travelling on the motorway, saving fuel and increasing comfort. A child of the experience Aprilia has gained in racing, which has resulted in an amazing 51 world titles in just a few years, the ultra compact twin from Noale is a work of Italian art even from an aesthetics point of view. Credit for this goes to the great efforts of the engineers in imagining an ultra modern engine where the data transportation system travels through a CAN line which has the benefit of decreasing the amount of electrical cables needed. The 690W alternator is new, more powerful and able to easily supply power to the various electrical accessories available in the rich optional equipment catalogue.
ELECTRONICS: THE MOST IN SOPHISTICATION AND RELIABILITY
Aprilia was the first to believe in the Ride by Wire system, the electronic type accelerator introduced on the Shiver 750 as far back as 2007, the fruit of extremely sophisticated technology, once reserved only for competition bikes, which helps the rider to get the most out of the bike’s performance potential. On the Caponord 1200 the level of effectiveness and reliability of this system as reached a new peak. The RbW system 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. An efficient engine also provides the indisputable advantage of optimising fuel economy.
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. The rider needs only close the throttle and press a button to choose the desired setting.
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.
ABS and traction control (ATC) can both be disengaged and they are both standard equipment on 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 every being invasive, even in the most intense braking operations, whilst still guaranteeing maximum safety on slippery surfaces. 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.
Caponord 1200 is also available in the Travel Pack outfitting which includes ADD, Cruise Control, centre stand and side panniers.
ADD (Aprilia Dynamic Damping) is the brand new semi-active dynamic suspension system developed by Aprilia and patent protected, the reference point in motorcycling all over the world for technology, efficiency and reliability. After APRC, the highly sophisticated “package” of electronics systems which equips the RSV4 and Tuono V4, once again Aprilia demonstrates that they are pioneers in the field of electronics applied to bikes, introducing the suspension system which uses automotive components to guarantee maximum reliability: a glance to the future, thanks to its vast possibilities of development and diversified applications.
The system measures the energy transmitted to the vehicle by the harshness of the asphalt, recognises the riding phases (acceleration, deceleration, braking, constant throttle) and adapts the suspension calibration in order to maximise comfort and maintain the bike’s balance.
All of this is possible thanks to the exclusive patented method which combines the principles of the skyhook and acceleration driven damping algorithms – well known in the motoring world – allowing maximum performance to be achieved across the entire fork and shock absorber frequency range.
In the electromechanical calibration suspension systems already available on the market, the rider presses a button on the handlebar to activate an electric motor which changes the suspension set-up. In the Aprilia ADD dynamic semi-active suspension system, on the other hand, all the rider has to do is ride.
The Travel Pack includes a built in piggy back shock absorber, electrically adjustable in spring preload to 4 predefined positions, indicated by specific icons on the digital instrument panel: rider only, rider with passenger, only rider with panniers and rider and passenger with panniers.
Aprilia Cruise Control allows the desired speed to be set and maintained even on uphills and downhills, 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 completely digital instrument panel that equips the Caponord 1200 is all new: The LCD combines the speedometer, rev counter, total and two trip odometers, fuel level and coolant temperature. There is also a selected mapping indicator (S,T,R) as well as the shock absorber electric spring preload indicator (where available). The engaged gear is also indicated, as well as the ATC level adjustment and heated handgrip operation (available as a separate option).
The series of warning lights on the side include the fuel reserve, ABS and ATC engaged/disengaged and Cruse Control (where available).