The BMW S 1000 R, the naked-standard sibling of the company’s very successful S 1000 RR sportbike, is among my favorites in the company’s lineup. Frankly, it’s among my favorite motorcycles altogether. However, the competition in the premium super naked segment is fierce.
One of the Bavarian bike’s competitors is the Aprilia Tuono 1100 RR. Though Aprilia became the most successful racing company in 2010, wrestling the title away from fellow Italian brand MV Agusta, many are still very unfamiliar with the Aprilia brand and its offerings.
A Venetian brand founded in 1945, Aprilia began as a bicycle manufacture. Only later did they begin to produce scooters and small displacement motorcycles. However, in more recent times, the brand has become a more premium motorcycle brand with larger displacement offerings. Here, in the States, they still offer a very small displacement, non-premium, scooter. In fact, Aprilia is a subsidiary of Piaggio & Co., a manufacturer renowned for its scooters and Vespa brand.
The Tuono is a naked-standard version of the company’s RSV4 RR. So, both of these bikes, though standards, have very sporty characteristics. With that being said, both bikes are also better road bikes than the sportbikes to which they are related. In almost every way, the two bikes are comparable.
The Aprilia has a slight advantage, in terms of horsepower, producing 175hp. The BMW produces, a still very lively, 160hp. This is a result of the Aprilia’s 78cc larger engine displacement. The BMW utilizes a 999cc power plant, a detuned version of the same engine used in the S 1000 double R. The Tuono’s 1,077cc engine is, too, derived from its sportbike brethren. The torque produced by the two engines is also quite close, again with a small advantage going to the Aprilia, at 88.5lb-ft of torque compared to the BMW’s 83lb-ft of torque.
Based on the figures, it would appear that the Tuono is the ‘better’ motorcycle, however, it isn’t merely that simple. As the BMW is a little bit lighter, it compensates for its lower performance figures. The S 1000 R weighs 456lbs wet. The Aprilia is no pig, but at 472lbs wet, it’s creeping closer to the 500lb mark. This translates into an almost incomparable level of nimbleness for the Beemer. As road riding, rather than track riding, is the primary purpose of these bikes, the question becomes, ‘which is the better road bike?’
Both bikes have great, smooth slipper clutches. As far as stopping power is concerned, both bikes feature dual front and single rear disc brakes. As well, both bikes have standard seating positions; up right, with lower pegs than a sportbike. As a result, neither is poorly suited to longer rides, be they on the twisty, unpopulated roads or in the urban jungle. Yet, I find the BMW to have a slightly more refined power delivery, which leads it to also be more predictable.
In conclusion, the light feeling of the BMW enables it to remain my preference between the two. Though the Aprilia has more power, if I were seeking more power, I’d consider a sport bike, as the S 1000 R will never leave you with the feeling that it is lacking in the power department. Having said that, I found the Aprilia to be really impressive and aesthetically beautiful. Still, one big concern for me with the Tuono is reliability, as Aprilia’s are not, generally, considered to be very reliable motorcycles. The last thing any rider wants, aside from a crash, of course, is to be standing on the side of the road with their bike.