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2009 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 First Ride

Monday, January 26, 2009
2009 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750
The Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 brings supermoto looks and performance to American streets as a 2009 model.
Aprilia has bagged four World Supermoto titles since 2004 and it’s keen to extend this success to the showrooms. So, using the SL 750 Shiver as a base, the Italian marque produced the Dorsoduro, its first 750cc road-going Supermoto.

Mainstream Supermotos often look the part, but they’re usually a compromise of hard slim styling, a low fuel range and loose front-end handling. So I expected the Dorsoduro to have these very same characteristics that are evident in rival bikes like Ducati’s Hypermotard.

First up, the design. It’s cool. There’s no two ways about it. The Dorsoduro looks every inch a stylish Supermoto, and it’s one that has the edge on the barn-door-wide Hypermotard, whose mirrors do indeed flick back to make life a tad easier, but none of that’s necessary with the Aprilia. OK, so splitting through traffic still requires a sensible pace and a good degree of consideration, but that’s never a bad thing anyway. Plus the high 34.3-inch seat height and upright riding position gives you a perfect stance to negotiate the inevitable traffic jams.

The slow speed balance is also impressive. The steering lock, combined with the bike’s agility, makes chopping through stationary traffic simple and effortless. Changing direction, U-turning on a slender bridal track, none of it’s a challenge and all of it’s fun. Although the Dorsoduro slices through the heavy town traffic like a warm knife through butter, the lack of bungee hooks at the rear means carrying a change of clothes or work essentials would have to be confined to a rucksack. A small price to pay for getting to work on time with a smile on your face!

2009 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750
The slow speed balance is impressive. The steering lock, combined with the bike’s agility, makes chopping through stationary traffic simple and effortless.
Out on the motorway, I twisted the throttle until the red dot on the dash flashed frantically at 8000 rpm, reminding me to change up another gear. I worked though the six-speed box, tucking in as I reached top, with the light still manically morse-coding ‘slow-down’. The 90-degree V-twin reached its peak at 8750, offering a respectable 92 hp at that point, with the engine refusing to pass the 10k mark. By then you could expect to be hitting over 135mph. That’s more than enough for the road and plenty for a slender Supermoto. Waggling the handlebars at top pelt, I braced myself for the characteristic front end wobble. It came, but not to the degree that I’d expected. The Dorsoduro does move under duress, but it’s not overly nervous or twitchy.

Out on the twistier roads and fast sweepers, I barrelled into a bend that was rippled with good old fashioned badly-laid-asphalt. The front skipped lightly over the imperfections, with the bars wiggling from side to side like a sassy salsa dance move. But it wasn’t something that concerned me too much and I’d imagine a superbike would also react unfavourably in these conditions. So I just relaxed and let the bike sort itself out. And it did. Every time.
2009 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750
Jane puts it on 'F' mode and has a little front-wheel lofting fun on the able Supermoto.

Punching out of corners is an absolute hoot. The bike feels like it digs in deep, sucking up the road ahead with an insatiable appetite, depending on what mode you’re riding in. A simple flick of the starter button switches between three different engine mappings. It gives you a choice of how the power’s delivered, so you can find a solution that best suits your riding style and the circumstances. ‘R’ is for rain and although it offers the smoothest ride, it’s also the most sedate with the least engine braking. I found myself frustratingly snatching the throttle back the instant I’d exited a corner to squeeze every drop of potential power from the castrated Twin. Mode T is for Touring and it’s a fair compromise between the rain setting and the sportiest of all, which is, unsurprisingly called ‘S’. Opt for ‘T’ and you’ll have enough grunt to punch away at the lights, without the abruptness that’s part and parcel of the sports mode, but it still has all the same liveliness in the midrange. Swap to ‘S’ and expect a considerably harsher ride, especially in the lower revs. There’s a more immediate, almost snatchy feel which is great for an aggressive ride in the country, but less suited to a gentle potter. Which is why this bike really works. You can set it to suit your needs and the changes are really quite significant.

2009 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750
The 2009 Aprilia Dorsoduro has in-your-face Supermoto styling cues.
So, after playing with these options at every conceivable opportunity, I left the bike on the Touring setting and set off for a mini adventure. Throwing the bike around country lanes and generally hooning around is what it’s all about. It’s easy and addictive and it’s almost as though there’s a separate, hidden button which is permanently on ‘F’ for Fun.

It’s a road-going Supermoto. And by the very nature of the beast, some things are a given. The seat’s high and on the hard side, the tank holds just 3.7 gallons ( I managed to get 40mpg on my test ride) and there’s no wind protection, but it’s still more comfortable than you’d expect and I didn’t even notice any annoying vibrations. Bottom line? The Dorsoduro is yet another Supermoto success for Aprilia.

Technical Specifications
2009 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750
2009 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750
92 HP at 8750 rpm.
60.48 ft. lbs. at 4500 rpm
90° V-twin
410 lbs
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John Garcia -Dorsoduro  December 15, 2010 06:21 AM
I have the 09 Dorsoduro and Janie is right on the money. Sport mode is sikk and is an absolute hooligan mode. Touring mode is alot smoother and made for city riding, doesn't jolt as much as in Sport mode. This bike is by far my favorite bike out of all my bikes. And I roadrace motorcycles!! It flicks like a YZ450f and has the torquey smooth power you need for bursting outta turns or splitting traffic when you need to.

Man, man, man... I can't say enough about this bike, go and buy one for the streets. Even better then my R1.

I have heard if you drop the exhaust and upgrade to carbon cans you save about 15lbs. But you can't even feel the weight, dunno why people are complaining. They must be five foot and a buck o' five...

John Garcia from Denver,CO.
DAS -why is it  April 24, 2010 02:56 AM
whi is it, that all road going supermoto review's feature pictures of the test rider sticking there knee down.
surely there designed to be riden in true SM style, leg out, bike pushed into the floor, foot peg sparking?

i want to invest in one of these beasts,
can anyone confirm what the deal is. i come from a MX back ground so would suit me much better if they had similar riding styles.
Don -Dorsoduro Seat  November 9, 2009 07:47 PM
Took delivery on August 7th, as stated in my last comment. They don't call it "Hard Back" for nothing. This bike has the hardest seat I've ever sat on. Shaped like a brick and just as comfortable. Fortunately, Aprilia offers a plush and stylish comfort gel seat. It is only $109.00 and makes all the difference in the world. Glad I invested the money. I advise anyone looking for real comfort to do so as well. Truly great Supermoto, now that the gel seat is installed.
Don -Aprilia Dorsoduro  September 24, 2009 06:29 PM
Took delivery of my 2009, on August 7th. Absolutely love it. Just can't get it out of "S" mode, although it requires special attention during city riding. "T" mode is the perfect city setting, and once out on country roads, "S" if for spectacular. The looks and sounds of this bike, are so addictive. Great work, Miguel Angel Galluzzi! Forza Aprilia! Janie, you're right on target with your review. Keep up the great work.
DirtRiderJohn -Dorsoduro  May 26, 2009 09:53 AM
In the last 3 months I have had an SXV500 and a Dorsoduro. The SXV is a Race bike, a complete lunatic unlike ANYTHING you have ever ridden, blistering fast, massive stopping power and so much hooligan fun. BUT it is completely impractical, ridicolous starting from cold, pathetic tank range (40 miles or less). Buy one to race at the track or to go out and humiliate sports bike riders. This is your bitchy super model girlfriend! The Dorso, is beautiful, much more practical, you just want to keep riding it, comfortable, can switch modes depending on your mood. I keep riding past my road, as I want to go out on it again. Its a bit tall, and although heavy, its weight does disapear when riding. This is the bike to marry and live happy forever. Common element is that both bikes are VERY high quality. Also, check out the dealer web sites, they have full on line catalogues (complete with diagrams), so you can directly order parts, all at reasonable prices. This is as good if not better than KTM (EXC/LC4)/Honda (Blade)/Suzuke (DRZ) that I have had previously! Not a dealer and not affiliated to Aprillia.
question -dorsoduro  May 6, 2009 06:15 PM
The weight of the dorso is 410 not 475. My buddy has a Duc monster sfrs, weighs 395. My Tuono weighs 410. They are pretty light bikes. The duc hypermotard is also in that same range, but I think it is lighter, around 390 or 395. The difference in any of these bikes can be solved by going on a diet. I have had no problems with parts and service with my aprilia. The 998 rotax is awesome. I do like Aprilia, and I am considering picking up one of the dorso's in addition. I can't afford it, but Americans need to spend money in the down economy, I am just doing my part right? The only question I have is why not use the rotax? They are building their own motors now, so are they tested?
vato_loco_frisco -Tarzan want Janie!  April 28, 2009 09:36 AM
Now that my chest-thumping session is over... Loved the review. And it's always a pleasure to have a totally hawt moto-journalist with a unique yet informative writing style. I plan to test ride the Dorsoduro at the local dealer soon. Keep up the good work, Janie!
ricmad -How about a comparison test?  February 26, 2009 09:35 PM
The SM bikes are starting to play also the Touring role (or maybe it more the other way around. Touring bikes resembling SM) with bikes like the Multistrada, the Tiger, and the Versys that have 17 inch wheels, big torquey engines, and modest wind protection. KTM also released a touring version of their 990 supermoto. These type of bikes are gaining a lot of popularity because they are very practical all-rounders, it would be nice to see how the 1L, and the ~700cc they stand against each other!
Doug Beach in N. Carolina -I gotta wait some more?  February 5, 2009 03:22 AM
I've been nutz for this thing since it was spy photos nearly two years ago. This "hard back" has given me a "hard....you know what" since I saw those photos. Now everyone is saying, eh? maybe underpowered in the class of liter bikes....i.e. KTM, Ducati. Don't need to mention DRZ, I've got one, not even worth comparing, not even... So now I have to wait for the rumored/semi confirmed 1200 Dorso? Damn Italian teases! Might not be able to wait and just jump on this. My buddy called me last night as he was test riding one in S. California.
Jimbolaya -Mea culpa  January 28, 2009 07:30 PM
First, apologies for three succesive posts. To "acecycleins-guy": I must humbly disagree w/ your comparison of the Aprilia to a Suzuki DRZ400 to conclude the Aprilia is worth buying. Yes indeed the DRZ is a Supermoto but a bad comparison because of price disparity, one less transmission speed & the DRZ is unchanged since it arrived well over five years ago when it wasn't state of art even then. A better comparison for the DRZ is the '08-'09 Yamaha WR250X (I'd absolutely prefer the 6-speed, more refined WR in spite of its smaller motor). A better comparison for the Aprilia is the Ducati Hypermotard. In spite of its older motor architecture & possibly less handsome looks I'd take the Duck for its proven motor, greater torque, lighter weight & Ducati's better track record for parts, service & dealer network support. A friend's friend owns full-race-only bikes & favors the HM handling over all the rest.
Jimbolaya -follow up  January 27, 2009 09:04 PM
One of my ex-industry sources is so close to the principal of a major Italian manufacturer that his daughter was married in the hills immediately above the factory. I saw pictures of the wedding reception: the area, w/ gorgeous well-manicured vineyards dotting the rolling hills, has a rare intoxicating beauty.
Jimbolaya -Makka's crazy suspicion  January 27, 2009 08:56 PM
Suspect whatever you want. I spent 29 years as a firefighter & retired two years ago as a Captain. My other interests are flat-top guitars, high-end audio-video & bicycling. My sum total motorcycle interest is as an independent end-user only & nothing else; I've owned about 65 motorcycles. Stating your suspicion after I posted my disclaimer is not very nice IMO. The reports were made to me personally by unbiased industry pros (they both no longer make their living in the motorcycle industry but did until not long ago, meaning they have no axe to grind against anyone, they were simply forwarding friendly advice); similar posts are all over the internet.
mugwump -Hmmm  January 27, 2009 03:52 PM
I'm trying to picture it sideways at Vernon.
acecycleins-guy -good work  January 27, 2009 03:27 PM
The Dorso should give the Hyper a run for it's money. I can't understand why people think it's easy to take an exsisting bike, remake it into something new and expect a 100lb savings..... There's nothing wrong with this bike. Compare the power to weight of this to a DRZ400sm. Now, which would you pick? Spending sub-$10k on an Italian bike is a pretty good trade considering the Dollar/Euro exchange rate. If we were working on dollar to dollar the bike would come in at about $7k. I'll trade some exchange rate for better resale value any day. BTW- Makka, the 450/550 bikes were a complete joke to maintain. Piaggio may have made parts distribution better, but better than what? It was impossible to get parts from Italy for years and what used to take a half a year to get now takes 6-8weeks. That's still far below sub-standard.
Makka -Jimbo  January 26, 2009 10:53 PM
Your obvious bias against Aprilia is showing. I suspect you work for a rival company. The parts/service issue is sorted since Piaggio took over and it's a lie about the 450/550. There were quite a few problems with those bikes but the vast majority of them were because it is a race bike designed for a very high degree of maintenance and idiots bought it and treated it like a normal bike. So quite a few broke. I have read very many professional reports on the Dorsoduro and also many private ones. Everyone loves it and praises it to the heavens. Which is quite annoying for me as I am a Shiver owner who had to read the not-so-positive reports of that bike when I know how great it is. And I've had zero problems in the year I've had it, as have all the Dorso owners who post on the dedicated forum I am on.
Kevin -Great read and review!  January 26, 2009 06:23 PM
Great write-up and good read! I am impressed with this shot! http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/photogallerys/2009-Aprilia-Dorsoduo-3.jpg Sure is great a have a real lady ride really cool bikes for real! Look forward to more reviews and great action shots! Welcome! Kevin
Jimbolaya -my 1/2c worth  January 26, 2009 04:18 PM
Ditto the weight, 475 lbs wet is indeed a "bit" (or more than a bit) lardy. I'd bet the Triumph 675R Street Triple is a better hooligan ride at barely over 400 lbs wet weight. Plus the 675 must have less reciprocating mass for better flickability/changes in attitude. The other & likely even more critical factor is this: I know two professionals in the industry. One has connections at the highest levels in Italian manufacturing, the other has built an AMA pro-level Supermoto (finished second '03 behind Ben Bostrum). They have made negative reports concerning Aprila's business/financial management & Aprilia's chronic unnaceptable parts & service support in the USA. The Salt Lake City Ducati dealership dropped Aprilia altogether for such reasons. Not much fun buying a $10-$20k bike, paying monthly finance/principal/insurance/reg fees while the bike sits for months or longer waiting for parts/service. The forums have similar threads. One of the above sources told me every single first-year motor from the 450/550 v-twins failed, as did every single replacment motor for warranty service (problem was not fixed on the warranty motors). I have nothing against Aprilia personally. Some of the bikes are attractive, even this one (except for the weight). The '09 450/550 v-twins seem except I'd prefer a 6-speed. I have absolutely no connection to the motorcycle industry except as an independent end-user.
Steve -What the world needs....  January 26, 2009 04:05 PM
A Suzuki SV650 powered supermoto! Then, maybe a V-twin supermoto could be reasonably priced and still fun. $9500 for this thing? I love supermoto but one could buy a real supermoto and a street/sport bike for this kind of money.
Funksinger5 -Jane/Dorsoduro  January 26, 2009 03:52 PM
Welcome Jane! Nice ride, nice read!
E-DUB -hmmm...  January 26, 2009 02:02 PM
I wonder if they were able to shed any weight in the translation from Shiver to Dorsoduro? The consensus seems to be that the Shiver goes about 475 lbs tank full, that would seem a bit lardy for something that's to be a SM.