The Caponord is what aficionados would call an adventure-tourer—an aerodynamically efficient motorcycle with a big engine that’s stable even at high speeds, with a fuel tank that will let you cover more than 200 miles of desolate land without a refill. The Caponord is a tool of wanderlust, even if it’s too luxurious to let you feel or look like a frontiersman.
The Aprilia name might be unfamiliar to you, and there’s a good reason. The Italian brand came close to bankruptcy a few years back until it became part of the company that includes bike-makers Moto Guzzi and Vespa. Back from the dead, Aprilia is now renowned for building some scary-fast motorcycles. The RSV4 land-rocket, from which the Caponord draws its front-end aesthetics, won two World Superbike championships, and the Dorsodoro is a supermoto so brutish it takes serious skill to accelerate the bike without doing a wheelie.
The most difficult part of riding a Caponord is just getting this 502-pound, 50-inch-wide (with hard saddle bags) beast to start moving. Once it’s in motion, the Aprilia settles down nicely.
Powering the bike is a 125 hp from the 1,197-cc V-twin engine and with this, wheelies come easily. Four-piston Brembo brakes in the front brings the bike to an abrupt halt whenever needed.
The wide handlebars let you muscle the bike through tight corners, but the width of this bike is a little scary, too. Lane-splitting on the highway leaves you in constant terror of tearing off a mirror.
Those big saddlebags do their job, though, easily holding your helmet and jacket. The upright seating ergonomics, plastic hand covers, and a windshield combine to make it much more pleasant to drive a gusty highway.
ABS keeps the wheels from locking, traction control is comforting during rain-slick night rides, and an adjustable ride-by-wire throttle could be set to your mood, be that sport-riding or touring.
The bike’s defining characteristic is Aprilia Dynamic Damping. Tell the Caponord whether you’re a rider, a rider with cargo, a rider with a passenger, or a rider with both, and the bike adjusts to the expected weight. The circuits constantly watch the suspension’s travel and movement according to a potentiometer mounted on the swingarm, using that and other data to auto-adjust the bike’s stiffness. An algorithm puts it all together, keeping the rubber on the road when you make a turn on rain-slick asphalt.