When Aprilia entered the growing adventure bike market a couple of years ago, Miguel Galluzi — lead designer for the Caponord — said, “We didn’t want to design an elephant like the BMW R1200GS, or a pig like the Ducati Multistrada.” He went on to say, “We wanted a simpler look that was different from everyone else.” On looks, he might have hit his mark, but he missed the mark by a mile on the adventure bike side of things.

With no off-road amenities like an enduro drive mode, skid plate or engine guards and coming equipped with street tires and wheels, the Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack has only a slightly longer wheel travel to indicate it was meant for anything but the pavement. As an adventure bike, it only dreams of coming close to the "elephant" BMW R1200GS Adventure, BUT….it is an awesome sport tourer. Let’s call it like we see it and look at the 2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack for what it is.

Continue reading for my review of the 2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack.

  • 2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    1197 cc
  • Price:
    15499

Design

2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack
- image 642483

Sharing the triple headlights with the RSV4 and Tuono, the Caponord 1200 shows its sporty side. Already equipped with an alphabet soup of techno systems, the Caponord 1200 becomes the 1200 Travel Pack by adding 13 gallons of storage in the form of color-matched hard bags, Aprilia Dynamic Damping (aDD), Aprilia Cruise Control (aCC) and a central stand as standard equipment.

The slim body style makes it easier to find the ground with your feet, which is a plus on the 33-inch seat height. The long-haul riding position makes excursions up the interstate a comfortable ride and the wide handlebars give you good leverage. With crisp, on-demand power and the aDD system, the 1200 Travel Pack is a natural on twisty roads.

Chassis

2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack
- image 642491

The frame is a modular construct with tubular-steel members in the main frame and subframe, with cast-aluminum cheekplates to bind it all together. An aluminum swingarm completes the skeleton and reduces unsprung weight at the rear wheel. The factory kept wheels light as well with cast aluminum-alloy hubs, all the better for the top-shelf suspension system. I say “top shelf” with one caveat; the suspension makes it almost singularly suited for extended road trips. Once you get off the hard, not so much, and the 6.6-inch front suspension travel and 5.9-inch rear travel doesn’t come anywhere close to some of the true off-road adventure bikes. That said, the inverted, 43 mm Sachs front forks and Sachs monoshock come with some pretty impressive features. The aDD controls suspension components at both ends, constantly monitoring the forces acting on them, and electronically tuning the compression and rebound damping to match road conditions in real-time. There’s another surprise in the monoshock; while the preload can be adjusted for varying combinations of passenger and cargo weight at the touch of a button, it can also be left to its own devices to automatically adjust for same. This could be a real bonus for riders with frequent load variations.

Dual, 32 mm, four-pot, Brembo monoblock calipers bind the front wheel via the 320 mm brake discs, and a 34 mm, single-pot, Brembo caliper binds a 240 mm disc in back. A twin-channel Continental ABS manages the brakes for a little extra security.

Unlike its brethren, the 1200 Rally with a 19-inch front wheel, the 1200 Travel Pack rolls on 17-inchers with a fat 120-series tire up front and a 180 in the rear.

Drivetrain

2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack
- image 642481

Aprilia used its 1,197 cc, 90-degree V-twin mill to power the Caponord. This mill churns out 125 ponies backed by 84.6 pound-feet of grunt; plenty of power for pulling hills, even with a passenger and cargo. Not to be outdone by the suspension gadgets, the engine comes with electronic marvels of its own. A true Ride-by-Wire system controls the throttle, and provides the rider with three separate riding modes with different throttle responses for sport, touring or inclement-weather riding.

Wheel sensors report hub speeds to the Aprilia Traction Control (aPC), which uses the information to vary ignition and injection timing as needed to prevent loss of traction from rear-wheel overspeed. Like the riding mode function, the aTC comes with three separate settings that allow you to dial in for preference or conditions.

Engine power flows through the hydraulically actuated, wet-sump, six-speed clutch for comfortable highway rpm, and the aPC gives your right hand a long-deserved break.

Pricing

2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack
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MSRP on the 2016 Caponord 1200 Travel Pack is $15,499, just $200 less than its only slightly more off-road-ready stable mate, the 1200 Rally. Aprilia provides a two-year unlimited-mileage warranty and one year of roadside assistance at no cost from Road America. Get your 1200 Travel Pack in Formula Red or Glam White.

Competitors

2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack
- image 648870
2016 Aprilia Caponord 1200 ABS Travel Pack
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With plenty of road-centric, adventure-type bikes to choose from, I went looking for comparable electronic gadgets and road-worthy features, and the Tiger 800 XRx from Triumph seemed a likely choice. The road-oriented sibling to the Tiger XCx, the XRx seemed apple-to-apples enough to go head-to-head with a wanna-be adventure bike that is really a sport tourer.

Right off the bat, we have the displacement differential that clearly propels the Caponord to the top of this category. The 1,197 cc engine does more work at 125 horsepower and 84.6 pound-feet of torque than the Tiger with its 800 cc mill, but the Triumph still manages 95.2 horsepower and 58.2 pound-feet of torque; close enough for all but the biggest speed freaks. (Remember: this is basically a sport-tour bike, so sportiness of the ride is an important factor.)

Both engines come with RbW throttles, selectable rider modes, ABS, traction control and cruise control for a fairly complete electronic suite by anybody’s standards, though it’s hard to beat Aprilia’s aDD system.

Pricing is a consideration, with the Tiger understandably coming in lower (smaller engine after all) at $12,499. Aprilia lets go of the Caponord for $15,499, and you can chalk up the difference to the one-third-again-bigger engine and additional sophisticated electronics. Bottom line; Aprilia offers a lot of bike for the buck, even if they do insist on calling this an “adventure bike.”

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “As usual, the Italians make one heckuva a bike. Naming conventions aside, the Caponord should prove to be a most-capable bike for long road-trip applications, daily commute or pulling grocery-getter duty.”

She Said

"I really wanted this to be an adventure bike and I was disappointed when it wasn’t. The first clue is in the photo gallery on the Aprilia site. The only picture showing the 1200 Travel Pack with its wheels touching dirt is a bad Photoshop image. However, it is an awesome sport tourer and the suspension control is amazing.

Specifications

Drivetrain:
Engine: Aprilia two-cylinder four-stroke longitudinal 90-degree V-twin engine, liquid cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 1,197 cc
Maximum Power: 125 Horsepower at 8,250 rpm
Maximum Torque: 84.6 Pound-Feet at 6,800 rpm
Fuel system: Integrated engine management system. Injection with two injectors per cylinder and Ride by Wire throttle control with three maps: Sport (S), Touring (T), Rain (R)
Exhaust system: 100-percent stainless steel two-in-one exhaust system with dual catalytic converters and double oxygen sensor
Alternator: 690 W at 6,000 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed
Lubrication: Wet sump
Clutch: Multiplate wet clutch, hydraulically operated
Traction management: Aprilia Traction Control (ATC)
Chassis:
Frame: Modular tubular steel frame fastened to aluminum side plates by high strength bolts. Removable steel rear subframe
Suspension, Front: Fully adjustable front Sachs 43 mm upside-down fork - 6.6-inch wheel travel. Hydraulic brake in rebound and compression electronically managed with ADD (Aprilia Dynamic Damping)
Suspension, Rear: Aluminum alloy swingarm, Sachs dynamic rear monoshock absorber -5.9 inch-wheel travel. Adjustable or automatic setting for spring preload coupled with electronically controlled rebound and compression dampening via ADD (Aprilia Dynamic Damping)
Brake, Front: Dual 320 mm stainless steel floating discs. New 32 mm Brembo M432 monoblock four-piston radial calipers. Metal braided brake hoses.
Brake, Rear: 240 mm stainless steel disc. Brembo 34 mm single piston caliper. Metal braided brake hose.
ABS: Continental two channel ABS system and Aprilia Traction Control (ATC).
Wheel, Front: Lightweight aluminum alloy with three split spokes, 3.50 X 17 inches
Wheel, Rear: Lightweight aluminum alloy with three split spokes, 6.00 x 17 inches
Tire, Front: Radial tubeless; 120/70-R17
Tire, Rear: Radial tubeless; 180/55-17
Dimensions:
Maximum Length: 88.3 inches
Maximum Width: 56.6 inches
Seat height: 33 inches
Details:
Dry weight: 502 Pounds
Fuel tank capacity: 6.3 gallons
Standard Equipment: ABS, aprilia Traction Control (aTC), Aprilia Dynamic Damping (aDD), aprilia Cruise Control (aCC), central stand, painted side bags (13 Gallons), Full LCD instrument panel, Adjustable windshield, Hand Guards.
Approval: EPA and CARB.
Warranty: Two-year unlimited-mileage warranty.
Roadside Assistance: 1 Free Year of Road Side Assistance provided by Road America.
Colors: Formula Red, Glam White
Price: $15,499
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