2016 Aprilia Shiver 750
Aprilia started out life building scooters. Now the brand falls under the Piaggio umbrella, and it sort of serves as the “racing division” for the company. As such, one would expect some fairly race-tastic features, even on such a small engine, an assertion backed up by recent wins in Qatar by Aprilia racers Jordi Torres (who unfortunately crashed out in a later round) and Leon Haslam.
The company doesn’t come out and say it, but I consider the 2016 Shiver 750 to be the closest thing to an entry-level motorcycle that it offers, unless you count the SR Motard scooter (I do not). Back in ’07, the original Shiver was widely regarded as entry-level champagne at beer prices, and it pioneered the nearly ubiquitous, ride-by-wire throttle control system now seen on most top-end rides. The factory has had a few years now to polish the Shiver, so let’s see how it’s coming along, shall we?
Continue reading for my review of the 2016 Aprilia Shiver 750.
2016 Aprilia Shiver 750
As a naked bike, the pragmatic layout and lack of flashy, visual features actually becomes the design. The engine serves as the dominant feature, with the rest of the bike wrapped around it like a gem setting, and the trellis frame leaves the vast majority of the engine exposed. Lean as a snake, the Shiver has no excess fat in evidence anywhere on the bike, and what remains are the bare essentials. Not to say it doesn’t come with any bells-and-whistles, just that there are no vanity items to add weight and clutter up the lines. I look at this as a modern Italian version of the old U.S. bobber scene whose mantra was “if it does not contribute to performance, take it off.” The result is a clean-looking sportbike with a form-follows-function mug.
Aprilia’s weight-saving measures pay off at the scales, leaving the Shiver at 415 pounds, dry. Part of this is due to the partial trellis frame that uses the engine as a stressed member, eliminating the need for downtubes and cradle structures — significant items when you are talking about a steel frame. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say the factory kept the steel frame to take advantage of the store-and-release of energy under hard acceleration that you simply do not get from aluminum frames. The bones keep the Shiver nice and compact, leaving us with an overall footprint just 89 inches long.
Fat, 43 mm usd forks support the front end on 4.72 inches of travel, and an external, coil-over monoshock buoys the rear off the aluminum swingarm on 5.11 inches of travel. The rear shock is something of an odd fish; it comes offset to the right side for an asymmetrical setup. This is a move by the factory to keep it away from the exhaust, and prevent waste heat from causing suspension fade or damaging the temper of the rebound spring. The rear comes with spring-preload and rebound adjustments.
In spite of the light weight, Aprilia blessed the Shiver with plenty of brakeage. Dual, four-pot, opposed-piston calipers bind the 320 mm, wave-cut, front brake discs, and a single-pot, piston-and-anvil caliper binds the 240 mm disc in back. With no ABS or linked-brake system to lean on, the rider must rely on proper bike-braking skills, which to me makes it even more qualified as an entry-level bike.
Cast aluminum wheels come with a blackout treatment, and each sports five Y-shaped spokes for strength that produce little to no windage to crosswinds and pressure waves. The rims mount a 120/70 ZR 17 up front and 180/55 ZR 17 radial tubeless tire in back.
Now for the cream: Aprilia’s 90-degree, longitudinal V-twin powerplant. At 749.9 cc, it qualifies as a small engine by U.S. standards, but it also proves that you can get big performance out of a small package. The mill cranks out 59.6 pound-feet of grunt at 7 grand, and 95 ponies at 9 grand and given the weight (or lack thereof), these numbers make for a thrilling ride.
I mentioned bells-and-whistles earlier, and here they are. In a move usually not seen on less-expensive rides, our Italian engineers blessed this ride with a Ride-by-Wire throttle that allows for the use of an electronic engine control that comes with three power-delivery modes: Touring, Sport and Rain. This allows you to dial in to your conditions, even on the fly, though you do have to close the throttle in order to shift modes, so I’m thinking this is better done at a light than while actually flying down the road.
A two-into-one exhaust carries off waste gases, and the muffler is tucked away beneath the subframe for a really clean look. Plus, it keeps the exhaust heat away from the rear shock, so this arrangement is a win-win in my book. The six-speed transmixxer turns the engine power into manageable energy, and sends it to the rear tire through a good, old-fashioned chain drive. Yes, I know chain is the least desirable form of drive, but chain technology has come a long way since belt drives threatened its station as the only alternative to shaft drive, which was also a crap technology 30 years ago but also has come a long way.
Aprilia lets go of the Shiver 750 for $8,699, well within the entry-level range, and you can get it in red over black, or black over black as you wish.
The Hypermotard follows the same naked-bike form as the Shiver, with a stressed-engine trellis frame and clean – almost Spartan, really – lines and appointments over the bike. Each has its little features that affect this, such as the integral front turn signal/mirrors on the Duc that clean up the front a bit more than Aprilia’s standoff-lights, but the Duc hangs the exhaust off the left side while Aprilia tucks it away beneath the subframe. Yeah, it’s minor, but with two bikes this similar, it will be the little things that make a difference.
Aprilia’s 750 V2 engine falls just a little shy of the Duc with 749.9 cc, 95 horsepower and 59.6 pound-feet of torque, while the Ducati Testastretta mill displaces 821.1 cc, and produces 110 horsepower and 65.8 pound-feet. In my book, this isn’t enough to really put the Hypermotard head-and-shoulders above the Shiver, but again, it’s the little things here.
Ducati pulls ahead a bit in the fandangled safety-gadget department. Though both bikes sport RbW throttles, and a trio of riding modes to control power output, Ducati goes even further with a Bosch 9-channel ABS and its self-named traction control system that works to prevent loss of traction from over acceleration. As much as I am in favor of letting the rider feel the raw feedback and responses from their ride, the Ducati Traction Control does add a nice layer of protection-from-oneself that will benefit the more hot-blooded of us out there, and if you don’t like/need that feature, you can turn it off.
Last year’s Hypermotard had an MSRP in the U.S. of $12,195, a price that I expect to be a solid ballpark for the foreseeable future, and this is where Ducati’s electronics tell on it. Those gadgets keep the price well above the $8,699 Shiver sticker, and both brands enjoy significant name-recognition, so at the end of the day you have to ask yourself whether you need those extras, or not.
“I don’t know if it’s something in the water over there or what, but Europe’s Boot certainly produces some top-notch motorcycles. I feel like a kid in a candy store every time I look at a new one, and the Shiver 750 is no exception. I especially like that it’s more-or-less accessible by the entry-level/budget-minded crowd, and makes for an easy bike to ride because of the light weight and manageable power delivery. Anyone looking for a sportbike that doesn’t necessarily want to go with a Japanese ride should definitely schedule a test ride on a Shiver.”
My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I agree with my husband that the Shiver 750 seems like a good entry bike for someone moving to the sportbike category. I’ve heard tell of unofficial top speeds of 128 mph from enthusiasts on public roads, which is plenty fast, but not in the [stupidfast] category. I usually look for a bike’s suitability for fellow shorties. With a 31-inch seat height, we’re going to be tip-toeing at best."
|Engine:||Aprilia V90 four-stroke longitudinal 90-degree V-twin engine, with liquid cooling, double overhead camshafts driven by mixed gear/chain timing system, four valves per cylinder and Ride by Wire throttle control|
|Maximum Power:||95 Horsepower at 9,000 rpm|
|Maximum Torque:||59.6 Pound-Feet at 7,000 rpm|
|Fuel System:||Integrated engine management system. Latest generation three maps (Sport, Touring, Rain) Ride-by-Wire throttle management|
|Exhaust:||Two-in-one system made entirely of stainless steel with three way catalytic converter and lambda probe|
|Clutch:||Multiplate wet clutch, hydraulically operated|
|Chassis:||Modular tubular steel frame fastened to aluminum side plates by high strength bolts. Removable rear subframe|
|Front suspension:||43 mm upside down fork. 4.7-inch travel|
|Rear suspension:||Aluminum alloy swingarm with stiffener brace. Hydraulic shock absorber, with adjustable rebound and preload, 5.1-inch travel|
|Front brake:||Dual 320 mm stainless steel floating wave discs. Four-piston radial calipers. Metal braided brake lines|
|Rear brake:||240 mm stainless steel wave disc. Single-piston caliper. Metal braided brake lines|
|Front tire:||Radial tubeless; 120/70 ZR 17|
|Rear tire:||Radial tubeless; 180/55 ZR 17|
|Seat height:||31.6 inches|
|Dry weight:||415 Pounds|
|Fuel tank capacity:||3.9 gallons|
|Warranty:||Two-year unlimited-mileage warranty|
|Roadside Assistance:||One Free Year of Road Side Assistance provided by Road America|
|Approval:||EPA and CARB|