Aprilia’s Dorsoduro line gets a major addition for MY17 with the all-new Dorsoduro 900. This supermoto-inspired ride serves as the successor to the popular Dorsoduro 750. It brings over 95-horsepower to the table with a ride-by-wire throttle, variable power delivery, traction control and ABS to help riders cope with the extra power. Not only does this show a certain amount of model-maturity, but it promises some security and safety for those who would use it in their day-to-day riding. Officially billed as a sportbike-supermotard hybrid, the factory also refers to it as “the fun bike.” Let’s dive right in and see what all Aprilia packed in to back up that nickname.

Continue reading for my review of the Aprilia Dorsoduro 900.

  • 2017 - 2018 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    896 cc
  • Price:
    10999
  • Price:

Design

2017 - 2018 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900
- image 729425
All in all, it's a bike that was built using the best characteristics of sportbikes and supermotards with an emphasis on urban performance and agility.

Aprilia set about the business of milking the most road-riding fun out of its Dorsoduro, and the bike itself is sort of a blank canvas for factory accessories that can enhance the sportbike aspects or give it a capacity for touring. As for the base model, well, it’s a perfect example of what I call a jackass bike, and I mostly mean that in the best way possible. While you can find someone stunt-riding on almost every kind of bike imaginable, this particular type of bike really lends itself to the tricky stuff.

The lightening efforts begin right off the bat with a front fender that is cut down beyond the accepted minimum, but has the bird’s beak fairing above to pick up some of the slack. A cyclops headlight and flyscreen complete the entry, but the screen itself isn’t likely to protect anything other than the digital instrument cluster nested in behind.

Though the fuel tank manages to pack in a total of 3.17 gallons o’ pusholine, you’d hardly suspect it just by looking at the flyline. The fuel-tank bump and elevated subframe form a gentle swale at the saddle that cradles the rider’s derrière but leaves plenty of room to shift weight and throw around some body English as needed. A pillion pad covers most of the subframe that terminates in a pointy taillight housing.

The factory routed the exhaust up under the subframe for weight centralization and symmetry with the mufflers and heat shields actually forming the trailing edge of the rear end. Honestly, I wonder about having passenger and exhaust heat in such close proximity. Just sayin’. A minimal mudguard hangs off the rear end to support the plate and turn signals.

All in all, it’s a bike that was built using the best characteristics of two worlds with an emphasis on urban performance and agility, and really fairly versatile since it can be set up to race, tour, commute or do stunts.

Chassis

2017 - 2018 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900
- image 729424
Forged-aluminum tripleclamps mount the all-new, inverted, 41 mm front forks from Kayaba that are just a few grams under a pound lighter than the previous generation.=center

Curb weight comes in at 467-pounds, largely due to frame design and the materials therein. The factory started with a tubular-steel trellis for strength if not lightness, and buttressed it with aluminum lateral plates. An aluminum swingarm comes built to withstand the asymmetrical forces generated by the off-center rear monoshock. Both it and the three-spoke wheels help minimize unsprung weight in order to improve handling and suspension response.

Forged-aluminum tripleclamps mount the all-new, inverted, 41 mm front forks from Kayaba that are just a few grams under a pound lighter than the previous generation. The new forks come with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping, which is better than nothing I suppose, but there’s definitely some room for improvement here. Same with the rear shock that sports adjustable extension and spring preload.

Brake-disc diameter is definitely race-worthy at 320 mm with a pair of radial-mount, four-pot calipers to bite them up front, and a single-pot anchor and 240 mm disc to slow the rear. That’s a lot of brakes for this bike to be sure, but the standard-equipped, switchable ABS makes it safe to use them to their full potential and the steel-braid brake lines makes sure no effort at the lever gets lost in the system.

Front Suspension: Kayaba upside-down forks, 41 mm fork body. Adjustable in preload and hydraulic damping. Wheel travel: 160 mm
Rear Suspension: Double-sided aluminum alloy swingarm. Sachs monoshock absorber with adjustable preload and rebound damping. Wheel travel: 155 mm
Front Brake: 320 mm floating double disc with aluminum carrier. Radial mounted four pistons per calipers with steel braided brake lines.
Rear Break: 240 mm wavy stainless steel disc. Single piston caliper with steel braided brake lines
ABS System: Continental ABS system
Front Wheel: 3.5" x 17" cast aluminum alloy wheel with 3 double spokes.
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR 17
Rear Wheel: 6" x 17" cast aluminum alloy wheel with 3 double spokes
Rear Tire: 180/55 ZR 17

Drivetrain

2017 - 2018 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900
- image 729428
The difference in torque will definitely register on the old heinie-dyno, and keep in line with Aprilia's goal of turning this into a total funbike.

Aprilia built on the experience it gained with the 750 cc mill to turn out the all-new, 896.1 cc powerplant. The 90-degree V-twin runs a majorly oversquare layout with a 67.4 mm stroke in a 92 mm bore and warm, 11.5-to-one compression ratio. Liquid cooling deals with the waste heat with DOHC to time the four-valve heads.

Induction is controlled by the ride-by-wire throttle that works with the electronic fuel injection and throttle body to provide three separate valve-opening maps for Sport, Touring or Rain situations. The Rain setting actually reduces engine output to 70-horsepower from its regular 95.2 ponies at 8,750 rpm. Torque comes on fully by 4,500 rpm with 66 pound-feet on tap, and in addition to the reduced-power rain setting, you can get the Dorsoduro 900 limited to 35 kW (46 horsepower) if need be for licensing reasons. This is up from 60 pound-feet from the 750, so it’s definitely a difference that will register on the old heinie-dyno, and in line with Aprilia’s goal of turning this into a total funbike.

Inside the cases, a semi-dry lubrication system helps keep oil movement from sapping any of that hard-earned power, and a six-speed transmixxer crunches the ratios to put the power to the pavement under the control of an easy-pull clutch. Finally, Aprilia’s traction-control system rounds out the electronic wizardry with three levels of intervention and an “Off” setting for the raw feel and ability to slide around corners. At the end of the day, this bike can be as safe or as raw as you want to let it.

Engine: Aprilia 90° V-Twin, 4-stroke, four valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled, Ride-by-Wire system with 3 engine maps
Displacement: 896 cc
Max. Power at Crankshaft: 93 HP (70 kW) @ 8,750 rpm
Max. Torque at Crankshaft: 66 lb-ft (90 Nm) @ 6,500 rpm

Price

2017 - 2018 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900
- image 729416
Priced just $700 more than the Dorsoduro 750.

The base-model Dorsoduro 900 rolls in Adrenalinic Silver for $10,999.

Competitor

2016 - 2018 Ducati Hypermotard 939
- image 729902
2017 - 2018 Aprilia Dorsoduro 900
- image 729423
Aprilia's lump manages 93-ponies and 66-pounds, but Ducati takes it to school with 110/70, respectively.

One-stop shopping is just the best. I didn’t even have to leave Europe’s Boot to find a worthy competitor in the Ducati Hypermotard 939. As purpose-driven machines from the same global neighborhood, these two cut similar figures with bird’s beak fairings, low-profile fuel-tank bumps and gentle cradle at the saddle before an upswept subframe, though Ducati’s seat has a hard shoulder at the break between pilot and pillion, so it may not be quite as good for the tricky stuff that requires dramatic fore-and-aft weight shifts.

Handguards make the off-road/supermoto connection for both. Not only do these protect your hands from bug strikes and being frozen rigid in cold-weather riding, but Ducati tucks the front turn signals in there too for a cleaner front end and more progressive look. Both carry an upswept exhaust as well; too bad the Ducati’s conventional configuration lack the sophistication of Aprilia’s pipe arrangement. Visible framework lends both a modern, industrial air, maybe with just a skosk of Mad Max thrown in for good measure. In the end, there’s really not a lot to choose from between the two visually.

The Hypermotard’s inverted front suspension is pure vanilla against the Dorsoduro’s variable preload and rebound. Ducati picks up those adjustments with its Sachs monoshock out back, but it gains nothing over the Dorsoduro. Both rides sport some serious anchors — far more than you would need for civilized riding — but this is what makes it so good for trick riding and aggressive urban work. ABS is constant across the board, as is traction control and variable power delivery. Lots of yummy-goodness to be had in the electronics department no matter which one you choose.

Aprilia’s 896 cc V-twin surrenders a few cubes to the 937 cc Testastretta L-twin, but beyond that, the four-valve heads, liquid cooling and electronic fuel injection leaves the mills looking like different sides of the same coin. Of course, only one of them has Ducati’s Desmodromic valvetrain tucked inside. Just sayin’. Aprilia’s lump manages 93-ponies and 66-pounds, but Ducati takes it to school with 110/70, respectively.

Aprilia gets some back at the checkout with a $10,999 price tag that flies well below the $12,995 sticker on the Ducati Hypermotard. With bikes this similar, that price difference is liable to matter more than that handful of horsepower.

He Said

“Fun little ride, but you’d expect that with the way the factory bills it, wouldn’t you? Aprilia also offers racing-quality levers, mirrors and other bits and bobs if you’re the type who takes their fun seriously, and are willing to put your money where your mouth is on the track.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "Output is very linear, and features can be set for the beginning rider as well as the experienced one so everyone can have a fun ride. Traction control is very subtle, probably because the linear throttle response prevents abrupt increases in the available power that could tax the contact patch. Overall, I agree this is a fun bike and one that makes you want to find the twistiest road available on which to test it."

Specifications

Engine: Aprilia 90° V-Twin, 4-stroke, four valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled, Ride-by-Wire system with 3 engine maps
Displacement: 896 cc
Max. Power at Crankshaft: 93 HP (70 kW) @ 8,750 rpm
Max. Torque at Crankshaft: 66 lb-ft (90 Nm) @ 6,500 rpm
Front Suspension: Kayaba upside-down forks, 41 mm fork body. Adjustable in preload and hydraulic damping. Wheel travel: 160 mm
Rear Suspension: Double-sided aluminum alloy swingarm. Sachs monoshock absorber with adjustable preload and rebound damping. Wheel travel: 155 mm
Front Brake: 320 mm floating double disc with aluminum carrier. Radial mounted four pistons per calipers with steel braided brake lines.
Rear Break: 240 mm wavy stainless steel disc. Single piston caliper with steel braided brake lines
ABS System: Continental ABS system
Front Wheel: 3.5" x 17" cast aluminum alloy wheel with 3 double spokes.
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR 17
Rear Wheel: 6" x 17" cast aluminum alloy wheel with 3 double spokes
Rear Tire: 180/55 ZR 17
Saddle Height: 34 in (870 mm)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3 gal (12 L)
Dry Weight: TBA
Wet Weight: TBA
Emissions Compliance: EPA, CARB, Transport Canada
Electronic Management: APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) system including traction control (ATC),ABS, all independently settable and de-selectabe, AMP ready (install kit and AMP ECU sold separately)
Color: Adrenalinic Silver
Price: $ 10,999

References

2016 - 2018 Ducati Hypermotard 939
- image 729902

See our review of the Ducati Hypermotard 939.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: apriliausa.com, ducati.com

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