It wasn‘t going to take long for Aprilia to put some clothes on the naked Shiver.
The 600-750cc all-rounder sector is the biggest in motorcycling, so almost every machine available has faired and naked alternatives. The Shiver was new in 2008, filling a gaping hole in the company‘s range between its ageing V-twin superbike and the sub-125 class, where only the single-cylinder Pegaso lived.
The Shiver was the naked one, then the Shiver GT arrived in 2009, predictably featuring a nose fairing. This is well integrated into the rest of the bike‘s look but still it‘s rather fussily styled with multiple edges, planes and vents, as is often the Aprilia way. But it‘s certainly practical enough, the hole in the air it punches is as smooth as the fairing is lumpy, transforming high speed riding comfort compared with the naked version.You even get a lockable glove box and 12V power socket.
It keeps surprising me just how much a small piece of plastic on the front of a bike can transform its usefulness at covering long distances at speed, as well the whole character of a bike. The GT is transformed into a machine you‘d consider for trips as far as the Dolomites in the north east of Italy, where our test ride took place, although like me you might then be disappointed at the 20 per cent power loss you suffer from riding roads a mile and a half above sea level. Great for pictures but not so clever when our mission is to test the bike, although I have ridden the otherwise identical standard Shiver before so I do know what the 750cc V-twin is like when it‘s closer to sea level.
It‘s pretty good in fact, thanks to being in a low state of tune despite its potentially revvy 95mm x 56.4mm bore and stroke dimensions. You can certainly spin it up to the 10,000rpm rev limit but it‘s more rewarding to keep the revs lower and use the mid-range power. Some refinements to the engine management have dialled out the low rev lumpiness of early Shivers and the throttle response is dependable, even though this is a full fly-by-wire set up with nothing more than electricity connecting your wrist to the throttle butterflies. Ineviably there are choices of mapping, Sport, Touring and Rain, though Sport is fine most of the time.
Aprilia put some effort into the sound of the bike, tuning the exhaust system to enhance the deeper tones while minimising the higher pitched ones, and sure enough the thumping purr you get as the bike accelerates is more reminiscent of a one litre twin, and very satisfying it is too. The thrust is strong (when the bike can get enough oxygen...), though not an adrenalin pumping rush of power, but this suits the general purpose nature of the bike well.
A shame though the fuel range isn‘t better: the bike begs to be ridden far and there‘s even a £350 pannier option, although these are fabric-made, not waterproof and with non-lockable zip closure, so they‘re nowhere near as useful as they could and should be. They‘re small too and stick out a long way, so despite the easy-remove facility you‘re probably better off with some aftermarket ones instead. But that‘s when you‘ll find the 3.5 gallon (16 litre) tank will be looking rather empty after 120 miles - 45mpg is typical - which isn‘t enough for trans-European travel. A tighter turning circle would be helpful too, it can be obstructive at times.
Staying closer to home, the good quality ride and secure yet still usefully agile handling will impress, as does the build quality, while Aprilia‘s own-make brakes are effective without being too sharp or overly powerful. ABS is a £300 option worth taking.
The bike is large physically which translates into a roomy riding position and very good all-day comfort, enhanced of course by that fairing, and it‘s in this guise that the motor works best. For many riders Aprilia is still something of an unknown quantity as the company has not offered bikes in the most popular market sectors until now. But typically of the company, the Shiver GT hits the ground running and should be a considered option against the mainstream. Be different without sacrifice, quirkiness or risk, as long as that fuel range doesn‘t bother you too much.
Model tested: Aprilia Shiver 750 GT
Price: £6,785 (ABS model £7,091)
Engine: 90-degree V-twin, liquid cooled, dohc 8v, 749.9cc
Power: 94bhp (95PS, 70kW) @ 9,000rpm
Torque: 60lb.ft (81Nm) @ 7,000rpm
Economy: 45mpg (15.9km/l, 6.28l/100km, 37.5mpg US)
Tank/Range: 3.5 gallon (16 litre, 4.2 gallons US)/ 155 miles
Transmission: Six gears, wet clutch, chain final drive
Chassis: Steel tube with aluminium sideplates
Seat height: 31.9in (810mm)
Rake/trail: 25.7 °/ 4.29in (109mm)
Weight: 417lb (189kg) dry
Kevin's funeral was held on Thursday 28th February 2013 and was well attended by family, friends and colleagues.
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