2013 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 ABS in India first ride
We've just gotten off the first Aprilia we've officially ridden in India. The Italian brand set shop in the country over a year ago, but we never got any test motorcycles, until now that is. Further, with just one dealer in the country, the brand was unable to reach out to enthusiasts despite its legacy and aspirational value. Recently a second dealership was announced in Gurgaon, but two dealers in a country as large as ours is still an uphill task for any manufacturer. Pune-based Arco Automotive, who were the first Aprilia dealers in the country provided us with the Dorsoduro 1200 ABS that went on sale in the country last year, and I've come back impressed.
So what is the Dorsoduro 1200 like? To begin with, this is a supermoto - a segment of motorcycles we believe makes the most sense for a country like ours. Styling is typical with a tall, beak-like mudguard sitting between long travel upside-down forks. The motorcycle looks surprisingly smaller in flesh than it does in images. The headlight and bikini fairing are flanked by large knuckle guards. The bike sports a sharp, edgy design language, which gives it a slim appearance. The seat is flat, again typical of supermotos. The large, underseat exhausts dominate the rear, and a small stop light sits between the large end cans. The trellis frame lies exposed under the fuel tank, below which sits the tightly-packed 1197cc, 90-degree V-twin. It generates an impressive 130PS of power at 8700rpm while the torque rating stands at 115Nm which is produced at 7200rpm. This is a typical European motorcycle, in the sense that it features a host of electronics that take care of a lot of things for you while riding.
Just like most modern, tech-laden motorcycles, the Dorsoduro 1200 gets three riding modes. Here they are called sport, touring and rain. Rain mode is the easiest to ride, with peak power coming down to 100PS. The bike also get traction control and ABS as options, both offering three levels of control depending on the rider's choice. All this is accessible via switches on the handlebars, and settings can be changed on the fly. The test motorcycle we rode came shod with sticky Dunlop rubber at both ends, with the rear getting a fat, 180-section tyre. However the bike was a brand new motorcycle, and hence the engine did not rev beyond 7000rpm - this is a feature European manufacturers incorporate for better running in. Having said that, there was ample torque on offer from the moment I twisted the throttle - I chose sport mode, and the power delivery was impressive. In keeping with the supermoto image the bike feels light and agile, and its power delivery and coupled with the grippy tyres makes it a hoot to ride around twisties. You can choose any riding style with this machine - either hang off and ride it like a street/sportbike, or ride like a dirt bike - the motorcycle responds beautifully to your inputs. Ride quality is on the stiffer side, but not too stiff, and the Dorsoduro has no trouble remaining composed even when riding fast over undulated surfaces.
The Dorsoduro 1200 ABS is a fun to ride motorcycle, but its steep pricing surely spoils the party. The bike retails at Rs 13.45 lakh ex-showroom, Pune, which is a little steep. Most Japanese streetbikes, though not as versatile as the Dorsoduro cost not more than Rs 12 lakh on-road. The Dorsoduro on the other hand can be yours for Rs 14.79 lakh on-road. If Aprilia wish to re-iterate the success of their Japanese competitors, or Ducati, the other Italian manufacturer operating in India, they need to get aggressive with their pricing and marketing strategy. Aprilia need to understand that the Indian buyer today is well educated and has several options to choose from. They firstly need to rope in several more dealers, and price their products competitively to enjoy the kind of success Aprilia as a brand deserves.
Watch out for a detailed first ride in the March 2013 issue, out shortly on stands
Read our first ride of the Aprilia Mana 850 here
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