Aprilia ETV 1000 Caponord ABS test
Intro: A TRUE TRAIL GT
Using a tried and true method in the motorcycle industry, that of coming up with endless uses for a certain type of engine, the Italian manufacturer Aprilia is trying something new with its 60° V twin 1000cc engine, with this big Trail GT: the CapoNord. Initially slated for use in the Superbike World Championship, this modern and powerful twin engine needed a chassis which would live up to its High Tech image if it wanted to become a bona fide "Trail" product.
Aprilia pulled out all the stops, giving this new CapoNord the "typically Italian" profile of a very technologically advanced machine (the Italian synonym for performance). Its very rugged appearance underlines this tendency for state of the art technology.
Esthetique: A CONFIRMED PERSONALITY
The CapoNord, just like its siblings, is pretty impressive in size, accentuated by some rather bulky equipment. The 860mm of the non-adjustable seat may quickly turn off potential clients with an "unsuitable" morphology.
Chock full of various patents like the rear axel assemblys anti-dribble system or the spoke rims equipped with tubeless tyres, this engine uses a string of noble materials like aluminium, magnesium or carbon. The 2004 model also comes with ABS to reinforce its "Touring" personality.
The CapoNord also shows off its all-terrain qualities with all the trimmings: high wheel travel, spoke rims, a safety hood in a carbon-magnesium alloy and large sized sleeves. Equipment which nicely fills out a dashboard devoted to both rider and passenger comfort.
Motorization: FOR THE WIDE OPEN SPACES
To make this twin engine a "maxi trailer for touring" (meaning the flattest torque curve possible), most of the changes focused on a new configuration of the combustion chamber, a specific valve-timing diagram due to a heavier crankshaft and new camshaft. The whole thing enhanced by different injection mapping for both cylinders.
The twin uses two stainless steel mufflers which can be fitted with a catalytic converter to satisfy Euro II anti-pollution standards.
Despite efforts to make the twins sports version a little "softer", the CapoNord still lacks a bit of flexibility at low speed. Coupled with a very "metallic" sound and a few "hiccups" here and there, the Aprilia engine feels a lot better once its passed the 3000 rev mark, where it comes off much more convincing without adding more noise. Feeling much more at home, the engine gets back to its original roots and prefers the wide open spaces.
On the road: AT THE END OF THE WORLD
Once on the road, youll quickly notice that the CapoNords 215 kilos and its XL size somewhat limit the chassis agility. Not very feisty, it compensates with a high tech frame just fantastic offering loads of stability going into tight curves. A distinction which says loads for its touring capabilities. The riding position is very relaxing, the saddles measurements and improved suspensions ensure first rate comfort for both the rider and passenger. With an almost "perfect ten" in protection, a 25 litre tank and loads of storage space, the CapoNord will take you to the ends of the earth and back again.