The best way to describe the 2012 version of the Dorsoduro 1200 is to call it a lighter, more powerful version of the previous model with upgraded rider aids.
Meaning, Aprilia has basically improved the Dorsoduro’s handling and added more sophistication to the traction control. New graphics distinguishes it from the original 2010-2011 model.
It’s fitting Aprilia chose to launch the new Dorsoduro in Sicily, as the tight and twisty roads suit the new bike’s personality well. It also just so happens that my arrival coincided with a Mount Etna eruption, covering the mountain in smoke and morning mist.
Aprilia’s 1197cc (106x67.8mm) V-Twin engine makes similar horsepower as V-Twin superbikes from 10 years ago but isn’t nearly as high strung. Aprilia claims 130 hp at 8700 rpm and 85 ft.-lb. at 7200 rpm. The sound of the engine when accelerating with full throttle out of corners is overpowering and it goes from a nice Twin tootle to full-on superbike sound in a second. The acceleration is quite violent, and if you’re coming straight off an inline-Four 600cc sportbike you should practice caution.
In addition to traction control, the usual Aprilia riding modes are employed to help the rider tame all this V-Twin power. Sport riding mode is fierce and gives instant access to all the bike’s power and beastly throttle response. If you ask me, this mode should really be called pure unadulterated difficult fun mode.
Then you have Touring mode, which in reality is where Sport mode should be. You get smooth and predictable throttle response with or without traction control. Power is subdued at low rpm and is fully released at higher rpm so that the rear wheel doesn’t spin out too fast or too early.
Rain mode is for severe weather and the max output is reduced to 100 hp. I still find myself getting really irritated each time I want to change riding modes as it’s practically impossible to do it whilst riding as throttle must be off and it takes an eternity for the system to obey my input on the starter button.