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2008 Aprilia ShiverMSE Ratings

2008 Aprilia ShiverThere I was sipping an espresso in one hand with a biscotti cookie in the other overlooking the Palazzo Senatorio while in Rome. Then I was off to traverse the coast via the Autostrada Roma Civitavecchia on Aprilia’s new Shiver.

AddedDate Added: 4th August 2008
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Editor Contributor's Review

Sitting on the Shiver it’s hard not to notice the big analog tachometer with built in LCD screen. Like most motorcycles offered today the gauge pod has all of the standard warning lights with a button for the hazard indicators. A pronounced triangular shaped yellow warning light alerts you to signs of a low fuel level. Since the bike only has a 4.22 gallon fuel tank you will probably become accustomed to seeing this light illuminated. When you do see the light on it may not be a good idea to pass by the next gas station; especially when the one after that is 30 miles away. Not that I did that or anything but I’m just saying.

One thing that’s becoming a standard item on a lot of motorcycles is a gear indicator. It’s true; even I shift into the mysterious 7th gear sometimes so seeing the gear you’re in displayed prominently in the upper left hand corner of the Shiver’s LCD screen as a visual representation is a welcome sight. If you see that you’re in 6th gear when you thought you were in 5th then this simple yet effective indicator has done its job. Now if manufacturers would only combine a gas gauge and a gear indicator within their dashes then life would be grand.

And in this corner of the garage, wearing the “grey fever” color scheme, weighing in at 416.67 lbs.: The Shiv. With a seat height of just under 32 in. and a wheelbase of 56.73 in. the Shiver should fit an average size rider quite comfortably. With a rake of 25.7° and trail set at 4.29 in. the Shiver’s ultra responsive so those that enjoy pulling wheelies in the first few gears will absolutely love this bike.

When you think of Aprilia you think of many things but most notable their engine configuration. Insert and turn the key, press the starter button, pick your performance mode and listen to that V twin come to life. The sound that the 2-1-2 exhaust creates is pure magic (catalytic converter is present under the rear seat). Complimenting the medium sized twin lines perfectly are the triangular exhaust silencers. A low growl appears just off idle and snapping the throttle open lets you hear all 95 ponies roaring to be set free.

Speaking of horsepower the Shiver delivers 95 HP at 9,000 rpm and 59.65 lb/ft of torque at 7,000 rpm. With a high compression ratio (11:1) you’ll want to keep the revs in the upper range but not too far as you do have a redline limit of 9,500 rpm (even though the numbering shows up to 12,000). I particularly liked the crisp throttle response which Aprilia accomplishes with its integrated engine management system. “Ride by Wire” (RBW) technology is also implemented which controls movement of the 52mm throttle bodies. Purists at heart might long for the old days without electronic gadgetry but face it, it’s 2008 and the ECU is king of the hill. Since we’re on the subject of ECU’s, EMS’s or any other three letter acronym you can associate with controlling engine parameters, take note that Aprilia has given the Shiver three performance modes; one for “rain”, one for “sport” and finally one for “touring”. A nice touch that this system provides is that you don’t need to be in neutral to switch between modes (the starter button does double duty as it’s also the mode selector). Once the throttle is in a fully closed position the new mode selected will be applied. The modes are listed as R, S and T respectively in the upper left hand corner of the LCD screen beneath the gear indicator. I sampled all three settings and to me unless you’re in severe weather or want a neutered motorcycle, “sport” is the only way to go.

The Shiver features an advanced, hydraulically operated, wet multi-plate clutch that has been designed to be ultra reliable and self-adjusting. Shifts were buttery smooth, no false neutrals were encountered and dropping two gears to setup the next corner didn’t upset the Shiver one bit. I did find that the “sweet spot” was between 6-8,000 rpm and 2nd gear was best for around town riding. There was some twitchiness of the FI around 5,200 rpm while I was in 3rd gear but I couldn’t always duplicate that behaviour. Perhaps it was the weather (hazy, hot and humid days) or perhaps not.

As far as the suspension was concerned it was spot on. No need to make any adjustments what so ever which is a good thing since adjustments are limited. Up front the non-adjustable inverted fork was perfect and the settings on the rear shock (mounted on the right side in line with the swing arm) were ideal. The rear shock is adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping only. Some may find these settings a little on the hard side but trust me, once you’ve ridden the Shiver you’ll understand why it was set this way. Anything else just wouldn’t feel right.

Case in point: Traveling through my version of San Dono’s best roads near Aprilia’s Noale factory I absolutely loved how light, agile and powerful the Shiver felt. The suspension ate up bumps like a lion eating his first meal in two days. Nothing I threw at it could upset the chassis and the steel trellis frame worked wonderfully with the suspension. There were no signs of torsional vibration or extreme lateral movement so the chassis gave enough flex but wasn’t too rigid as to compromise ride ability. Even when I did inadvertently (no really) pull a few wheelies here and there the Shiver shrugged it off and said: “Is that all you got?” Dejected and defeated my alter ego Dr. Jekyll was gone for good.

Some credit for this handling was due to one of Dunlop’s stickiest street tires (the Sportmax) which gives you exceptional feel of the road. Again, motorcycle standards are kept so the aluminum alloy rims can be fitted with a 120/70 ZR17 tire for the front and a 180/55 ZR17 tire for the rear. There was no trouble leaning this bike over and ripping through some twisty back roads. Riding the Shiver like this will put a grin on the face of even the harshest critics.
Regrettably my friends all is not strawberries and champagne for the Shiver. What is the problem you ask? Simple: Wind protection. Now before you remind me I’m well aware that the Shiver is a naked motorcycle. Still, after an hour of riding at highway speeds I couldn’t wait to take the exit ramp which would lead me to my super duper secret location where all the best roads are found. Since the Shiver’s not equipped with a wind screen (not even a little fly screen mind you) you and I are left with the full brunt of the wind. I’m not denying the fact that the wind does indeed help keep you upright but there is a balance to be had. I’d certainly look into an aftermarket wind screen or even Aprilia’s genuine accessories version.

Now to one of my favorite subjects: Brakes. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see this technology grow and become superior over the years. We now truly benefit from trickle down race technology and these improved safety mechanisms help every rider. I’m glad to see that the Shiver comes standard with steel braided brake lines, four piston radial mounted calipers and 320mm double stainless steel floating discs in the front with a single piston calliper, 245mm disc in the rear. That said, I was expecting more from this system. Yes, I know the price range the Shiver is aiming for and perhaps a set of Brembo’s might blow the budget wide open but stopping is a big part of the game. Now don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here. These components do an adequate job but certainly not something to shout from the mountain tops.

During a break for lunch to gather my thoughts and notes I surfed on over to Aprilia’s web site to see what types of accessories they offer. Aprilia’s long made it a point to bring their merchandise to their customers, whether that’s clothing or other accessories and this year’s selection of products is improving upon that belief even more. I’d most likely opt for the windscreen (as mentioned prior), a sprinkling of carbon fiber (can you really ever have too much?) and last but certainly not least an upgrade to an Akrapovic exhaust system. That my fellow enthusiasts would truly send chills down your spine while riding the aptly named Shiver.

The Shiver brings Italian flare and outright fun to a fiercely competitive medium powered naked class that is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s going head to head with the likes of Suzuki’s SV650, Kawasaki’s Z750, Triumph’s Street Triple and winning. Those that want to keep a low profile look elsewhere as the Shiver can’t help but be noticed while in the midst of other contenders. Buy the Shiver for $8,999 in the “code orange” color scheme and you’ll surely make a statement.

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