After a quick call to Bowen Moto in Chatham, Kent, one of my local multi-franchise dealers, I got the loan of the new model for 4 days but what to do with it? Riding round the back roads of Kent wasn’t going to show me what it was like on a long run, another plan had to be made, soon it was.
The wife and kids had been in Newcastle most of the week visiting family, door to door it is 333 miles, double that is around the same distance as from my house to Landek in Austria. To make it interesting I could go off the A1 and across Weardale for the last part of the ride, and so the plan was set.
It’s 02:30 Friday morning, the bike is full of go juice, I’m dressed and ready to ride, but not quite-my tank bag keeps moving, the plastic tank means the magnets are useless so out comes a cargo net. Gloves back on, push the bike out the front, climb aboard, put it in first gear, hit the ‘wahey’ button and go. I’d noticed the exhaust note on the way home the day before and knew it would wake the street up if I left it ticking over, so the only option was to go straight off the button.
The first 4 hours are nothing but motorways-virtually, A2/M2-M25-M11-A14 and A1(M) as far as Scotch corner. On these roads this bike is surprisingly comfortable, the seat, though very thin compared to the one on my Blackbird gives a very good ride. Matched with the suspension, consisting of fully adjustable upside down Showa forks and the co-operation between the APR (Aprilia Progressive System) rising rate linkage, and the Sachs hydraulic monoshock you can ride this bike for a long time.
I was expecting to have to have a break every time I refuelled but no, I felt so relaxed riding the distance that other than for 2 coffees’ I got back on the bike and carried on riding.
The fuel tank only holds 18 litres so the low fuel light comes on at around 100miles, Kevin at Bowen’s had told me there was around 30 miles available from this point, I went as far as 120 once but other than that, as soon as I saw a garage I was in and filling up. As most people tend to stop around this distance anyway it might not cause a problem, but if you turn the loud handle further round it does drop markedly.
The mirrors were good for their size, the small bikini fairing kept a lot of the wind off enabling you to go faster than anticipated without much buffeting. The small amount of braking I’d done showed the brakes to be excellent, with 320 mm floating discs up front, gripped by four pot Brembo triple bridge callipers and four sintered pads, you can stop this bike on a dime. The rear has 220mm disc with twin piston calliper and sintered pads works well, but with the fronts being as good as they are you rarely need to use it.
I’d made Scotch Corner by 06:30 and stopped to fill up and have another coffee before the interesting start parted, until now the ride had been to get to this point, now I’ll see what it handles like in the real world.
First was a couple of times around the roundabout-just checking, before heading off on the A66 to Barnard Castle, a 40 speed limit stopped any serious riding due to roadwork’s but I was in Barnard Castle in 10 minutes looking for the turning for the B6278. This is the road that was going to take me across part of Weardale to Shotley Bridge and into Newcastle.
When your sitting on top of a v-twin that kicks out 133 gee gee’s you have to be gentle with the twisty gripy thingy, don’t you? The first part of the road is through a couple of villages with fairly tight twisty roads which show the handling at steady speeds, and it doesn’t disappoint feeling sure footed, even on the bumpier bends.
Ten minutes later and your out on the open Dales roads and going a bit quicker, quite a bit quicker. I’m beginning to get a feel for the faster corners, feeling how much grip the tyres have, the suspension doing a very good job of soaking up the bumps when it’s in the road, an elephants cotton bud has just walked out in front of me-it’s commonly known as a sheep!
I slow right down to pass it and another one comes out, they must have a death wish these things. I let a car go in front of me coz it won’t hurt him if he hits one, and they are lying everywhere doing nothing, so to let the car get away and give me a bit of clear road I pull over and take in the scenery.
Twenty minutes later I set of, the roads are open but twisty so I don’t need to go above 3rd gear. There’s no wild life around now so I can give it a bit more and have a play, but after 5 minutes there’s more of them and these ones are running all over the place. A car coming the other way must have scared them I thought as it passed me, but as I got closer I realised it was me.
We all know v-twins make a bit more noise than most bikes so I shouldn’t have been surprised, it did mean that I had to slow down though. There’s a junction near Scallock Hill that has a small valley, a couple of hairpins and two open bends in about a quarter of a mile, and no sheep! I decided to play around here for a bit, well out of the way where I wouldn’t disturb anyone.
The rest of the way across the dales was relatively slow but I had made fairly good time, I rode the rest of the way to the in-laws in North Shields and felt fine, no aches or pains, I would have been expecting to be tired but not a jot, I felt fine.
Saturday morning saw us ready to hit the road home at 10 am, there were not going to be any detours this time, just a straight run down the Motorways and A1 to the island. I got home with 3 stops for petrol while the wife just drove on, I was thinking I would be well behind her but the fact you can just ride this bike a long distance so easy meant I was only 15 minutes later.
Sunday was a day of rest of sorts, we had the region 6 stand at the Wings and Wheels event at Dunsfold Park, Sussex, so it was a simple case of ride there, park up and relax for the day before riding home.
Monday being a Bank Holiday I couldn’t take the bike back so I went for a spin down some of my favourite roads, they’re mostly A roads but as you get further south there are some nice B roads, which you can test any bike on.
This bike is very hard to upset, even when ridden hard. The suspension and tyres work together to give excellent feel when flipping from left to right, the engine and the way it spreads the power as you dial it in gives you nothing but total confidence which enables you to ride the bike to as close to it’s full potential as you can get on the road.
Would I have one? Oh yes. For a total riding experience you won’t get much better than this bike, but I lie, they have bought out the Tuono 1000R Factory….Oh there is a god!!