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Old 19 Dec 2003
Steve Pickford's Avatar
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Aprilia Caponord?

Anyone out there have any views or experiences of this bike?

I hope to soon be in the market for something along theses lines. I've looked at the obvious rivals such as the R11XXGS, KTM 950 etc. I've seen a few about but never managed to talk to someone who owns one. They look good (better than a Varadero or V-Strom IMO) & are claimed to weigh 215kg, the same as the about to released R1200GS.

I know they have basically the same engine as the other Aprilia twins & I've not heard any horror stories about any of them?

They're dry sump - is the oil tank mounted on the left as with the other models & how vulnerable is it in a fall?

Thanks in advance

My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
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Old 20 Dec 2003
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I rode one of these ealier this year in France. It wasn't the 'Rally Raid' version which is what I really wanted to try, but I don't suppose there's much difference. The bike felt lighter than the Varadero or the GS. Handling and comfort were fine. The engine was fantastic. Loads of power delivered smoothly. The fuel injection was faultless and build quality appeared to be excellent.

I seriously thought about buying one of these and had I not managed to get hold of one of the last Africa Twins would have done so. Can't help with the location of the oil tank.

I'd like to try the big KTM. If I were ever (I should say "If ever I can afford"!) to change the AT these two would be at the top of my list, unless Honda ever decide to make a newer version of the AT that is!

[This message has been edited by mcdarbyfeast (edited 20 December 2003).]
\"Bon Chance\"
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Old 20 Dec 2003
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I've ridden the 950 KTM - excellent machine, makes a very good road bike. The engine picks up revs very quick, acceleration is exceptionallly good but it fels very much like a sports bike engine i.e. quite peaky.

The lower version is still quite tall. I'm 5'10" with longish legs for my height but still could not get both feet anywhere near flat on the ground. I tried adjusting the hydraulic pre-load adjuster but it was already on it's minimum setting. There was no static sag & the suspension did not move much under my weight (12.5 stone fully kitted) - I felt that it was very oversprung as standard. Saying that, the bike did not feel choppy on the move? Cornering at speed around a roundabout was very good, none of the flappiness & vague handling you would expect from a bike with a 21" front wheel.

There were some vibes, not too intusive but noticeable if accelerating hard.

My main concern was that it would be an excellent overland bike in the hands of an experienced off roader but the peaky nature of the engine could prove daunting (dangerous?)to a novice like myself when off road, especially when fully loaded.

It's top speed is about 130mph but revs to approx. 9,000rpm to do so, about 1,000 more than the torquier but heavier 1150GS.

There's been a recall for a clutch basket mod but not heard of any other problems. No one has responded to my posting in the KTM section re: high mileage 950's yet.

Would definitely recommend a go on one though.

My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
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Old 20 Dec 2003
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I thought that the KTM would a fairly 'sporty' ride. I'm just under 5'11" but have quiet a short leg length, although I manage an XR400 with no problem. I could just about manage the 640 Adventurer, but only just, so I think the bigger bike would be too tall, especially with the extra weight. Shame 'cause I really fancy one. I'll get a test ride and see how that goes.

The Capo' had loads of power, but was also quiet happy pootling around at lower speeds, which suits my riding style. The seat height seemed fine.

I had a R100GS for our trip this year and when we had to cut it short promised myself a new 1150 on our return. I had a couple of test rides, but couldn't get on with them at all. The gearbox felt worse than the older bike and I was put off by the surging which no one else seems to notice, I guess it's just me. I don't think much of the build quality either, again no one else seems to notice. I ride a new Beemer at work sometimes and compared to the Honda, I also ride, they seem agricultural.

I'm sticking with the AT as my road bike for sometime anyway as I want a new dirt bike.

[This message has been edited by mcdarbyfeast (edited 20 December 2003).]
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Old 15 Jan 2007
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just to throw in a few pence worth. I have only ridden the Aprilia for one day on loan and I suppose it was not top notch about 10000 on it. Quite comfortable but not inspiring. I was pleased to return it as I am used to a nicer range in the engine.

From all the stuff in my experience (including 3.5 years with a 1150GS) I recon the best general purpose bike currently is the 650 Vstom, fast or slow, comfy, good on juice, probably would be my next bike if I didn't want more serious off road ability. They are good value and people have ridden them everywhere now, quite a surprise really.
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -Bertrand Russell
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Old 16 Mar 2007
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I've got one of these, on which I've done 39,000 miles. Here's some thoughts:
  • The engine is fab - loads of oomph if you want it and trickle potential if you don't
  • Engine known to take abuse and shrug it off
  • Servicing every 5,000 miles
  • Valve clearances every 2nd service. Not a small job.
  • Compared to the R1150GS it is a fast bike
  • Compared to the R1150GS it is not a particularly rugged bike
  • On road handling is excellent
  • Off road handling - dunno, I'm crap at off road riding
  • Its a bit top heavy
  • Panniers make it as wide as Belgium
  • Oil tank is down to left of engine, made of metal and well protected by the heavy duty sump guard
  • In 2004 or 2005 (I can't remember) they altered the fairing, removing the sticky-out bits with the indicators faired in. This is A Good Thing because on those older models (like mine) this part of the fairing gets damaged in a drop, even with engine bars fitted
  • Its not a particularly frugal bike. >45mpg is easily achieved on long runs, but if you cane it you're down to 37-40 mpg
  • Touratech fork springs are almost mandatory, otherwise the front end can pitch a bit
  • Replace plastic fuel couplings with metal ones (not required for newer models)
  • Works best with Metzeler Tourances
  • The wire wheels are *awful* to true up if they do get bent
  • Its super comfortable. I've done an 880 mile day & not got sore until the last 100
  • I'm 5'8" tall, 15 stone and can get one foot or both sets of toes down easily enough but it does feel like a b i g bike when you first get on it
  • The headlamps are exceptional
  • There is a lower seat but its not as plush as the standard one
  • **handy tip** the fuel filter is inside the tank and its not on any service schedule. Change it every 7,000 miles. Ducati do one for £13 that is the same as the £30 Aprilia one
  • BMW hand guards fit well, although now the Aprilia ones are out, you might as well get them
  • The heavy duty sump guard is well worth having & very solid
  • The crash bars are sods to fit but are OK once on
  • No matter what the dealers say, **APRILIA PARTS CAN BE THE VERY DEVIL TO GET HOLD OF**
  • Many Ducati parts (levers etc) fit and are much cheaper
  • FYI I love mine and wouldn't change it for anything
Er, that's me waffled enough.
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Old 9 Nov 2007
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Rally Raid for sale

I have pristine condition low mileage 2003 Rally Raid for sale. I bought it new and it is a UK bike on UK plates. I have brought the bike to France where I now live but am selling it because it's too complicated to register it here. Delivery to UK no problem.

Complete with unused knobblies & aluminium panniers.

Contact me to discuss?photos etc. David davidedwardmawer@yahoo.co.uk
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Old 17 Mar 2008
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Rally Raid above now sold.

Originally Posted by davidedwardmawer View Post
I have pristine condition low mileage 2003 Rally Raid for sale. I bought it new and it is a UK bike on UK plates. I have brought the bike to France where I now live but am selling it because it's too complicated to register it here. Delivery to UK no problem.

Complete with unused knobblies & aluminium panniers.

Contact me to discuss?photos etc.
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Old 7 Nov 2008
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Best tourer for tarmac

I have one as well, and my main observations are:

- Best handling on tarmac. The bike turns with an unmatched smoothness and delivers more than enough power to allow two-up overtakings at a very high speeds. I feel very safe on that bike.
- It can travel with 180kph per hour and still feel like a train (it goes 225 - 230)
- Its comfort was praised and I add to that that it has the single best seat for the pillion.
- If you buy second hand it's a steal
- Go for the ABS version (2004 onwards) as the brakes do leave a lot to be desired (because of its powerful engine, not the brakes themselves).
- I would not recommend it for heavy offroad touring (but then again I don't recommend ANY 1000cc bike for that use anyway). It will go offroad (especially with a proper set of tires and suspensions), but it won't be that enjoyable due to its weight.
- If you tend to some silly manufacturing faults, you end up with a very reliable bike, that will carry you anywhere without a problem. The electrics are its nemesis, take good care of them!
- It's a sight for sore eyes no matter how you look at it! Best looking big bike if you ask me.
- Parts availability varies, but on the road, you might get into serious trouble.
- If you do mainly tarmac in Europe it's a very good choice, if you plan to do Africa, go for a smaller, carb-based bike, you'll thank me.
- I wouldn't change it for anything as well, I love this bike and I truly believe that it is a bargain as a second hand bike, even as I know how good it is I would never buy a new one for 13000 euros (well there's only residual stock now, the bike is discontinued and we're waiting for the 1200 version!!!)

If you have any specific questions go ahead and ask!
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Old 9 Nov 2008
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Aprilia V-twins are brilliant bikes. I've got a RSV1000, not a Caponord and I agree with all the points put forward so far but I'd like to add:
  • Parts availability not only patchy at best but the official dealer network in the UK is shockingly bad.
  • As mentioned, valve clearances need doing approx. every 10k miles, requiring removal of the camshafts if shims need replacing. I've heard of dealers refusing to sell or exchange their workshop stock and insist you order in the shims you need. Never had this myself but this alone should tell you how bad parts availability is!
  • Almost everyone upgrades the battery to Yuasa YTX14BS or equivalent and keep it hooked up to an Optimate if standing for any length of time. Not sure if the Caponord has the same instruments but the multi-function dash panel on pre-'03 RSV's has a voltmeter (button "D" I think) so use it to pull money off the asking price if it's reading much below 12v.
  • Starter relays have been known to give trouble and most people replace them with Yamaha items (£30 and will arrive much quicker than if ordering from Aprilia). It's a straight swap with no modifications required.
  • The starter motor's sprag clutch can fail on very high mileage bikes which can be expensive. Never had to do one myself but I believe some parts are interchangable with Ducati's. If the bearing does break up, as it did on a friends Falco, the crankcases will need to be split to recover the remains of the bearing! (Worst case scenario and wouldn't put me off buying one, but just so you know.)
  • Reliability is fine. Much more robust than other Italian bikes.
  • Some people find switched position between the indicators and the horn awkward. Only in Italy does easy access to the horn take priority over the indicators!
Other than that, they're brilliant

Last edited by craig76; 10 Nov 2008 at 18:42. Reason: Info added
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Old 6 Dec 2008
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All the buzz is that the Capo is being discontinued, anyone have info this is so?
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Old 12 Sep 2009
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I'm a happy owner of a Aprilia Caponord ABS'04 in Portugal...

As road/trail bikes, I owned an Suzuki Freeind650, then an Aprilia Pegaso650, then an Honda Varadero and now the bery best of Aprilia, the Caponord last model...incredible bike for all-around and trip bike!

There's is some silly problems i stock bikes, but with the right spares and ands they feel unstopable!!!

I was in Marrocco in August 2008 with my Leocinci's slips and I just can say that it was all fine, only the fuel consumption was not interesting, but when I arrive to Portugal I put it in the Axone Machine to set up the maps...what a diference!!!

Trust me...for used bike it's the best investment you can do...very cheap as second hand...I don't know why, but, ok...good for us, the Capo lovers and happy owners!

See the machine:

Picasa Web Albums - Dakarman - Aprilia Capon...


Any technihcal question I could help, because I did a lot of things in the bike to get it 100%...
Filipe Barbosa
Aprila Caponord ABS'04
Portugal - Maia

Last edited by Dakarman; 12 Sep 2009 at 00:59. Reason: Add the link to the photos...Capo ABS'04 - full extras!
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