I'm sure it's a perfectly fine motorcycle but.....
I sat on one at the Seattle motorcycle show and got close enough to SEE it...
the upper fairing and turn signal combo looks like some sort of angry bug or a transformer toy thingie of some sort. I'll take a pass on that. The seat is big and cushy and FUGLY. The example I saw was pre-production and the seat has been re-worked with decorative plastic panels to hide it's sofa like dimensions. It is STILL FUGLY.
Frankly I'm disappointed, the sport bikes and Falco are standard Italian stunning. The futura looks like it was designed by Volvo.
Hmm... then best lob in the Triumph Sprint ST as well - that has luggage available. And, just for the crack as well, chuck in the R1150GS. It's a different kind of bike on paper, but it'll do the Sport Touring thang just as well as the others, I'll wager...
Okay, so the spectrum is R1150RT and ST1100 on the Toury Sport-Tourer end of the scale; and the Sprint-ST, K1200RS and ST-4 on the Sporty Sport-Touer end of the scale.
Is the Futura right in the middle? The seat, weight and the ergo's sound good, but the tank is only 5.5, it doesn't look like there could be a lot of protection behind that screen for a tall guy, and there's still a chain. The sparseness of the Aprillia dealer network also gives me concern, for a long-haul bike.
Is the FJR-1300 right in the middle? It appears to have the performance and attitude, with the tank, shaft and windscreen. The buzz seems to be that it's on it's way stateside.
If these bikes are right in the middle, do they do a good job at both roles, or are they just compromise bikes? And what in the heck do Honda and Kawasaki have up their sleeves?
I want to get a sports tourer this summer or fall, but which one to get sure isn't an easy decision.
You list a dry weight of 462 pounds, but Motorcyclist claims 500 lb - comments?
I hope it is successful. I think the sport tourer class needs some new machinery, light weight, powerful, good performance, wind protection and lockable panniers. Build them and maybe people will buy more of them.
This bike would be well over 500 pounds wet. Manufacturer's claimed dry weight is usually without coolant, oil, gas, battery, toolkit, and who knows what else -- their claims are almost always hopelessly low.
The lightest full streetbikes (not dual purpose) sold here in the US are the supersports 600 models. The lightest of those, the GSXR 600, is at least 415 pounds when you're actually riding it. Yet the weight people always talk about is "359 pounds." I can't figure out what that matters.
It's sad that there's no real lightweight bikes even for the smaller classes. The street-legal 250's and 500's are all heavy with flexy steel frames, and we don't get any 400's, and two-strokes are history...
Weight should always be listed as full wet, without fuel -- since you can ride a bike with however much fuel you want, assuming it fits in the tank.
Much more power, shaft drive, Japanese build-quality, vast dealer network, adjustable windscreen. Sounds like an easy choice to me if you're in the market for a sporty tourer, provided Yamaha brings it stateside.
What is Aprilia's reliability like? They don't seem to be a typically Italian bike company, and they might have better build quality than Italian bikes of yore (or Buell, for that matter...) What do the long-term tests and owner surveys say?
It's continually impressive that Aprilia is able to blow away stodgy old ideas about "breeding" and "traditions" with their out-of-nowhere world-class bikes. I just keep hoping that someday soon the company will realize how many other market niches there are to explore. I mean, really: We've got the Mille and the Falco and the Futura and the Caponord, and they're all powered by the same basic motor. How long do we have to wait until we get a 750cc-Twin supersport, or some sort of Falco Jr.? (BMW is close to releasing a street-only version of the F650; since that and the Pegaso are practically the same bike, will Aprilia do the same? A hardcore street-sport Single with Italian styling, sort of a modern Ducati Mach 1, would just be fantastic.)
Aprilia seems to be working up a very impressive reliability record that some say compares to that of Honda's. While I think its not right to compare a new comapny like Aprilia's reliability to that of an age old and experienced company like Honda, it does speak worlds about Aprilia. If you look at any Aprilia up close, you will see extremely fine build quality and finish- tiedy and precise welding, fairing meets frame level, quality parts and part construction, excellant paint finish, and everything is seemless.
More importantly, before you consider the reliability of Aprilia and take into consideration the fact they are, in fact, an Italian company, first consider the Ducati cliche and the bias that may create for you. Ducati makes most of there own parts themselves (not easy) and more importantly the bikes are built in low class area's of Italy, this in itself contributes to bad build quality. Also, since Ducati's are exotic bikes, function is not as important mystique, so when designing most of the bikes , they consider things like looks, feel, sound, and performance of the bike rather than things like part and engine logevity.
On the otherhand, Aprilia gets most of its parts from differant companies, and being a small company that is trying to make a name for itself, build quality is easily and carefully monitored. Aprilia also gets a lot of parts from many differant companies, parts that most bike companies fabricate themselves- this also improves build quality as it allows them to focus on other aspects of the bike and each part is made by a company that probably specializes in the production of that part, so build quality is standardized and insured. In short, there is no reason why Aprilia's aren't VERY reliable motorcycles, italians are capable of fantastic design and build quality- not just flashy looks and a touch of performance. Also , for a bit of real-world proof, I have a friend with an RSV that he has ridden up to 36k without a single problem- he doesnt baby the bike , he actually maintains it quite poorly. He lubes the chain maybe once a month, sometimes puts off oil changes as long as 3,000 miles, and never brings the bike in for its scheduled maintanance on time, all of which he openly and proudly admits. The only thing he always makes sure he does is keep the bike clean-aesthatically, and I must say that it doesnt look any differant from the day he bought it (I was there when it arrived at his driveway). Yep, Aprilia sure is an amazing company, I cant wait to see what they come up with next.
This bike is a real winner and a great addition to the "touring-sportsters" that are available. I had my heart set on a BMW R1100S or a Ducat ST2/4, but the Futura is showing the way to go. This is what Honda should have built with the VTR1000, but I suspect they didn't want to compete with the ST1100.
I watched the tour of the Aprilia factory on Speedvision. It's a brand new facility, so it might just be the most modern motorcycle factory to date. I don't see the same reliability problems with the Aprilia that the other Italian marques are perpetuating about Italian motorcycles. Aprilia is in the business of making money and they don't have the mystique or brand loyalty that the older marques have so they can't afford to build crap, especially after investing in their new facility.
The Japanese manufacturers continue to copy Harleys or let the boy-racer's dictate their market share. Aprilia is forging ahead by creating motorcycles for grown-ups and gaining market share in the process. They have thoroughly engineered their products prior to release. Their products are not afterthoughts, i.e. existing motorcyles weakly adapted to keep up with the competition. And they have their design philosophy right. It is easier to tune-down a racing motorcyle into a "touring-sportster", than creating a sport bike from touring bike.
I wish they would proceed with expanding thier line. I know that they will only improve the motorcyling world with their products. Hey, if they can provide a better bike at a lower price.....well, it's a no brainer!
I am partial to shafties having owned a BMW R100S and a V65 Magna. My current ride is a Suzuki DR350SET and it has shown me that chain drive, despite the higher maintenance, is entirely functional. The Futura is exactly what I need for sports-touring or touring-sportriding.
Now, another bike that I need is the Borile 500CR. 230 pounds and 60 hp, wow! The perfect in-town commuter. If Aprilia could provide a high quality production single at a low price, they could really gain market share and rejuvenate singles racing. And have some boy-racers turn into grown-ups or vice versa.
I know it seems wierd, but I race, ride a dirt bike and a mountain bike, yet really did find my F4 very tiring to ride. I never once felt that I could do a 600 mile (or 300 mile) day on it. Granted, I am not in the condition I once was, but I did a 2 hour nonstop mountain bike ride yesterday, so I'm not that bad.
I've talked to others and they agree, we don't understand when moto journos say supersports are comfy for long distances. Maybe the problem is that y'all ride a lot and most of us ride some (2-4K miles per year). You're probably in much better distance condition than most of us.
Just bear that in mind or grab an occasional rider in his mid-30's to join you.
Lastly, please more specs. Overall gearing or speed in gears would be really nice.
Your points on the Futura is exactly why I went with the K1200RS. I loved the looks of the Futura and couldnt wait for one. But I didnt want to get 2k miles from home, have something go wrong and cant find parts. My brothers Ducati taught me about parts availability, or lack there of. So I didnt want to roll the dice having an awesome bike I have to wait 2+ months for parts to fix it if something did go wrong. Way too happy with the K12 though, but it is $3k more than the Futura. Thats a lot of gas...