This muscular, advanced V-twin stands out in a sea of inline fours.
By Bill Heald
When it comes to a great all-around sport bike, it’s hard to beat the middleweight class. Years ago you really needed at least 1,000 ccs of displacement to deliver serious muscle to the pavement, but enormous strides in technology mean engines of much smaller size (and lighter weight) are now delivering the horsepower that used to be found only with the big boys. This class of lithe, dynamic motor cycles has been dominated for years by 600-cc inline fours, which are incredibly intoxicating but have a very similar feel to one another and can be on the buzzy side at higher speeds.
Enter the Aprilia 750 Shiver. This beautiful naked sport bike is not only loaded with as much (or more) high tech engineering as the competition, at its heart it has a different type of engine that gives it a unique personality that separates it from the pack. Instead of a high-spinning quartet of pistons, the Shiver has a 90-degree V-twin that delivers the acceleration and torque you need to haul ass down your favorite canyon blacktop, yet has a more relaxed cadence and a wonderfully charismatic exhaust note. Instead of shrieking like a banshee at full song like the fours, this mill has a deeper, more thunderous presence that gets under your skin in the best possible way. This particular V-twin is as contemporary as a motorcycle engine gets, with liquid cooling, four valve heads, and a feature that is truly cutting-edge: multi-map integral Ride by Wire technology (engineered via the experience gleaned through the development of Aprilia’s worldchampion RSV4 superbike).
By multi-map, we’re talking about three rider-selected performance settings: Sport, Touring, and Rain. Touring is pretty much an ideal mode for all-around riding, whereas Sport gives you more abrupt power delivery, and Rain flattens out the power curve to help prevent excessive wheel spin on wet pavement. Regardless of setting, the Shiver has abundant low-end grunt and is one of those rare bikes that is satisfying for experienced riders, yet user-friendly for novices. The vibration is low in frequency and never a bother around town, but the engine does make its presence felt in the bars and pegs at speeds of 70 miles per hour and above.
The chassis of the Shiver starts with a meticulously engineered hybrid frame, using both tube-trellis and stamped-aluminum-plate elements to fortify rigidity yet keep weight to a minimum. This—in combination with a tight wheelbase and taut suspension —delivers really quick steering (ideal in urban environments), yet highspeed stability is exemplary over fast, bump-strewn curves.
Finally, the feature that truly brings everything together is the Aprilia’s brilliant ergonomics. The pegs are high enough for a sporting crouch, but the bars are close enough to keep the weight off your wrists and the saddle is unusually accommodating. The soulful V-twin is enough to make the Shiver impressive, but it’s the whole package that makes it shine in an already stellar class.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled 90-degree V-twin|
|Bore x stroke||92 mm x 56.4 mm|
|Fuel system||Ride by Wire integrated engine control|
|Ignition Digital||Digital electronic integrated with fuel-injection system|
|Front suspension||43-mm male
|Rear suspension||Single shock,
rebound and preload
|Front brakes||Dual 320-mm
|Rear brake||Single 240-mm
|Seat height||31.5 inches|
|Dry weight||416.7 pounds|