2016 Aprilia Shiver 750

Road Test Review

Before this edgy naked bike was introduced in 2007, there was a large gap in Aprilia’s sportbike lineup between its diminutive RS125 and the brilliant RSV1000R, both of which had Austrian-made Rotax engines. Then the Piaggio Group scooped up Aprilia and Moto Guzzi, and before you could say polpetta picante Aprilia was making its own motors and had filled the breach with this competent middleweight. Among its notable features are ride-by-wire throttle control with three switchable-on-the-fly riding modes for the booming 750 V-twin, which is wrapped in a modular steel trellis frame with aluminum side plates. The bike has recently received a mild cosmetic facelift, a second-generation RBW system and a new handlebar and tapered saddle for the relaxed, semi-upright ergonomics. Unique elements like the side-mounted shock absorber and twin triangular underseat silencers are the punctuation on the Shiver’s techno manifesto.

Power is delivered without any bothersome vibes thanks to the liquid-cooled, DOHC V-twin’s 90-degree layout, which gives it perfect primary balance. On the Jett Tuning dyno with the bike in either rowdy Sport or Touring mode, it made a very nice 77.3 horsepower at 9,200 rpm at the rear wheel, but more importantly its 46.6 lb-ft are the peak of a 40-plus torque plateau that stretches from 3,800 to just shy of redline at 10,000 rpm. Touring mode takes some urgency out of the Shiver’s throttle response, making the bike much more pleasant to ride around town and on the highway. For slippery conditions Rain mode virtually flattens the powerband, requiring a much bigger throttle turn to get any response and thereby preventing wheelspin. Horsepower peaked at just 63.7 in Rain, and torque at 36.4 lb-ft. Heat from the underseat silencers can roast your buns on hot days, but no matter which mode the bike is in, the engine always makes a wonderful booming growl and acceleration is brisk despite the bike’s hefty 490-pounds wet.

Some of that weight can be chalked up to the steel tubing used for the trellis portion of the mainframe and seat subframe, and perhaps the sheer size of the braced aluminum swingarm that pivots in the frame’s cast aluminum side plates, the better for chassis stiffness and handling. The liquid-cooled, DOHC engine that serves as a stressed member in that chassis also seems rather large for its V-twin layout and 749.9cc displacement. The weight is only noticeable pushing the bike around, however—once underway, the Shiver handles quickly and adroitly, with neutral steering that inspires confidence and plenty of stability in corners and on the highway.

Although the 43mm USD fork has no adjustments and the Sachs single rear shock only offers ring-and-locknut spring preload and rebound damping changes, the firm suspension is nicely calibrated for long-distance highway and sporty backroad riding, provided the surface is reasonably smooth. Toss in a few bumps and the Shiver can get a bit out of shape, no fault of its good 120/70 and 180/55-ZR17 Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier tires. It is happiest in smooth sweepers and tight hairpins, where the wide, flat handlebar gives the rider plenty of leverage to flick it through the turns, and its tall seat height ensures there’s both ample legroom and cornering clearance. Excellent radial-mounted, opposed 4-piston Brembo calipers up front and a single-piston floating caliper in back are fed by steel braided lines and stop the Shiver with authority, and both the brake and clutch levers are adjustable.

At just $8,699, the Shiver is well priced among its European competitors, though strangely the anti-lock brakes that are standard overseas are not offered on U.S. bikes. If the Shiver has an Achilles heal, it’s the bike’s 31.9-inch seat height, which will put it out of reach for some riders hunting for a middleweight naked sportbike in this price range. Once rolling with your feet on the pegs it’s pleasantly comfortable, but with my 29-inch inseam I’m on my tiptoes at stops. Combine that with limited steering range lock-to-lock (think wide U-turns) and the bike can be somewhat unfriendly to the shorter rider.

Don’t be put off by our 38.5-mpg average fuel economy, which would give the Shiver a range of just 154 miles from its 4.0-gallon tank. The bike is so fun to ride that we flogged it nearly every time we turned the key, and in those rare moments that we did slow down the trip computer often showed average fuel economy in the mid 50s. Provided that it fits you or vice versa, this is a reasonably comfortable, character-filled and versatile sportbike with great sound and some nice features.