ONCE upon a time, in a land far, far away, Italian bike brand Aprilia created the Shiver, a 750cc motorcycle with a 90-degree twin engine. That was back in 2008, and the naked sports bike was a definite favourite amongst its fans.
Enter the evil villain into this fairy tale, in the form of Euro4 compliance regulations around emissions standards, and it was goodbye to the 750cc power plant; a victim of the changes in the rules.
Fast forward to 2018, and Aprilia has slayed the evil beast, replacing the old version of the Shiver with a shiny new 900cc version, complete with updated electrics, a sexy new paint scheme, and improved comfort and performance.
What you get now is a sweet, excellent looking ride, with additional torque and power, that gets the thumbs up from other riders as you pass, and gives you a solid road experience, with smooth and easy to manage power delivery.
Right from the get go, down low in the revs, it’s a beautifully handling machine. The trellis frame and distinctive panelling across the tank and through to the back of the bike are a Aprilia Shiver through and through; a nod to that distinctive Shiver style.
The specs on the bike are impressive and match any of the V-twin sports bikes in its class, with the new engine management system delivering 70kW of maximum power and 90Nm of torque.
You can feel it from early in the rev range, delivering smooth acceleration out of corners, meaning you can pass without dropping down the gears. The hydraulically driven clutch is precise and means the rider can “ride” the clutch easily.
Yet when riding hard the gear changes are still fast and smooth. That said, the clutch has quite a heavy pull, which is noticeable after a fast run along windy roads, and when waiting for the lights to change.
The bike also sounds pretty awesome. The 2-into-1 exhaust, exiting out under the seat through two pipes, pays justice to the large V-twin, with a nice bark as the revs climb and throaty pops as you slide back down the gears.
The ride-by-wire management system from the throttle to the Aprilia Traction Control (ATC) is now managed via one ECU (previous versions had two), and provides precise accelerator control, through three levels of performance.
The system coordinates the throttle body, air/fuel mix, and injection valve, incorporating feedback from the various other systems, such as gearing, air flow, speed and riders grip opening.
This means that the power is controlled and evenly delivered, and when combined with the ATC and ABS, gives the rider a solid feeling of control. The ABS can be set to on or off, and operated smoothly under hard braking, keeping the bike controllable.
The suspension package matches the rest of the bike, with the front forks featuring adjustable hydraulic rebound damping and spring preload. On the back, a single shock absorber with non-adjustable hydraulic damping and adjustable spring preload.
The combination performed well through the twisties and handled surface unevenness very well, allowing the power to go to the road out of corners, however the bike does tend to dive under heavy front braking.
Overall though, through fast curves and tight cutbacks, the bike rider feels in control down to the edge of the tyre, and there was minimal bounce or feedback through the handle bars.
Along the highway, cruising, the bike is solid on the road and there was no jarring, even over the concrete sections that usually vibrate through a bike. Holding a speed is interesting though, and is similar to other Aprilia V-twins.
The engine hesitates when you are endeavouring to maintain a constant speed and this appears to happen at most rev ranges, but is most pronounced between 3,500 and 5,000 revs, and in any gear.
Although it is less obvious in the higher gears and speeds, like it wants to go on, it is again a little irritating, but in no way a road block to buying one.
Over the time we had the bike it averaged out at 6.9-litres/100km, but this was mainly city riding. On the country run we saw averages of 5.5-litres/100km, but again, some of this was a little fast and furious. Aprilia claims 5.3-liters/100km.
A small downside to the riding experience is that the engine does tend to run hot, especially in traffic, even with the fan running almost constantly. It does tend to warm the cockles of you heart, which would be great in a European winter.
It’s not so great in a brutal Aussie summer, and one finds oneself riding with the knees spread wide and heels on pegs to get some air on the best friends. The heat can be felt through your right boot too, even when on the open road.
As a rider, there’s plenty that’s new to look at too. The bike’s controls have been updated from the previous model, with a TFT colour display dash, with auto light sensing adjustment, and an easy to use handlebar toggle to navigate with.
Two trip meters are on hand to monitor average fuel consumption, trip time and total kilometres. Selecting modes does involve a little finesse, as the rider has to move through a simple, but multilayer, menu.
Ride modes can be selected on the fly though via the starter button, and you can pick it up quite quickly. It’s much simpler than some of their earlier versions.
The only short fall is the lack of a fuel gauge. It does have a fuel warning light and a trip meter measures usage from the start of the warning, but it means you only have five litres left, and our advice, fill up; it is only a 15-litre tank.
With the upgraded electrics, a self-cancelling indicator would have been nice too. That said, the new Shiver 900 gets the Aprilia app for your smart phone, which can link to the bike and allows the rider to track a swag of telemetry.
It will let you see everything from trip and track metrics, speed, RPM, degree of lean, speed over time and all plotted against maps. It’s very cool. Along with the usual Bluetooth media and phone connectivity, the bike has a dash mounted USB for charging.
Seating position is really good too. While it is a sports bike, there was no undue pressure on wrists and forearms when leaning forward, and the handlebars are low enough to allow for tank hugging runs, and for the rider to move out of the seat for tighter, faster corners.
The seat height of 810mm allows the pegs to be quite high without cramping up the rider, and minimises the fatigue factor on long runs in the country. The bike weighs 218kg with a full tank, but does not feel heavy; it was agile and nimble through Sydney traffic, and very easy to throw around in the country.
The 2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 hits the road at a little over $15,000 ride away, and comes in two colours; Hi Tech Silver (as tested) and Forest Green.
Our test bike was provided by Aprilia Australia. To find out more about the 2018 Aprilia Shiver 900, contact your local Aprilia dealer.