Friday, October 16, 2009

More People You Meet....

On a suggestion from John Chamberlin, I headed to southern W. Va. and Hawks Nest, the "Grand Canyon of the East" on my second day out. After a day filled with all kinds of interesting roads, the run from Gauley Bridge up to the Hawks Nest Lodge was great. The climb from the river to the top was a series of S turns and hairpins, each curve a perfect cereal bowl of banking. As you popped out of one and into the next bowl going the opposite direction, it felt like those shots of MotoGP racers snaking through the corkscrew at Laguna Seca. Excellent!

I arrived at the Lodge at about the same time as another biker on an Aprilia. We introduced ourselves (Keith from Wisconsin), exchanged pleasantries on the weather and the roads, and agreed to meet for dinner at the hotel restaurant.

It turns out Keith and I had roughly the same concept, that is, a last motorcycle trip of the season, made after school started to reduce traffic, and solo this time keep our options open.

I certainly liked Keith's Aprilia Futura, but you have to be careful with these Aprilia owners. They remind me of Ferrari owners that seem to worship the perceived technology and the style. In Keith's case, he not only had this nicely maintained Futura, but he had searched the world to own an Aprilia Moto 650. The Moto 650 is an artistic piece that was featured as part of the Guggenheim Museum motorcycle show. The interesting thing is that both the normal Aprilia's like the Futura and the Moto 650 are powered by Rotax engines from Austria. I guess that an Italian motorcycle is still art, even if its powered by an Austrian engine.

Having said that, there are now two Aprilia's on my short list of used motorcycles I would like to own. Both the Futura and the Caponord are available used in the $3000 to $5000 range. Both share the Rotax 1 liter twin, similar touring geometry, and look to be a heck of a value when compared to other sports touring machines.

So the short list is down to Tiger 1050, Caponord, and Futura. Ah heck, maybe I'll just build something.


  1. Jac,

    Two good parts about owning an Aprilia: The first is the sound of the 60 degree v-twin with some nice pipes on it. Simply the best sounding motorcycle engine ever. The second is telling people, when they ask "What's an Aprilia?", that "It's like a Ducati but not as common."

    The Aprilia faithful will be quick to tell you that the 990cc V-twin was an Aprilia design but built by Rotax, therefore it's Italian. I have no idea of the "designed by Aprilia" part is true but it's a good cover story. Aprilia has been known in the past as "the Italian Honda" because they were more reliable than other Italian bikes. There's a nice way to slice a pie and is probably a testament to the Rotax engine.

    As for your bike choices, I'd still suggest the Caponord for the leg room, I think the Futura would fold your legs up too much. For pure entertainment either bike trumps the Trumpet. For reference:

  2. I understand the split personality of the Aprilia faithful. That Moto 650 engine is based on the same Rotax that is/was used in the BMW F650, but of course, the Aprilia has been reinterpreted through Italian eyes. The faithful must be excited with the RSV4, a true home grown engine.

    Loved your "whats-difference" post. In my view, the British bike should be more of a football hooligan than the queen. I'll admit that my preference for motorcycles depends more on my ability to "fit" properly. After the Honda TransAlp and my KLR, the Tiger fits beautifully. I haven't had a chance to swing a leg over a Caponord, but I suspect you are right about the Futura being a bit tight on a long ride.