Caponord Travel Pack, Multistrada Granturismo and Tiger Sport: the great arsouille
The sports maxitrails segment is in turmoil: Aprilia launches a new Caponord 1200, Ducati updates its Multistrada 1200 and Triumph overhauls its Tiger 1050. To compare these three new products for 2013, MNC goes on a mop … in arsouille mode !
First kilometers, first discoveries
With its saddle 830mm from the ground, the Tiger is the easiest to ride. Aprilia does not come far behind, as its additional 10mm of height sags smoothly under the weight of the driver. Quite the opposite of the saddle of the Multistrada, yet qualified as "comfort" by its manufacturer…
As hard as that of a Panigale – ouch! -, the driver’s seat of the Ducati culminates at 850 mm. However, the high passenger seat and the very large suitcases make it even harder to get on board. Fortunately, the view once at the top is most beautiful !
The Multi has a superb digital panel on which can be found all the information needed – and more – for globetrotters. Its magnesium support is also beautiful and will make the owners of the other two motorcycles jealous, less well finished on this point..
In general, the finish seems more neat on the Ducati: no cables running along the lower engine as on the Aprilia, nor a little coarse welds as on the Triumph. We can examine it from all angles, the Multistrada does not suffer from any lack of taste or assembly. Only exposure to projections from the front cylinder head of the Testastretta can surprise, even worry..
The electronics and their settings are easier to integrate on the Bologna beauty than on Noale’s. Indeed, the Aprilia suffers from a somewhat less intuitive navigation, due in particular to its double controls on the left and right of the handlebars (only on the left on the Ducati).
Naturally, the Triumph shines here for its ease of use: "Hello the throttle and the brake lever", the presentations have the merit of being ultra fast with the English! The suspension settings can be fine-tuned in the workshop. For this comparative test, MNC kept the original ones.
Simple like Triumph
On the instrumentation side, the Tiger is the only one to feature an analog tachometer. Its digital screen is smaller than the other two, so the time, for example, is not easy to read. Some bikers will regret the absence of a gear indicator, but all will welcome the presence of an on-board computer estimating in particular the average consumption and the remaining autonomy, as on the two Italian competitors..
The Tiger Sport is also distinguished from its smaller comrades by its driving position: the knees are more apart by the Triple and a little more bent, while the arms are lower and a hint tighter. We finally have less the impression of being on a trail than on a roadster.
In contrast, the Aprilia smells of maxitrail: its handlebars are very wide, high but suitably set back, while its footrests are placed low and forward. In addition, its tank is even thinner than that of the Ducati, although it reaches the capacity of 24 liters of gasoline (20 for its two competitors).
Another advantage of the Caponord 1200 appears even before starting the engine: it is extremely easy to jack up on the control unit. The lug, mechanism and grip of the motorcycle have been carefully designed to make it easier for the rider.
This is less the case on the Multistrada 1200 which requires more attention and commitment from the average riders – the little ones are likely to bow! -, especially when the heavy and off-center luggage is installed and loaded. On the Tiger 1050, it was quickly resolved: no control unit in its original version !
The handling of the Ducati is slowed down by the starting system without mechanical key. Confusing at first glance, the new "routine" is fortunately not rocket science: housing in pocket, it suffices to momentarily lower the red switch then raise it to activate the black starter.
Ditto for the steering lock, which is done electrically on the Ducati: it suffices to simultaneously keep the handlebars turned and the switch lowered. And "when you get back on the bike, the steering is automatically unlocked during Key-On", reassures Ducati.
Last tip to know before venturing into traffic jams in the capital: the warnings indicated on the left stalk of the Ducati do not have a specific button and are activated by keeping the turn signal control on the left for a few moments.
ADaDa on Aprilia
Although they are not signaled on the Aprilia, the hazard warning lights can be activated by pressing the turn signal button for three seconds. On the Triumph finally, no need to look for any manipulation of the indicators: the button is on the dashboard … which is not very practical !
Stalled at idle speed, the three engines quickly heat up. The signatures of each brand are easily recognizable: small clicks escape from the high engine of the Aprilia V-Twin, deeper rumbles emanate from the L-Twin Ducati and a lingering hiss comes from the Triumph.
Fortunately on the Italians, a few gas shots are enough to cover the mechanical noises thanks to the convincing vocalizations of the big pot of the Caponord and the fine exhausts of the Multistrada. Beside, the Englishwoman plays it more discreet and continues to whistle.
Much more welcoming than the Ducati, the Aprilia is proving more difficult to tame. Its clutch is hard, its engine grazes below 2,500 rpm and the pilot continually hesitates between 1st and 2nd gear to circulate in heavy traffic, around 25 km / h. The first report deserves to be shortened on the Caponord.
Under these conditions, the heat generated by Noale’s twin cylinder stagnates at the feet: unpleasant in summer, it will be welcome in winter … Thanks to the installation of a clever plexi plate on the side, the left thigh the driver is however better protected than on the Multistrada.
At the controls of the Multistrada 2013, we appreciate "the introduction of Double Ignition (DS), which thanks to two spark plugs per cylinder ensures complete combustion very quickly, the repositioning of the fuel system injectors which direct the jet directly onto the overheated rear of the intake valve and the application of a secondary air system, similar to that of the 1199 Panigale", which help the Bolognese twin to start again from 2000 rpm.
We also notice that the clutch control is much smoother, which requires a little skill when getting off the Caponord. The first starts on the Multi can then be brutal, but the owner of the Ducati will have no difficulty in dosing. Only the antidribble can sometimes lack transparency during downshifts, but it does not affect driving.
The slight jerks of the Tiger Sport transmission are more disturbing when you want to spare your passenger as much as possible. Fortunately, the Triumph has other assets that allow it to compete with the Ducati in terms of handling..
The spanking of the Mamma Ducati
The English box is well layered, its selection is gentle and its handling is obvious. But what we love above all is the monstrous flexibility shown by the 3-cylinder, accepting to start again from idle even when fourth gear is engaged..
Former roadster users, for their part, will appreciate the camped position a little more to the front which gives the impression of always perfectly controlling the front wheel, while the Multistrada and the Caponord – the Capo especially – sit the driver more on their rear axle.
Equipped with a neutral front axle, the Aprilia is not difficult to define however and quickly puts in confidence. The large lever arm of the handlebars and the very good turning radius allow you to easily slip through traffic jams to easily follow the Tiger Sport.
Although it has a turning radius a tad shorter than the Aprilia – and a good meter better than that of the Triumph! -, the Ducati brings up the rear because of its large buttocks. Let us observe from time to time that its pilot has an interest in being just as "bounced" at the rear end, because the Multi is not particularly comfortable in town.
Indeed, the DSS (Ducati Skyhook System) is undeniably more typical "sport" than the ADD (Aprilia Damping Dynamic) and its "patented "comfort oriented" algorithmEven when the Ducati’s "Urban" mode is engaged, the bumps and valleys are not erased as well as on the Aprilia..
The calibrations and adjustments of the electronic suspensions are not the only ones incriminated: the saddle of the Multistrada does not offer the same cushioning as that of the Caponord, nor even that of the Tiger which, with its traditional suspensions, ultimately comes out very many traps of the urban jungle.
While the Caponord attracts the congratulations of the jury and the Multistrada receives a warning, the Tiger receives encouragement in the matter. We had already noted during the: the Showa suspension compromise is excellent.
Very good during the first part of our journey, the Aprilia is not free from faults. His ride by wire, in particular, struck us as more chaotic than we remember. Set to S (Sport) mode at the start of the road, the Caponord was more pleasant in T (Touring) mode.
But whatever the choice of the pilot, the Aprilia remains less docile than the Ducati, virgin of suddenly unpleasant at the level of the injection and the transmission. Only its box can be criticized: slower than the other two, it asks the pilot to break down his movements. On our test model, it was even necessary to amplify the action of the foot slightly so as not to fall on the false neutral point present between fifth and sixth gear..
Aprilia’s third and final R (Rain) mode can potentially come in handy in the rain – or on snow in winter! -, but it restricts the twin too much in low revs. Now is not the time to relax: small roads are finally coming !
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