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Unleashing the Beast: A Closer Look at the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 (2010-2014)

Unleashing the Beast: A Closer Look at the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 (2010-2014)

Welcome to our in-depth exploration of the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200, a powerhouse of a motorcycle that left its mark on the adventure biking scene from 2010 to 2014. In this blog post, we will dive into the unique features, performance capabilities, and overall riding experience of this Italian-made masterpiece. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or an enthusiast looking to learn more about this extraordinary machine, join us as we dissect the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 and uncover what made it one of the most iconic bikes of its time.


The Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200, introduced in 2010, was a game-changer in the adventure biking world. With its aggressive styling, powerful engine, and advanced technology, the Dorsoduro 1200 quickly earned a reputation as a beast on the road. This motorcycle was designed to deliver an exhilarating riding experience, combining the features of a sportbike and an off-road machine. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 stand out from the crowd.

Design and Styling

The Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 boasts a unique and eye-catching design that sets it apart from other motorcycles in its class. The aggressive lines, sharp angles, and muscular stance give it a distinctive look that exudes power and performance. The high-mounted exhaust, wide handlebars, and pronounced fuel tank add to its rugged appearance. With its sleek fairings and attention to detail, the Dorsoduro 1200 is a visual treat for riders and onlookers alike.

Engine and Performance

At the heart of the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 lies a powerful 1197cc V-twin engine. This liquid-cooled beast produces an impressive 130 horsepower and 115 Nm of torque, giving riders an adrenaline-pumping experience on the road. With its advanced fuel injection system and electronic engine management, the Dorsoduro 1200 delivers smooth and responsive power delivery across the RPM range. Whether you’re cruising on the highway or tackling challenging off-road terrains, this motorcycle offers a thrilling ride like no other.


The star of the Dorsoduro 1200 show is undoubtedly the 1197cc V-twin, with a ride-by-wire throttle system offering three riding modes – Rain, Touring, and Sport.

Aprilia has long been an advocate of ride-by-wire and, although there have been some forgettable moments (just ask Colin Edwards in his first year of MotoGP racing for Aprilia!), the Italian company has now mastered it.

There’s still a hint of hesitation at low revs, especially on a partial throttle, but it’s not enough to upset the balance of the bike too much, which is a good thing when maneuvering through traffic.

Most of the low-speed commuting is spent in first gear, which is quite tall on the Dorsoduro (especially for such a sporty bike) before tightening up in the higher gears. But top gear is quite tall again, allowing for a relaxed highway cruising at 100km/h registering just 3400rpm. Fifth gear would be better in those situations.

But let’s get back to the point. While the engine may be a little fragile below 4000rpm – both in terms of fueling and power delivery – above that, the acceleration in Sport and Touring modes is exhilarating, as the tacho works overtime trying to keep up and the underseat pipes produce an intoxicating, fruity sound. And once that ‘detonation’ occurs, it’s a fabulous experience, with the slick-shifting gearbox coming along for the ride.

The aggressive power delivery is due in part to the engine dimensions – 106mm x 67.88mm. That’s an oversquare design, but it’s a vital part of why this bike loves to rev when given the signal. Aprilia claims 130hp (96kW) at 8700rpm and 115Nm at 7200rpm.

I mainly toggled between the Touring and Sport modes during the test period, as I found the Rain mode to be too sluggish – although it still provides around 100hp. But compared to Sport and Touring, it feels like dragging a ball and chain. However, as an owner, I could see it being a relaxing respite from the volcanic eruptions in the other modes.

The Dorsoduro’s hydraulic clutch feels okay, although I would prefer a cable one in this case – it would better match the bike’s raw flavor.


The 1200 has a fairly long wheelbase of 1528mm, with a rake and trail dimension of 27.3 degrees and 118mm respectively. Those figures don’t scream razor-sharp, and are probably a bit at odds with the bike’s powerful engine.

But the reality is that the Dorsoduro still slices through turns with plenty of conviction, although sometimes it takes a bit more effort – especially if body positioning isn’t quite right.

The Dorsoduro isn’t like a sports bike where you’re wedged against the tank for reinforcement, as its flat and wide seat allows for various seating options.

For aggressive riding, it’s best to go forward of the cabin to push on the front end, with the firm stance supported by the tapered, fairly low one-piece handlebars and the slightly rear-positioned pegs.

If you want to keep understeer in check, that’s definitely the best strategy, because as you move back on the seat, the steering – understandably – loses some of its bite. But there’s certainly no lack of stability.

It does take a while to figure out the optimal body positioning, but once that’s mastered, the real fun begins – the bike feels right at home on punchy straights and tight turns. And let’s not forget the brakes, which are also an important element in all that fun, with the Brembo radial-mounted four-piston calipers providing plenty of power and a nice progressive feel through the lever. There is an ABS version of the Dorsoduro 1200, but it’s not available in Australia.

The Aprilia’s suspension certainly isn’t soft, which aligns with the bike’s sporting prowess. The suspension (trick-looking Marzocchi upside-down gold forks and Sachs shock absorber) is fully adjustable at both ends, with the shock positioned off-center to accommodate the engine architecture, or more precisely the location of the headers on the rear cylinder. Rear preload is adjustable via a c-spanner, with unfettered access.

Despite the stiff suspension, the ride isn’t too harsh. What’s more of an issue in terms of comfort is the hard seat, which can make those hard hits on the road seem worse than they really are.

If you can ride 150km in one stretch, that’s impressive – and you won’t get much further before it’s time for a refuel. The tank holds 16 liters, although it looks larger than that.

During the test, fuel consumption averaged out at 7.73lt/100km.


The dashboard on the Dorsoduro is consistent with what has recently come off Aprilia’s production line. No complaints though, as there’s more than enough information available, which can be toggled through via a switch on the left-hand side of the handlebar.

At $17,990, the Dorsoduro 1200 is all about speed and excitement, and its ability to cater to the inner child makes it comparable to the Ducati Hypermotard 1100EVO. These bikes provide a two-wheel experience that’s hard to find in an urban setting – but they are certainly not for everyone.

But that’s okay, as those who do decide to invest in this bike will be in for an unforgettable experience. I never thought tearing through the streets could be so much fun.

Visit the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 in Bike Showroom.



Type: Liquid-cooled, eight-valve 90-degree V-twin Capacity: 1197cc Bore x stroke: 106.0mm x 67.8mm Compression ratio: 12.0 ± 0.5: 1 Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection Emissions: Euro 3

In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of engines, specifically focusing on the Engine 1200. We will explore its features, benefits, and applications, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of this powerful and versatile engine. Whether you are a car enthusiast or simply curious about the inner workings of engines, this post is for you. So, let’s dive in!

Introduction to the Engine 1200

The Engine 1200 is a high-performance internal combustion engine that has gained a reputation for its exceptional power and reliability. It is commonly used in a wide range of applications, including automotive, industrial, and marine. The name “Engine 1200” refers to its engine displacement, which is 1200 cubic centimeters (cc).

Features of the Engine 1200

The Engine 1200 boasts several notable features that set it apart from other engines in its class. Here are some of its key features:

  • Powerful Performance: The Engine 1200 delivers an impressive amount of power, making it suitable for various applications. It has a high horsepower and torque output, enabling it to handle demanding tasks with ease.
  • Compact Design: Despite its powerful performance, the Engine 1200 has a compact and lightweight design. This makes it easier to install in tight spaces and improves overall vehicle or equipment maneuverability.
  • Fuel Efficiency: The Engine 1200 is designed to optimize fuel efficiency, ensuring that you get more mileage out of each gallon of fuel. This not only reduces operating costs but also minimizes environmental impact by reducing emissions.
  • Durability: Engine 1200 is built to withstand the rigors of continuous use. Its robust construction and quality materials make it highly reliable and long-lasting, requiring minimal maintenance and repairs.
  • Versatility: The Engine 1200 can be adapted for use in various applications, including cars, motorcycles, boats, generators, and more. Its versatility makes it a popular choice for both recreational and industrial purposes.

Benefits of the Engine 1200

Choosing the Engine 1200 for your project or vehicle comes with several benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the advantages it offers:

  • Power to Weight Ratio: The Engine 1200 boasts an impressive power to weight ratio, making it an excellent choice for performance-oriented applications. Its lightweight design allows for better acceleration and handling.
  • Reliability: The Engine 1200 is known for its durability and reliability. It can withstand harsh operating conditions and is less prone to breakdowns, ensuring that your vehicle or equipment remains operational when you need it most.
  • Easy Maintenance: Engine 1200 requires minimal maintenance, thanks to its robust design. Routine maintenance tasks, such as oil changes and filter replacements, are straightforward and can be easily performed by owners or technicians.
  • Compatibility: Engine 1200 is compatible with a wide range of aftermarket parts and accessories, allowing for customization and optimization according to specific needs. This makes it a popular choice among car enthusiasts and hobbyists.
  • Cost-Effective: Despite its powerful performance, the Engine 1200 is relatively affordable, making it a cost-effective option compared to engines with similar capabilities. Its fuel efficiency also contributes to long-term cost savings.

Applications of the Engine 1200

The Engine 1200 finds its application in various industries and sectors. Here are some of the common uses of this versatile engine:

  • Automotive: The Engine 1200 is often used in small and compact cars, providing them with ample power and performance while maintaining fuel efficiency. It is also a popular choice among car enthusiasts who want to upgrade their vehicles.
  • Motorcycles: Many motorcycle manufacturers utilize the Engine 1200 in their models due to its power, lightweight design, and fuel efficiency. It enhances the overall riding experience and allows for better acceleration and handling.
  • Marine: The Engine 1200 is also commonly employed in boats, providing the necessary power to propel them efficiently through water. Its compact size is particularly advantageous for smaller boats and yachts.
  • Generators: Engine 1200 is often used in portable generators, ensuring a reliable source of power during emergencies or in remote areas where access to the grid is limited. Its fuel efficiency and durability make it an ideal choice for such applications.
  • Industrial Equipment: Engine 1200 can be found in various industrial equipment, such as pumps, compressors, and construction machinery. Its power and versatility make it suitable for demanding tasks in these sectors.


Type: Six-speed Final drive: Chain Clutch: Wet


Frame type: Tubular steel fastened to aluminum side plates. Removable rear aluminum subframe Front suspension: 43mm Sachs upside-down forks with fully adjustable compression, rebound, and spring. Wheel travel 160mm Rear suspension: Aluminum alloy swingarm, with piggyback Sachs shock with fully adjustable compression, rebound, and preload. Wheel travel 155mm Front brakes: Dual 320mm stainless steel floating discs with Brembo four-piston radial calipers. Rear brake: 240mm stainless steel disc with single-piston Brembo caliper. Wheels: Aluminum alloy – front 3.50 x 17, rear 6.00 x 17 Tires: Pirelli Diablo – front 120/70-17, rear 180/55-17


Rake: 27.3 degrees Trail: 118mm Claimed dry weight: 203kg Seat height: 870mm Wheelbase: 1528mm Ground clearance: Not given Fuel capacity: 16 liters


Claimed maximum power: 130hp (96kW) at 8700rpm Claimed maximum torque: 115Nm at 7200rpm

Handling and Suspension

The Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 is equipped with top-of-the-line suspension components that ensure exceptional handling and control. The front features a fully adjustable 43mm upside-down fork, while the rear boasts an aluminum swingarm with a piggy-back shock absorber. This combination provides excellent stability and responsiveness, allowing riders to confidently navigate corners and tackle uneven surfaces. The Dorsoduro 1200 also comes with a sophisticated traction control system, ensuring optimal grip and safety in various riding conditions.

Electronics and Technology

Aprilia is known for its cutting-edge technology, and the Dorsoduro 1200 is no exception. This motorcycle comes with a host of electronic aids that enhance the riding experience. The advanced ride-by-wire system ensures precise throttle control, while the selectable riding modes allow riders to tailor the performance characteristics to their preferences. Additionally, the Dorsoduro 1200 features an anti-lock braking system (ABS) for enhanced safety and a comprehensive digital instrument cluster that provides riders with essential information at a glance.

Ergonomics and Comfort

Despite its aggressive design and sporty nature, the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 prioritizes rider comfort. The upright riding position, spacious seat, and well-positioned footpegs provide a comfortable riding experience, even on long journeys. The wide handlebars offer excellent control and maneuverability, making it easy to navigate through traffic or conquer challenging terrains. Whether you’re commuting in the city or embarking on an adventure, the Dorsoduro 1200 ensures a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

Maintenance and Reliability

When it comes to maintenance and reliability, the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 holds its ground. As with any high-performance motorcycle, regular maintenance is crucial to keep it in top condition. Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and using genuine parts and fluids will ensure the longevity of the bike. With proper care and attention, the Dorsoduro 1200 has proven to be a reliable machine that can withstand the test of time.

Riding Experience and Verdict

Riding the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 is an experience like no other. The combination of raw power, precise handling, and advanced technology creates a thrilling and immersive ride. Whether you’re carving through twisty mountain roads, exploring off-road trails, or simply cruising on the open highway, the Dorsoduro 1200 offers a versatile and captivating riding experience. It’s a motorcycle that demands respect and rewards riders with an adrenaline rush every time they twist the throttle.

In conclusion

The Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 (2010-2014) was a true masterpiece that pushed the boundaries of adventure biking. Its striking design, powerful engine, advanced technology, and exceptional handling made it a force to be reckoned with. Whether you’re a fan of Aprilia or simply a motorcycle enthusiast, the Dorsoduro 1200 is a machine worth experiencing. So, gear up, hop on, and get ready to unleash the beast!





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