1- Is the new Caponord 1200 Rally the adventure version of Aprilia’s upright sport-tourer? It is. And there’s much new equipment to underscore the point. Standard features on this newest Caponord include spoked wheels (19-x-3-inch front, 17-x-4.5 rear), large 33-liter panniers, tubular side guards, an engine guard, auxiliary LED lighting, and a larger manually adjustable windscreen.
2- Not so easy to see is the altered front-end geometry. Thanks to altered offset on the triple clamps (to compensate for the larger front wheel), stated rake is 27.4 degrees and trail is reduced to 4.6 inches (it’s 26.1 degrees and 4.9 inches, respectively, for the standard Caponord). The idea is to make the new 1200 Rally (which also has a 20mm longer wheelbase) willing to change direction yet stable on the highway.
3- Peak horsepower and torque values have not changed, but Aprilia’s 1,197cc 90-degree V-twin, thanks to a new resonator in the exhaust, is said to have improved low- and mid-range performance. The ride-by-wire throttle continues with its Touring, Sport, and Rain settings, the last limiting the dual-spark engine to 100 horsepower for better control in wet conditions.
4- Aprilia chose the Caponord Rally’s wheel size with dirt tires in mind. A 110/90 will fit on the front, and a 150/70 will fit on the rear (the OE stock street tires, for the record, are tubeless radials, size 120/70 front, 170/60 rear).
5- The Brembo brakes are the same as those on the standard Caponord, but the hydraulic lines have been rerouted and are more robust. Also, the tuning of the Continental two-circuit ABS has been altered to work more effectively in the dirt.
6- Similarly, the traction control has been optimized for dirt duty, even incorporating a double threshold of intervention in Map 1 that actually allows a certain amount of wheelspin. Three selectable levels remain (1, 2, and 3, each with increasing intervention), with the ECU cutting engine torque when necessary via the ignition coils and/or the throttle bodies to keep the Caponord Rally moving forward and in control. As with the ABS, the TC can be shut off.
7- According to Aprilia, the new Caponord Rally tips the scales at 525 lb. dry. The standard Caponord, for the record, weighs a claimed 471 lb. dry, whereas the Caponord Travel Pack model comes in at 503 lb. dry.
8- Aprilia Dynamic Damping, one of the most impressive features of the Caponord, has been kept. Via a pressure sensor on the fork and an angular potentiometer on the swingarm, the speed of the suspension stroke front and rear is measured, which allows the VCU (essentially the ECU for the chassis), to set the ideal damping for the given situation. Adjustments are constant and can go from full hard to full soft in 10 milliseconds. That’s one-hundredth of a second. Aprilia, it’s worth noting, says it purposely does not offer the rider various damping settings because it doesn’t want the Caponord’s impressive electronics to become the core of the bike. “It’s just there to help you,” explained one engineer.
9- Although Aprilia did consider giving the new Caponord 1200 Rally an Off-Road setting for the electrically selectable pre-load, the company chose to not do so, stating that the system proved to work well in the dirt. As on the standard Caponord, the 1200 Rally’s four pre-load settings are: Rider, Rider + Passenger, Rider + Bags, Rider + Passenger + Bags, and an Active Shock Absorber setting in which the preload is constantly adjusted automatically. The damper is from Sachs.
10- Lastly, the 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally arrives in the US this May, priced at $15,699. Available accessories include a neat multimedia platform that turns your iPhone into a direct connection with the bike’s electronics, plus various soft bags and handy bits such as off-road footpegs, a larger footpad for the sidestand, and even a large 52-liter top case that can hold two helmets.