When Aprilia invited Motorcycle.com to the press introduction for the 2018 Shiver 900 first ride, I thought, hadn’t that model been announced at EICMA 2016 as an upcoming 2017 model? If so, the model had been selling for a while already, right? It had. But as is typical, those lucky Europeans got it first and we had to wait. After the bikes made their journey across the ocean, braving Hurricane Harvey, and worse yet, meeting homologation, the new 900s arrived state-side. A few weeks later, the introduction of the new 2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 would commence.
Taking place in Ventura, California, journalists from all over the U.S. and Canada convened in the coastal city to check out the new 900s from Noale we had all so eagerly been awaiting. With the new Shiver having an engine enlarged from 750 to 900 and revised styling, we were all excited to get some seat time to bring our readers a first ride review.
After having owned my personal Tuono for a few years now, I was happy to have a chance to test out a completely different platform from my own big naked… motorcycle.
The 2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 is a looker. The amount of detail that has gone into the design from an engineering standpoint to pure aesthetic is pretty fantastic. Almost to the point of being reminiscent of another Italian marque known for its “motorcycle art.”
Aprilia is a brand that is too little known in the U.S. of A, if you ask me. While speaking to Aprilia’s Brand Manager, Patrick Flynn, he related a story about a gentleman walking up to him at a gas station while he was putting break-in miles on these motorcycles, and attempting to pronounce: “Ape-pril-ee-ya.” Flynn gently corrected him on the correct pronunciation and informed the man Aprilias are Italian motorcycles. That was all he needed to hear. “Aw, yeah? Nice!” With 54 championships and the V-4 platform we all love here at MO, I wish more motorcyclists in the U.S. had access to Aprilia, however, it seems the most commonly cited issue is the company’s relatively small dealer network.
To put Aprilia’s upgraded Shiver 900 to the test, the Aprilia staff led us out toward one of my favorite roads in southern California, Highway 33. If you haven’t been, Highway 33, north of Ojai, includes a great mix of tight turns, fast sweepers, and gorgeous scenery as it snakes its way through the Los Padres National Forest. This road is a “must ride” for any motorcyclist.
Aprilia is using the same 896cc 90-degree V-Twin motor to power the new Shiver, as well as the new Dorsoduro (but that’s a story for another a few days from now), which is why both models were included in this introduction. The previous Shiver (and Dorsoduro) were 750s and left many journalists and consumers alike, wishing for something more, so that’s what Aprilia did.
The new V-Twin is claimed to produce 93.8 hp at 8750 rpm, with 66.3 lb-ft of torque at 6500. In order to punch the engine out to 896cc, Aprilia simply lengthened the stroke from 56.4mm to 67.4mm while keeping the bore the same at 92mm. While I might’ve preferred a little more torque deep down low in the rev-range, the new powerplant makes good, fun, usable power throughout most of the rpm range, but it’s happier if you stay away from real low on the rpm spectrum.
The engine is said to have revised its crankshaft geometry and balancing to deliver a smoother ride. It felt pretty smooth to me, so good job, Aprilia. Other changes to the Twin include a lighter piston with a new coating to reduce friction, a reinforced piston pin, semi-dry crankcase with reed valves controlling oil movement, and new double-jet fuel injectors which spray at a higher pressure for better air/fuel atomization. Another big upgrade we are happy to see is the inclusion of the Marelli 7SM ECU, which was brought over from the V4 platform and now works as the brains of the Shiver’s operations, enabling the new TC management and streamlining electrical systems while shedding a claimed one pound of weight.
Rider interface with the Shiver is quite nice in most respects, however, there are a few nits to pick. The new ride-by-wire throttle feels great, although actual fueling can be jerky at low rpm. The bend on the handlebar puts the user in a comfortable rider triangle, while the comfy 32-inch tall seat allowed my 30-inch inseam to flat foot comfortably on both sides. Rider and passenger footpegs include rubber inserts to quell vibration. The gearbox feels solid with tight tolerances resulting in positive shifts, however, the amount of pressure needed to downshift was surprisingly high. Aprilia says the hydraulic clutch pull was been reduced by 15% thanks to refinements to its design and a change in friction material. This must have been a welcome improvement over the previous iteration because I felt the Shiver 900’s clutch pull was still a bit on the heavy side.
Braking is handled by dual 320mm floating rotors, squeezed by 4-piston calipers which are fed by steel-braided brake lines, while the rear uses a 240mm wave rotor and single-piston caliper with steel-braided lines. No Brembos here, likely to keep costs down, but the brakes are adequate for the task at hand. ABS is, of course, standard, as on all European motorcycles since 2016. The front brakes initially felt a bit vague, but some of the motorcycles had less than 200 miles on their odometers, and improved somewhat after more hard miles. I think it was an issue of the pads having not bedded-in entirely. Initial bite improved once they were fully up to temperature.
Suspension on the Shiver 900 is handled by a new inverted 41mm Kayaba fork with 4.7 inches of travel up front. The new fork is said to be approximately one pound lighter and offers spring preload and rebound damping adjustments. In the rear Aprilia is using a Sachs monoshock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping and 5.1 inches of travel. The only time that I had wished for higher performing suspension was in fast, bumpy sweepers.
The new TFT display and user controls are easy enough to figure out, with the only tricky bit being that, to switch ride modes, you press the starter button once the engine is running to toggle between Sport, Touring, and Rain. Traction control offers three levels as well as Off, with 1 being the least intrusive. ABS is simply on or off and only accessible to change while the bike is in neutral. Ride modes are adjustable while riding, having only close the throttle to engage, while TC is adjustable on the fly. The Aprilia Multimedia Platform is also an available option which will allow the rider to sync with his or her smartphone for a multitude of options, including displaying incoming/active calls and any music being streamed, among other functions.
Circling back to some of my previous comments, the 2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 looks great. From the red accents of the steel-trellis/aluminum frame to the red valve covers on the engine and “Be A Racer” graphics on the new, lightweight, three-spoke wheels, the new Shiver presents a high level of attention to detail.
As with the new wheels, not all of the interesting design elements are solely aesthetic. The caps on the under-tail exhaust serve an engineering purpose rather than just looking cool and emitting a more exciting exhaust note. They have been designed to improve passenger comfort by redirecting gas flow out of the exhaust to the sides rather than directly behind the passenger in an attempt to evacuate the hot, humid gases from the low pressure area created behind a passenger while riding. Happy passenger, happy life? Or something like that.
The 2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 delivers great usable power from its new 896cc V-Twin wrapped in a complete package that will be comfortable for most riders across a fair range of sizes. I did not hear a single journalist complain about the Shiver being at all uncomfortable. At $9,399 it also stays within range of its potential Japanese rivals like the Kawasaki Z900 at $8,799 (w/ABS) while being a fair amount less than a Ducati Monster 821 with an MSRP of $11,695.
The Shiver 900 is Aprilia’s interpretation of a versatile, smooth, comfortable motorcycle that maintains that sexy Italian panache. While our ride included only a tiny bit of freeway and city, with most being had on winding canyon roads, I can back up Aprilia’s claims for the flexibility and charm of the Shiver and am sure just about anyone could enjoy this motorcycle while putting it to task with many different types of riding.
|2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 Specifications|
|Engine Type||90-degree V-Twin, 4-stroke, Four valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled|
|Bore and stroke||92.0 x 67.4 mm|
|Horsepower (claimed)||93.8 hp at 8,750 rpm|
|Torque (claimed)||66.3 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm|
|Fuel system||Marelli 7SM Double-jet fuel injectors and latest generation Ride-by-Wire engine management. Choice of three different engine maps selectable by the rider with bike in motion: S (Sport), T (Touring), R (Rain)|
|Front Suspension||Inverted Kayaba 41 mm fork body, adjustable preload and rebound damping. 120 mm wheel travel|
|Rear Suspension||Sachs monoshock absorber with adjustable preload and rebound damping. 130mm wheel travel|
|Front Brakes||320 mm floating double disc. Radial mounted fourpiston calipers with steel braided brake lines|
|Rear brake||240 mm wave stainless steel disc. Single piston caliper with steel braided brake lines|
|Wheels and Tires||Cast aluminum; Front: 3.5”x17” Rear: 6.00”x17” Radial tires. Front: 120/70ZR-17 Rear: 180/55ZR-17|
|Saddle height||32.0 inches|
|Curb Weight||480 lbs|
|Fuel Capacity||4.0 gallons|