Bike Review - Aprilia Caponord vs Ducati Multistrada

18-Aug - Test rode 2 2013 bikes: the duc multistrada S and aprilia caponord

I test rode the bike i bought (Aprilia Caponord) back to back with Duc multistrada-S  on same test route.  I jotted down my my thoughts after the test but held off posting/buying as i wanted to compare with a 2013 Triumph Tiger Sport 1050.  priced $14000 cheaper than a ducati!  Unfortunately Peter Thievens took over Triumph dealership but wouldn't release any stock for test rides so i couldn't wait until October to test ride one.

Both 1200cc V-twin, road adventure style.  Both packed with electronic everything.  Both come with panniers but were not fitted for the test ride.

I took both on the same route – about 45mins loop; city, Victoria pde, hoddle st, eastern freeway, yarra boulevard and back same way,

Duc was first

The good:

  • loved it, an absolute rocket
  • handling excellent, felt light like flicking a 650 into the corners, and
  • comfortable riding position, fun yet practical, eg had to lane split coming back no probs.
  • screen was effective,

A few things bugged me, but all minor:

  • gear shift sticky, hard to find neutral   , maybe because new?
  • rattly noises and at certain revs the fairing vibration noise loud
  • back of heel hit main stand so could not shift foot back
  • slide fwd on seat when braking
  • annoying vibrations (in gonads) at certain revs –eg when cruising at 110
  • I found digital tacho hard to read with my bad eyes - needed my reading glasses
  • if money was no object i'd have bought it on the spot.

Next the aprilia

The good

  • Immediately comfortable, probably more so than the duc.  It’s a tall man’s bike so suited me.
  • the skyhooks suspension amazing, I deliberately found bumps on curves and felt great, and surer control while cornering. rode on cobblestones in city lane, very effective
  • Vibration less annoying than duc, generally very good
  • Engine note better than duc, had a great howl
  • Handling excellent, also felt light and natural to flick, seemed no heavier than duc (despite being 20Kg heavier) but probably not as definitive on the hairpins, felt the duc was a bit easier to hold a line
  • Power ok but 22 hp less than Duc on paper, did not have as raunchy a blast.  Still exciting but the duc is a rocket and won out on sheer grunt.
  • $6500 cheaper than Duc


  • the fly swatter even when fully up seems too low.  Did not shield wind enough at 130kph
  • clutch heavier than duc.  arthritic fingers were getting tired.
  • 1st gear seems a bit too high,  makes it a bit grabby when taking off
  • Engine heat seemed to rise from mid engine so could be hot in summer.  Duc could be the same tho?  VFR was excellent design here, with 2 radiators to blow heat out and away from rider.
  • Front brake seemed spongy but is a quality bembo so prob just me

Also the aprilia services may be cheaper as no big part changes at major service (uses chain cam )


  • Going great but few more annoyances since riding it 500kms 
  • no time of day clock that i can find.  will have to get a stick on accoessory 
  • with commuting in peak hr traffic the wider handle bars make lane splitting harder.  can no longer get thru traffic on many parts of st kilda rd that the VFR always could.
  • cruise control does not have a 'coast' control. if you want set a new speed you have to set speed again

Update Nov 2013 after riding 2000km around vic and snowy mountains

  • confirm most of my 1st impressions - still really enjoying the bike.  seating position excellent (i'm 6ft)
  • there is a time of day clock, i misread the manual. (but no air thermostat).  other annoyances:--
  • the heavy clutch is a pain - literally, easily double the weight of the bmw 1200 GS i was riding with
  • economy is poor.  i was riding with other bikes including BMW 1200GS and we always filled up at same time.  My fuel bill was consistently significantly more yet we were all ridng same route, same style, all premium unleaded.
  • The cruise control is crap.  too simplistic.  it is impossibly fiddly to set and once set can't be adjusted - tho it does work, regulstion not brilliant, eg after climbing a hill it will overspeed .  So if you turn it off to ride thru a 80k zone there is no resume once derestricted, so you have to set speed all over again.
  • The gearing is crazily high.  maybe so you can emulate low flying aircraft in top gear but it meant the gap from 2nd to 3rd is so high that on twisties i was constantly shifting, 2nd always seemed over revving and 3rd grunting at 1500rpm. at times felt i enjoyed the twisties more on my old vfr800
  • handling good but not spectacular, may the gearing issue, or maybe still need to get used to it.
  • the low windscreen seemed less of an issue than i 1st thought
  • the luggage is a bit thin and tacky, but does the job and didn't leak.  the Shad top box is finnicky about closing, if there is any part of your contents near  the edge, it will jam and won't close
  • concerned about reliability of the elctronics, at one point the ECU shat itself and shutdown, bike kept going in limp mode but recovered after turning off engine and restarting.  Engine attention light also came on but the shop reset it, no explanation of cause other than maybe not reset at the 1000km service (which is not a free service).  if i have to take it back for a reset after every service i'll be really pee'd off.
  • it was good having heated grip option.  cost not that much more to add (so should be included).  But it never really gets that warm even in top setting.  however in the cooler mountain areas it made some difference.