So I’ve had the Dorso for a few months and have put about 10,000Ks on it, which includes commuting, milk runs, weekend blasts on twisty bitumen and a 7 day motogp trip. Now there’s no point me writing a review on a new Gsxr 1000, there’s 20 thousand of them already on the interwebs, most of them better than what I could come up with. But the dorso is a relatively little-known bike and reviews on it are few and far between so I thought I’d put one up.
First off, I’m amazed by the fact that in almost 6 months of ownership I have not come across a single other Dorsoduro on the roads, 750 or 1200. I really don’t understand the reason for this because let me tell you, there is nothing bloody wrong with this motorcycle!
Engine = Aprilia-made V-twin 750cc
Power = about 90BHP
Torque = about 80NM at 4500rpm
Weight = about 180KG (Dry)
Fuel capacity = 12L (Pathetic)
Now if you’re a numbers man, you will probably not be too impressed with any of the numbers quoted above but don’t hit that back button just yet coz the Dorso possesses qualities that do not translate into numbers on a fact sheet.
Also keep in mind that my bike has a fully sikh (sic) Leo Vince system with carbon fibre cans and a Penske rear shock that enhance its riding experience from stock.
Righto, let’s get into what I think about it.
The styling is subjective, of course, but I love it. Here’s some pics, make up your own mind, we will not spend any more time on it.
When you first get on it, it is a tallish motorcycle. I’m 5’11” and it’s just about perfect for me. You sit upright with a slight lean forward and because of wider-than-average-nakedbike handlebars, you sit in a very natural riding position that opens up your chest. The controls fall easily to hand. The seat is narrow, in keeping with its supermoto styling, which seems a bit uncomfortable and unsupportive if you’re not used to this class of bike (and I wasn’t) but you see the rationale behind it as you’re throwing the bike around twisties and sliding up and down the length of it to help weight distribution. The footpegs are quite forward, which I personally don’t like so much but rearsets would look pretty stupid on this bike.
The bike has ride by wire throttle and supports 3 ride modes, Rain is for pussies and we will talk no more about it. Touring unleashes all horses with a nice smooth throttle response while Sport unleashes them with the urgency of a man nearing the vinegar stroke. I find Sport mode too jerky for most roads except the super smooth. I do most of my riding in Touring with the occasional flick to Sport if I’m really feeling adventurous. Ride modes can be changed on the go with the flick of a button.
Despite its SuperMoto styling, the bike is not a wheelie machine, the relatively heavy weight and long wheel base acting as an effective launch control. The bike power wheelies easily in 1st gear in Sport mode, not so in Touring, where you’ll need the clutch. Acceleration, while not supersonic, is punchy enough to keep things entertaining. The power delivery is smooth and it pulls nicely till the “Slow-down-you-fucking-hoon light” starts flashing around the 10K mark. However, it does seem to have a flat spot in power delivery around the 6-7K mark, which is more pronounced in some gears.
Most motorcycles I’ve ridden, the engine is the centrepiece of the riding experience and the overwhelming star. This motorcycle is different, it’s the handling that really sets it apart. It is a phenomenally good handling motorcycle. It is easy to throw into corners, is confidence inspiring under brakes and gunning it out of corners is wonderfully addictive. “It does not corner on rails”, but that is not as bad as it sounds because even though it does not feel as firmly planted as some other bikes, it’s incredibly agile and asking it to change lines while fully leaned over in the middle of the corner will not be met with shakes of the head. If I wanted firmly planted, I would’ve kept my K12R, now that fucker DID corner on rails.
Riding hard on some of the twisty roads on the GP trip allowed me to really push the bike and I was extremely happy with the result. Braking is excellent, firm with lots of feel at the lever. The suspension is adjustable at both ends and is well sorted despite the long travel. I got really good feedback from the front though I am not skilled enough to always understand it and translate it into action.
Yes, of course, but the exceptional thing with this bike is the other things that it does well too. It goes better on the fast sweepers than a SuperMoto has any right to go. Its stable at high speed (I maxxed out at an indicated 210) even though anything over 150 and you really need to hunker down or risk being blown off the back due to the super exposed riding position. It has a 12L fuel tank but riding conservatively down the freeway, you can easily squeeze 220KM out of a tank. Of course, with hard scratching and inner city commuting, that quickly shrinks to about 160KM!
Also, it is passably comfortably and after 3 big days in the saddle I was certainly better off than on my R1. What you don’t want to do, of course, is to point it north from Adelaide and ride to Darwin. Your butt will fall off before Coober Pedy. But as long as the road is twisting and turning, you can easily do some big days on it.
I also don’t have any indications to say this bike is anything but reliable. Starts everytime without a fuss and it’s still early days but I haven’t had any problems at all except a mirror working loose returning from the GP, which was promptly nutted tight.
So, the verdict. It’s a great bike that’ll do me for a while I reckon.
I bought the bike because I wanted something that was agile and fun without needing to break the sound barrier. I also wanted something that I could ride close to its limits while still having a reasonable shot at keeping my licence and anus intact.
The bike is really fun AND confidence inspiring at the same time, not an easy feat to accomplish and I reckon the Aprilia engineers have pulled it off nicely.
Someone go out and ride one and tell me why there aren’t more of these lil fuckers around!