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2008 Private Preview: Off the Track

Shaun Tolson

While competing in its third

Grand Prix motor racing season in 1987, Aprilia won its first title, at the

Grand Prix of San Marino. Since then, the Italian producer of motorcycles and

scooters has won 32 world titles and recorded 250 individual victories. Despite

its racing success, the brand has remained relatively obscure in the United

States. However, Aprilia should raise its profile next year when it brings its

latest midsize naked model, the SL 750 Shiver, to American showrooms.

"The Aprilia 750cc bike is targeted at a broader audience, from

beginners to experts," says brand manager Rick Panettieri, explaining that the

bike’s water-cooled engine sits at a 90-degree angle as opposed to the 60-degree

engine mount of Aprilia’s previous American V-twin models. "The 60-degree engine

is shorter and more compact, which is better for weight distribution on a race

bike," Panettieri says. "The 90-degree engine is typically smoother."

The SL 750 Shiver’s ride is further smoothed by its Ride by

Wire technology, which eliminates the throttle cable and relies on electronic

signals to control the throttle plate, fuel injection, and ignition timing

advances. The use of such complex electronics enables the engine to deliver more

torque at low revs. The Shiver is light—only 416 pounds—and its high-powered

engine, which can produce 95 hp at 9,000 rpm, was designed to require minimal

maintenance.

Aprilia
www­.apriliausa.com

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