104 months ago

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A brief (and biased) comparison of the 2012 V-Strom DL 1000 with the 2015 Caponord 1200. Oh what a difference three years make…

Riverdale, Nj, United States

2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 Travel Pack on the left - on the right 2012 Suzuki S-Strom DL 1000

2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 Travel Pack on the left - on the right 2012 Suzuki S-Strom DL 1000

OK, so they both have a 90 degree angle big-bore V-twin engine and they are both ADV bikes (sort of…) oh and they are both red …

That’s pretty much where the similarities between my former steed, the 2012 Suzuki V-Strom DL 1000 and my current thoroughbred, the 2015 Aprilia Caponord 1200 Travel Pack end. Don't get me wrong, but as much as like the V-Strom I had for over two years, the level of refinement, smoothness and rider aid offered by the Caponord is unrivaled.

The V-Strom is fast, the Caponord is faster. They both snort and hiccup at low revs in 1st and 2nd gear, but the Capo recovers pretty fast, while the Strom yanks at the chain and jolts. I developed a pretty strong left hand grip working the hydraulic clutch lever on the Strom.

As we all know there is no replacement for displacement, so the Capo’s 1197 cc torque-happy motor lifts the bike from slumber at any speed in any gear, while the Strom grinds her teeth.

At 100 mph (achieved for scientific research purposes only of course) the Strom’s front wheel shakes and weaves. Keeping it steady requires a firm grip on the handlebar. Scratch that… white knuckle grip. No such effort is required with the Capo, as you can continue to hold the handlebar like “little birds” (that’s Valentino Rossi talk.) Next I will investigate what happens at 125 mph (again, all in the interest of research.)

Both bikes are quite comfortable for short and long trips. The difference? I had to spend about $400 on a new saddle and handlebar raisers to make the Strom comfortable for me. The Capo was right for me in stock conditions. I miss the taller National Cycle screen that I had in the Strom, but I ordered a taller Givi screen for the Capo. Let’s hope it makes the airflow situation better. Right now at speed on the Capo I get a blast of wind right under my chin … not pleasant.

Cruise Control on a bike …. Who would have thunk it… Not that I had a lot of opportunities to engage it on the Capo this morning, but when I did it worked well and allowed me to flex my right hand a bit. (By the way, the feeling of my hand nowhere near the front brake’s lever makes me nervous. Habit?)

The Strom rides well, leans well and is compliant, but a pothole mid-curve or a miscalculated apex makes me feel dangerously close to an involuntary dismount. The Capo will hold your hand (and your ass) a bit better, in a firmer (but still plush) steady manner. Will it make me a more casual rider? I hope not to get in the habit of relying too much on electronics to compensate for lack of judgement or skill.

Well, what can I say, with 2 forty-five lt. hard cases and a 40 lt. top trunk the Strom is a veritable mule. I struggle this morning with fitting my laptop (small) case in the hard bag in the Capo and my always present rain gear got squeezed pretty hard. In typical Italian fashion the panniers look strikingly beautiful, but they are oddly shaped and there is no bag that will fit in them unless is custom made.

Speaking of which, Alberto Spirito at Motorbike Passion in Rome, crafts excellent custom made bags and ships them internationally. (http://www.motorbike-passion.it/ (lousy site, good bags) Tel.: 339-360.71.79 also on Facebook) I am looking forward to receiving them soon.

Well, the V-Strom has been described as “a face only a mother can love.” The Capo is Italian. Need I say more?

The Fit and Finish in the Capo are superb, with very little, if anything, left unpolished (there are small Italian flag color stickers surrounding the Aprilia logo on the rims. Overkill? Maybe. Aesthetically pleasing? Abso-italian-lutely!!!

The Strom is somewhat cruder. The inside of the faring is raw, with wires and hoses hanging and protruding in all directions. I was the only one looking at it from the cockpit, but still…

Fun Factor
The V-Strom and the Caponord are both motorcycles and have two wheels. If there is any other requirement for fun I am not aware of it.

Happy riding!

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104 months ago

@paulr Pass this over to Jean, the Caponord may be a contender for his next bike.