Author Topic: Caponord 1200  (Read 6134 times)

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Offline thealtered7

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Caponord 1200
on: April 26, 2015, 11:27:34 PM
I had the opportunity to ride an Aprilia Caponord this weekend.  The bike belongs to my riding buddy.  Forgive me for indulging in a bit of back ground. 

Having been bike curious since acquiring a driver's license I decided to take the plunge last July.  I asked a friend from high school, who had recently moved to my city, if he wanted to join me.  I expected him to say no.  He took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course before I did and bought a bike before I did.  He rode a Honda CB 500x for a few months before buying the Caponord.  He had let me ride the Caponord around some residential neighborhoods when I was still riding a Vulcan 900, but being used to a cruiser's ergonomics and consequent handling characteristics I was unable make any evaluations regarding the Caponord's characteristics as an Adventure Sport Touring bike. 

But now I have the perspective of having bought one of the Caponord's direct competitors.  We decided to switch out for 15 miles or so on Tarryall Road here in Colorado.  What follows should not be interpreted as anything like an attempt at a formal review.  Just some thoughts. 

The first is that the sound of a big lumpy v-twin is wonderful.  I really enjoyed that aspect of the Vulcan and when given the beans the Caponord's engine sounds great.  I feel like the Versys' engine really needs to be spun up high to get any auditory excitement out of it and while I love the character of the Versys when the engine is spun up but it is not always appropriate to be spinning at 8k rpm.  The Caponord sounds good while just cruising in a way that I find the Versys lacks.

Both my friend and I have noted that we feel like the Caponord is heavier and more difficult to tip over.  Neither bike is flickable but the Versys is much more willing to initiate a turn.  I frankly don't know if the Versys is lighter, I've never tracked down a Caponords curb weight.  I believe Aprilia claims 509 pounds dry (feel free to correct this).  My riding buddy and I both agree that the Aprilia feels heavier at the curb.  Not that being heavier is of particular concern with the intended use case of these bikes but it is worth noting.  The Aprilia handles very well when you do get it leaned over but operating it requires that you be a bit more deliberate with your lines. 

The Aprilia feels far more planted on the road.  I think the dynamic damping has more to do with this than weight, although I am sure weight is a factor.  When you combine the handling characteristics, the engine character, and the smooth planted nature of the bike you get something that feels great keeping a steady velocity and cruising at a nice consistent pace.  I felt most emotionally connected to the bike emotionally when humming along in one gear at constant throttle.  The big twin's engine has a torque curve that makes steady fueling really easy. 

While the engine of the Caponord has more sensorial character I feel like the engine of the Versys is more fun.  In my perception the nature of the inline four is such that it wants to be accelerating or decelerating, that is certainly when the engine is most rewarding from an auditory perspective.  I feel most emotionally connected to the Versys when I am accelerating out of turns and up through another gear or two before dumping the engine down with the slipper clutch to let the engine scream in deceleration.  The bike will hold a constant speed if you choose the right gear for whatever speed you are going, but that doesn't really feel like that is the bike's ultimate purpose. 

I personally prefer the sportier nature of the Versys but the Caponord feels really well put together.  There is a lot to like about it and over all it feels more confident, more composed, more adult.  But the Versys feels more playful and frankly more fun.  At least to this particular person's proclivities.   

Offline francis83

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Re: Caponord 1200
Reply #1 on: April 27, 2015, 06:15:32 AM
Thanks for delivering your impartial opinion!!
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Offline stretchamus

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Re: Caponord 1200
Reply #2 on: April 27, 2015, 06:24:44 AM
Whatever the lure of European Exotica, and I know from personal experience there are many, don't buy any Foreign rubbish stick to Japanese  :002:
Stretch is Easily led.

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Offline thealtered7

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Re: Caponord 1200
Reply #3 on: April 27, 2015, 02:42:35 PM
The Caponord has certainly had its share of problems for my riding buddy.  It has had a recall, there are reports of the rear fender's screws breaking which causes the piece to fly off and get stuck wherever it may, and there was this curious issue where by the engine would shut down completely while in motion when descending from altitude. 

In the case of the latter, it took the dealer many months to figure out what was happening.  Aprilia itself had to get involved and develop a new computer software version that more appropriately handled the changes in elevation we were doing as part of our day trips.  It happened a few times in city traffic.  As you can imagine this was fairly alarming to us both. 

But he loves the bike and I can see why.  It suits his riding style and personality very well. 

Offline Old Biker

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Re: Caponord 1200
Reply #4 on: April 27, 2015, 02:53:07 PM
Bit worrying about the rear fender screws breaking, as I have fitted a Caponord rear fender to my Versys. I thought about fitting larger m8 screws at the time, so I think that will be my next job.

Offline thealtered7

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Re: Caponord 1200
Reply #5 on: April 27, 2015, 03:10:33 PM
Disclaimer:  I've only heard about this from my friend.  I have done no research into the topic and everything you are hearing is second hand from a person who is not invested in the topic. 

The 2014 Caponord comes with two rear fenders.  The first, the one closest to the frame, is not the issue.  The one closer to the license plate, sort of hovering out in space, is the one that has the problem.  If I recall the issue with the rear fender is that the screws used were made with a weaker material than is required.  The fix is to replace the screws with steel screws.

I briefly looked around the Caponord forum with which I am familiar and saw no topic that looked relevant, so I'm not sure where my friend is getting is information.  I'd encourage you to do some of your own research rather than trusting in me. 

Caponord forum: http://www.apriliaforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?106-2014-2016-Caponord-1200




Offline Old Biker

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Re: Caponord 1200
Reply #6 on: April 27, 2015, 03:21:44 PM
thealtered, I did see a comment about it on a Caponord forum when I was researching fitting it. It is the lower one bolted to the swinging arm with two m6 screws each side. Still think I will go up to m8 to be safe. If it did come off & got caught in the back wheel it could do some damage.

Offline Bandit

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Re: Caponord 1200
Reply #7 on: May 03, 2015, 12:12:13 AM
Thealtered7 thanks for the Caponord review. Been a fan of Aprilia for years. Had  a Tuono V2twin.  Tried the v4 tuono. Hankered after the Capo ' 1200.  But as you say the Versys engine is sublime smooth and frankly flattering to ride. Wish the V1 brakes were up to the capo's Brembos though !

A mate had a duc dievel a while back. He said there was a recall for rear wheel fender / hugger similar to the aprilia recall you Described!
Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 12:14:39 AM by Bandit
Have a Bandit Day!

Offline thealtered7

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Re: Caponord 1200
Reply #8 on: October 29, 2015, 04:53:17 PM
I have a Caponord update for anyone interested. 

On a road trip in September he and I were headed out to Durango Colorado.  His bike died without onset symptoms on 285 going southwest in a not so convenient spot.  Naturally he tried to restart it.  It cranked a few times before the starter stopped working as well.  No course was open to us other than to call a tow truck.  My girlfriend and I took the Versys out to Durango and had a lovely time faffing about in western Colorado.  My friend had a 2.5 hour tow truck ride back to Denver. 

His bike had done this many times in the past but it always restarted without issue.  This time was clearly far worse.  The dealer re-flashed the firmware on the computer, checked the obvious mechanical bits but they could not get it to start either.  Finally they unplugged the computer from the power supply and plugged it back in.  The bike started.  So the literal course of action was to turn it off and turn it back on again. 

The troubling thing was that the dealer was unable to determine the problem.  Something put the computer in an error state but no error condition was being communicated; the check engine light never came on.  Nor was there any other indication that the computer knew that it had failed.  My friend was left with a bike that had returned to functional, but without an indication of what was wrong with it or what needed to be fixed. 

Already presenting trust issues the Caponord died again on the way to Mount Evans.  Fortunately this time it did start up again.  But for him the trust was gone.  He has traded in the Caponord after 14k miles for a brand new BMW R 1200 RS. 

I tried to suggest a Versys for him but he is very much in love with luxury and refinement.  He is also a bit shorter than I am.  May he have better luck with German Engineering.  Hopefully the problems are at least diagnosable on the BMW.  I must admit I have some bike envy at the moment.  Hopefully the maintenance bills he incurs will diminish that feeling.   

Offline 100milesaway

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Re: Caponord 1200
Reply #9 on: October 29, 2015, 06:06:35 PM
From previous readings on the Caponord story, I feared the story end would be misery, and so it was. Your buddy may have to endure more misery before he finds a bike that fits the bill. I do hope that the BM gives better service than the Craponord. I would always recommend a visit to a bike specific forum in order to get the low down on any future purchase. :002:
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