Everyone remembers their first bike, don’t they? You know, that feeling of invincibility as a nipper when you finally get that first set of wheels, and ultimately, the keys to freedom… or more than likely the nearest garage if, like most, it fancied braking down a lot. The thing is, no matter how unreliable, slow or even damn right disgusting anyone’s first bike was, it always seemed to imprint a place in our hearts; whether you grew up in the age of two dingers, or are just reading this having splashed some cash on a new 125cc. Because the funny thing is, from the outside and as far as looks go, learners and newbies have never had it so good in terms of choice. Okay, I know that’s not quite true in reality when we’re talking about performance, but think about it. Everything from Aprilia Tuonos and Yamaha MTs, to RSV4s and R1s are now available in not only big-boy 1000cc+ sizes, but also, in the entry level sector, from 125cc and above. But the question is, are these miniature replicas really the same sort of deal, and are they man enough to earn the same name as the big daddies in the same range?
Hear me out. If you’ve ever ridden a Tuono V4 or something along those lines, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, it’s essentially a full-blooded RSV4 with a few minor alterations to make it a naked of the most super variety, jam-packed with an incredible electronics package; arm-ripping power and torque figures; and a superbike esque handling package that will more than happily show most sports bikes a clean set of heals on the roads. It comes equipped with top-of-the-range tech and is draped in more bling than a rapper from the 90s, yet it’s very little sibling, the Tuono 125, has absolutely none of that… literally zilch. In fact, the little 125cc doesn’t even have ABS on the rear (which isn’t a bad thing in our books). So the question is, do these little learner-legal rippers deserve to hold the same name, and besides the gulf of difference in price tags and power figures, how much different really are they? Well, I grabbed a Tuono 125 and a Tuono V4 1100 Factory from Aprilia, mapped out some roads and went playing for the day to find out…
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2020 Ducati Panigale V4S Refined Rocket
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Barry's Dayton Albatross Continental Twin
In my younger days, as well as motorcycles, I had a Vespa 90 and a Vespa 90SS, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I returned to scootering (after having several classic cars) with a 1965 Vespa VBB, but I had always hankered after a Dayton Albatross since I was about 12 or 13. Last year I decided to finally fulfil that dream…