The 600cc capacity limit was thrown out of the door many years ago when it comes to middleweights, so the fact the Shiver is now 896cc from its previous 749cc is no real surprise. However what is nice is the fact that Aprilia has been very careful to cap its power at 95hp, meaning it can be made A2-legal through a simple fuel map swap, which is good forethought. As well as its 11mm increase in stroke, the Shiver's V-twin features tweaked internals for better performance, while the ride-by-wire fuelling has been updated with new maps and injectors, new exhaust end cans (more on these later) and the introduction of three-stage traction control to go with its three variable fuel maps. The chassis gets new three-spoke wheels, the suspension has been upgraded, there are a couple of vents on the fairing and the Tuono's colour dash now takes pride of place. But essentially it's a Shiver 750 that has gained a bit of grunt and a restyle. In this context, it is hardly surprising the Shiver's arrival has been overlooked against its more exciting competition. But, hang on a minute, these small changes make a big difference...
To be honest the Shiver 750 was a bike that had slipped my mind. I remembered it being fairly aggressive and unpleasant to ride, but I couldn't place the last time I rode one and so I approached the 900 with an open mind. Quite quickly I was pleasantly surprised. The 900 is anything but aggressive, instead its V-twin has a lovely relaxed nature with a beautiful throttle connection and smooth engine feeling. There is constant torque right through the rev range and while it isn't the most powerful of lumps, it does respond really nicely with a lovely light clutch action. If I hadn't known it was an Aprilia, I would have guessed it was a big-bore SV650; that's how refined the Shiver felt. Which kind of goes against everything I expect from an Aprilia! And its handling has the same relaxed attitude.
While not super agile like the Street Triple due to its slightly porky 228kg wet weight (Triumph claims 166kg dry for the Street), the Shiver is really confidence inspiring in the bends. The traction control and ABS are both top draw and once I tipped it on its nose through a touch more spring pre-load, the Shiver responded well. The brakes are strong, which is a good thing, and aside from a very limited turning circle, it was all very pleasant. Not outstanding, but certainly good. And that's kind of the Shiver's issue.
Don't get me wrong, I liked the Shiver, but it didn't bowl me over. And in a class as competitive as the premium middleweights, that's an issue. The Shiver is a really solid naked bike that has a good V-twin motor, but it isn't amazing. Where the rival bikes excite with their performance when required and then return to being relaxed when you want to chill out, the Shiver only operates on one easygoing level. A change of gearing may help inject some spice (the Dorsoduro supermoto which isn't coming to the UK has a one tooth smaller front sprocket) but as it stands the Shiver is a bit too relaxed. There again, if you love the SV650 and wish it just had a bit more grunt and a modern electronics package, then you should try the Shiver.
And finally, what of that odd exhaust design? According to Aprilia, Shiver 750 owners complained that the exhaust gasses were being sucked back by the vacuum left behind the bike, making their jackets smell of fumes! The new design of end can diffuses the gases sideways to help stop this happening...
2017 APRILIA SHIVER 900
Engine: 896cc DOHC V-twin, liquid-cooled, 8v
Power (hp): 95@8,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 66.4@6,500rpm
Top speed: 130mph (est)
Weight: 228kg (wet)
MPG: 50mpg (est)