Once upon a time a young lad had a motorcycle. It was a fine motorcycle and went quickly and surely from A to B and sometimes via a very twisty C with nary a complaint and in good comfort. The young lad was very proud of his fine and reliable motorcycle. Rightly so, it must be added! It was a VFR800 and served the young lad as commuter, weekend weapon and track day missile. It is a fine, fine motorcycle. The young lad doted on this fine motorcycle and threw many bling bling parts at it to prolong the joy - A lovely Remus end can, new braided brake lines and wave disks to name a few! Eventually though the young lad was beginning to lose the special feeling he had for the fine motorcycle and was often finding that his eyes did wander over more exotic and sexy machinery. One day the young lad's lovely and beautiful girlfriend did mention that she rather liked the young ladâ€™s fine motorcycle for herself and that the young lad may want to think about visiting the welcoming motorcycle stores for a new bike for himself. About 0.0000001 seconds later the young lad found himself in said welcoming storesâ€¦And so did begin the search for the next Big Thing. Right about now, the world explodedâ€¦ Itâ€™s not often Iâ€™ve ridden a bike and was able to match the WOW factor with that special ingredient I like to call my personal fit. Itâ€™s not about whether or not I can stand flat-footed while on the bike. I cant. Itâ€™s not about practical considerations like fuel economy or tank range, both are pretty average let me tell you! Itâ€™s altogether more about a visceral gut feel where I vibrate on the same level as the bike. Itâ€™s very Zen. I own the 2003 Aprilia Tuono. It is the Man Bike. I bought it second hand but like all good love stories this one begins when we met and Iâ€™m not interested in her previous partners. If you want the stats go Google, all the basics are there. The Mille engine tuned forâ€¦whatever the Mille was tuned for, itâ€™s the same engine with few changes. The decent HP figures â€“ around 120 and whatever the factory chip and can adds to that. The kind of torque that feels like it could twist a red gum until it snapped. The fully adjustable suspension, perhaps a tad harsh until you work out how the adjusters work, after that itâ€™s a pretty comfy ride. The Brembo brakes which make stoppies a little too easy. All that information is there if you want to read it and put into a better article than what you see here. Iâ€™m talking love here people. The truth is this bike is far better than you or me or Mr Black Spur 2007. Itâ€™s a Hooligan bike with a performance heart and it doesnâ€™t make pretensions about being anything else. The wide gold bars put you into an upright position that have you facing whatever is around the next bend full on. You can lean into the windblast â€“ bulldog fashion â€“ and take a bloody great bite out of the road and tear through knowing the Man Bike is taking you there and not leaving you stranded in the ditch. This bike really handles. Straight lines are best measured in decibels. I play with the throttle rolling on and off just to see what new bass note I can find and howl to. The side effect of this is a front wheel that in the lower gears only takes a passing interest in the tarmac. The rest of the time it is sniffing the horizon for another straight to charge into or corner to drop down and chew. Everything feels a notch above my Japanese experience, displaying typical Italian flair. The engine is made by Rotax, and feels every inch the European thoroughbred. It is free spinning and smooth and the gearbox precise and positive. It doesnâ€™t just go into gear it â€˜snicksâ€™ and youâ€™re away. Being a 1000cc V-twin there is no lack of thick chocolate power but it is neither harsh nor unusable. Everything is there on offer and all you have to do is sayâ€¦yes. The next thing you will realise is that youâ€™ve dangled your license over the abyss and still have 2 or 3 gears to go. Going into a cornerâ€¦well where do I start? Surefooted, responsive, light and eager. I wish the same could be said of me! You can find yourself going into a tight blind corner and suffer as Survival Reaction as my old mate Keithy calls it and rather than run you off the road it will hold a line and usher you through like a loving friend who understands you can be an idiot but still need to get through. Get a corner right â€“ Then you discover a new plain of riding experience. Iâ€™m afraid I never really understood what was meant by a bike â€œflowingâ€ through a tight corner until I started riding a Tuono. I never understood what monoing out of a corner was all about either come to mention it. Now I do. The suspension is really quality gear but donâ€™t expect the comfort of a tourer or a bike designed to cover all bases. These legs are made for track running so the cross country tracks we get on some roads can make her slap you in indignation. Iâ€™ve not once felt it cause me to run wide or bounce me around but you do have to take notice of the tackle-to-tank distances pretty carefully sometimes. Iâ€™ve not yet taken her to a track but Iâ€™m sure I would only prove what I already know, I can go quickly, and the bike can go faster. Still, I will find out eventually and take the time to narrow the gap between her and me. This bike gives an amazing amount of confidence to the rider and rewards you for trying. Everything has limits but I will have to develop mine further before I can honestly begin to find the Tuonoâ€™s. This is the Man Bike.