I started looking around and considered the following:
- Another KTM 950 Adventure (Quite expensive second hand)
- A Ducati Multistrada (More a road bike than anything)
- Suzuki DR 650 (Solid, cheap and reliable)
- Suzuki Vstrom (Both 650 and 1000cc)
- Kawasaki KLR 650 (Pretty much bullet proof, cheap and reliable
- Honda Transalp 650 (Boring!!)
- Cagiva Navigator (Hmmm it's a Cagiva, that could be an issue)
- BMW 1200 GS (These things are HUGE!!! and very expensive, even with high Kms. Also, not completely convinced about reliability)
- Aprilia Caponord (What on earth is this thing??)
So I started hitting the pavement to try before buying. There were some good deals around with the Japanese bikes. I rode a few and everytime felt just that bit let down. Most were boring and had cheap finishes.
The BMW was out of the question, I just couldn't find one for a reasonable price.
The Ducati was nice, but would need serious modification for it to be useful off road.
Then one day I saw an ad for an Aprilia Caponord. Hmm, this is different. My partner and I went the other side of town and took a blue 2002 Caponord for a test ride. First impressions were not brilliant, but mainly because I was so used the KTM. It had power, but everything seemed in the wrong place. It was comfortable enough, but a bit top heavy. In addition, we nearly got wiped out by an unattentive driver on the test ride.
My partner and I went home scratching our heads. Then, the more I thought about the Capo, the more it intrigued me. I checked out the AF1 forum (Aprilia Nutcases, but all great guys) and asked a few basic questions. Was it any good? Was it reliable, known faults etc etc.
As it turned out, the issues were typically Italian, but not major. Electrical issues were easily repairable, if at times frustrating. The Rotax motor however was known to be a gem.
With that knowledge, I purchased the Caponord and took her home. The Missus loved it, the Neighbours hated it, and I was beginning to appreciate an Italian bike again.