Aprilla Caponard 1200 Rally


Expedition Leader

Like many ExPo forum readers, I don't visit the Expedition Portal home page on a regular basis, and I'm the poorer for it. The ExPo staff are broadly experienced, and serviceable writers. Their articles provide even-handed looks at travel experiences and equipment that makes those experiences more successful and enjoyable.

An example is Christophe Noel's July 3 review of Aprilla's latest big-bore ADV machine, the Caponard 1200 Rally. Christophe likes this machine best among the current crop of two wheel long distance travelers.

Beyond the bike, Christophe's photos and writing take us along to the Sandhills, a unique ecoregion in central and western Nebraska. It's the largest area of the Great Plains that remains undisturbed by agriculture.

Thanks, Christophe!


Expedition Leader
Thanks for the heads up. I also so through stretches where I go straight to the forums and miss the interesting stuff on the home page.

Even better, the Caponord is a bike I am considering, so the timely and well-written review was very valuable.

Christophe Noel

Expedition Leader
Thanks fellas. The number of hours and teamwork that goes into the homepage editorials are significant, so I hope they continue to draw in more readers. It's a great place to pop in once in a while to catch up on some very interesting subjects.

The Capo Rally is a fine machine. On its own merits, it is a technological marvel and executed extremely well. I'm one of those people who finds a few peccadilloes with the BMW 1200, which to many is the yard stick by which all others are measured. The only area where the Capo Rally doesn't best the BMW is with off-road prowess, and only slightly. That gap is probably sufficient enough to keep the Capo off gnarly roads and trails the BMW has potential to vanquish, but for guys like me who just hate to push a big bike down hard terrain, that's no skin off my nose. I think anyone buying a BMW 1200 for its off-road chops has dropped the plot.

When evaluating bikes like these, I think it is imperative to put them in proper context per the designer's objectives. I wouldn't judge a supercharged Jaguar F-Pace by how well it conquers the Rubicon. Likewise, the Capo Rally needs to be evaluated on twisty pavement, wide open Interstate, and endless miles of maintained dirt and gravel. As a gravel crusher, it's pretty amazing. What that fancy ADD suspension can do to corrugations is pure magic.

My favorite attributes: (I could make this a very long list)
- comfort
- sporty performance of the engine and chassis
- superb execution of the design
- Fantastic luggage albeit the side cases are a touch on the small side
- Needs a center stand for my preference
- Top box is enormous, which could even put it in the list below

Minor quibbles or just limitations with the design:
- Cruise control funky to engage and adjust
- long wheelbase makes slow, walking pace technical riding tricky
- Geared a bit high for slow crawling maneuvers
- Instrument cluster takes some time to master as you toggle through the many readouts. Same for the throttle map and suspension settings.

In the coming issue of OJ, Scott Brady has a one-page review with his impressions. Overall, we both really enjoy it and our assessments come after logging several days and thousands of miles living off it.

Look for my full-length story of traveling the plains states in the next issue of Overland Journal. As a native son of the Great Plains, it was a real honor to get to return as a pie-eyed traveler. It's a wonderful part of the continent.
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