Capo memorabilia

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid dealer brochureMany years ago I asked someone who owned a Rally-Raid dealer brochure for a scanned copy. That scan is still available in the ‘downloads’ section of this website to this day. Today however, after all these years, I finally OWN that exact brochure! Luckily I happened to have a quick look on Ebay last week and there it was, the same brochure up for sale. Thankfully I was the only bidder.

It arrived yesterday in excellent condition and what a delight it was to finally hold the genuine article in my hand. Given the short production run of the Raid, it makes me wonder how many of these brochures still exist. Any left in the dealers probably went to landfill and those that made it home probably went the same way over time. The odd one may be hiding in a stack of magazines or hidden at the back of a dusty cupboard no doubt, but it won’t be many.

Now I have an original, I realise that the scanned copy isn’t quite telling the whole story …… some pages are missing and unlike the standard Capo brochure, it has several fold-out pages as well. Hopefully I can update the scanned copy in a week or two.

In the end I’m just really excited to add this to the growing list of Capo related items I have squirrelled away, somehow though this one item adds the finishing touch to owning a Rally-Raid. It only took 11 years to get it!

Fix or Photoshop?

I like to keep any eye out for any Rally-Raid sales in the UK or Italy and this one caught my eye, unfortunately for the wrong reason! Spot the bodge tape covering the EFI light ….. one way to fix a problem I guess! 🙄


Review – Motrag Garmin 590LM GPS mount

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with base & micro mount for Garmin GPSFor the past six months the eight year old Garmin 2820 has steadily slid its digital cheese off its cracker, forgetting the date and time and generally making a meal of locating satellites. Add to that an annoying habit of swapping screens at random and it’s easy to see why it’s not my best-buddy it once was! Nope …. time for a change.

Which ties in very nicely with Manuel at loaning me a Capo-specific mount for the Garmin 590LM to try out. Unlike the Mad-Maxesque contraptions that Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with base & micro mount for Garmin GPSTouratech supply, the Motrag unit is clean and simple …. and pretty uncomplicated. The mount consists of two parts, the ‘Base Mount‘ that bolts to the handlebar clamp (all bolts and spacers supplied) and the ‘Micro Mount’ of choice based on the GPS unit to be fitted. This is attached to the Base Mount via four rubber anti-vibration mounts, again with stainless steel screws supplied.

The 590LM comes with its own bracket for powering the unit and locking it in place, this simply bolts to the Micro Mount which provides the extra support for use in rougher terrain. When the GPS is tucked away in a bag and the ‘Zumo’ cover fitted, the mount is much less in-your-face unlike the Touratech one ……. plus a lot less angular, aggressive and sharp-edged, which is no bad thing.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with base & micro mount for Garmin GPSFirst impressions are excellent, it holds the GPS perfectly and vibration is virtually none existent, the whole thing is unobtrusive and the powder coating looks like it’ll outlive the Capo. The laser cut ‘Rally-Raid’ is a nice touch and just so no-one feels left out – the mount is available with ‘Caponord’ as well! As always, where possible Manuel supplies stainless steel fasteners that match the look of the OEM Aprilia fasteners – a nice touch. Currently Motrag have Micro Mounts for the Garmin 340/350/390 and 590LM with one in development for the TomTom Rider. Base Mounts are also available for the Multistrada (2012-14) and Hypermotard (2014 on). The cost is €38.95 for the Base Mount and €63.95 for the Micro Mount. The Micro mount in supplied with a plate and clamp so it can also be fitted to a cross-bar or a Ram Mount, in which case you don’t need to buy the Base Mount.GPS-bar-clampAt the time of writing, I’ve done about 450 miles with the mount fitted, some on VERY poor mountain roads and everything is fine. The dashboard is still clearly visible (rider 182cm / 5ft 11inch) and the mount angle goes a long way to limiting screen-glare. I look forward to reviewing the mount along with the Motrag fog-lamp brackets in six months time when the Capo has a good few more miles and a winter under its belt.

Front fork service …… better late than never!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid fork cap ....... and yes, I've used this picture before!The dodgy wrist and Dog awful weather here in Italy at the moment have both contrived to keep the Capo tucked up in the barn, a hairs breadth from the magic 100,000Km. So while the rain poured its heart out, I decided to have a look through the Excel spreadsheet of service/repairs/upgrades for the Capo ……… and realised that the front Motul fork oilforks hadn’t had an oil change for over two years!

Well I must admit to being pleasantly surprised. The oil that came out was pretty clear and a flush with a dash of 5w oil soon removed the small amount of sludgy dregs from the bottom of the legs. A refill with blended Motul 8.5w oil and a reduced air-gap of 115mm (Std 130mm) works well, so I see no reason to fiddle with settings that suit my riding style. Overall the job took about an hour a leg taking it slowly, sipping tea and watching the clouds drift down the valley!

At this point, a gentle reminder for RR owners. Please remember that the Rally-Raid supplement is WRONG regarding oil volume! The forks take approx. 580cc each for the standard 130mm±2mm air-gap – NOT 680cc as specified ….. Unless you want a mess on the garage floor when it pours over the top of the tube!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Marzocchi front fork spacersAnd another point that it may well be worth mentioning ….. the fork recall that Aprilia issued in 2004 – has yours been done and what exactly IS done? As far as I can gather, it was simply a new spacer below the spring as the original was the wrong size and could, under harsh riding conditions, collapse and lock the forks solid. Not my idea of a bucket load of giggles that’s for sure. Aprilia say that mine was done in 2006 (thanks Tom at Moto Forza Italia – Silverstone, UK for helping) and Marzocchi say that the current Aprilia part number AP8163475 IS the upgraded part.

The spacer in mine looks fine although definitely showing signs of compression where it sits on top of the cartridge. This time I’ve flipped them over to even out the wear, maybe next time I’ll look into adding aluminium caps to the spacers to spread the load more evenly.

Anyway, that’s all done and dusted for now …… next stop, some new brake pads I think. The fronts look like the remaining material has about the same thickness of a well sucked After Eight mint! 😳

Service time over

Empty tank makes for light work!Service time is over for another 6,000miles. I decided a couple of years ago to extend it from the original 4,650 miles due in part to the well documented stability of the valve clearances and because I’m using the long oil filter and a decent branded oil. Whether I’m being realistic or foolhardy for extending the interval only time will tell.  😕

Valve clearances were all in spec but on the tight-side, so no need just yet to use the new Hotcams shim kit, but next time I’ll change all the shims by ±0.025mm to shift the 0.13mm ...... getting close to the limitgap back into its mid-range. That should see the valves good-to-go for at least another 50k miles. Everything else was absolutely fine, with just a slight tweak of the CO to lean out the idle.

The rest of the bike was given a thorough check over and happily all bearings and seals are fine, a squirt of grease in the rear suspension linkage keeping that nice and smooth. The drive chain and sprockets were cleaned and checked and after 33,333 miles (yes, that’s a genuine number!) they’re still good ….. This is the highest mileage I’ve EVER had from a drive chain. DID ZVM2 chain rocks!

Time for new tyres ….. TKC80 or Karoo 3?

Metzeler Karoo 3With the michelin Anakee 2’s now nearing the end of their lives, it’s time to think about the winter boots the Capo will need to wear. True, the trusted Continental TKC80’s are reliable and on hand, but I fancy trying something different for a change. That’s when I saw the new Metzeler Karoo 3.

Like the TKC’s they are most definitely off-road biased but (so say Metzeler) with superb on-road ability, long life and low noise/vibration. So with extensive experience of the TKC’s on which to make a comparison, they will need to do the following at least:-

  • 5k miles rear / 7.5k miles front
  • Excellent wet & dry grip on road
  • Low noise & vibration for over 80% of their life, especially the front
  • Good self clearing in soft mud

If they can achieve that and more then I’ll be one happy bunny, especially as they’re retailing at approximately 20% (rear) and 14% (front) cheaper than the TKC80, which lets face it, has never been a cheap tyre anyway.

I think I’ll run the Anakee 2’s a while longer as they still have sufficient life, although the front is now noticeably more ‘twitchy’, especially at low speed. No doubt due to the cupping on the blocks. Meanwhile I’ll search for the best deal on the Karoo 3 and post a pic or two when they arrive.

Happy Birthday to you ………

What is it they say about best laid plans? I wrote this piece on the 3rd September ready to post it on the 5th. Unfortunately, a complete loss of phone and internet in our area for three days screwed this plan up nicely. Anyway better late than never I guess …. here it is.

Click to open 'Certificate of Origin'The ‘Certificate of Origin’ for my Rally-Raid says that it was manufactured in 2002. This is quite odd as every removable plastic part with a date on it has a moulded stamp dated sometime in early 2003. So when are our bikes actually ‘manufactured’? Is it the date the frame was made and given a chassis number or when a completed bike roles off the production line? My guess is the former.

I suppose I’ll never really know the answer, so I decided to give it a birthday like the Queen, you know, the ceremonial one rather than the official one. As the date of first registration is known and on the V5 (Registration Document), I thought this was the most appropriate date to use.

So that makes today, the 5th of September 2013 the 10th Birthday of my Rally-Raid!

Exactly how do you give a 250Kg motorbike the bumps! At least it’s a fine excuse for jelly, ice cream and lashings and lashings of beer! And afterwards ……. presents!!!!!! 😀

Happy 5th Anniversary!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - 5th Birthday!Today, the Capo and I have been together longer than any other bike I’ve owned. On a chilly but bright afternoon five years ago to the day, the Capo pulled up outside the house in Oxford and so began our unbreakable relationship.

Honda BlackbirdIn October 2007 I’d ridden my Honda Blackbird over to Italy and whilst I enjoyed running around the mountains, it was increasingly obvious that it was a proverbial fish out of water in this terrain. I needed something like my old BMW R1150GS Adventure again …… and funds most definitely were NOT available for that kind of purchase!

No, the B-Bird had to go and whatever I bought would have to come out of that money. So I racked my feeble brain to try and come up with a viable alternative. It ended up between the Triumph Tiger 955i and the Aprilia Caponord ETV1000. I remembered seeing a Caponord when Motorcycle City collapsed and were rapidly flogging off stock at their Reading branch. One solitary silver Caponord had sat among a sea of discarded cardboard boxes and brochures as the place was stripped. I remember spending some time looking around it, wondering if I could get the £5K asking price together before the doors finally closed in a few hours time. It never happened of course, but the Caponord left a good impression …. I liked it. So I started searching, second-hand prices certainly seemed favourable and throughout the winter of 2007/08 I kept looking.

Meanwhile, I’d come across a post on an obscure motorcycle forum where someone mentioned that they had a ‘Rally-Raid’ version for sale. The thread was several months old and no responses had been posted – I’d give it a go I decided. So I registered and sent the guy a message and waited ………

Photographs emailed to me by the seller in January 2008

A few days later a reply email arrived. The long and the short of it was that yes, the bike was still for sale. currently it resided in Lyon (South France), was UK registered and had covered less than 1,800 miles and no extras or accessories had been added since it was purchased in Lincoln. Only the front fork recall had been done at the 600 miles shake-down service, then it was shipped out of the UK.

1st day in Italy - 2008
Arriving home in Italy – February 2008

Photographs were sent (above) and a deal was struck. I’d ride the B-Bird back to the UK and the Caponord would be delivered about a week later. In the end, everything went like clockwork. On the 20th February 2008, a Wednesday afternoon, the deal was done. The next morning the Insurance, MOT and road tax were sorted and 12 hours later we were winging our way back to Italy through a nippy (-12c) Switzerland.

And so it’s now 5 years on. One sidestand switch, one Sagem coil, a set of front wheel bearings and 65K more on the clock since the journey started. A few shiny trinkets and several practical upgrades make sure it stays as reliable and enjoyable now as it has always been. But has it been worthwhile?

Some photos 2008 – 2013

As the dog on the telly says – oh yes! Overall the Caponord has been as reliable, if not more-so than most other bikes I’ve owned. It’s a wonderfully agile mountain goat on the twisty  Gran Sasso mountain play ground and a supremely comfortable and quick workhorse on the 24hr mad-dash pan-European jaunts back home. Certain things are starting to show their age, handle bar grip rubbers and saddles that will need  recovering within the year – but the overall finish is still good and the stainless fasteners and alloy frame still twinkle in the sun.

On the 5th September the Capo will have its 10th birthday ( of registration) to celebrate and maybe a surprise or two as well! 😉

Ciao fer now – KarlB

DVLA data

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - DVLA register of taxed/SORN bikesWell here it is …. the third quarter data for 2012. Including mine (August 2012), the UK has a total of 13 registered Caponord Rally-Raids – that’s a loss of three in the last year. Will 2013 see us drop into single figures? For those not familiar with UK registration, SORN means “Statutory Off-Road Notice” ….. in other words the owner has declared the bike will not be used on the highway, so probably garaged, untaxed and stored for winter. Hence the seasonal fluctuation you see on the graph.

So how about the standard Caponord? Well, 293 are registered altogether, 5 more than the end of 2011 …… ‘new’ old-stock or imports? I wonder.

If you want to see how many of your favorite car or bike are still registered in the UK then pop over to:

Wot’s that switch then eh?

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid - 'Service Mode' switchA couple of keen-eyed readers have asked about the switch behind the riders saddle. Well, no mystery really ……. I got fed up with removing the saddles then rummaging around next to the battery to find both halves of the service connector – bloody inconvenient is what it is.

So I dropped a small waterproof switch into the bodywork behind the saddle. Now I just remove the rear saddle, flick the switch and I can reset the ‘service’ indicator and check out any error codes quickly and easily, no fuss, no scuffed knuckles.