I switched bikes for the trip back down the mountain, where the Shiver 900 proved to be the yin to the Dorsoduro’s yang. Different gearing and a more sedated engine tune — still the same amount of power, the peak of it just comes on later — made the Shiver a lot smoother when it came to rolling on the throttle. Match that with the deeper-stepped seat and rear-set footpegs, and you have a bike that encourages aggressive riding through stance alone but doesn’t punish you with an overly lively engine that needs every second of your attention. Ironically, the Shiver has the meatier, gravely bark, which gets fairly addictive quite quickly.

It could have been that I had been riding all day, but it seemed the ergonomics of the Shiver 900’s seat forced me forward over the handlebars, and its footpegs forced my feet up, cramping my knees — I had to do a spread-eagle a few times to cure it. Still, it’s an easier engine to live with, and with the larger fuel tank, better gas mileage and lower price tag, it’s clearly the more practical choice.

2018 Aprilia Shiver 900

Engine: 896cc V-Twin
Horsepower: 95.2
Torque: 66.3 lb-ft
Weight: 480.6 lbs
Tank Capacity: 4 gallons
Price: $9,399

I imagine if you combined the two — the calmer Shiver-tuned engine paired with the Dorso’s gearing and stance — you’d be severely underwhelmed. But flip that combination, with the immediacy and lively character of the Dorso endowed on a bike built like the Shiver, and you might as well start shopping for a full-fairing superbike. In their non-mashup, real-world guises, though, the bikes constitute a hard choice.

And therein lies the dilemma. This can’t be a toss-up because, yes, the Shiver and Dorsoduro are similar in size and looks and have identical power, but they really are two different bikes when you put them under a microscope. And when you own a bike, the details — the ones you love and the ones you hate — come to the fore. I’m a sucker for an engine with gobs of torque that lightens the front wheel without a second thought, so I’d have the Dorsoduro. Yes, it’s more expensive, has a smaller tank and gets worse mileage, but it makes the most of the wonderful new V-twin. Not to mention the comfort factor — my lanky-ass legs definitely appreciated the luxury of being able to move fore and aft on the seat. I know I’d be happy on either, but the between the two, the Dorsoduro is a better match for me.

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