The Aprilia RS 660 is one of the bikes of the year probably next to the BMW R18 due to expectations after seeing it at EICMA a couple of years ago. No one would have bet in the middle of the year in the middle of the Covid pandemic, that the Italian brand would market it at the end of the rare year. Well, it has done so and with it opens a real new stage as its new engine, a powerful in-line twin-cylinder with medium displacement, far from the large V-shaped ones that we are used to. We tested it on a rainy day and the RS 660 stands out surprisingly for two things its comfort without losing sight of its sporty cut that yes her potency and her delivery.
which makes her a rare bird for that reason creating almost a category for herself and its price only 11,350 euros far from the largest forks of its sports big twins.DesignThe RS 660 is very nice. Its tricolor version is inspired by the legendary RS 250 by Loris Reggiani from 1994 and the black one Apex Black smells like the best Biaggi it has two more options called Lava Red and Acid Gold. I get on the bike with the clear thought of the kilometers of rain present and as soon as I do I find a seat much more comfortable than expected it is wide for a sports car, 820 mm from the ground, and without being soft, it is nice to be sitting on the arch of the legs is quite narrow finding the backgauge exactly where I would have put it had I been in charge of designing it.
The next surprise comes when you turn it on and discover the pleasant, hoarse sound coming from the exhaust located at the bottom. It’s not V but it sounds great. The icing on the cake is the position of the feet that due to the position of the aforementioned exhaust and the possibility that this fact gives so as not to have to force the placement of the passenger footrests the position of the footrests is simply perfect for me. Also, there is a correction in the sporting posture that involves the slight elevation of the semi-handlebars. The evocation of the pastOn the road and already on the road even with wet ground, the RS 660 takes me back in some way to do you remember the F from the 90s? Well, something similar but of course a million light-years in technology.
The six-axis IMU, the precise semi-automatic shifting of the five driving modes three on the road and two if you hit the track with it the traction controls various levels cruise against the unwanted wheelies, brake engine also with various degrees and the different power maps be careful, in addition to the driving modes and ABS management. All these technical solutions together are difficult to find in the market for frames in that limit of 100CV of power and even some of its older RSV sisters. Of course, everything must be said, the pineapple from which all this technology is managed and which is perfectly visualized on the color TFT is oversized. It is frankly great.
The short time on the highway helped us to corroborate the good coverage of the windshield against the wind with only minimally adjusting the position of the body, the good functioning of the aerodynamic appendage integrated into the fairing and that makes the RS 660 ‘penetrate’ very well in the wind and to play minimally with the aforementioned command pineapple. As they reached the curves, the RS 660 seemed to purr like a jaguar. Waiting to be able to test it later, with a more and better time, it behaved perfectly in the curves, easily interlocking with each other both due to its tight wheelbase of only 1,370mm and the 183 kg of weight with all the liquids in it 15 liters of fuel.
The suspension is as expected for a 41mm inverted Kayaba that was neither hard nor soft for me during the time I was with it with the adjustments it had it is in extension, compression and spring preload with a travel of 120mm and the mono-shock spring is another point that I don’t like. But for its operation, which is good, but aesthetically deserves a little review. That red is out of tune in the whole of the RS 660. The braking is very good, progressive not radical, which starts with a soft touch but makes the Brembo radial-mount 4-piston front calipers bite the 320mm discs with intensity, just as the two-piston rear does the same with the 220mm mounting back. ABS is also multi-map designed for curves.
The RS 660 has an intense look. The triple LED headlight assembly is equipped with DRL lights around the headlight and features a twilight sensor that allows the low beams to turn on automatically when the time comes. Furthermore, for added safety, a pair of additional headlights on the parabolas illuminate the inside of the curve. This last solution is more and more the order of the day and is a huge advance when night falls when the curves seem to close more and more when arriving at them. The new motor is not easy to talk about an engine without getting lost in a tangle of technical terms and data, but this new Aprilia engine is well worth a short break as it is a true turning point for the brand as it is the foretaste of a new family.
The next to ride will be the future Tuono. It is a 659cc parallel-twin that is forward-facing and derived from the front block of the RSV4 V4 and, therefore, with a well-proven technical base: cylinder head, combustion chambers, pipes, cylinders, and pistons derive directly from this V4. So much so that its diameter is also 81 mm, what changes are the stroke, which is 63.9 mm. All engine components, including castings and molds, have been designed and developed from the ground up. The figures that the new propeller throws are a record for a front two-cylinder engine with this displacement: 100 hp at 10,500 pm, with an extended capacity that allowed the limiter to be moved to the threshold of 11,500 rpm. The maximum torque of 67 Nm is offered at 8,500 pm, with 80% of the torque available from 4,000 rpm, converting to 90% when it reaches 6,250 rpm. The Aprilia RS 660 is also available in the 95hp version which can be limited if the rider is a novice.
According to Aprilia, in addition to performance and lightness, another objective of the project was to obtain from the engine the character and toughness typical of V-cylinders. To achieve this, the engineers chose synchronization with connecting rod pins arranged at 270 °. The combustions are thus asymmetrical and compensated by 270 ° to obtain irregular bursts and therefore performance and sound similar to a V-twin. Along with this option.
The injection system includes a pair of throttle bodies with a diameter of 48 mm, with intake ducts of different lengths to optimize delivery at high and medium speeds. And all this guaranteed by electronics directly borrowed from the big Aprilia V4s which includes the electronic multi-map Ride-by-Wire throttle. Lastly, the engine serves as a structural part of the bike. The aluminum asymmetric swingarm is attached to it and together with a double-beam chassis also made of aluminum without a pivot area as the engine is self-supporting it gives rigidity to the assembly.