Aprilia is planning to reinvigorate the middleweight sportsbike class with a new 660cc parallel twin, called the RS660.
Unveiled at this week’s EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, and set to make its UK debut at Motorcycle Live later this month, the RS660 is a unique proposition in the market place, being less powerful but lighter than the other, four-cylinder, sportsbikes on the market.
The 650-700cc class is full of sporty twins, like the Kawasaki Ninja 650, Suzuki SV650 and Yamaha MT-07, but while those machines are essentially commuter bikes the RS660 is a higher end proposition that takes its technology from Aprilia’s RSV4 superbike. Only Norton’s exclusive Superlight takes a similar direction, albeit as a more limited (and most likely expensive) alternative. Aprilia has quite some form with light sportsbikes, not least with the iconic RS250 two-stroke of the 1990s.
The parallel twin motor is, in many ways, half an RSV1100 V4 motor. It makes a claimed 100bhp and features Aprilia’s APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) electronics package, with a six-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) allowing a sophisticated suite of rider aids including cornering ABS, traction control, wheelie control, five riding modes, quickshifter and an adjustable engine brake. There’s also cruise control, for when you want to do a bit of touring.
The chassis is equally high end, with 41mm Kayaba forks and radially mounted Brembo brakes, and the whole thing weighs in at just 169bhp. No prices have been announced yet, but if it can get into the showrooms with a competitive number on the windscreen, it might be one of the success stories of 2020.
As well as the RS660, Aprilia announced that it will also make an unfaired version in line with the other models in their range. The Italian company is showcasing a concept of the ‘Tuono’ version at this week’s Milan show, with a promise that it will make it into production in both a full power and A2 licence version.
As well as the new 660s, the Piaggio owned Aprilia brand has also announced that the RSV4 1100 Factory and the naked Tuono V4 1100 Factory will have a number of updates for 2020, most notably Ohlins semi-active electronic suspension.
Aprilia also used the show to announce a new race bike designed as an introduction for riders as young as 11-years-old. Called the Aprilia RS250SP, the bike will be used for a series in the Italian championship next season. Aprilia say that the bike will retail at under 10,000 Euros, although whether it will evolve into a street model or be used in UK racing remains to be seen.