By Michael Gougis
Aprilia has raised the stakes in the middleweight twin-cylinder category, going all in with the introduction of its powerful, sophisticated RS 660 for the North American market and coming in well under the expected suggested retail price–although it still costs $11,299.
“This represents a new era for Aprilia,” said Miguel Galluzzi, Chief Motorcycle Designer, Piaggio Group. “We live in a different world. It is not the RSV4 world any more.”
The new RS 660 is a Parallel Twin, four-stroke sportbike that pumps out a claimed 100 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 49.4 lbs.-ft. of torque at 8,500 rpm. The bike, which does not come with the active aerodynamic devices seen on the prototype, weighs in at a claimed 403.7 pounds fully fueled, according to Piero Soatti, Aprilia RS 660 Chief Vehicle Engineer, Piaggio Group.
What it does come with is a suite of features that is simply not found anywhere else in the class of 650cc Twins. The RS 660 comes with an Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) electronics suite that includes eight levels of traction control, three power modes, three levels of engine braking, anti-lock brakes with three modes, and wheelie control.
A new Marelli ECU coordinates with a six-axis IMU to incorporate more data into the vehicle’s operations. A quickshifter works on both upshifts and downshifts, and the shift pattern can be configured for standard or GP shifting.
The engine displaces 659cc. Bore and stroke is 81mm x 63.93mm, with the RS 660 sharing the same bore as the firm’s RSV4 1100. The compression ratio is 13.5:1, and twin ram air-intakes feed 48mm throttle bodies.
The RS 660 is designed to be easy to ride on a daily basis. The machine comes standard with an assisted slipper clutch, and the riding position is midway between that of a Kawasaki Ninja 650R and a Yamaha YZF-R6. The handlebars are above the upper triple clamp, and the pegs are tucked in tight, allowing them to be lower while still providing adequate cornering clearance for sporting use. The aerodynamics are designed to provide adequate protection and to remove heat from the engine bay and direct it away from the rider. The seat is narrow at the front, allowing shorter riders to comfortably touch the ground.
In broad strokes, the machine follows modern sportbike conventions. The twin-spar aluminum-alloy chassis features 41mm inverted forks at the front, and a single shock at the rear controls the movement of the asymmetric aluminum swingarm. Braking power comes from a pair of 320mm discs in the front, with four-piston Brembo radial-mount calipers, and a 220mm rotor with a twin-piston Brembo caliper in the rear.
The machine will come in Lava Red, Acid Gold, and Apex Black color schemes with suggested retail starting at $11,299. The RS 660 is available for pre-order now, and units are expected to be in the showrooms by the end of this year or early in 2021.