Back in 2018, Aprilia teased us with a concept that would bridge the gap between the brand’s class-leading small-capacity sports bikes and their range-topping heavyweights. It was called the Aprilia RS 660, and it promised to be a sharp middleweight sports machine with the nimble handling of the RS 250 but with higher power output, and technology more commonly found on the Aprilia RSV4 or Tuono.
2019’s EICMA show saw Aprilia pull the covers off of an almost-production-ready RS 660. The mid-sized rocket was an immediate smash hit. So when Aprilia announced their plans to launch the bike in early 2020, everyone paid attention. The date was May 9th during the Aprilia All Stars event at the Mugello Circuit, but that wasn’t meant to be.
Pandemic Production Delays
Unfortunately, 2020 hasn’t quite gone to plan. COVID-19 has stopped play, and all bets are off. Italy has suffered a great deal over the past few months. Even so, it looks like Aprilia is working hard to get the RS 660 ready for an official launch sometime in the near future. New spy shots have shown a disguised test mule roaming the streets. It looks very much like a final production model, albeit without a fancy livery.
Aprilia RS 660: What To Expect
Aside from stunning Italian good-looks and Aprilia’s thoroughbred racing DNA, the new RS 660 features impressive engineering and top-level technology. Here are a few features that really caught our eye.
The first is the all-new frame composition. The RS 660 uses an aluminum frame with the engine as a stressed member. The frame also sports a featherweight swingarm, and together they work to create dramatic weight savings. All in, including the engine, the whole chassis weighs a mere 372 lbs dry. Thanks to clever weight distribution, the RS 660 promises to deliver exceptional handling that should feel similar to its smaller siblings.
Suspension & Brakes
The new lightweight frame rides with top-notch suspension from Kayaba, with 41 mm forks at the front, and an adjustable shock at the rear. Following the RSV4’s lead, the RS 660 wears Brembo brakes, featuring a pair of 320 mm rotors partnered with radially mounted calipers for improved stopping power. Naturally, ABS comes as standard, along with Aprilia’s own Engine Brake system, and advanced traction control suite.
Big Power, Little Package
Speaking of the engine, it’s the RS 660’s parallel-twin engine that has created the most buzz. It’s a small and compact unit that produces huge power. It sports a tilted-forward design with an RSV4-derived 270-degree crankshaft. The result it a lightweight, space-saving unit that can produce 100 horsepower.
More Motorcycle Tech
To make the most of that power, Aprilia hasn’t spared any expense in the onboard tech department. This potential track-day weapon comes equipped with Aprilia Quick Shift transmission, wheelie control, cruise control, five distinct road riding modes, as well as two very special track modes. If that wasn’t enough, the RS 660 will also feature smart TFT digital instrumentation, complete with Aprilia MIA infotainment.
Aprilia RS 660 Design
In terms of design, Aprilia’s design chiefs have pulled out all the stops. The stance is aggressive, the fairings are sharp, and it takes a lot of style cues from the flagship RSV4. Integrated aerodynamics and angular indentations streamline the package, but without compromising the RS 660’s dangerous and exciting aesthetic.
But there seems to be something different between the model shown at EICMA and the recently spied test mule.
Last Minute Design Changes For The RS 660?
The original had a sharp tailpiece that clearly defined the RS 660 as a sports-focused track dominator. The test mule, however, features a pillion pad and rear footpegs for a passenger. It might be that the Aprilia will be available in two trims, with passenger accessories as an option. Or it might be that the original EICMA model didn’t have any pillion accouterments to make it look a little sexier. Compare the test mule photo from above with the show bike image below.
Either way, we’ll have to wait and see.
For now, we know that the Aprilia RS 660 will be available in two liveries. The traditional black and red and the classic GP-inspired black, red, and purple. No word on price, and details about whether it will be available in the U.S. either. As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, the official release could be set back until the end of the year. We may have to wait until Germany’s INTERMOT or Italy’s EICMA to see a formal launch.