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RideFast Dec 2019

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REAL N E W A P R I L I A

REAL N E W A P R I L I A R S 6 6 0 DEAL A year ago, Aprilia brought a concept to EICMA – a neat looking 660cc sportsbike built around half an RSV4 motor, with some weird active aerodynamics. Concept bikes usually get most of their fun bits filed down to nothing on the sad, sensible road to production, but the new RS 660, unveiled at this year’s EICMA show, is a rare beast indeed – a concept that has made it through the production process virtually unscathed. Sure, it’s got mirrors and a number plate hanger, slightly higher clip-on handlebars and a big, chunky, Euro-compliant exhaust. Fine, the weird active aerodynamics are gone. And yes, its red/white/blue/black colour scheme looks pretty terrible next to the cleaner, carbon-centric concept. But this is basically exactly the bike we were promised; the overall look is almost identical. And what a bike it’ll be for the road: a featherweight 169 kg dry weight will make the RS 660 super approachable and a joy to fling around in the corners – it reminds us a little of Yamaha’s wacky SZR660 of the 1990s. The Yamaha was a bit lighter still, and despite the fact that its Ténéré-sourced single cylinder motor was hugely underpowered at about 40 horses, it was still jolly fun to ride because it was so easy to manhandle. The new Aprilia 660 will be similarly manhandlable, but it won’t be even a little bit underpowered. It flatly crushes the rest of the middleweight parallel twin market by pumping out 100 horses – unless you count the larger KTM Duke 790, which makes 105. Combine that with the lightweight chassis and you’ve got a genuine road weapon on your hands that will likely take a lot of scalps on a racetrack as well. This thing is gonna rip. What’s more, the RS 660 will get all the electronic goodies too: a ride-by-wire throttle (pretty much mandatory for high-performance bikes wishing to comply with Euro emissions standards), a six-axis IMU, and the full suite of APRC riding aids: lean angle-sensitive traction control, wheelie control, cornering ABS, five riding modes, you name it. Price and availability? We don’t know yet. Looking at the spec sheet and the brand name, you can expect this to be a pricey bike, particularly for a middleweight, and even more so for a parallel twin. But it’ll be a joy to ride; a reasonably comfy looking, sharp-handling sportsbike with a throttle you can genuinely whack wide open on the regular. Spankability will be off the charts. The sexy ali swingarm and underslung, hidden exhaust looks great. The RS 660’s full color dash gives access to the APRC electronic rider aids suite. Weird, but cool looking double side fairings “optimise stability at high speeds, protecting both rider and passenger from the air pressure”. 50 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2019 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2019 51