One of the most highly anticipated 2021 models is almost here. Next week, we get our first ride on the 2021 Aprilia RS 660. This week, we get a much more in-depth view of the lightweight twin from Noale. Let’s go over what we know.
- The 2021 Aprilia RS 660 is all about moderation. Rather than a triple or inline-4, the powerplant is a highly tuned parallel twin. The ergonomics split the difference between an upright sportbike and a supersport bike. The $11,299 MSPR of the RS 660 is $900 less than a Yamaha YZF-R6, and $3700 more than a Yamaha MT-07. One area that isn’t moderated is the electronics package—it is high-end. Aprilia is attempting to secure an underserved niche, with its closest conceptual competitor being the Ducati SuperSport.
- The parallel-twin motor is all-new and inspired by the front bank of Aprilia’s V4 powerplant. A pair of 48mm throttle bodies with different intake lengths feed the combustion chamber in a straight-line downdraft style. The compression ratio is a muscular 13.5:1. The staggered firing of the 270-degree crankshaft produces the feel and sound of a 90-degree V-twin. The motor’s dimensions are impressively compact, with the back of the cases doubling as the swingarm pivot point.
- Although it’s a short-stroke motor, the RS 660 motor has plenty of torque and does not require excessive rpm to produce power. Aprilia tells us that the engine produces a minimum of 80 percent of its maximum torque of nearly 50 ft-lbs from 4000 rpm to the 11,500 rpm redline. From 6250 rpm to the redline, at least 90 percent of the peak torque is on tap. That means the engine will pull hard from virtually any speed.
- Horsepower builds at a nearly linear rate from 3000 rpm to its peak at 10,500 rpm. There’s a bit of a bump from 7000 to 8000 rpm, so that’s where the hit will reside. We expect the RS 660 motor will appeal to the nascent sport rider, as well as an experienced pilot who knows what he wants, and how to get it. Power tails off for the last 1000 rpm, and everyone should have upshifted by then.
- Speaking of gear changes, the six-speed transmission comes standard with an up/down quickshifter. Further, the clutch is of the assist-and-slipper variety. If you’re a serious track guy, the shifting pattern can be easily reversed, though the software for that function is an accessory.
- The 2021 Aprilia RS 660 has five riding modes—three for the street, and two track-oriented. The riding modes aren’t just power modes. I addition to modifying the throttle response, the modes also adjust the traction control, wheelie control, engine braking, and cornering ABS—yes, the RS has a full-service electronics package. The street modes are Commute, Dynamics, and Individual (customizable). For the track, you have Challenge and Time Attack (customizable). A pit-speed limiter is available as an option.
- When it comes times to customize the electronics, here are the choices available:
- Traction control: 8 levels
- Power delivery: 3 levels
- Engine braking: 3 levels
- Cornering ABS: 3 levels
- Cruise control: Continuously variable
- Wheelie control: On/off
- The latest Magneti Marelli 11MP ECU directs the electronic traffic, with help from a six-axis IMU. The new ECU has 144 pins to interact with the motorcycle, up from 80 pins. The clock frequency and flash memory capacity quadruple those found in previous ECUs used by the Piaggio Group. This allows for such sophisticated features as cornering-aware headlights, high-visibility brake lighting during server deceleration, and a lighting system that reacts to ambient light, and cruise control. The Marelli ECU takes care of all this at the same time it monitors the motor and enforces the riding mode parameters.
- The TFT dash has the new optional Aprilia MIA software that interacts with an app on your smartphone. That allows you to keep track of phone calls and music, using either your voice or handlebar switches as your interface with the system. The Aprilia MIA app records data, routes, and provides navigation. The screen also has two display choices—Road and Track—and adjusts to ambient light. Plenty of handlebar buttons make it easier to navigate the menu.
- Aprilia designed the 2021 RS 660 chassis to be narrow and light. The engine is a stressed member, and the curb weight is 403 pounds with the four-gallon fuel tank filled. The twin-spar frame is considerably reduced in size from the concept bike shows at EICMA 2018.
- Compared to the RSV4, the chassis is over a half-inch narrower, with the footrests nearly three-quarters of an inch closer together. The design increases cornering clearance, and makes it easier for shorter-inseam riders to touch the ground while on the 32.3-inch high seat. Just as the grips are higher than on a supersport motorcycle, the footpeg position allows for more rider legroom.
- The 2021 Aprilia RS 660 has a two-layer fairing. In addition to keeping the air blast off the rider, it directs the engine heat away from the rider.
- The suspension is almost fully adjustable. The compression damping is fixed on the cantilevered, linkage-free shock. Otherwise, there are full damping and spring-preload adjustments at both ends.
- The wheelbase is ultra-compact at less than 54 inches. A less-aggressive 24.1 degrees of rake will add some stability to the lightweight chassis.
- Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II tires put the 100 horsepower to the pavement. These versatile tires are more than capable performers for the RS 660. If you want to upgrade for the track or maximum street performance at the expense of short tire lifespan, the wheel sizes allow for a nearly unrestricted choice of high-performance rubber.
- Braking should be outstanding. In addition to the cornering ABS, there are twin 320mm discs with radially mounting of the calipers and master cylinder. That’s topped off with steel-braided brake lines. For a motorcycle weighing less than 400 pounds after you run through the first gallon in the tank, that should be enough.
- Aprilia is offering a wide range of accessories for the RS. Saddlebags and a tank bag can turn the 660 into a sport-tourer. There’s a choice of two Akrapovič exhausts (one street, one track), as well as a single-seat tail cover. A remote-control electronic anti-theft system is also available.
- The 2021 Aprilia RS 660 comes in three colors. Apex Black and Lava Red are your choices at the base MSRP of $11,299. If you want the Acid Gold RS, you’ll be spending an additional $200.
2021 Aprilia RS 660 Specs
- Type: Parallel twin
- Displacement: 659cc
- Bore x stroke: 81 x 63.9mm
- Maximum power: 100 horsepower at 10,500 rpm
- Maximum torque: 49 ft-lbs @ 8500 rpm
- Compression ratio: 13.5:1
- Intake: EFI w/ two 48mm throttle bodies
- Valvetrain: DOHC, 4vpc
- Transmission: 6-speed with up/down quickshifter
- Clutch: Assist-and-slipper
- Final drive: Chain
- Frame: Twin-spar aluminum w/ aluminum subframe
- Front suspension; travel: Fully adjustable Kayaba inverted 41mm fork; 4.7 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Cantilevered, linkage-free, rebound-damping and spring-preload adjustable shock; 5.1 inches
- Wheel: Aluminum alloy
- Front wheel: 17 x 3.5
- Rear wheel: 17. X 5.5
- Tires: Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II
- Front tire: 120/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 180/55 x 17
- Front brakes: 320mm discs w/ 4-piston radially, mounted Brembo calipers, radially mounted master cylinder, and steel-braided line
- Rear brake: 220mm disc w/ twin-piston Brembo caliper w/ steel-braided line
- ABS: Cornering aware w/ 6-axis IMU
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 53.9 inches
- Rake: 24.1 degrees
- Trail: 4.1 inches
- Seat height: 32.3 inches
- Fuel capacity: 4.0 gallons
- Estimated fuel consumption: 48 mpg
- Curb weight: 403 pounds
- Colors: Apex Black; Lava Red; Acid Gold (+$200)
2021 Aprilia RS 660 Price: $11,299 MSRP
2021 Aprilia RS 660 Photo Gallery