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Aprilia Concept RS 660 Points to New Direction for Italian Brand

Aprilia Chassis Architecture, Quality Bar-Setter 

Aprilia’s know-how in packaging super fine chassis architectures is recognized the world over. In observance of this tradition, the Concept RS 660 Concept provides a magnificent structure made up of an aluminum frame and swingarm.

In the concept, the frame exploits the engine as a stressed element, contributing to form a compact and stiff structure. The right arm of the swingarm has a curved shape in order to all the exhaust terminal to pass. The particular mounting of the shock absorber allows outstanding progression to be obtained without using linkage, thereby cutting down on weight and making it a cleaner package overall.

The New Parallel Twin-Cylinder for a New Generation of Bikes

RS 660 was born around the concept of a new engine that Aprilia engineers are already working on, a 660-cc parallel twin-cylinder, a very compact new generation unit derived from the 1100 cc V4 that powers the Tuono V4 and RSV4 1100 Factory. This configuration was chosen for its compact nature and efficiency, the extremely low level of heat transmitted to the rider and for the freedom that it leaves the designers to create a sleek and lightweight frame and suspension.

The RS 660 project is the development base for a wider range that intends to make Aprilia a key player in an extremely strategic market segment in Europe, but also in Asia and the American market.

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  1. Auphliam says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but that looks like a beautiful piece of kit right there. Wow.

  2. GreenMan says:

    A parallel twin?

    Really? Unbelievable…

    That little fact strips away all ‘exoticness’ from this otherwise beautiful piece of Italian craftsmanship.

    The big brother has a V4 so it’s only logical to chop that engine in half for its little brother, eh? A 600ish 90-Degree V2 would have made PERFECT sense, but a parallel twin?

    It’s going to shake like crazy and going to sound like a Ninjette (Assuming a 180 crank, which it probably will).


    • m says:

      It will probably have a 270 degree crank which will mean it’s as smooth a 90 degree V twin. A parallel twin can be way lighter

      • Selecter says:

        That was my first thought. For a lightweight sportbike, I’d take a parallel twin for its cost, packaging, and weight advantages over a comparable v-twin. The v-twin’s big advantage is narrowness… might be a big deal versus an inline-four, but versus a parallel twin, that advantage is of little practical benefit. There’s only -so- narrow you can make a motorcycle anyway. The vee limits how far or back you can move the engine in the chassis… a p-twin can be tilted forwards, backwards, whatever, without having to worry about that second entire cylinder protrusion knocking into thinks like the frame, tank, or rider’s groin. A parallel twin is practically a perfect layout for a small performance motorcycle.

        As for smoothness… my Super Ten with its silly-big 98mm pistons and 270-degree crank is incredibly smooth at nearly all rpm levels. I don’t see a reason why pistons that will weigh 1/3 of these slugs couldn’t be the same in this platform.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        The 270 degree crank doesn’t do anything to smooth it out. The engine still needs to be counter balanced.

  3. Spiderwatts says:

    They just keep on coming. Great new bike choice. The smaller displacement helps with price and insurance for the younger riders this is mainly made to be used. Just ignore the continual anonymous comments and negative replies. There are more and more new bikes for all types of riders. If one is not your type then so be it. There are plenty of others to choose from today. Keep a positive attitude. Be kind.

  4. Rapier says:

    The 600cc ballpark and forced induction is the logical next step. Kawasaki or maybe BMW, the ball is in your court.

  5. skybullet says:

    It will probably be a good bike for track days if you are into that sort of thing. Way too compromised for anything over an hour on the street. I put over 20K miles on a Caponord, it was a great bike and trouble free.

    • Wilbur Hanselmann says:

      If it’s comfortable for an hour, that sounds like it might be a nice compromise between a full-on 600 that’s semi-comfortable for 20 minutes, and my DL1000 that’s comfortable all day but a bit stodgy. “Not quite full on track bike” is a niche that sells a lot of bikes these days.

      But who knows, neither one of us has ridden it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Where are the “relaxed more comfortable ergonomics “? Certainly not on this bike. They’ll sell 3 in the US, one to Jay Leno.

  7. Dan says:

    My 1995 ZX6R was one of my favorites, but then like the rest they turned into sharp-edged track bikes with painful ergos. Just this weekend I was reminding myself by sitting on a R6 that was impossible to fit no matter how hard I tried. In my 50s, I’d like to have another 600 class sportsbike with slightly more reasonable ergos, 80+ hp would suffice if it was light enough.

    • Dave says:

      There are plenty. A post-2007 Yamaha fz6, Kawasaki zzr600, the newer Honda cbr650r, etc.

      • TimC says:

        The FZ6 is a sportbike? Well, if you’re tall, from the waist down it is…. And if you mod the suspension and brakes. Weight, hmmm, I guess you can diet.

        Don’t get me wrong, I still think mine is great – for what I use it for (primarily commuting). But it’s a stretch to say it’s much more than that.

    • charger_john says:

      Yup, love that ZX-6R, I have a 2002 ZX-6R and rode it 2000 miles over a 6 day period, 2 weeks ago. I also have a Concours. But the ZX is still usually my choice. Yes I’m also in my 50’s.

  8. Roebling3~ says:

    This is more exciting than getting married the 1st time . . .But in a good way.
    I’d sell the fleet, excepting the Daytona, to fund it.
    But can they get it on the street b4 my next b’day? I’ll be 85!!!
    BTW: I no longer fit the RS125 or 250.
    Good fortune, R3~

  9. This appears to have been missed in the description. But many other sites are indicating that Aprilia’s goal for this bike is a curb weight of 330 lbs. If true – 330 lbs and 100 hp would have a pretty favorable hp to weight ratio.

    • mickey says:

      100 HP out of a 660cc P Twin? Yea don’t think so

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        That could be a feasible output at the crank, but everything would have to be really, really high spec and revvy. Which I suppose it potentially is if it is half a RSV4 mill as the marketing speak promises.

        I can’t imagine a 330 lb curb weight. that would almost require sorcery. Unless “curb” is the new “dry.” Maybe a hair under 400 lbs wet and 80 rwhp max.

        • mickey says:

          yea I was skeptical of the 330 number too. I think your numbers are more in line with what can reasonably be manufactured.

        • Pacer says:

          I had an SXV550 (Vtwin) that put 70 to the wheel and 300 wet. I think they can get 80 without too much trouble, and the 330 could be real (probably dry). They do need to be careful though. Hope it isn’t peaky, torque is what makes a streetbike fun.

          • mickey says:

            I believe that 70 was at the crank. Motorcycle dot com dynoed one and only got 61 hp at the rear wheel. (which is a long way from 80 at the rear wheel)

          • Pacer says:

            Nope, mine was was 69.39 horse, and 38.48 torque at the wheel tuned by DynoJet not a shop. Was messing with a KTM 690sm one night, and we pulled over to talk. He said wheelies were fun, but he hated fanning the clutch. I just smiled and said “all power”. At 50 in 3rd she would flip herself over backwards.

            I should add that my bike had a full Akrapovic, and the air box was switched out in favor of a dome filter.

          • Pacer says:

            Weird, I responded to you Mickey, and the post disappeared. Anyway, my bike did have an aftermarket exhaust and intake, got rid of the airbox. 69.36 at the wheel.

          • mickey says:

            Lol don’t worry Pacer this is MCD, your first response will show up …. eventually.

            Yea you can probably hop one up for a few more hp but the mfg has to meet OSHA and DOT and Euro regs and that strangles hp. it would have to be really exotic to meet those regs and still produce 100 or even 80 hp at the rear wheel.

          • Pacer says:

            Just reread my post and would like to say this. If Aprilia can reproduce the visceral experience I had on that SXV it will be a winner. Whenever I got off the bike I felt like doing a karate chop.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “Whenever I got off the bike I felt like doing a karate chop.”


        • Superlight says:

          330 lbs curb is possible, but not affordable.

      • Morgan says:

        This is supposed to be based on their V4. In 1000cc RSV4 form it puts out 201 bhp/litre. The detuned 1100cc Tuono form it does 159 bhp/litre. To get 100bhp from 660cc would be 151 bhp/litre. Yamaha claims 116 bhp for the R6 from 600cc (193 bhp/litre). Just because Kawasaki and Yamaha build their twins as entry level bikes doesn’t Aprilia has to. Remember that Kawasaki’s 650 has gone down in power and the CB650F makes less power than the old 600 Hornet. There’s no reason why a 270 degree cranked twin can’t rev like crazy. I think 100bhp is quite feasible.

      • Morgan says:

        I forgot to mention: Ducatis with similar or better bhp/litre. 749 (155bhp/litre), 899 + 959 Panigales (both 164 bhp/litre). 100 bhp from 660cc twin should be no problem.

        • mickey says:

          Dyno charts I have seen on Ducati’s 696 Monster puts it just over 60 rwhp and on the 796 monster just over 70 rwhp both larger than a 660 and both running demosmodronic valves not the shim under bucket the Aprilia parallel twin would undoubtedly have.

          Still say that would be a tall mountain to climb. And who would want a p-twin 4 stroke that has the powerband of an I-4 multi or 2 stroke?

          • Morgan says:

            You’re quoting air-cooled two valve per cylinder bikes. This engine is derived from a competitive World Superbike V4. Ducati has NEVER raced two valves in WSB. Besides who’s talking rwhp? I’m sure Aprilia is talking at the crank. Ducati’s 749 put out 116 bhp and wasn’t lacking in torque.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          The Tuono 1100 puts out a little under 160 HP at the wheel as you say. So half of that is roughly 80 hp. But going to a twin, you also lose half of the relative valve area. That hampers the power potential significantly, so now maybe we are talking 60hp from our 550cc Tuono twin. So they add 20% more displacement to compensate.

          Now comes time to decide on the compromise. Do we want this twin to make power like a 600cc I4, roughly 100 HP at the wheel? Then we need a lot of valve area, which means a pretty big bore and short stroke. And we need to rev it sky high. Nothing wrong with that approach, and it would seem to suit the mission despite being pretty anemic as a road bike. But I think they would shoot for something in between that and the current budget 650 crowd. No point in trying to make a bike perform exactly like a class of motorcycles that nobody is buying right now.

          • Morgan says:

            All it needs to do is make power like a modern Ducati twin. They’re talking crank hp. I don’t why everyone here is burbling on about rwhp. This bike is for people who miss two strokes. That is good power (not the most power) and really light weight, with scalpel handling. That’s why it’s a parallel twin, to keep the weight down.

          • mickey says:

            manufacturers like to quote crank horsepower but consumers like to know what is actually getting put on the ground at the rear wheel. I’m sure when GearDrivenCam above said 330 lbs and 100 hp he was talking about 100 horsepower going to the ground ….not at the crank. That is why the discussion went that direction.

            I’m sure 75 or 80hp at the rear wheel is doable out of a 660 cc P twin with a decent power curve, decent being streetable, not race track spec’d.

  10. allworld says:

    I like the idea of a new midsize engine and there are a lot of bikes Aprilia can use it in. The current V-twin used in the Shiver never wowed the buying public.

  11. peter d says:

    Make the bike a mini Tuono, not an RSV2. Lose the fairing and. clip-ons, and add upright ergs and a cross plane crank.

    • Selecter says:

      From the article:
      “The RS 660 project is the development base for a wider range that intends to make Aprilia a key player in an extremely strategic market segment in Europe, but also in Asia and the American market.”

      I can only guess that a naked Tuono/Shiver model would be about the first one we’d see on this basic platform. Heck, the biggest criticism the Shiver has received over the years is that it’s overweight for its category. This might be a good solution for that. With the popularity of naked sportbikes everywhere, it would be a logical step towards market penetration outside of the EU and US.

    • Morgan says:

      A 660 Tuono would be almost definite. After all European can choose between an RS125 or a Tuono 125.

  12. Wendy says:

    If they build it, they will sell a ton. Very tempting bike except for the ergos.

  13. PatrickD says:

    Fantastic looking machine and a great concept.
    Keep it under 650cc, Aprilia, and the supertwins race category will get the shot in the arms that it deserves.
    100 bhp is more than enough for road or track, and given the slow death of the 600cc and 750cc classes, this brings modern sportsbikes back towards the realms of reality.

    • Dave says:

      This will make no more than 75-80hp tops, in street tune. Would be nice to see the twins category do well, so long as it doesn’t follow the path 600cc SS street bikes did- $12k race bikes with lights.

  14. SensibleSteve says:

    Clip-ons at the fork tops … I feel the neck ache from here. But that’s just my dodgy Gregory. Otherwise I like the quality components, light weight and parallel twin vibe. Just give me handlebars and not a need to look upwards to see where I’m going.

    • TimC says:

      Came here to say that. “more relaxed, comfortable ergonomics” – than what? Is the RSV4 that much more aggressive?!

      • Pacer says:

        This is just a concept model. Surely Aprilia will have a version of this, but a baby Tuono etc as well for those of us not on the track.

        • TimC says:

          It’s a concept model with a whole paragraph trying to explain how comfortable it is but I can see the handgrips level with the seat right there, so feel free to pull the wool over your own eyes but I ain’t.

          I’m not even saying the bike as presented is a bad thing, just don’t expect everyone to believe the BS just ’cause they put it in the press release.

  15. Stephen Barrett says:

    Hmmm, clip-ons around or below the top of the forks. I still feel the neck ache just by looking! Otherwise fully onside with the parallel twin, light weight quality component vibe. Just my dodgy Gregory puts me off.

    • Superlight says:

      Just because the clip-ons are bolted to the upper triple clamp does not mean they have to be uncomfortable. Look at the Ducati Supersport for an example.

      • TimC says:

        I’m looking at the fact they are level with the seat. I suppose this is less extreme than slightly below it.

        If anything, I wonder if having the pegs where they are (which I think does look more like the SS, without going and looking mind you) but the bars that low actually results in some fairly weird ergos.

  16. Glenn says:

    When this comes to Canada I will buy one. Not sure if I’m the target demographic at 51, but I have often wanted to get back into a lightweight, high spec sportbike, but with the ergos to suit my no-longer-young self. This is pretty much as good as it gets. Now to get regulations changed so we can have those integrated turn signals featured on the teaser.

  17. Michael says:

    Interesting, I’ll be following this one. After being pretty impressed with the FZ-07, I am now a believer in parallel twins for sportbike applications.

    • Johnny Ro says:

      Me too. I liked them in 1975 when I bought my Commando. Cheers!

      • Lawrence Kahn says:

        Still have mine. Still have yours?….
        On Nortons…Phil Schilling, Cycle magazine, 1974…

        “The Norton vertical twin should have died and gone to legend a generation ago. In a world of perfect logic, engine designs should never maunder on for decades and finally be crushed by onrushing technology. Good ideas deserve better. Good engines should go to harvest in the fullness of their autumn; most mechanical things which struggle on simply die cold and wretched in December.
        Seasons do not cover England in perfect symmetry. Spring is cold and damp, and so is fall and winter. Onrushing technology there slows; the present walks in cadence with the past. And mechanical things like the Norton twin soldier on and on…through the Fifties…into the Sixties…and reach the mid-Seventies. In other places, someone would have raised the last hurrah at an earlier stage-when the original 500 twin turned to a 600, or 650, or 750, or 850. But somehow, no matter how deep Norton reaches into December, the final cheer never comes. There’s only the next hurrah.”

  18. Neil says:

    Very nice machine. Moto candy. I’ll bet it will be great to ride and the clip ons are indeed higher than the bigger bikes.

  19. Jonathan S. Justman says:

    Make a Tuono version of this and I will buy it.

    • Dave says:

      The real question to the many “make it a naked” posters is, did you buy the Shiver 750? Because that bike fills that niche.

      I think this has a chance if they walk back from the promise of premium suspension, brakes, and electronics. They need to compete with Sv650, Fz07, and Ninja 650, even the CB650r. Doesn’t have to be the same price & spec, but if it’s farkled out, it’ll cost ss600 money despite only making about 70hp and it’ll die on the vine.

      • Superlight says:

        Aprilia could make an SV650/FZ-07/Ninja 650 competitor, but why would they? That market niche is already filled, so why not build an up-market middleweight with great suspension and brakes, a better design and a slightly higher price point?

        • Dave says:

          That goal can’t be achieved at a “slightly” higher price point and if it goes up to even $9-10k, it’ll lose to bikes like the FZ09 for having too little power (even if the rider doesn’t know they can’t do anything with more). It’s a nice idea, there are just too few buyers out there, unless Aprilia can truly revolutionize the riding experience.

      • Jonathan S. Justman says:

        I did not buy the Shiver 750 because it was too heavy, too slow, too ugly, and too expensive for what you got. I bought a Ducati Monster 1100S (2009) instead. I like a “premium” feel and design and that Shiver just did nothing for me. I need a bike that I can stare at when I’m done riding and clean happily, not a big fat pig of a bike with zero desirability or beauty. This concept, were it in Tuono format, ticks all the boxes for me and I would gladly pay the entry fee if it ever comes to life. I don’t care if it costs a few thousand dollars more than all its lesser “competitors” if it is built like this concept with these components.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I dunno. I knew a lot of people from the early years that bought an SV or Ninja 650 who then threw a couple of grand at suspension and brakes.

        I agree a lower spec model would be important, but I don’t think a premium spec would die on the vine. I think the Street Triple R was just as successful as the base model. Maybe more.

        • Dave says:

          Triumph says they achieved record volume with the street triple series in 2016 in the US with 13,000 total units. The article I read didn’t indicate what the splits were between the three trim levels. The base model retailed at $9,900 at that time, so still pretty high for a lower spec bike.

  20. Superlight says:

    From the photos this doesn’t look any more comfortable for the rider than your garden variety sportbike, though I applaud top-of-the-line components on a mid-sized bike.

  21. falcodoug says:


  22. Selecter says:

    This one is definitely on my next shopping list if it materializes in a fashion that’s somewhat in line with this concept. I adore my 600 inline-fours. But, a parallel twin will allow for even less weight, and potentially some extra power lower in the rpm band, even if you give up that 20-30HP up top.

    Power needs to be “good enough” – highly-strung enough to walk an SV650 in a straight line, but not quite so highly-strung so that it feels like a 250 two-stroke down low. Tough balance to meet there.

    I’ll deal with aggressive ergos *if* the handling is worthwhile. But it doesn’t even sound like one would be asked for that. Sounds like they’re thinking more “F4i” and less “RR” for this concept. Fine by me!

    The chassis and suspension are what really appeals here. Sub-600cc weight added to 600cc-class suspension would be superb. I would pay good money for that. And those looks… rawr!

    I understand this is just a “development base” and the chances of this bike being built, as-is, is essentially 0. And if they did, it would be too expensive for most of the small-displacement market out there, and too slow for the straight-line speed junkies. But a bike with good power (quick up to about 130 or so), eye-wateringly light weight, and high-level, non-electronic suspension appeals to me greatly. I’d been eyeballing that new ZX-6R and the future Katana lately… this one is more appealing those two, in concept at least.

    Anyone else remember the Cagiva Mito 500 show bike that was being shown in the mid-2000s sometime? It was the Mito 125 chassis with a big Husqvarna 500 single shoved into it somehow, and high-end suspension and brake components. This reminds me a bit of that… and oh, how I wish they’d built that one.

    If they were to build this bike, though, and left the engine block that same fire-engine red for production models like that display bike has… I’d have to buy one just for that!

    • Bob K says:

      “Sounds like they’re thinking more “F4i” and less “RR” for this concept.”

      That would be fantastic. I was always a fan of the RC51, so a twin in this displacement would bring back much of that same fun power delivery instead of always needing it to be wound up.

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