For those who shop by performance and technology-per-dollar, this RS 660 is for you

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Aprilia, the racebike-building division under the Piaggio & C. SpA umbrella, treated us to a glimpse at the future during 2019 EICMA with the unveiling of its new RS 660. The RS 660 rolls with windtunnel-tested bodywork that aids comfort and stability over a new, parallel-twin powerplant. A robust electronics package comes standard, so you can count on top-shelf safety and ride-quality gadgets to help you keep it between the lines.

  • 2020 Aprilia RS 660
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel Twin
  • Displacement:
    660 cc

2020 Aprilia RS 660 Design

  • LED lighting
  • Cornering lights
  • Accessory tail fairing
  • Aggressive nose-down/tail-up styling
  • More comfortable rider triangle
  • TFT Display and infotainment system
2020 Aprilia RS 660
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2020 Aprilia RS 660
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What we have in the RS 660 is a proper supersport, folks. The racing DNA is unmistakable, as is the Aprilia panache that shines through at every opportunity.

A well-vented and cut-down front fender leads the way, and there's just something about the carbon-fiber construction that says “serious business.”

It’s a multifunction component that rocks foil-shaped uprights that protects the swept area of the inner fork tubes and also shunts the air around the stems into laminar flow with the cowling. Not only does this improve penetration, it also sets up a smoother flow which in turn takes the hot waste-air away from the rider and into the slipstream more efficiently for a bit of self-synergy. There’s more of that in the double body fairing that incorporates racetrack aerodynamics with a self-evacuating engine compartment, the former for stability at speed and the latter for greater comfort due to reduced heat wash.

A triple LED array lights the night, and for daytime safety there’s a stock DRL feature that lines the main lights and highlights the arc of the front fairing. On top of that, a set of cornering lights light the way where you’re going to wind up, not just at where you’re pointing, which is where you need it most.

Sturdy mullions mount an elliptical bubblescreen to punch a hole in the wind for your head and torso, plus there’s protection for your legs due to the cowling’s double-layer design. Since the outer layer is foil shaped with an air slot between itself and the inner fairing, it serves to smooth out the slipstream and achieve laminar flow for a boost in cooling and lowered drag.

At a glance, the hand controls look like the clip-on sort, but the offset between the top tripletree and the horizontal axis of the grip pushes your hands higher than you’d get from a clip-on but leaves them lower than you’d expect from a proper riser/one-piece handlebar. This makes the RS 660 more comfortable to ride than the typical race-tastic supersport.

If you like to share the fun with a friend, the stock package rolls with a two-up seat that comes complete with fold-up footpegs, but if the solo streetfighter or racer look is more your speed, there’s an accessory tail fairing that does away with the p-pad in favor of an aerodynamic cover. With or without the pillion seat, the RS 660 displays an aggressive, nose-down/tail-up posture that pairs well with the nature of its powerplant.

2020 Aprilia RS 660 Chassis

  • New from-the-ground-up chassis
  • Corner-optimized ABS
  • Light curb weight
  • Six-axis IMU
2020 Aprilia RS 660
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2020 Aprilia RS 660
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2020 Aprilia RS 660
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The RS 660 is new from the ground-up to include the aluminum main frame and asymmetrical swingarm that set the stage and contribute to the low, 372-pound (169 kg) dry weight.

Yeah, I know we don’t ride dry bikes, but that figure is still indicative of a relatively light curb weight all the same.

The engine pulls extra duty as part of the overall structure up front as well as acting as the load-bearing member for the swingarm pivot. This eliminates multiple sections of tubing along with their associated weight as another pound-paring measure. Another handful of pounds were dropped at the linkage between the coil-over monoshock and the gull-wing swingarm, namely there ain’t any, so the RS 660 gets by with a direct rear-suspension connection.

Up front a set of 41 mm, usd Kayaba forks take care of business and come with a rather ambiguous “adjustable” designation from the factory. Given that this particular factory is a renowned Italian race-bike builder, I expect it comes with the full basic trinity — compression/rebound-damping and preload – as part of the standard equipment package.

A pair of four-pot Brembo binders grab 320 mm discs up front to provide the bulk of the stopping power, and the hydraulics at both ends benefit from the corner-optimized ABS feature that modulates its level of intervention based on the calculated traction at any given moment. This is the first of many ride-quality gizmos that benefit from the six-axis inertial measurement unit.

2020 Aprilia RS 660 Drivetrain

  • 660 cc forward-canted parallel-twin engine
  • 100 horsepower
  • Traction/Wheelie/Cruise Control
  • Riding Modes
  • Quick Shift
  • RSV4-derived electronics package
2020 Aprilia RS 660
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2020 Aprilia RS 660
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2020 Aprilia RS 660
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In the engine compartment of the RS 660 we find the rest of the fandanglery in the RSV4-derived electronics. It starts out with a Ride-by-Wire throttle input that works with a Traction/Wheelie/Cruise Control along with multiple Engine Maps that let you dial in the power delivery and an Engine Brake feature that controls how much backtorque can develop in the system.

Riding Modes binds them all and bundles one street-friendly profile with two race-centric setups that are actually built with track days in mind so you can quickly change the bike’s personality through the TFT instrument cluster. A Quick Shift feature lets you work both up and down the six-speed range without ever touching the clutch or rolling off the throttle.

All this fandanglery makes the RS 660 capable of blistering holeshots and acceleration along with fast, safe engine braking so you have protection coming, going, and stopping.

As for the crunchy bits, the lump is essentially the front two cylinders of the 1,100 cc V4 powerplant with the rear two cylinders cut away to leave a 660 cc, forward-canted parallel-twin engine. A DOHC times the valvetrain, and a 270-degree offset at the crank pins balances out the power pulses.

What kind of power? Well, the factory claims a whopping 100 ponies from its little mid-size plant but is, so far, keeping the top speed figures close to the vest.

2020 Aprilia RS 660 Pricing

2020 Aprilia RS 660
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2020 Aprilia RS 660
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2020 Aprilia RS 660
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Pricing is still a bit sketchy, but we're guessing it's going to land on U.S. shores with stickers in the neighborhood of $15,000 in time for MY2020.

While price is TBA as of this writing, Aprilia offers two colorways on the RS 660 for 2020. Not to ignore its own racing heritage, the factory offers a purple and red two-tone, giving a nod to the RS 250 in its 1994 Reggiani Replica version. The second colorway is black-on-black with stunning red details.

2020 Aprilia RS 660 Competitor

2020 - 2021 Ducati Panigale V2
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2020 Aprilia RS 660
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In terms of mechanical excellence and race-tastic style, it’s hard to beat an Italian, so with that in mind I went straight to Ducati for its own new superbike, the Panigale V2 to put head-to-head with the RS 660.

Ducati Panigale V2

2020 - 2021 Ducati Panigale V2
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Like the Aprilia RS 660, Ducati’s bodywork is windtunnel-tested as well, though it carries itself with more of a traditional full-bodied look without all the fancy foil-work on the sides. For the sake of daytime safety, the Duc carries brow-like DRLs but it lacks the street-friendly cornering lights to fall a bit shy in the everyday-riding column. Credit where it’s due; the Panigale’s front turn signals and mirrors are integrated, so not only are they arguably more visible being high up but it makes it a quick, easy job to strip their weight ahead of actual track use.

Aprilia uses the engine to displace quite a bit of the tubing in the frame, but Ducati opted for a monocoque structure that uses both the engine and the skin as load-bearing components to keep weight down. It doubles down on the weight-saving measures by using part of the structure as the air box.

Aprilia is a little vague in the suspension department, but Ducati quite explicitly claims the full trifecta of adjustments. The Panigale pulls from the top shelf for its electronics with corner-sensitive ABS, Traction/Wheelie Control and Quick Shifter feature to more or less break even with the RS 660.

In the engine displacement we find the first real major difference between the two. Ducati packs in a V-Twin engine that’s half-again larger with its 955 cc Superquadro plant. More cubes means more power, so the Panigale claims 155 ponies and 77 pounds o’ grunt against the 100-horsepower Aprilia twin. This extra power comes at a price; specifically a $16,495 pricetag that leaves the new Aprilia RS 660 looking pretty good with its $15 k sticker.

Read our full review of the Ducati Panigale V2.

He Said

“While I’m not sure I can defend it, I expect the RS 660 to attract a younger rider base on average, or at least, a more flamboyant one than what the Panigale would rope in. For those who shop by performance and technology-per-dollar, this new bike is for you, and should be on your short list to test ride if you are at all interested in an affordable street-legal race machine.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I do see a bit of the RSV4 in the RS 660, in the triple LED lighting up front, for example. If you look at it for what it is, the RS 660 is not a stupidfast bike, but it has that sportbike styling. It’s not outrageously expensive, but it has a nice electronics package. The relationship between the pegs and the seat, and the clip-ons above the triple clamp (unlike the concept unveiled last year) give you a more relaxed rider triangle for everyday riding. It’s a mid-displacement machine that could well attract buyers that want sleek styling, don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, and aren’t really interested in racing, per se, but might want the thrill of giving it a twist now and again. I think the only thing that will hurt it is sales. Lack of dealership coverage across the country makes it hard for a lot of folks to consider Aprilia as a viable option."

2020 Aprilia RS 660 Specifications


Further Reading


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Read more Aprilia news.

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

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