THE Aprilia RS 660 is exactly what a middle weight sports bike should be. With a load of character, and good useable performance matched with state-of-the-art rider aids and great handling, this is the bike this declining category has been waiting for.
Most importantly, the RS 660 is what a good bike should be, and that’s a shitload of fun to ride. Powered by a 659cc parallel twin-cylinder forward facing, 4-stroke liquid cooled double overhead cam motor that features four valves per cylinder, it delivers rider satisfaction.
The powerplant sounds raspy and a flick of the right wrist brings great amounts of joy. On offer is 73.5kW (100hp) and 67Nm, which is not overwhelming but will still deliver more than enough to bring a hardy grin and have you fully immersed in the riding experience.
Fitted standard, the quick shifter (up and down) is paired to a six speed gearbox which features a multi-plate wet clutch with mechanical slip system. It works well and this is a notable exclusion on the sister model, the Tuono 660, where it’s an optional extra.
Five riding modes are available, with three of them designed for the road, including Commute, Individual and Dynamic, while the other two are fully customisable and intended for track use.
Each mode influences an array of rider aids, as well as engine character and ABS intervention. We spent most of our test period in Dynamic as it offered us the best performance, without having to spend multiple hours customising settings.
Out on country back roads, the suspension is nice and stiff, helping the lightweight Aprilia stick to the bitumen through the twisty stuff. We reckon this will be the mode most rider’s will spend their time in.
Commute mode is a dulled down version of the same settings, making the RS 660 a little less edgy. It’s good for when you’re stuck in city traffic.
Making the most of a host of electronic rider aids, which includes a six-axis inertial platform and a package that contains traction control, wheelie control, engine braking, engine maps and cruise control, means handling is a definite highlight of the Aprilia RS 660.
The chassis is class leading and the suspension feels firm, planted and aggressive, which contributes to the feeling that this bike has been designed for the rider. The engine is also a stressed member of the twin-spar aluminium chassis.
To gain and maximise further weight reductions, the aluminium swing arm is also attached directly to the motor. Front suspension on the RS 660 features inverted 41mm Kayaba telescopic forks, which are fully adjustable, and offer 120mm of travel.
On the rear, a Sachs mono-shock featuring adjustable preload and rebound offers 130mm of travel. Braking on the front of the Aprilia RS 660 has great feel and good bite, and offers great rider confidence for later braking when entering corners.
Stopping power is provided by twin 320mm discs with Brembo four piston callipers and cornering ABS. The rear brakes also offer great feel and the complete setup offers a great all round package.
A single 320mm disc with Brembo four piston caliper and cornering ABS supply the stopping power at the back of the RS 660. Riding position is typical of a 600 super sport bike, but the Aprilia doesn’t feel cramped and is quite ergonomic.
Spacing between the handlebars, seat and foot pegs is just right. The TFT display is easy to use and all the relevant information is displayed in a clear format. A slightly larger screen would be nice though, and bring the RS 660 in line with competitors.
The cruise control also felt a little awkward, especially while we were figuring out how to use it. If we had one other critique of the 2021 Aprilia RS 660, it would to be with fuel range, as the 15-litre tank just doesn’t cut it.
It’s cheap enough to fill up at the pump, but when you’re riding spiritedly, you’ll need to be pulling over regularly to give the RS 660 a drink. Draped in Apex Black, or test bike looked mint, with its coloured rims. You can also opt for Lava Red and Acid Gold if you wish.
Priced from $20,730 – the 2021 Aprilia RS 660 sits at the pointy end of the market in terms of cost. It does however offer a great mid capacity sports bike that handles exceptionally well, offers a good amount of grunt and tech, and smashing looks.
It delivers an sensational riding experience, and is well worth a test ride, at the very least.
Our test bike was provided by Aprilia Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Aprilia RS 660, contact your local Aprilia dealer. Images courtesy of bikereview.com.au photographer Heather Ware.