When word got out about the RS 660, we were all pretty gosh darn excited. We rode the RS last year and, despite not being able to firmly place it in a particular motorcycle genre, were pretty impressed with its peachy little engine, the way it handled and its space-age tech. That said, the most exciting news to come out of the RS 660 launch was that we were to expect a Tuono 660; and it’s finally been unveiled.
The mummy-bear Tuono isn’t just an RS with the fairings ripped off. There are a couple of big differences, and a couple of subtle ones too, but we’ll get to that later. First of all, let me talk you through the similarities.
Like the RS, the Tuono has the same 659cc, forward facing V-Twin engine which is, very roughly speaking, the front two cylinders off the RSV4 with a different cylinder head and a slightly longer stroke. With only 95bhp, it’s not quite as fast as the RS (which has 100bhp), but it’s shorter gearing most likely more than makes up for that in the acceleration stakes.
The Tuono benefits from all the same Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) electronics as the RS with five rider modes, – three for the road (Commute, Dynamic, Individual) and two for the track (Challenge, Time Attack). It’s got eight levels of traction control, anti-wheelie, cornering ABS, cruise control, and adjustable engine braking and throttle maps – just in case all of its 95 horses are bit too aggressive for you.
You get Brembo brakes, adjustable (although not very adjustable) KYB suspension, LED daytime running lights and a fairly trick TFT dash, just like you do on the Tuono’s sportier sibling.
I would say the most notable difference is the lack of a fairing, but as it happens, the Tuono is actually reasonably well ‘faired’ – let’s say the lack of a ‘full fairing’. The bits of fairing that the Tuono’s got are fairly substantial for a ‘naked’ but it gets my vote – especially that screen, which is only going to make longer, faster rides more comfortable abord the 660 Tuono. Aprilia will no doubt wax lyrical about the ‘double fairing’ with integral aerodynamic wings, should you give them half a chance, but I can’t see wings of any kind making any difference at all to a bike like this.
You get bigger, wider handlebars and a higher riding position on the Tuono which, according to Aprilia, makes it more appropriate for street riding and daily use (to be honest though, the RS 660 seemed pretty good at that anyway). Some new geometry, including a different fork plate offset, promises to improve the bikes control, responsiveness and agile handling… let’s wait and see if it does.
Like the RS 660, Aprilia are marketing this bike as a stepping-stone for younger, or less experienced riders, who might one day fancy buying themselves a big Tuono (Tuono V4). I think to aim a bike like this solely at newcomers though, is to do it a disservice. A bike that is comfortable, has a reasonable amount of very manageable power and all of the rider aids that ‘big bike’ lads have grown used to, to me would be the perfect step down for old boys that don’t want 200bhp any more, as well as being a step up for the lads that, one day might. The same goes for the Tuono 660’s sportier brother, the RS.
The 2021 Aprilia Tuono 660 will cost you £9,700, which sounds about right given that the RS is £10,149. If you fancy one, they’ll be coming in Concept Black, Iridium Grey and Acid Gold (or should I say Acrid Gold).