APRILIA TUAREG 660 (2022 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Full electronic suite with optional rider modes
  • impressively dynamic and agile on the road
  • Engine platform shared with Tuono and RS 660

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Power: 79 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.9 in / 860 mm)
Weight: Medium (450 lbs / 204 kg)

Prices

New £10,600
Used £8,000 - £9,700

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Retro rallying has seen a huge revival recently, with the likes of the Africa Twin, DR Big and BMW R nine T Urban GS all returning within the past decade.

And just as you thought the 80s were out of icons, Aprilia have joined the party with the reincarnated Tuareg. Named for the indigenous Saharan nomads, the original Tuareg was launched in 1985 and spewed a five-strong family of models that remained in production until 1994.

And now, the desert racer is back, featuring the 659cc parallel twin of the manufacturer’s recently-launched RS and Tuono, albeit with tweaked internals for better low and mid-range torque – peak of 51.63lb-ft is achieved at 2000rpm sooner than the RS 660, at 6500rpm.

Cornering on the Aprilia Tuareg 660

The latest Tuareg has most in common with the four-stroke single cylinder 600 Wind (produced between 1988 - 1990) and the £11,100 Indaco Tagelmust version we tested features graphics that pay homage to the iconic original colour scheme.In case you’re wondering, a Tagelmust is an indigo-dyed cotton turban-come-veil, traditionally worn by Tuareg Berber men.

It was designed by a team at Piaggio’s Advanced Design Centre in California, led by Miguel Galluzzi, who was also responsible for Moto Guzzi’s incredibly stylish V85TT. But in terms of design, the Tuareg is the opposite, with form very much led by function and apparently no superfluous parts.

Aprilia have neglected to follow fashion with a beak, and instead the Tuareg boasts a muscular forward silhouette, which tapers to a narrow waist and low-profile rear.

The 860mm high seat is deliberately long and narrow and the panels on either side flat – allowing for ultimate manoeuvrability around the bike while stood on the pegs, as well as allowing the rider to get as much foot on the floor as possible.

A static view of the Aprilia Tuareg 660

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

In the pre-ride press-conference, Aprilia positioned the Tuareg as ever-so-slightly more on the travel side of the adventure/enduro mix. And this is reflected in the design, with the high-resistance steel tube structure featuring a welded rather than bolt-on subframe (a la KTM adventure range), which suggests that it is not intended to be ridden too hard off-road.

However, every other element of the bike lends itself to off-road ability – the long swingarm, 240mm travel Kayaba suspension, with adjustable hydraulic rebound damping and compression, and spring preload at the rear (via a manual knob).

The 43mm diameter upside down forks don’t dive anywhere near as much as other bikes in this segment, which allows you to brake harder when pushing on the road. The standard fit Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres (on 21" and 18" spoked wheels) let the bike down in this respect however and struggled to find grip on the slick roads of Sardinia.

Riding a light trail on the Aprilia Tuareg 660

On hard application of the Brembo brakes – double piston calipers on double 300mm discs up front, and a single 260 mm disc and floating, single-piston caliper at the rear – they were prone to skidding. Dual-channel ABS is normally there to intervene, although beware locking both wheels simultaneously.

Off-road, the tyres are happiest in the dry, and clog up quickly through mud. However, they were ideal for the flat and fast gravelly trails we rode on the launch and the Tuareg’s mass-concentrated design made for balanced and composed handling. Peg steering is easy on the 204kg machine and the suspension is consistently well-damped across rough terrain.

The engine, a stressed element of the frame mounted via six anchor points (compared to the three on RS 660 and two on Tuono), has been rotated about 10° to the rear, making the cylinder bank more vertical, thus reducing the yaw movement of the bike and increasing agility on tight turns.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 front rim and brake set-up

And on road, it’s impressively dynamic and agile, lending itself well to the switchbacks of Sardinia’s coast road and rolling through the bends with aplomb. The steering is immediate and assured, and the lock is wide.

Usually, off-road ability comes at the expense of road comfort, but this isn’t the case with the Tuareg – it’s as capable on road as it is off.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The 660 powertrain was originally derived from the front half of the 1100cc RSV4 powertrain and boasts the same 81mm bore, with a lengthened 63.93mm stroke.

It has already proven its prowess in the RS and Tuono, however this latest iteration has been internally tweaked for more low and mid-range torque, receiving optimised valve lifting, a revised exhaust layout and a newly designed intake system with longer ducts and a filter casing positioned between the headstock and the fuel tank to allow for easy servicing.

A unique ignition advance management algorithm fettles combustion across varying engine heating conditions, optimising powertrain performance and consumption.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 engine side view

These modifications certainly deliver, with peak of 51.63lbft achieved at 2000rpm sooner than the RS 660, at 6500rpm, with 75% available from 3000rpm and 90% from 5500rpm.

Understandably, it comes at the expense of top end power - the Tuareg makes 79bhp at 9250rpm, compared to the RS’ 99bhp at 10,500rpm (however, it still makes 6.5hp more than the Ténéré. A 270-degree firing order lends a V-twin sound to match the feel – a deep gargling rising to a guttural roar.

However, it still feels incredibly sporty and its provenance is undisputable. Despite a slightly snappy ride-by-wire throttle, propulsion is immediate and impressive, thanks in part to a shorter first gear ratio and final drive.

Power climbs linearly to the peak, while torque boasts several sweet spots, the low-down abundance particularly noticeable and helpful while riding off-road.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 exhaust

A mechanically-assisted clutch makes for light lever feel, but the bite point seemed quite far in, which was noticeable when riding off-road with just two fingers on the lever – the other two got in the way as I pulled the lever back to the bar.

Aprilia’s optional up-down quickshifter was fitted across the test fleet, however proved inconsistent – smoother on some, and jolty on others. On one of the bikes neutral was virtually impossible to find with the engine running.

A new, shallower oil sump allows ground clearance to perfectly match the suspension travel. Internal walls keep oil quantity optimised, while a new channel in the semi-crankcase takes lubricant to the sump, preventing stagnation in the gearbox.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

That frame will reportedly support loads of up to 210kg, making this a capable middleweight, two-up tourer. Whether it is comfortable remains to be seen, but on first impressions the one-piece seat is more so than that of the Yamaha Ténéré 700. There appears to be slightly more room for a pillion, too.

The broad expanse of plexiglass screen looks a tad odd from the cockpit but offers great protection from the wind. The design leaves a natural gap behind the centre of the screen which could allow for fitment of auxiliary rally lights or navigation tower.

Riding the Aprilia Tuareg 660

In order to keep weight as low as possible, every component does multiple jobs – the fibreglass enriched technopolymer instrument structure, for example, also supports the screen. The plastic tank cap reduces weight by 200g compared to a metal one, while there are no pillion grab handles.

Build quality certainly seems impressive, and nothing stood out as poor during on our 160km test ride. When another rider dropped the bike off-road, nothing broke, and the only damage was a bent lever and scuffed faring panel (easily replaceable). The comprehensive metal bash plate is certainly worth its weight.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Starting at £10,600 for the Acid Gold and Martian Red colourshemes (£11,100 for the Indaco Tagelmust), the Tuareg costs £1000 more than the Yamaha Ténéré 700, which weighs in at £9502 (2021 pricing).

However, the Ténéré 700 shuns electronic aids (with the exception of switchable ABS), in favour of a stripped-back rally style. In terms of physical specification, the two are very similar, with matching suspension and braking capabilities.

Other competitors include the Triumph Tiger 900 (starting from £11,500) or the KTM 890 Adventure (starting from £10,999).

Leaning into a right-hander on the Aprilia Tuareg 660

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

While the Ténéré 700 is heralded for its simple, stripped-back nature the Tuareg levels up with a host of electronics, packaged under the APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) name.

Switchable traction control boasts four levels of sensitivity; engine braking is adjustable to three levels and three different engine maps are available to change the engine’s character and power delivery.

All are optimised in the pre-set Urban and Explore riding modes, while Individual and Off-road are user-adjustable. As standard, off-road deactivates ABS at the rear, with the option to switch off the front, too.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 colour TFT dash

It also features the most manageable power delivery, and the ride-by-wire throttle is noticeably less snappy than in the other modes. All can be selected via the left-hand switch controls and five-inch TFT dash.

Behind the vast expanse of screen sits a full LED lighting system including daytime running lights.

Specs

Engine size 659cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled parallel twin
Frame type High-resistance steel tube structure
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 860mm
Bike weight 204kg
Front suspension Fully adjustable 43mm upside-down Kayaba fork with counterspring. Wheel travel: 240 mm
Rear suspension Aluminium swingarm. Progressive linkage. Fully adjustable Kayaba monoshock. Wheel travel: 240 mm
Front brake 300 mm double discs. Brembo callipers with 4 horizontally opposed 30/32 mm pistons. Axial pump and metal braided brake line
Rear brake 260 mm diameter disc; Brembo single piston 34 mm floating calliper. Master cylinder with separate reservoir and metal braided hose
Front tyre size 90/90-21
Rear tyre size 150/70 R 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 58.8 mpg
Annual road tax £101
Annual service cost -
New price £10,600
Used price £8,000 - £9,700
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 79 bhp
Max torque 51.6 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 280 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2021: Aprilia launch the Tuareg 660 ahead of going on sale for the 2022 model year.

Other versions

There is only one version of the Aprilia Tuareg 660, however the twin-cylinder engine platform is also shared by the RS 660 sportsbike and Tuono 660 naked.


Watch MCN's expert Aprilia RS 660 video review here

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: Saffron takes the Aprilia Tuareg 660 to Wales to see what it’s really like off-road

MCN Fleet: Saffron takes the Aprilia Tuareg 660 to Wales to see what it’s really like off-road

Even with my limited off-road knowledge, I know the Aprilia Tuareg craves to be in grassy verges and stony gullies rather than sit on the M1 where it whines if you rev too much, and an annoying red light starts to blink at you… So, I thought it only fair to take it where it belongs. Sweetlamb

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the APRILIA TUAREG 660 (2022 - on)

1 owner has reviewed their APRILIA TUAREG 660 (2022 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your APRILIA TUAREG 660 (2022 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Equipment: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
5 out of 5 Powerful....light...love it
23 June 2022 by Andy mack

Version: Martian red

Year: 2022

In a time of £10 per gallon I decided to get a smaller engined bike. The engineering of the half v4 engine is incredible. 80 hp from a 660cc . 14 hp less than a 1000cc Africa twin. My Africa twin and past gs1200te bikes feel fat and heavy by comparison. Love the tubeless rims.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Feels nimble and agile. Massive braking capabilities

Engine 5 out of 5

What a marvel of engineering. 660cc churning out 80 hp. The v4 they cut in half is incredible and I think the parallel twin is really good. I speak from 45 years of riding motorcycles from a triumph Tiger cub to a 21 reg Kawasaki h2 and everything in between.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The quality is good. I don't believe you can buy a bad bike in this day and age. Not had it long enough to comment on reliability but aprillia don't have too many problems from what I can tell. Aprillia give you a two year warranty and the option of another two years for £300 so they clearly support their products

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

A lighter bike with a smaller engine and no real less power has to be the way to go. A lot of bike for ten grand. I doubt the dealer services will cost much even though I carry out my own services in between. This new taureg and Africa twin insured fully comp for £230. Usually £40 for oil and filter on most bikes but you all know that. The givi aluminium luggage and racks cost £600. Centre stand is extra.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The electronics package is top notch. Typical aprillia. Givi aluminium luggage completes the package for long trips with minimal fuel costs

Buying experience: Bought it from on yer bike Aylesbury. Probably bike number 12 from them.

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