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

1 of 11

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 training academy

Since I’ve only been off-road on a motorcycle once, I’ve been hesitant to tackle the byways near me. But after hearing that Sweetlamb had began some couples off-road training, I couldn’t think of a better excuse to get a little more tuition and finally put the Tuareg through its paces.

Aprilia Tuareg at Sweetlamb's training centre

I should mention that I was unable to change the Tuareg’s tyres to something more catered for harsh off roading before I ventured to Wales – mainly due to supply issues.

Riding with the OE tyres (Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR) to Wales and back with some off-roading in between wasn’t a hardship by any means as they are labelled 50/50 and they coped fantastically well. But as they are 50/50 my trainer thought it best not to go full on with harsh mud or wet grass, so we tackled everything but… and I had a fantastic time.

Aprilia Tuareg at Sweetlamb water crossing

Firstly, since it had been a year since I’d last been, we spent some time so I could become reacquainted with the basics. We revisited stance, how to turn and where your bodyweight should be as well as how to skid with control of the back brake. But alongside three KTMs which had seen the terrain a thousand times before, the Aprilia didn’t break a sweat, except for the back brake being a bit softer perhaps, but we got a good skid eventually.

Despite being a heavier bike than the KTM 390 Adventure I initially trained on, the extra weight and power didn’t faze me with the Aprilia. Since I’d been living with it, it was easy to handle with the right techniques and had no qualms when tested with tight turns and water crossings. It was receptive on uneven ground and rugged gravel paths and when I ventured into a sodden gully with loose stones, it skipped over them with ease – even with my lack of skill.

Sweetlamb training academy Wales Aprilia

Next up

I don’t think any new tyres are coming my way before I go off-road again, but with plans in September, I can only hope that I get a delivery before then. After all, the Tuareg is ready to hunker down and do some off the road.


Update one: Aprilia Tuareg 660 faces snow in the Yorkshire Dales

Published: 22.05.25

As my last long term test bike (Moto Guzzi V7 Stone) was a retro run-around, more suited to city streets than long distances, I was excited to have something that, let’s be honest, is the complete polar opposite.

Plus, after getting my first taste of trail riding last year, I’m hoping my time with the Tuareg might turn me on to a life of weekend off-roading adventures… but I’m probably getting ahead of myself there. Watch this space…

Yorkshire Dales

My first trip on the Tuareg was a four-hour slog up the motorway before tackling the twisties of the Yorkshire Dales – all during that freak two days of snowstorms we had back in March.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 in the snow

We battled no less than 11 blizzards on the first day and since my overnight stop was the highest pub in England, Tan Hill, there was no respite on the freezing temperatures or poor weather until I got to the safety of the inn.

Before I left, I did a little spannering and hooked up my Keis heated jacket charger to the Aprilia, as I knew I was going to be in for a cold couple of days, and that made a world of difference.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the bike was on long days in the saddle (at first impressions, I initially thought I was going to have a sore posterior half an hour in) and the screen did a good job of keeping the wind and snow at bay, in fact I was quite entertained watching the snow build up on the A1 while I was snug and comfortable on board.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 screen in the snow

But back to the bike. At 5ft 9in, I was a bit worried I was going to struggle with the fairly tall 860mm seat height but, although I have no chance of getting my feet flat on the floor either side, I was pleasantly surprised with how well balanced and manageable the bike feels.

Although, when I put the sidestand down on a camber I find that I’m unable to get the bike upright without pushing it to a flatter surface, but that’s just something I need to get the knack of, I’m sure.

That feeling of balance and manageability sticks around while it’s moving, too, and although I didn’t push any speed limits in the Dales for fear of slipping on ice, the bike’s handling gave me the confidence to press on regardless.

Aprilia Tuareg 660 in the sunshine on the Yorkshire Dales

A fleeting introduction

My adventures with the Tuareg have been stifled somewhat as I exceeded the first service mileage in my first weekend with it, so it’s returned to Aprilia to be serviced. But as there aren’t many models in the country, Aprilia are holding on to it for a little longer so that it can be used at an event. I’m missing it already.

In the meantime, I’ve got my hands on a Moto Guzzi V85TT Travel, so although it might be a week or two until I’m reunited with the Tuareg, at least I’ll have something to compare it to – and I couldn’t be more excited for both!


Contact: saffron.wilson@motorcyclenews.com

After trying off-roading for the first time recently, I’m keen to improve my skills and put the Tuareg through its paces in all manner of environments. But, I’m also keen to take it on longer road trips to see if it’s effective as a touring machine.

Saffron Wilson

By Saffron Wilson

MCN Reporter - loves to tour and explore new places on her Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail