Italian adventurer incoming: Aprilia Tuareg 660 spied in testing
The third entrant into Aprilia's 660 engine line-up is on the way, and it's an off-road-ready adventure bike called the Tuareg.
Back in autumn 2019, Aprilia presented the RS660 after several years of development. Its engine, derived from the V4 of the thoroughbred RSV4 1100 Factory superbike, will form the basis for a whole model family in the future.
Just a few months after the market launch of the sporty RS, a half-faired Tuono 660 was also introduced; to be added to the line-up in February 2021.
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But probably the most important model of the family will be presented later: The Tuareg 660. Hinted at in autumn 2019 at the EICMA show in Milan, according to unofficial sources, it should have also enjoyed a market launch in spring 2021, however has been delayed due to Covid-19.
A prototype of the Tuareg 660 has now been photographed during testing and, despite its early stage of development, important features can already be recognised very well.
Starting with the engine, the inline-twin, derived from the front-cylinder-bank of the RSV4's V4 engine, appears to be largely taken over from the RS660, although a little less than the previous 99bhp peak output can be expected in the Tuareg.
Just like in the Tuono and the RS, the engine looks to be an integral part of the chassis but using a slightly modified frame. Because the exhaust manifold has also been slightly modified and ends in a completely redesigned exhaust system, there is space behind the engine for a redesigned swing arm, too. Its construction seems to be more robust now, which is an indication of the bike's off-road capabilities - as are the the tyres with 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel.
Diversification into several model variants of the Tuareg 660 is possible. A version with a more focus on off-road capabilities, longer suspension travel and even more off-road-focused tyres than the Metzeler Karoo Streets shown on this prototype seems likely, as well as an entry-level version. A travel model with a larger tank could also make sense.
The starting price for the basic version should sit nicely within this segment, but above the £9499 Yamaha Ténéré 700 - as indicated by the £10,150 price tag on the RS and £9700 ticket on the Tuono (2021 figures). In return, the customer can expect a well-equipped motorcycle with full-LED headlights, ride by wire, various riding modes and the usual assistance-systems.
TFT-instruments with mobile-connectivity should also be standard – at least the prototype shown here is equipped with the instruments already found on the RS model. All in all, Aprilia seems to be here to put together an interesting package in an increasingly important market segment, and thus to continue to use the momentum gained with the RS660.
What's in a name?
The Tuareg are a large community of nomadic Berber people living in the Sahara desert. Their name is also spelt Touareg, which is what Volkswagen called their large SUV.
Aprilia Tuareg 660 in detail:
- Re-worked parallel-twin engine from RS660/Tuono 660 to be used as a stressed member
- Modified frame and all-new rear swingarm
- Several equipment levels likely to arrive