Tuono 660

Aprilia Tuono 660 2021 – First Ride Review

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We all know life is better when you take your clothes off And the Aprilia Tuono 660 does not disappoint.

Aprilia is hitting a bit of a purple patch right now. The RSV4 1100 superbike is getting overhauled. There’s a new adventure bike coming. And who knows? Maybe the MotoGP bike won’t be such a laughing stock this year. Hot on the heels of the delectable RS 660 released in 2020 comes the RS’s naughty cousin, the one who keeps taking their clothes off at inappropriate times. And now, ladies and gentlemen (insert stripper DJ voice), please welcome to the stage… Tuono 660!

The RS 660 signaled a change in philosophy for a company that made its name in little bike performance. Let us not forget the impact a certain two-stroke by the name of the RS 250 had on motorcycling as a whole. And while that little gem didn’t spawn a naked Tuono version, its death 17 or so years ago meant Aprilia’s attention was shifted into the above 750cc segments in everything from sportbikes to long-range tourers like the long-forgotten Aprilia Futura 1100. 

Now Aprilia is looking backward to go forwards. Reimagining their line of semi-entry level machines to get riders fired up about a brand that doesn’t get anywhere near enough love in the United States for how good their bikes are. 

The $10,499 MSRP Tuono 660 ($200 more if you want the yellow one) is technically the same as the RS 660. But with a few subtle differences (if you want to refresh your memory on the RS, my Editor himself perched himself aboard one at the national launch last year, the test of which you can read here). 

The same 659 cc parallel-twin motor that churns out 100 hp and 49 lb-ft of torque sits in the same twin-spar aluminum chassis. And the same Aprilia Performance Ride Control electronics that house multiple riding, traction, ABS, and wheelie modes are found within the ECU. Oh, and cruise control comes as standard.

However, the 41mm Kayaba front suspension gets 10 mm less wheel travel at 110 mm, with both rebound and preload adjustments done via the right fork leg only. The RS also gets a lithium-ion battery compared to the lead acid one found on the Tuono. Other than that, the two bikes are near identical (except for the clothes, obviously).

Aprilia is claiming 403 lb ready to rock with a full 3.96 gallon tank of gas for the Tuono, putting it on par with the Yamaha MT-07 at 400 lb with a 3.7 gallon tank of gas. The Tuono 660 doesn’t come with an IMU as standard. That’ll cost you an extra $199. The same for the Aprilia Quick Shifter. However, once you get the IMU, you then switch on Cornering ABS and Cornering Lights, which is a worthy purchase.

The Tuono feels bigger than it actually is, which is both a good a bad thing. It’s good because the size gives the motorcycle a feeling of solidity. It’s got that premium product feel. Eespecially when you look to the sides of the machine and see the air ducts/winglets that help direct cool air to the motor while simultaneously drawing hot air away from the rider. 

The tank is tall and wider. Something like a KTM 890 Duke R, which will suit taller riders out there. The shape of the tank makes you feel more in the motorcycle than on it. And gives you a solid connection to the chassis for when the road gets twisty.

The size might be a bit of a put-off for brand new riders who are on the south side of 5’6”. But overall, the Tuono is by far the most approachable machine in Aprilia’s line-up. So those concerns will likely subside after about 10 minutes on board.

The motor is a gem with plenty of top-end power. Although it gets hurt by quite a pronounced flat spot from 5-7000 rpm. Here, right when you want the bike to build speed and revs, it drops off a cliff. Laboring through the 2000 rpm emissions block before roaring back into life like a two-stroke.

This is rather frustrating when you’re trying to set a canyon PB and want every ounce of available performance. But it’s less of a concern when you’re simply cruising with the crew. It’s a good engine otherwise. And matched to lovely Aprilia Quick Shift system, there are good times to be had indeed.

Tuono 660

The chassis is light and nimble and will answer your sporty commands just as well as the RS will. You can really hustle the Tuono along and it’ll keep coming back for more. Although if you brake hard enough and start hitting bumps on corner entry you will find the limits of the fork’s capabilities. A set of nice Ohlins cartridges would make this a sexy little beast indeed.

The Tuono 660 is a worthy little sister to the fire-breathing Tuono 1100. And its arrival may have come at the perfect time. As we get more and more turned on to little bikes and the joys they bring, the Aprilia Tuono 660 should provide the perfect platform for new and even returning riders to get into the Aprilia fold. Not to mention experienced riders who want something a touch more mellow than the mentality of a Tuono 1100, but still a little naughtiness in their lives. And we all need some of that these days. 

Tuono 660
Images: Larry Chen

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