Aprilia jumps on the middleweight adventure dogpile with new Tuareg 660
Aprilia chopped its mighty RSV4 superbike engine in half in 2019 to make a 660cc parallel twin, which made its debut in a featherweight street-sport scalpel called the RS660. The same motor quickly popped up again in a baby Tuono nakedbike, and now the company is using it to join one of the more energetic segments in today's market as a middleweight adventure tourer.
This entire segment is a bit of a backlash against the state of full-fat adventure machines, which have burgeoned in weight and capacity to the point where many of them are so enormous and powerful that their sheer size would rule them out of a lot of trails for all but the most exceptional riders, while also rendering them unwieldy in the city. They're still absolute beasts for soft-road touring and mile munching, but bikes like the Yamaha Tenere 700 and KTM Adventure 790 have sprung up in recent years to serve riders that want to hit the rough stuff with something a bit closer to the weight of an actual dirt bike, while not getting too badly hammered on the highway.
With the upcoming Tuareg 660, Aprilia resurrects a model name it used for a similar style of bike back in the 80s. Back then, the largest Tuareg ran a 46-horsepower 562cc single, a set of Dakar-style plastics and rolled at 148 kg (326 b) dry. It was canned for the slightly eccentric and more street-focused Pegaso in the mid-90s.
The new Tuareg will be a fair bit heavier. A dry weight of 187 kg (412 lb) puts it about where you'd expect a middleweight naked streetbike to sit, and right about dead on with the Tenere 700. It'll beat the Yamaha on power with 80 claimed horses to the Tenere's 73, but it's well down on the 94-hp KTM 790 Adventure R, and indeed on what that same motor makes in the 100-hp RS660.
Like the Yamaha and KTM, it skews toward the dirtier end of the middleweight ADV spectrum; the BMW F850GS and Triumph Tiger 900 might be better road bikes all things considered, but the Tuareg looks like it should perform well when the going gets rough. It matches swords with the Kato in suspension travel, with a pretty serious 240 mm at either end. The tube-steel frame is all new, the tank holds 18 liters (4.76 gal), and the full-color TFT dash gives you access to a full suite of IMU-enhanced APRC electronic riding aids, fly-by-wire engine mappings, and neat practical additions like cruise control.
This is only a "first look," so there's no word on price or when the Tuareg 660 will drop in which markets. You can bet your life it's not going to compete with the Yamaha on price; Italian ain't cheap. Check out a video below.