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We take a close look at the Aprilia RS660 and Tuono 660

These bikes have slightly different riding characteristics

The choice between the RS660 and the Tuono 660 boils down to one's riding style. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

When news broke out last year that Aprilia had developed a new middleweight sport bike, enthusiasts were naturally excited at the prospect of bringing home a genuine, track-worthy Italian thoroughbred without a seven-figure price tag. The new RS660 brings new life to the stagnant supersport category long dominated by the Kawasaki ZX-6R and the now-discontinued Yamaha R6 with an all-new, punchy two-cylinder engine, and a sophisticated hardware and electronics package. Naturally, the company followed soon after with the Tuono 660, a semi-naked version of the platform with more upright ergonomics for everyday rideability.

The RS600 is at home on mountain roads, while the Tuono 660 is more ideal for touring. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

At P860,000 for the RS660 and P820,000 for the Tuono, the choice of whether to go for one over the other isn’t so much about the price difference as it is for your riding priorities. Even though the Tuono is a “naked,” it still sports some functional fairings to smoothen the airflow at high speeds. Its cockpit uses a raised handlebar versus the lower clip-ons of the RS660, with a different fork offset for livelier handling. The position of the foot pegs is the same for the two bikes, however.

Both bikes get upside-down forks, but the RS660's gold tubes are a little flashier. PHOTOS BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Engine tuning is slightly different between the two. The RS660 is rated at 100hp, while the Tuono is slightly less powerful at 94hp. The parallel-twin motor is based on half of the RSV4’s 1,100cc V-twin, but with a longer stroke and a 270° crankshaft to give a throaty, punchy character.

If you like to admire engine design, the Tuono lets you see more of it than the RS. PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

Copious use of aluminum and carbon fiber keeps the RS660’s curb weight down to 183kg, while the Tuono’s is probably less due to its minimalist bodywork. Kayaba provides the suspension bits for the bikes, with a slightly softer setting for the Tuono. An Inertial Measuring Unit provides advanced engine and braking control by monitoring lateral acceleration, front brake pressure, lean angle, pitch and yaw. The engine management system includes traction control, wheelie control, quickshifter, auto blipper, adjustable engine braking, and several ride modes for the RS660. While the Tuono doesn’t have the quickshifter or auto blipper as standard, it counters with a shorter final-drive ratio that guarantees the bike’s street-fighter cred and will satisfy the wheelie crowd.

Did you preorder one of these handsome bikes? PHOTO BY ANDY LEUTERIO

There is no doubt that customers who preordered last year to avail of an early-bird discount are just dying to get their RS and Tuono 660 out on the road once the lockdown is lifted. For those who are still on the fence, they can pay a visit to Bikerbox in Sucat and see these Italian beauties in the metal.

Andy Leuterio

Andy is both an avid cyclist and a car enthusiast who has finally made the shift to motorcycles. You've probably seen him on his bicycle or motorbike overtaking your crawling car. He is our motorcycle editor and the author of the ‘Quickshift’ column.