First, some context…
Great bikes show up all the time, but genuine game changers arrive far less often. Bikes that reset our thinking about a major motorcycling category and get us excited all over again, even people who live and breathe bikes every day like the team at Bikebiz.
The original GSX-R750 arrived in the mid 80’s and showed the world what power, performance and handling could be, singlehandedly creating the modern superbike. It was possibly the first genuine factory expression of the term ‘race bike on the road’. In the early 90’s Honda’s FireBlade tore up the rulebook, ignored the 750 yardstick and hit us in the face with a bigger capacity bike that weighed less than the competition and went like nothing else. Then just before the turn of the last century Yamaha’s R1 dared to go all the way to 1000cc. The litre bike class was born and the race to 200 horsepower was on.
Which leads us neatly to Aprilia’s bloody brilliant RS660. Because in essence, it was created as a reaction to the power race that sports motorcycling has been obsessed with this century. Output having steadily climbed year by year, ordinary, competent road riders finally had the cojones to admit that they couldn’t actually use 200 horses on the road. Or 180 or even 150. And eventually the manufacturers noticed this, too.
In essence of course, we’d wound up with what we’d always asked for. Race bikes on the road. But whether 1000cc, 750 or 600, the pure performance inline four sports bikes had evolved to become something that only really made sense on a track.
Manufacturers took awhile to get their heads around answering this shift in attitudes. Meanwhile a lot of riders turned to getting their kicks from mid-90’s sports bikes for power that made sense on the road and a nostalgic kick to go with it. But the ‘midrange’ category outside of the howling inline fours slowly started getting more attention. Capable bikes came along, modestly spec’d but fun. Then out of the blue Aprilia showed off the RS660 at the Milan show and the world crossed its fingers hoping that what looked astonishing up on stage didn’t get watered down on its way to the real world.
And it didn’t. Not one bit.
Enough background already…
With bikes available to test ride, it took the world’s assembled motorcycling press about one minute to confirm that the RS660 was something very special. The takeaway on the new Italian went something like this:
- Small and beautifully formed, sharp but comfortable
- Soulful, torquey 660 parallel twin, roughly half an RSV4 engine with 73Kw
- Flattering, agile chassis, big brakes with ABS
- Premium quality components in abundance
- A swag of electronics including standard up-and-down quickshifter, traction control, wheelie control
- A sniff under $19K
The bullet points may be spicy but the best news – and what’s really got the Bikebiz team excited - is that the RS660 seems somehow even greater than the sum of its parts – the until-now-mythical bike for everyone. It’s a gloriously enjoyable concoction that welcomes the less experienced, flatters the pros, seems to perfectly fit just about every human and confirms that ‘just right’ can provide as much fun as most of us can handle. Commute, hit the hills, tear up the track, wear a shit-eating grin doing it all. And do it on a bike that’s achingly beautiful to behold, yet costs less than KTM’s orange origami Duke 890R.
If you’ve ever felt that modern sports bikes have become irrelevant to how you ride, this bike not only validates your thinking but shows what the future looks like for real riders.
The Bikebiz team is losing sleep right now at the thought of Aprilia’s new mid-range masterpiece arriving sometime around April this year. And all of Australia is waiting for the chance to see and ride a bike that reignites the sports performance experience.
It really is a game changer.
For updates on arrival timing of the Aprilia RS660 and the opportunity to be among the first to see it at Bikebiz in the flesh, contact us today.