Aprilia Tuono 660 Review (2021)

 

Giggle factor, fun factor – call it what you wish – but the new Tuono 660 delivers entertainment by the bucket load. What’s more, you don’t have to be doubling the national speed limit and scaring other road users in order to make the most of it. Its 95bhp output may not win any bragging rights, but on the road, combined with a lightweight, manageable chassis, it makes perfect sense for an afternoon’s blast.

A naked, or, more accurately, semi-naked Tuono 660 has been on the cards since the RS660 sportsbike broke cover last year, there’s even a more adventure spec Tuareg coming which uses the same engine platform. Aprilia has kept to the simple, proven recipe of producing an excellent, sporty and attractive road bike that can cut it on the track, equipped it with the latest rider aids and gizmos, then stripped it back to produce a Tuono – essentially a ‘naked’ RS, with a little less electronic tech and power.

I rode Aprilia’s RS660 earlier this year on its press launch in Italy, and again on the Misano circuit (the race version was very well suited to the track), so knew already that the ingredients were there to make an excellent naked version of the parallel-twin. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new all-new Tuono for 2021.

 

For and against
  • Punchy motor
  • Excellent handling
  • Looks and desirability
  • Dearer than rivals
  • No quickshifter as standard
  • Rider aids not lean-sensitive as standard
REVIEWED: 2021 Aprilia Tuono 660
Chad gets a day out on the UK roads riding Aprilia’s mini Tuono. Not the mighty V4 but the parallel-twin 660.

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono 660 Price

How much does it cost? £9700

Despite its looks and Italian desirability, I think the price is a little on the expensive side. Yes, the build quality is high and, in many ways, it mirrors the Tuono V4 Factory. A quick glance doesn’t reveal it as a sub 10K bike, but the Tuono is only £450 cheaper than the fully-faired RS660 (£10,150), and the RS comes with more advanced rider aids and a quickshifter as standard. If you add those accessories to the Tuono, it’s actually more expensive than the RS, which doesn’t seem logical.

The engine size and weight put the Tuono against the likes of Yamaha’s MT-07 (£6899) and Triumph’s new Trident 660 (£7195), both offering a substantial saving over the admittedly more exotic Aprilia. They also lack the level of rider aids of the Tuono and are down on power, but the fun MT-07 is nearly £3000 less than the Aprilia – a big sum of money in this price-sensitive segment.

If we look across the market for middleweight nakeds with some zip about them priced at under £10k, we could also consider bikes like the KTM 890 Duke (£9649). The KTM is more matched against the Aprilia with similar spec, excellent handing and a fun, up-for-it attitude – but the KTM is a big jump over the 660 in engine performance.

The Tuono 660 is somewhere in the middle. It sits above the regular middle-weight competition like the MT-07, but just under bikes like the 890 Duke, and I feel its price should reflect that hierarchy – and certainly at under £9000 it would be more tempting.  Interestingly, Aprilia are now offering an IMU that adds lean sensitivity to the rider aids as a free accessory for a limited period. Clearly, the Noale factory is conscious of how the market perceives the Tuono’s price, too.

 

 

Power and torque

The 659cc parallel-twin is taken directly from the RS660, which, architecturally speaking, is an RSV4 cut in half to produce the twin. The bore is the same as the RSV4 1100 but the stroke is longer and the twin is essentially a new engine, with new cylinder head, intake and exhaust, clutch, throttle bodies, and fuelling.

The Tuono 660 produces less power than the RS660 – 95bhp from the claimed 100bhp of the RS660 – which allows the Tuono to be restricted further for A2 licence holders, while peak torque from the 270-degree crank motor is 67Nm/49.42lbft, the same as the RS660. Peak power and peak torque are both made at the same rpm as the RS660 (10,500rpm and 8500rpm respectively), and again will rev to the same limiter at 11,500rpm.

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

You’re not going to be bragging about the Tuono’s peak power on social media, but don’t be fooled because the little Italian can pack a punch, and with lower gearing than the RS660 feels even livelier. Turn off the rider aids and it will happily loft its front wheel in the first few gears, which again is easier than on the RS660 as you have less weight over the front due to the relaxed riding position.

It’s a shame the RS’s quickshifter doesn’t come as standard. When you’re chasing your sportsbike riding buddies you need to make full use of the power by dancing around on the gear selector, keeping the revs in the top quarter of the rev range. If you want some serious speed on track, be prepared to leave your mechanical sympathy in the pitlane. But with the throttle pinned the 660 delivers more than enough performance for the road, and despite playing near the redline you’re not at frightening levels of speed. Sure, 100mph is easy and it will push on to more than 125mph – but you have to be determined, unlike the big V4 Tuono which hits 120mph plus without even thinking about it.

Away from the fun and giggles out in the lanes, there is a practical side to the 660. While the main bulk of the power is above 8000rpm, 90% of the bike's torque is on tap at just over 6000rpm, and even below 5000rpm it will happily pull away around town. So, you don’t have to rev it to make progress.

There are five rider modes to choose from: three for the road (Commute, Dynamic, and Individual) and two for the track (Challenge and Track Attack). Each mode changes the engine characteristics, feeling, and the multiple rider aids including traction and wheelie control, cornering ABS, engine brake assist. (Unlike the RS660, this raft of electronic goodies is not lean sensitive as there isn’t an IMU fitted as standard.) In Commute mode the fuelling is soft, user friendly and noticeably different from the Dynamic mode. Like every Aprilia I’ve ridden recently, the fuelling is faultless and impeccably smooth.

The Tuono 660 is user friendly and more capable around town at slow speeds than the RS660, but I found it hard to ride slowly. Every national speed limit sign felt like an excuse to make those liquid revs rise towards the redline on its clear TFT clocks. Add the engaging tone of the exhaust and the acoustic effect of that 270-degree crank engine – and fun is guaranteed.

 

 

Handling, suspension and weight

The chassis, its geometry and wheelbase are almost identical to the sporty RS660. Aprilia even quotes the same weight, despite the Tuono having less bodywork. The forks are slightly different, with no compression damping adjustment, and suspension travel is reduced on the naked Tuono by 10mm. The rear set-up is similar to the RS’s but with revised settings.

At 183kg with fuel, the sporty RS660 is light and flickable, but now the Tuono feels even more so despite sharing the same claimed weight. The more upright riding position and wider bars encourage you to throw the little 660 around, and it responds with ease. Inexperienced riders will love the lack of effort it takes to steer and manoeuvre, whereas more experienced riders will revel in the fun the lightweight chassis provides.

Sometimes lightweight bikes can feel a little flighty or nervous, especially at high speeds, but the 660 breaks this rule of thumb. It remains planted and, from fast bumpy back roads to long flowing table-smooth corners taken at speed, the suspension soaks up everything you can throw at it. The feedback is excellent, too, as is the grip and feel from the sporty Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa 2 rubber.

The winglets are there mainly for show, as the 660 doesn’t have the power to need aerodynamic rider aids (which only start to work at 70-80mph and only make a significant difference above 100mph). Big, powerful naked bikes are hard work the faster you go, but the little Tuono isn’t – as the fun is to be had before you get to neck torturing wind speeds. And in extreme situations, the small top fairing does take some of the windblast away. But only some.

My only criticism was that the rear end was a little soft for my personal taste, but this was probably more down to my weight and, at times, my aggressive riding style. The suspension may need some adjustment for the track, rider size or condition of the roads you’ll be using it on.

 

 

Comfort and economy

I have to be honest; I was having so much fun on the little Tuono, I spent the majority of the test ride in the top third of the revs, simply having fun. This resulted in an average of just over 50mpg, and Aprilia quote 58mpg – you see what I mean. Aprilia claim that both the RS660 and the Tuono should deliver the same mpg, so quote the same figure for both bikes – and in Italy I did average 68mpg on the RS660. I’d estimate that, ridden sensibly, you’re going to average between 60 and 65mpg on the Tuono, which will give a tank range over 200 miles, which isn’t bad.

Despite the Tuono appearing small, it isn’t, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover a relatively roomy riding position and that the seat was anything but a skateboard topped with foam. Dare I say that with cruise control as standard I’d take on some serious miles on the naked 660. At 70mph, even 80mph, the vibration isn’t bad, even with the revs hovering between 6000rpm and 7000rpm. But while I’d happily go touring, or at least spend all day on the twin, I’m unsure if I could find a small enough pillion…

 

Brakes

The braking set up is the same as the RS660’s, with braided lines, radial master cylinder and Brembo four-piston stoppers on twin 320mm discs. However, this time it’s conventional ABS, not cornering ABS which is standard on the RS660. There are three ABS settings to choose from, and the least intrusive allows you to lock the rear, which, combined with the standard slipper clutch, allows experienced riders to get a little loose.

With such little weight and impressive feel from the relatively basic Kayaba forks and Pirelli front tyre, the stoppers are more than up for the job – even at higher speeds. Equally, they have a nice feel around town and aren’t too grabby. They may lack some Stylema bling, but top-end callipers are simply not needed.

 

 

Rider aids, extra equipment and accessories

This is where you might feel a little short-changed by the Tuono 660, especially when compared to the RS660. The Tuono has the same rider aids as the RS – traction control, ABS, wheelie control – but they are not linked to an IMU which measures the lean angle and other sensors, like pitch and yaw. This means the wheelie and traction control plus the ABS are conventional on the Tuono, but lean sensitive on the RS660.

In my mind the Tuono is more appealing to new, younger and less experienced riders, therefore lean sensitive rider aids should come as standard and shouldn’t be an optional £399 extra. While I’m having a gripe, it would be nice to have a quick shifter as standard too (£194). If you add the price of IMU and quickshifter, the Tuono is actually more expensive than the sporty RS660.

At the time of writing Aprilia is currently offering an IMU (fitted) for free, so it’s worth checking to see what you can get thrown into a deal when buying new.

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono 660 Rivals

 

Power

Torque

Weight

Price

KTM 890 Duke

113bhp @ 9000rpm

68lbft @ 8000rpm

169kg (dry)

£9649

Yamaha MT-07

72bhp @ 8000rpm

50ftlb @ 6500rpm

184kg (wet)

£6899

Honda CB650R

94bhp @ 12,000rpm

46ftlb @ 8500rpm

208kg (wet)

£7199

Triumph Trident 660

80bhp @ 10,250rpm

47ftlb @ 6250rpm

189kg (dry)

£7195

 

2021 Aprilia Tuono 660 Verdict

I really enjoyed my time on the Tuono 660. It is refreshing to see something genuinely new on the market, especially a versatile 660 twin with performance, handling and rider aids that work beautifully on the road, delivering a fun and engaging. I also like the styling, possibly more so than the sporty RS660’s, which is why the new 660 sits above competition like Yamaha’s MT-07.

The only negative depends on where you sit on the debate about price. Yes, it’s a better bike than the MT-07 and Honda’s CB650R, perhaps even Triumph’s new Trident, but is it £2000 to £3000 better? Secondly, at just under £10,000, its price is on par with much more powerful bikes like the KTM 890 Duke. But if your Aprilia dealer is up for a little negotiation and you get the advanced rider aids and quickshifter thrown in for free, you will have a fun and desirable bike.

 

Aprilia Tuono 660 2021 Review Price Spec_54

 

Aprilia Tuono 660 Technical Specification

New price

£9700

Capacity

659cc

Bore x Stroke

81mm x 63.93mm

Engine layout

Parallel twin,

Engine details

Water-cooled, 4v per cylinder, DOHC

Power

70kw/94bhp @ 10500rpm

Torque

67Nm/49.42lbft @ 8500rpm

Top speed

135mph (EST)

Transmission

6-speed

Average fuel consumption

Claimed: 58mpg (4.9l/100km)

Tested: 51mpg (5.5l/100km)

Tank size

15 litres

Max range to empty

168m (tested)

Rider aids

APRC with ATC (traction control), AWC (wheelie control), AEB (engine

brake) AEM (engine map), ACC (cruise control)

5 Riding mode (Road and Track, 3 fix and 2 customisable

Frame

Aluminium beam

Front suspension

Kayaba inverted 41mm 110mm Travel

Front suspension

Rebound and preload

Rear suspension

Single rear shock 130mm travel

Rear suspension

Rebound and preload

Front brake

2x 320mm disc, Brembo radial four-piston caliper

Rear brake

220mm disc, Brembo two-piston calliper

Front tyre

100/70-17Pirelli

Rear tyre

180/55-17 Pirelli

Rake/Trail

24.1°/104.7mm

Wheelbase

1370mm

Seat height

820mm

Dry weight

183kg (kerb)

MCIA Secured rating

Not yet tested

Warranty

Unlimited miles/2 years

Website

www.aprilia.com

 

Photography: Impact Images (Tim Keeton)

Video: Motion Films (Dom Read-Jones)

 

Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance

 

Aprilia Tuono 660 2021 Review Price Spec_32

 

What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.

 

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