The motorcycling industry is hard at work in the attempt to regain the attention of the younger generations that have a mixed approach about throwing a leg across the seat and twisting the throttle wide open. Maybe they are wiser than we were at their age, surely more than I was. Their cautious response to the present range of massively powerful superbikes set the industry off-balance. Not very long ago, any new bike boasting 5 hp of extra power over the previous edition would get young sports flocking to the dealers ready to start a second mortgage on their parents' home to get on Flash Gordon's newest spaceship. It does not work like that anymore, and the marketing people are sweating their brains out to find a solution.

Concept RS 660
The Concept RS 660 is Aprilia’s attractive response to the public’s lack of interest in purchasing expensive and overpowered superbikes.Courtesy of Aprilia

At Aprilia, it might have a rather attractive response: a real sportbike, but with a power ceiling around 100 hp and a curb weight not exceeding 330 pounds. That sounds sensible to anyone, but how to get there will not be so easy. The Concept RS 660 unveiled at EICMA is Aprilia's way to approach the problem.

RSV4’s cylinders
One half of an RSV4’s cylinders on a compact lower-end makes up the RS 660 engine.Courtesy of Aprilia

The parallel-twin engine is obtained by installing the front-half of the fabled Aprilia RSV4 1100 on a new and compact crankcase. The whole engine looks extremely compact, and with that compactness comes lightness. The engine acts as a stressed member of the chassis, with the rear swingarm pivot inserted in the crankcase and the beautiful twin-spar aluminum frame clamping the engine at the front and at the rear of the heads, and at the top of the rear section of the crankcase. The aluminum spars look massive as does the steering head, to ensure maximum structural rigidity.

At Aprilia, the engineers know how to design great chassis. The riding posture is highly ergonomic thanks to the proper relationship between the seat and pegs, while the clip-ons are placed above the triple clamps.

The concept shows advanced aerodynamic solutions inspired by the latest experience gathered from Aprilia’s racing efforts. It has wing profiles creating downforce with multiple fairings to better organize the airflow around and inside the bike for rider comfort and better engine cooling.

Sensibly placed footpegs and clip-ons above the triple clamps
Aprilia claims comfortable ergonomics on the RS 660 with sensibly placed footpegs and clip-ons above the triple clamps.Courtesy of Aprilia

The Concept RS 660 is very promising machine that stirred lots of attention and approval at EICMA. We hope to see it give life to a production model that will start a new way to conceive sport and touring motorcycles.