Official Designs Reveal Production-Spec Aprilia RS 660

Styling patents show changes from last year’s concept bike, but not many.

RS 660
Styling patents filed by Aprilia show the future shape of the RS 660.Aprilia Patent Applications

The long saga of the dying market for 600-class sportbikes has been rumbling on for about a decade now but last November fans of the genre got a boost when Aprilia revealed its RS 660 Concept at the EICMA show in Milan. Now it looks like that bike could be going into production and these images from Aprilia's own design patent appear to show how the showroom version will differ from that concept model.

RS 660
It seems the production RS 660 will be very similar to the RS 660 Concept shown in Milan this past November.Aprilia Patent Applications

In short, it seems that the production version is likely to be nearly identical to that showbike, although close examination reveals that virtually every body panel has been changed. We know these aren’t early sketches because the patent bearing the images was filed only last month, half a year after the RS 660 Concept was revealed. Aprilia’s intention is to ensure the styling isn’t copied by a rival.

Let’s start with the basics. The essential elements of the bike remain the same as November’s prototype showbike, including a 660cc parallel-twin engine that’s effectively made from the front cylinder bank of Aprilia’s RSV4 1100 V-4. A few extra cubes have been found somewhere—probably by extending the stroke a fraction. Norton has performed a similar trick with its new 650cc parallel twin, to be found in the upcoming Atlas and Superlight models.

While it might not be the standard recipe for a supersport-class machine, the market has already proved that the old mix of a 600cc four-cylinder engine and superbike style isn’t an easy sell. Instead of chasing out-and-out power from screaming revs, the RS 660’s formula is for twin-cylinder punch and a super-lightweight construction to make the most of it.

In terms of power, Norton is claiming as much as 105 hp from its 650cc twin in Superlight form, and there’s little reason to believe Aprilia’s design will be any less impressive. Weight has yet to be declared, but you only have to look at the Italian bike’s chassis design, which uses a foreshortened beam frame and relies on the engine to provide much of the structure, to see that it's going to be light.

So what’s changed since November? Looking at the CAD images from the patent, it’s clear the overall shape is much like the showbike, but a closer look shows there are substantial alterations. When it comes to the styling, the fairing’s side panels are reshaped, no longer featuring the concept bike’s air outlet behind the distinctive wings. Instead the entire fairing sides are cut away more at the rear edges to provide cooling airflow, while showing off a bigger chunk of that unusual chassis.

Moving up, the nose shape is like the concept’s but the headlights are fractionally changed, losing the LED strip around the edge that doubled as a turn signal on the EICMA showbike. While the turn signals themselves aren’t fitted in these images, there appear mounting points in the fairing sides for conventional stalk-mounted units to be bolted to.

RS 660 headlights
The RS 660’s headlights and the nose have changed slightly from the RS 660 Concept.Aprilia Patent Applications

Staying at the front of the bike, the fork and front brakes are changed, with Aprilia moving away from the Öhlins fork and Brembo Stylema calipers of the concept in favor of more affordable Sachs suspension and Brembo Monoblocks, as used on the RSV4 RR. Of course there’s a distinct possibility that Aprilia plans to offer multiple versions of the RS 660—mirroring the RR and Factory specs of the RSV4—in which case the Öhlins and Systema kit could re-emerge on an RS 660 Factory model in the future. But with price a key element in this middleweight class, the lower-spec kit makes sense for the mass-market model. There’s a similar change when it comes to the wheels, with a Y-spoke design replacing the concept’s lightweight slant-spoke forged alloys.

Brembo Monoblocks
Brembo Monoblocks replace the Stylema calipers of the concept seen in Milan.Aprilia Patent Applications

Atop the Sachs fork, triple clamps taken straight from the RSV4 replace the polished billet pieces on the RS 660 Concept, and clip-on bars are significantly higher and straighter than the showbike’s race-style units.

RSV4 triple clamps
RSV4 triple clamps replace the billet units found on the RS 600 Concept with a more comfortable reach to the clip-ons.Aprilia Patent Applications

Further back, another big change comes in the form of a completely new swingarm. Where the RS 660 Concept harked back to the old RS250 two-stroke and the original RSV Mille with a banana-shaped arm to clear its exhaust, the CAD images show a swingarm more like the design used on the RSV4. Its lower edge is relatively straight, with a separate brace above it and the exhaust is lowered to clear it. The end can itself is much like the showbike’s, suggesting that Aprilia has managed to squeeze most of the silencing and catalytic converter into the bike’s bellypan.

Aprilia RS 660 right side
Aprilia’s patent drawings shows a low single exhaust with the catalytic converter and silencer placed under the engine.Aprilia Patent Applications

The seat unit—a carbon-fiber, self-supporting design on last year’s RS660 Concept—seems to have escaped any major changes, remaining a strict single-seat design. We’ll have to wait until real photos appear before we know if it’s still carbon. While there’s no licence plate bracket to be seen, there are holes under the tail that appear to be positioned to accept the mounting bolts of the current RSV4’s plate hanger, which also incorporates the rear turn signals.

single-seat tailsection
One unchanged item on the RS 660 is the single-seat tailsection.Aprilia Patent Applications

When can we expect to see the finished bike? There’s no official word on that just yet, but we’d be surprised if it’s not the star of Aprilia’s stand at this November’s EICMA show and ready for production in early 2020.