The wait for the Aprilia Tuono 660 is almost over. The company says the new naked bike should be available in North America at the end of March … although not everyone in the company is sure we should be calling it a naked bike.
In Aprilia’s final (we hope) release video above, we see interviews with various company insiders, including designer Miguel Galluzzi. Galluzzi says the highlights of the Tuono’s design include lots of aerodynamic protection, and the ability to take a passenger. He says this is what sets the machine apart from other bikes in the middleweight naked class: “The Tuono is not simply a naked bike … the Tuono is a unique concept. The others are all naked bikes.”
He’s kinda-sorta right. All the OEMs are interested in building practical sportbikes and nakeds in the 650-900 cc class these days, but nobody else currently builds a bike that blurs the line between sport and naked in the same way as the Tuono does. And, none of the competition is as advanced as the Tuono.
The teaser video above reminds us all that the Tuono comes with Aprilia’s APRC package, but it does not come with an inertial measurement unit (IMU). That’s only available as an option. So how does the APRC work? You don’t need an IMU for ABS or basic traction control, but IMUs are key to leaning ABS and similar advanced electronic safety systems.
So, it seems there’s a two-level APRC platform. The first level offers basic ABS, traction control, adjustable engine braking, cruise control, and engine mapping, but has no lean-sensitive function. Pony up for the IMU, and you get cornering-sensitive electronics, and a lean-sensitive headlight that is designed to “shine into” corners as well. Both bikes come with five ride modes as standard.
Of course, both bikes come with the same chassis and engine. Aprilia engineer Piero Soatti also has some screen time in the video above; he says the goal was to bring the engine as close to the front wheel as possible, to centralize mass, and that the Tuono 660 has a low stance, built for the road and not track. And once again, Aprilia points out the bike’s excellent power-to-weight numbers: 100 horsepower in the US market (95 horsepower in the EU), with a wet weight at 402 pounds (183 kilos). The engine itself is basically half an Aprilia V4, with the rear cylinder bank cut away to make a parallel twin. It serves as a stressed member of the chassis, allowing Aprilia to trim the frame and reduce weight.
Again, Aprilia says the Tuono 660 will be available in North America at end of March, with prices starting at $10,499 in the US, and $12,795 in Canada. Changing your paint or adding accessories or the IMU will jack that MSRP upwards.
So who’s this bike for, then? Historically, Aprilia has had a Tuono 125 (not in North America) and then the high-end V4 Tuono. There was no option between the little mini-Tuono and the full-bore flagship; the new 660 is supposed to fill that role. Aprilia says it will be available in a detuned version for beginner riders (a legal requirement for learners in some markets). It’s supposed to be easy-to-ride for riders who are starting out, but also satisfying for more experienced riders who are able to take advantage of its excellent power-to-weight ratio and competent chassis. In some ways, it almost sounds like the old two-stroke sportbikes and nakeds that used to rule the streets and club racing tracks in the 1970s and 1980s.