Guess what? The Aprilia RS660, maybe the most interesting concept bike on last year’s show circuit, may actually be near to entering production.
The news comes as the keen-eyed spies at Motorcycle.com have unearthed design drawings of the RS660, filed away for intellectual property protection in Australia. Breaking down the design sketch above (there’s more on the MO site), you can see differences between the design drawing and the bike that appeared at the 2018 EICMA show, but for the most part, it seems to be more or less the same machine. Bodywork and lights are slightly different, the chassis is a little different, the wheels are definitely different, as is the suspension, but overall, it’s roughly the same machine, built around a half a V4 1100 engine.
So what was so revolutionary about the RS660? Two things stood out. The first thing was, while it isn’t revolutionary to build a 600-class sportbike, it is worth pointing out that nobody else seems particularly interested in the supersport class these days. Honda’s kind of made its CBR650 a bit more sporty for 2019, but it’s a far cry from the technological updates we used to see in the old supersport wars, when everyone was trying to build the fastest 600. The Yamaha R6 and Kawasaki ZX-6 platforms have seen some recent updates, but changes have been slow.
The other thing that stood out was, not only was Aprilia interested in developing a new 600, but Aprilia was interested in truly taking tech to the next level, by incorporating active aerodynamics on the RS660. In other words, the bodywork was designed to change shape, providing downforce under acceleration and generally improving the bike’s handling. Really cool stuff, if it actually makes it to market! We’ll see, as the filing for protection of the design is no guarantee Aprilia will actually build this machine. But, prototypes have been spotted undergoing testing, and we’re guessing Aprilia really is serious about this bike.