A European mag is reporting the Aprilia RS660 concept bike, with its active aerodynamic system, will hit the market later this year.
Moto-Station is the origin of this particularly juicy rumour (we saw it in Asphalt & Rubber), as Aprilia’s apparently been telling them to expect the machine in production form during the 2019 EICMA show.
So what’s the excitement all about? Can a supersport-class bike really pack any interesting technology these days, with the industry basically abandoning 600-class bikes for litrebikes?
The answer lies in the RS660’s active aerodynamic systems. Details are pretty thin at this point, but when Aprilia debuted the prototype last year, the bike had winglets and bodywork that would change shape at different speeds to offer more downforce. This improves traction without interfering with engine output, which is how current traction control systems work. Could that mean more speed is possible? We’ll have to see the track tests to find out.
Of course, this sort of active aero system is just the natural end result of the ongoing aerodynamic experimentation that has been going on in MotoGP for the past while. Active aerodynamic design is perhaps the last great unexplored technology in the world of internal combustion-powered motorcycles, and with race teams fooling around with the technology, it’s only a matter of time until we see a bigger emphasis on aero design with street bikes as well. It’s already creeping into hyperbikes, with Aprilia, MV Agusta and Ducati all offering machines with winglets.
However, the RS660 could potentially be a much different path than the earlier liter-class bikes that sported fancy winglets. Instead of an inline four, it’s powered by a less-exciting middleweight parallel twin engine (rumoured to be basically half an RSV4 engine, and also the basis for Norton’s new parallel twin 650 series). As well, Aprilia’s marketing copy for the machine emphasized an upright seating position and real-world practicality. Could Aprilia be taking a page from the Kawasaki H2 playbook, and offering a bike with halo technology for the street? It’s an idea so crazy, it just might work.