December 7, 2023

2023 Aprilia Tuono 660 – First Ride Impressions

Aprilia, the renowned Italian motorcycle brand, has enjoyed global popularity for years. Surprisingly, here in the Philippines, it’s just starting to catch the eye of enthusiasts. Traditionally, Aprilia was associated with high-performance beasts, often boasting engines exceeding 1,000cc, and power outputs close to 200 horsepower. It’s a brand that has held onto its premium identity amidst the ever-expanding reach of globalization. Remarkably, even today, Aprilia continues crafting all its premium bikes at its Noale, Italy factory.

2023 Aprilia Tuono 660 – First Ride Impressions

The real game-changer for Aprilia was its venture into the middleweight segment, signified by the debut of the RS 660 in 2021. This marked a significant move, as the RS 660 is a potent addition to the middleweight sportbike scene. Evidently, there’s substantial demand for bikes ranging from 650cc to 800cc, with various manufacturers contributing to the segment’s rapid growth. Recognizing this potential, Aprilia didn’t stop with the RS 660; they introduced the Tuono 660. The Tuono 660 is a middleweight naked sportbike, sharing the solid foundations of its sibling, the RS 660. This strategic expansion demonstrates Aprilia’s commitment to meeting the evolving preferences of motorcycling enthusiasts.

Unmistakable design

2023 Aprilia Tuono 660 – First Ride Impressions

Styling-wise, the Tuono 660 proudly wears the unmistakable Aprilia signature. It shares the same distinctive aesthetics as its larger sibling, the Tuono V4 1100. The front end commands attention with its menacing presence, featuring LED daytime running lights (DRLs) that bestow upon it an imposing aura. In fact, it mirrors the same face you’d find on the Tuono 1100 V4 and RSV4 1100.

Moving to the side profile, the Tuono 660’s half-fairing design is a head-turner. It does, however, raise an interesting question for onlookers. The blend of sporty and naked bike elements in its design can leave one momentarily puzzled. Is it a purebred sportbike, or does it lean towards the world of naked bikes? This intriguing fusion adds an element of mystique to the Tuono 660’s identity, inviting riders to explore the best of both worlds.

2023 Aprilia Tuono 660 – First Ride Impressions

2023 Aprilia Tuono 660 – First Ride Impressions

The Tuono 660 presents an athletic stance, characterized by a somewhat elevated saddle and a subtly forward-leaning riding posture, thanks to its low handlebars. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the typical sportbike ergonomics you might expect, as the Tuono 660 opts for a handlebar setup instead of clip-ons. This choice prioritizes rider comfort without compromising on the bike’s performance.

One can’t help but be drawn to the striking Aprilia Racing colorway, which catches the eye with its vibrant red wheels set against the backdrop of black and silver bodywork. It’s a visual statement that aligns perfectly with Aprilia’s racing heritage, further enhancing the Tuono 660’s allure for riders seeking both style and substance in their motorcycle choice.

Goldilocks zone of performance: not too fast, not too slow

The Tuono 660 beautifully occupies what some might call the “Goldilocks zone” in terms of performance. Often, larger bikes can be overwhelming, unwieldy, and even intimidating, particularly those mighty liter bikes or race-derived middleweights. With the Tuono 660, it’s evident that Aprilia aimed to create a machine that’s more approachable for a broader spectrum of riders.

Under the hood—or rather, under the fairings—is a 660cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, parallel-twin engine, thanks in part to its 270-degree crankshaft. This clever engineering imparts the power pulses, torque, sound, and character reminiscent of a 90-degree V-twin. With 100 horsepower on tap, the Tuono 660 strikes a sweet spot for this platform, delivering ample performance without becoming overwhelming. Additionally, its 67 Newton-meters of torque instill confidence whether you’re navigating city streets or carving through twisty roads. It’s a testament to Aprilia’s knack for balancing power and usability in a way that makes the Tuono 660 an enticing choice for a wide range of riders.

Intuitive technology

Aprilia has left no stone unturned in the realm of cutting-edge technology with the Tuono 660. They’ve incorporated a multitude of riding modes, and the ease of switching between them via the handlebar switchgear is truly user-friendly.

Dynamic Mode deserves special mention, as it responds to your inputs with lightning speed, almost faster than the blink of an eye. It’s like having a sixth sense on the road. When the hustle and bustle of the city calls, Commute Mode steps in to mellow things down, ensuring a smoother ride through urban terrain.

For those who like to tailor their experience, Individual Mode is a boon, offering the flexibility to customize settings to match your preferences. What’s striking is how each mode distinctively transforms the riding experience. It’s a testament to Aprilia’s commitment to providing riders with technology that not only enhances performance but also adapts seamlessly to their varying needs on the road.

I wish it had a quickshifter

2023 Aprilia Tuono 660 – First Ride Impressions

While the Aprilia Tuono 660 undeniably stands as a masterpiece of engineering, it’s important to acknowledge that perfection remains elusive, even in the world of motorcycles. One notable shortcoming that caught my attention is the absence of a quickshifter as standard equipment.

In a market where bikes at this price point, and even some more budget-friendly options, often include a quickshifter, it’s somewhat disappointing not to find one included. However, Aprilia does offer an optional quickshifter for those willing to invest a bit more. If budget constraints aren’t a concern, it’s certainly a worthwhile addition to enhance the riding experience.

Another consideration is the potential benefit of a steering damper. The Tuono 660’s lightweight nature can make it somewhat twitchy under heavy acceleration, especially on less-than-perfect road surfaces. Adding a steering damper could provide greater stability and confidence during aggressive riding, making it a valuable consideration for those seeking to fine-tune the bike’s handling characteristics.

Ideal for the city, thrilling on twisty roads

2023 Aprilia Tuono 660 – First Ride Impressions

My firsthand experience testing the Tuono 660 in both city traffic and on winding roads south of the Metro was truly eye-opening. In the urban environment, it exhibited remarkable tractability, making it easy to manage. Its lightweight build ensures nimble handling, and a notable point is that it doesn’t generate excessive heat, even during extended city rides. This experience completely altered my perception of Aprilia, transforming it from a brand associated with finicky and unreliable bikes into one that’s genuinely practical for daily use.

Venturing onto the open road was a revelation. The bike unleashed exhilarating bursts of instantaneous torque, precisely when needed. The power output felt just right, not overwhelming but potent enough to provide thrills. The lightweight chassis made maneuvering through corners a breeze, and the suspension setup instilled a sense of confidence, particularly on tight, winding roads. The Brembo brakes, requiring just a single finger for effective speed reduction, rounded out the impressive performance package. It’s clear that the Tuono 660 is a versatile and exciting machine, equally adept at navigating city streets and conquering challenging twisty routes.

The verdict

2023 Aprilia Tuono 660 – First Ride Impressions

The Aprilia Tuono 660, while not tailored for beginners, currently stands as the most approachable model in Aprilia’s local lineup. However, it’s important to note that it comes with a relatively high price tag, at P860,000, making it one of the more expensive middleweight naked bikes in the market.

When you invest in a Tuono 660, you’re not merely paying for sheer performance. Instead, you’re tapping into Aprilia’s rich racing heritage and a meticulously balanced chassis. While it might not be the bike for those seeking outright speed and maximum performance, it caters perfectly to intermediate or advanced riders searching for a versatile machine with a sporty edge. It’s about embracing a package that combines a legacy of racing prowess with a well-rounded riding experience.

2023 Aprilia Tuono 660 – First Ride Impressions

It’s worth acknowledging that other manufacturers do offer models with more performance, advanced technology, and refinement at a lower price point. However, the Tuono 660’s appeal lies beyond the numbers; it’s about the intangibles that come with an Aprilia, making it a compelling choice for those who value the brand’s unique heritage and the harmony of its design and engineering.

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