In this latest teaser from Aprilia for the upcoming Tuareg 660 middleweight adventure bike, we hear from the company’s Head of Engineering — Piero Soatti — who tells us about the development of the engine and electronics.
“Having the chance to work on the bike you dreamed of as a boy is a dream come true,” says Piero in reference to the original Tuareg from the late 80s and early 90s.
Soatti goes on to explain that the team tried to introduce the same spirit as the last-of-the-line 1994 Aprilia Tuareg Wind 600, a model created for the challenges of the Paris-Dakar Rally. And like the original Tuareg, the reimagined version is designed to do well in demanding off-road conditions and be outstanding on the street.
The big difference between now and then is the modern tools engineers have at their disposal that weren’t available 30 years ago. Technologies such as Ride-By-Wire, Traction Control, Ride Modes and other instruments help improve a rider’s ability to push the bike’s limits, on wide-ranging terrain, with more confidence. More-modern engines can also squeeze out more horsepower and torque for the same engine size than before. According to Aprilia, the new 660cc parallel-twin pumps out an impressive-for-its-size 80 horses and 52 ft-lbs of torque. And it’s been specifically tuned for this application rather than a “copy and paste” from Aprilia’s Tuono.
“We worked on all the important parts to adapt the engine to a bike that needs to be an on/off roader. To make this engine suitable for off-road use, we made changes to all the fluid dynamics of the engine, with the goal of maximizing torque at low and medium revs, in order to have a bike that would be responsive at the slightest twist of the throttle.”
We also learn more about the ride modes of the new Tuareg 660, which will include “Explore” “Urban” and “Off Road.” And thankfully, the “Off Road” mode will allow the rider to turn off ABS completely. There will also be an “Individual” rider mode that lets you customize different settings like Engine Maps (three levels), Traction Control (four levels) and Engine Braking (three levels).
We also get assurances from Piero that Aprilia’s newest Adventure Bike won’t disappoint on the street. Even though its usage is tuned more toward off-road, the bike still maintains its Aprilia DNA with street performance similar to a SuperMoto bike.
From what we’ve seen of how this machine is shaping up, it looks like this new Tuareg is going to be quite an impressive performer. The “no limits, no borders” theme seems to be a fitting one with promises of a nimble off-road chassis, powerful mid-sized twin powerplant and a full suite of electronics to enhance the rider experience. We can’t wait to throw a leg over it and see how it matches all our expectations. And it looks like we won’t have to wait too long, with a first test expected within the next few months. Stay tuned for more!
Aprilia Tuareg 660 Specs
|FRAME:||Tubular steel frame, engine used as a stressed member|
|DRY WEIGHT:||412 lbs (187 kg)|
|FRONT SUSPENSION:||43mm adjustable USD Fork|
|FRONT SUSPENSION TRAVEL:||9.5″ (240mm)|
|REAR SUSPENSION:||Adjustable monoshock with progressive linkage|
|REAR SUSPENSION TRAVEL:||9.5″ (240mm)|
|GROUND CLEARANCE:||9.5″ (240mm)|
|SEAT HEIGHT:||33.9″ (860mm)|
|FUEL CAPACITY:||4.8 gallons (18 liters)|
|WHEELS:||21″ front / 18″ rear tubeless|