Aprilia is continuing its curious launches for its 2021 motorcycles, trickling out information about the machines over multiple “debut” releases.
While we still wait for a glimpse of the right-hand side of the 2021 Aprilia RSV4, today we are getting some new information about the soon-to-be-released Aprilia Tuono 660, which is going to change how this bike is perceived in the US market.
For starters, Aprilia has clarified that the Tuono 660 will not come with an inertia measurement unit (IMU) as standard, and instead this piece of hardware will be an aftermarket option for the street bike.
This goes against everything we have communicated to-date about the 2021 Aprilia Tuono 660, as well as our understanding of the bike.
Looking at the press release from just over a month ago, Aprilia stated the following:
Its electronics are top of the class, more advanced than various superbike class bikes: the Ride-by-Wire electronic accelerator provides the best management of the APRC electronic controls suite that includes multi-leveltraction control, anti wheelie control, cruise control, engine brake and selectable engine maps, also joined by the ABS system. To easily manage all the electronic controls through the colour TFT instrumentation, Aprilia has fine tuned five Riding Modes (three dedicated to road riding and two for the track): the rider just needs to choose the option that best interprets his or her riding style, always leaving the possibility of customising them.
While the assumption is that since the market is headed to a place where bikes in this category and price point now come with IMU-assisted electronics, and the Aprilia RS 660 (which the Tuono 660 is based off of) comes with this technology, we can see that Aprilia at no point explicitly states that an IMU is present on the motorcycle.
However, the Italians do say that the electronics are “top of the class” and more importantly, they explicitly name the electronics suite on the Aprilia Tuono 660 as the “APRC electronic controls suite.”
The last point is interesting because Aprilia debuted its APRC electronic suit for the 2011 model year RSV4, and since its inception, the “Aprilia Performance Ride Control” suite has utilized an inertial measurement unit for its traction control, wheelie control, and other rider aids.
In fact, Aprilia was the first brand to offer an IMU-powered electronics suite in the motorcycle industry, and their design has evolved considerably over the years since its inception.
It is therefore rather unprecedented that the APRC suite for the Tuono 660 does not include this piece of hardware and technology, and it is an interesting place for Aprilia to carve out some distinction between the Tuono 660 and RS 660 models.
Our understanding is that the IMU for the Aprilia Tuono 660 will be sold as optional add-on, as will the up/down quickshifter.
There might be a package option for these two items, as they are likely to be a popular add-on request by owners. No word on price, though we would expect it to be close to the $800 price delta between the Tuono 660 and RS 660.
Moving forward in the news, the lines between the two bikes gets blurred a little further, as we learn that the 2021 Aprilia Tuono 660 will come to the US with a claimed horsepower figure of 100hp, instead of the 95hp it will debut with in Europe.
This is due to regulatory constraints in Europe which will require the Tuono 660 to be detuned from 100hp to 95hp, and presumably other markets beyond the United States will see this bike as 100hp model as well.
Lastly, we get word that the Aprilia RS 660 has been homologated for us in the MotoAmerica Twins class, though the bike will have to race with performance concessions.
MotoAmerica’s rule-balancing efforts will require the Aprilia RS 660 to race with a basically stock engine, though work above, and including, the head gasket has been permitted. Presumably if the bike still outperforms the class, ballast weight could be added to the formula.
With a number of Twin class teams set to switch to the Aprilia RS 660 for the 2021 season, it will be interesting to see how MotoAmerica balances the interests of the larger OEMs that fill the grids on the bigger classes, namely the interests of Suzuki and Yamaha – both of who have a stake in the Twins class racing.