BASED ON APRILIA 660 TECHNOLOGY, THE NEW TUAREG SEES A LEGENDARY NAME IN OFF-ROAD RIDING RETURN IN STYLE
BORN FOR EXPLORING, TUAREG 660 IS DESIGNED TO WITHSTAND THE TOUGHEST OFF-ROAD RIDING WHILE GUARANTEEING TOURING COMFORT AND RIDING PLEASURE
WITH AN OUTSTANDING WEIGHT/POWER RATIO, EXCELLENT OFF-ROAD PERFORMANCE, EXTRAORDINARY CHASSIS FEATURES ON ASPHALT AND BEST-IN-CLASS ELECTRONICS, TUAREG RAISES THE BAR IN THE ADVENTURE CATEGORY
The 660 platform represents the start of a new era for Aprilia. One defined by lightweight and high-performance motorcycles with an attractive design and unique, unequivocally premium technological content. It is Aprilia's response to the new generation's demand for easy and fun vehicles capable of being just as thrilling on the daily commute as they are on dynamic rides. The result is a range of medium-engine bikes that introduce a new conception of sportiness, in line with the expectations of a younger and more knowledgeable market. Following on the heels of the highly popular RS 660 and Tuono 660, dedicated to street sport riding, this is a true off-road bike. It bears a name that was introduced by Aprilia in 1985, which subsequently became legendary – a name so evocative it's clear what the bike is all about.
With such a significant history, the Tuareg name expresses a unique set of values: a guarantee of riding quality, performance and fun. Tuareg 660, an off-road bike par excellence, is also exceptional on the road and on even the longest and most adventurous trips.
It was designed to accompany those seeking freedom – a core value in the culture of the Tuareg people, who identify with the name “imohag”, meaning "free men". Granting the gift of freedom is Tuareg's real mission. Developed on the extraordinary mechanical base of the Aprilia 660 twin-cylinder, from the very first sketches it was designed to be mounted in a chassis architecture with a different intended use. Tuareg 660 was designed, developed and built to be the best combination of single-cylinder enduro bikes and medium-engine capacity adventure bikes. Two opposing worlds - until now. Tuareg 660 raises the bar for off-road adventure bike riding. But at the same time it places its supreme travelling spirit centre stage thanks to its impeccable performance on asphalt, its premium technical content, the performance of its 80 HP twin-cylinder and its reduced weight of just 187 kg without fluids.
The style: a perfect example of functional design
Tuareg 660's design is the result of the work done by the PADC (Piaggio Advanced Design Center), the Piaggio Group's style outpost in Pasadena, California. This privileged observation point on the world is where the latest trends are developed before they spread globally. The designers, led by Miguel Galluzzi, imagined a disruptive and highly distinctive style. The guiding light of the process was the wholesale elimination of any part that did not have a specific function, so as to keep the size and overall weight in check. Its style was forged in the search for a perfect balance between form and technological/functional features.
It drew inspiration from the outdoor world and technical items used in adventure activities: highly functional items that make the technical element the source of their beauty. In the same way, the Aprilia Tuareg 660's design conveys the idea of a vehicle ready to meet any need, developed with a constant focus on functionality. The graphics and logo of the Indaco Tagelmust version, on the other hand, are a clear tribute to the 1988 Tuareg 600 Wind.
A highly unique and innovative solution was chosen for the top fairing, consisting only of a broad expanse of plexiglass. This is transparent to provide a clear view of the elegantly refined support, which is made with a specific technopolymer enriched with fibreglass that also serves as the instrument cluster's support structure: evidence of Tuareg 660's painstaking construction. For the same reason, there are no classic side panels below the seat. They are replaced by two panels that can be removed when mounting the set of side panniers (available separately as an accessory) which therefore remain closer to the vehicle's body. The full LED lighting system includes the new, compact headlight unit featuring perimeter DRL. For the first time in this category, Tuareg 660 introduces the concept of double fairing which acts as an aerodynamic appendage, already successfully introduced on the RS 660 and Tuono 660. This is further confirmation of Aprilia's efforts in studying aerodynamic solutions that are increasingly more complex, benefiting performance and comfort.
Ergonomics and ride: a true Aprilia
Defining the ergonomics was one of the most complex development challenges, given Tuareg 660's primary goal of representing the best possible combination of two distinct worlds: the single-cylinder enduro world and the adventure bike world. The parallel configuration of the Aprilia twin-cylinder engine allowed the designers to maintain a contained saddle height off the ground and come up with a much lower straddle arch, making it easy for riders of any height to reach the ground.
To combine high rear-wheel travel - essential in off-road riding - with the ease of mounting the saddle, the subframe area was lowered as much as possible, thereby allowing for the design of a sleek but accessible tail fairing. Just as much attention was applied to the dimensions in order to achieve an extremely compact and slim bike, especially in the area where the rider's legs come into contact with the fuel tank, which, despite its amazing 18-litre capacity, ensures a range of 450 km.
The riding position makes travelling even more pleasurable, with the legs only slightly bent and the back assuming an erect and extended posture; the wide and high conical aluminium handlebar allows for optimum control of the front end, giving the rider the magnificent sensations of handling and feeling typical of all Aprilia chassis architectures. The passenger also gets a smooth ride, with a long and comfortable portion of the seat and two convenient, built-in grab handles. Tuareg 660's intended use off-road is obvious when riding upright: the extremely compact central area is even reminiscent of the one on single-cylinder enduro bikes, whereas the layout of the saddle and sides means the rider has plenty of room to move around. In order to have maximum control off road, the rubber footpeg covers can be removed and the tip of the rear brake lever can be easily raised. The high position of the handlebar allows for a slightly bent-forward body position to maintain an erect posture for a constantly active ride. The painstaking care that went into limiting the weight of each and every component has reduced the overall kerb weight to just 204 kg, an incredible result in the medium engine capacity adventure bike category. Its light weight, compactness, and perfect balance, combined with record-breaking suspension travel, make Tuareg the new benchmark for true off-roading sportiness and effectiveness.
Chassis architecture: Aprilia raises the bar once again
Aprilia chassis architectures have always been recognised as the best in the world for effectiveness in sport riding and in particular for the unique and unmistakeable front wheel feeling that they provide. They are the result of a design and construction culture derived directly from the experience of Aprilia Racing which has already resulted in 54 world titles. The Tuareg 660 chassis architecture, as is already the case with its street bike siblings, aims to raise the bar in the category, both on and off road. Everything is obviously very different to RS and Tuono given it was designed for “heavy duty” use – namely for demanding off-road riding, with the significant cargo capacity an additional factor.
The frame is a new structure in high-resistance steel tubes and cast plates; the subframe is welded to the frame in order to achieve a truly solid structure capable of withstanding loads of up to 210 kg, meeting any cargo needs when travelling with panniers and a passenger on board. The structural solidity is also ensured by the six anchor points of the engine to the frame (compared to the three on RS 660 and the two on Tuono 660), which is, therefore, no longer used as a bearing element (as it is on RS 660 and Tuono 660), but as a stressed element. Its position has also been rotated about 10° to the rear compared with the street bikes. This makes the cylinder bank more vertical, reduces the yaw movement of the bike and boosts its agility on tight turns.
The double-arm aluminium swingarm, significantly longer to ensure maximum traction, is pivoted both in the frame and in the engine and operates the shock absorber that features progressive linkage. The Kayaba suspension system, with extremely long travel (240 mm), has adjustable hydraulic rebound damping and compression, as well as spring preload (for the shock absorber, using the convenient hydraulic preload handle). The set up Aprilia has chosen is ideal for overcoming any obstacle a demanding off-road ride might throw up, while also making an enjoyable ride on the road possible. The fuel tank is another one of the elements that clearly represents the clarity behind the Tuareg 660's design. In spite of its large 18-litre capacity, it is extremely slender in the area where the rider's legs come into contact with it and is fully protected by the frame, so there is no need for any additional covering. Its vertical development allows the fuel to stay close to the centre of gravity, without having any impact on the riding dynamics, the change in volume, or any change of its position within the tank – when tackling steep slopes for example. The fuel draught zone is located beneath the saddle. This has benefits both for centralisation of the masses and draught down to the last drop. The choice of sizes for the tubeless aluminium wheel rims indicates the Tuareg 660's clear off-roading vocation: the front rim is 2.5 x 21”; the rear rim is 4.5 x 18”. Both are shod with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, respectively 90/90 and 150/70. The Brembo braking system relies on a pair of 300 mm discs and double-piston callipers at the front and a single 260 mm disc and floating, single-piston calliper at the rear.
Performance and safety with the APRC electronics suite
Aprilia has always been at the cutting edge of the electronics field (the first to introduce Ride-by-Wire throttle control on a MotoGP bike in 2002 and on a factory bike in 2007) and currently boasts the APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control) electronic controls package. Developed in top level competitions, it is considered by customers and critics to be among the most effective and advanced available.
Aprilia Tuareg 660 features the electronic multimap Ride-by-Wire accelerator for finely tuned, delicate and progressive throttle control from low engine revs and a special APRC electronic controls package calibrated for performance and safety, with dedicated settings to provide a safe and thrilling ride on the road and, at the same time, an off-road ride without filters, ensuring the purest riding pleasure.
The APRC package on Tuareg 660, developed specifically for this model, includes:
The vast catalogue of accessories dedicated to Tuareg 660 also includes AQS: Aprilia Quick Shift, the electronic gearbox that allows for very rapid shifting without closing the throttle or using the clutch. It is also equipped with the downshift function, to allow for clutchless downshifting.
To maximise the riding experience and to facilitate being on board, Aprilia has set up four Riding Modes specifically for Tuareg 660: all the rider has to do is choose the Riding Mode that best interprets his or her riding needs to automatically obtain the best settings in terms of traction control, engine brake, ABS and all the other managed parameters.
Of the four Riding Modes, two are dedicated to street riding, one is specifically for off-road riding, and one is fully customisable:
Urban, for everyday riding, calibrated with safety in mind; ABS is active on both channels;
Explore, for a thrilling ride on the road, calibrated to let you fully enjoy the route. ABS is active on both channels.
Offroad, specifically for off-road riding, with minimum traction control and engine brake levels. This engine mapping is the most manageable in terms of power delivery. ABS is disabled on the rear brake and can also be disabled on the front brake.
Individual, which lets you fully personalise the electronic controls.
Managing the electronics settings is facilitated by fully intuitive handlebar controls: the one on the left lets you quickly adjust traction control and cruise control (in addition to the other functions); the one on the right lets you quickly select the desired riding mode.
The 5-inch colour digital TFT instrument cluster provides a perfect display of the various parameters and features a twilight sensor that adjusts brightness based on the ambient lighting conditions. The list of accessories includes Aprilia MIA, the Aprilia multimedia platform that lets you connect your smartphone to the bike, further extending instrument cluster functions. The Aprilia MIA system provides a connection protocol that reduces smartphone battery consumption to a minimum and includes both the infotainment system to manage the voice assistant, telephone calls, and music using the handlebar controls, and the satnav feature, with the option of viewing the directions directly on the instrument panel. The Aprilia MIA app also allows the rider to save completed trips and analyse the data acquired directly in the app using the geo-referenced telemetry function.
Character and performance of the 80 HP Aprilia twin-cylinder
The ultra modern 660 twin-cylinder, the base of the new Aprilia family, was designed to equip a range of bikes intended for various uses: versatility was one of the design goals, along with performance and reduced weight. This was one of the reasons for the decision to create a forward facing twin-cylinder, a latest generation, extremely compact unit derived from the front bank of the 1100 cc V4, from which it draws concepts and measurements, and Euro 5 approved. This configuration stands out for its compact dimensions and light weight; an engine with reduced horizontal and lateral bulk allows for great design freedom, both in terms of arranging the fundamental organs such as intake and exhaust, and for the chassis architecture, since it fits well in different types of structures.
The forward facing configuration provides comfort for the rider thanks to the better heat dissipation and it leaves the designer freedom in exploiting the spaces. Furthermore, this architecture lends itself well to cooling, thanks in part to the fairing's ingenious double-wall system, featured on all the Aprilia 660 models, which aims to accelerate the air that flows through it. The long exhaust manifolds were designed with the same goal in mind, terminating in a lateral position – an ideal layout for quick maintenance.
The new Aprilia twin cylinder is the result of experience gained from the ultra powerful engine that equips the RSV4; it therefore benefits from an extremely high performing and tried and tested foundation: the head, combustion chamber, ducts, cylinders and pistons derive from the V4. The bore is also 81 mm, like in the 1099 cc V4, whereas the stroke is 63.9 mm. The decision to use the V4 technology guarantees outstanding performance, especially when the high stroke speed of the piston relative to the actual displacement is considered. Naturally, all of the engine components, including the casts and moulds, were designed and developed specifically for the 660 units.
The engine crankcase is divided horizontally into two pieces with the cylinders built into the upper semi-crankcase to reduce bulk and make the structure more robust. The cylinders are offset with respect to the crankshaft in order to minimise internal friction during piston thrust.
In addition to performance and light weight, another design goal was to obtain the character and aggressiveness from the engine typical of V-twins. In order to achieve this, timing with crankpins arranged at 270° was chosen. This means that combustion is asymmetrical and offset 270° to obtain irregular combustion which translates into performance and sound similar to a V-twin. Furthermore, this type of configuration allows easy balancing of the alternating first and second level forces, using a single countershaft.
The specific operations dedicated to Tuareg involved both the upper and lower parts of the engine with the respective goals of increasing torque at low rpm and guaranteeing correct lubrication in off-road use conditions. The dual overhead camshafts, with 4 valves per cylinder, driven by a lateral chain, have optimised lifting to increase maximum torque at lower rpm. This was also the purpose for the new design of the intake system with longer ducts and a new filter casing, positioned between the headstock and the fuel tank, which facilitates removal of the air filter. Last, but not least, the layout of the new exhaust system optimises engine performance at low and medium rpm. An ignition advance management algorithm was developed on the Tuareg 660 that perfects combustion in any engine heating conditions, optimising powertrain performance and consumption. Compared to its street bike siblings, the first gear ratio is also different (shorter), as is the final drive, with two fewer sprockets on the pinion (15, compared with the 17 on RS 660 and Tuono 660), to maximise throttle response time. As for the wet sump lubrication, a new oil sump has been introduced with the same capacity, but higher, in order to increase the height off the ground to an outstanding 240 mm. The oil sump has new walls which mean that the correct quantity of lubricant can be present under any conditions; there is also a new rose pipe with a different intake mouth. The oil circuit has a new channel in the semi-crankcase that takes the lubricant to the sump, preventing stagnation in the gearbox.
Like on the RS 660 and Tuono 660, the multi plate wet clutch with anti-juddering has a mechanically assisted system that results in a handlebar control that is extremely soft to operate, without penalising performance.
The performance achieved in this way is actually higher than that of larger capacity engines: maximum power output is 80 HP at 9,250 rpm; the maximum torque of 70 Nm is provided at significantly lower revs than it is on the RS 660 (6,500 rpm compared with 8,500 on the RS 660), with 75% of it available from 3,000 rpm, which turns into 85% when you hit 4,500 rpm. The injection system includes a pair of 48 mm-diameter throttle bodies with different length intake ducts to optimise distribution at high to medium speeds.
Versions and colours
Aprilia was the first to break away from the traditional colour schemes which the motorbike world had been trapped in for decades, introducing fantastic, cutting-edge colour schemes as early as the ’90s. In a nod to this tradition and to fully distinguish itself from a visual perspective, the range of Aprilia Tuareg 660 colours includes the Acid Gold version. Already successfully introduced on RS and Tuono, this option best highlights Tuareg 660's innovative design.
Aprilia Tuareg 660 is also available in the Martian Red version, with overarching tones of black and red, colours which are part of Aprilia's sporting heritage. The third graphic is called Indaco Tagelmust and is the most iconic, explicitly inspired by the colour scheme of the 1988 Tuareg Wind 600.
Aprilia Tuareg 660's power can be reduced to 35 kW, ideal for new drivers but with all other technical features unchanged.
A complete range of original accessories
Aprilia has developed a vast range of accessories dedicated to Tuareg 660 to improve performance, comfort, and functionality.
The line of Aprilia Tuareg 660 apparel
Aprilia offers a line of quality apparel, explicitly dedicated to touring and off-roading. The collection includes: