The RS660 serves as Aprilia’s Ducati Panigale V2 fighter, a svelte scalpel with a 660cc parallel twin and a dry weight of only 366 pounds, or 403 pounds ready to ride. That’s a solid 10% less than the Panigale V2, savings that Aprilia prizes over the more larger and more powerful 955cc Superquadro’s significant power advantage. Power-to-weight ratios compete in exponential fashion, the reasoning goes, so there’s more going on in this battle than just all-out straight-line sprinting.
The RS660 also sports more aggressive aero versus the iconic Ducati fairings and a much more aggressive entry price, with a starting sticker of $11,499. But all the numbers in the world mean nothing as I pull away from the curb, weight on my forearms and knees tucked in tight for the ride home. Within a few blocks, I know this bike intimately. As a professional writer, I can’t help but abhor the laziness of the only way I can describe the sensation: This is the first time a modern motorcycle has really felt like what I always imagined a bike should feel like.
Each ride over the next two weeks is a revelation, as I gain confidence in tire traction while leaning and countersteering, shifting my weight together with the bike to find the flow immediately on any kind of meandering road. Somehow the act of bracing against the RS660’s lower grip through tight corners pairs perfectly with throttle modulation and power delivery and gearshifting and braking and… I need to know why. So for the first time, I take a real deep dive into some of the engineering details that make this bike stand out so much from the rest.