Aprilia RS 660 Design

Perhaps the biggest surprise to grace the 2018 EICMA show floor last November was Aprilia’s RS 660 concept. In a market where middleweight sportbikes seem to be on the wane, Aprilia bucked the trend with the concept and its 660cc parallel-Twin engine derived from the 1100cc RSV4 and Tuono V-4.

Aprilia is reportedly targeting a 2020 release for the production model, with spy photos of a prototype already being spotted on a racetrack. Adding fuel to the speculation is a design registration published this week by Australia’s intellectual property office showing a bike that closely resembles the concept. There are some subtle differences, but many more similarities:

The overall design is similar, with matching frames, engines, fenders and fuel tank. The outer layer of the bodywork is nearly identical, but the inner fairing is completely different, missing the center cutout but adding a smaller opening where it meets the frame. Piaggio did say the concept uses an active aerodynamics system, without providing much detail. From the front view (below) we can see the layered openings between the bodywork, but perhaps the difference in the inner panel is part of this aero package.

The front fairing is slightly revised, and the headlights are missing some additional LEDs. On the concept, this lighting was yellow, suggesting they may actually be turn signal indicators, but it’s unlikely that design would pass street homologation.

Other changes are more subtle. The design uses different wheels, adopting three Y-shaped spokes. The swingarm looks beefier and has a straighter shape than the concept’s banana-style arm. This also resulted in a different rear fender that sits further forward ahead of the swingarm’s bend.

The design also appears to depict a Sachs fork similar to the one equipped on the RSV4 RR instead of the Öhlins unit shown on the concept. The front brake caliper also looks to be a lower spec than what was shown on the concept. The top yoke also appears to be identical to the one used on the RSV4.

The question is, then, is whether the design filing is for a production model or for the original concept? While there are differences from the bike shown at EICMA, there are still elements that scream “concept” rather than production model. A production model would also likely have a much larger exhaust to pass environmental regulations (remember, Euro 5 is just around the corner!). Smaller details like the footpeg mounts and the V-shaped fins on the tail don’t look like what you’d expect on a finished production bike.

The Australian filing was submitted on April 8, 2019, but it references a prior filing with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) dated Oct. 29, 2018. The EUIPO filing is currently still under embargo, but the October date would put the filing about a week before EICMA. Some of the differences between the design and the concept could have been late additions for the Milan show rather than for a production model.

According to the reports from the spy photos, Aprilia was working on two setups, a track-prepped version and another set up for the street. The photos show a much larger exhaust that rises upward below the tail, and a chain guard on the left side of the swingarm, which the design filing lacks. The spy photos were captured in early December, about a month after EICMA, and if we assume it’s more reflective of what the final production model will look like, then it’s looking more likely that the design filings were from an earlier conceptual stage of development.

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Either way, we’ll know more, likely at this year’s EICMA show where we suspect the production version of the Aprilia RS 660 will debut.

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