Aprilia COMPARISON: Aprilia RS 660 takes on its (almost) rivals

Aprilia RS 660

The new Aprilia RS 660 may not have any direct rivals but that doesn’t mean there aren’t several motorcycles it will be looking to snatch sales from... 

The new Aprilias RS 660 has been gobbling up the column inches since it bounded onto the scene at the EICMA show in Milan in 2018, first as a concept before being unveiled good-to-go at the 2019 showpiece.

Since then a steady stream of official announcements, spy shots and teaser pictures have kept the global motorcycle audience poised with giddy excitement.

And the excitement was worth it, because as we found out on the official launch, the real life riding experience definitely matches the hype that had built around the machine.


But there is still one unanswered question, and one that continually crops up in comments on social media: What is the main competitor of the Aprilia RS660?

It’s a tricky question, and one that we are going to set out to answer, or least understand a little better than we do now…

To look at on the road, the RS660 is clearly a middleweight sports bike, with most riders hanging the supersports tag from its svelte bodywork. But delve deeper into the specs and it becomes clear that the RS660 isn’t a traditional supersports bike. With just shy of 100hp, the Aprilia looks tame when compared to the track-focused machines that traditionally inhabit this category.

We’re talking about bikes like the 130hp Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja, the 118hp Yamaha R6, and even the MV Agusta F3 800 and its claimed 150bhp.

And with that track focus comes an aggressive riding position, firm seat, and racy slip on handlebars. All of which are great when you’re chipping tenths from your laptime at Brands Hatch, less ideal when you’re out for a long ride with your mates.

So, maybe our search for the ultimate rival to the Aprilia should come from the other end of the supersport spectrum. Here we find the Honda CBR650R, Kawasaki Ninja 650, two very different takes on the theme. These bikes are designed to allow the look and some of the feel of a supersport motorcycle, without any of the knife-edge dynamics. 

Both of these can’t be called out-and-out supersport bikes either and share much of their design with a naked sibling.  They also provide less power than the machines I mentioned earlier, with the Honda producing a claimed 94bhp and the Kawasaki 67bhp.  

So while comparable to an extent, these bikes are as stripped back and basic as you get in this class, whereas the Aprilia on the other hand is dripping with tech… It has IMU controlled cornering switchable ABS and switchable traction control with eight stages of intervention! The list doesn’t stop there either with wheelie control, an up and down quickshifter, engine braking control, four road modes and two track riding modes rounding out the smorgasbord of gizmos.

So the Aprilia is pricier than its power-comparable rivals but cheaper than those which it could easily keep up with on the twisty stuff… in short, it has made its own sub-category and we suspect manufacturers will be looking closely to see how the market reacts.

But would WE pick it over these motorcycles - scroll back up and watch the video to find out...