BACK TO THE DIRT APRILIA TUAREG 660
Bike SA|January 2022
First ride on Aprilia’s latest middleweight model, following on from the RS 660 and Tuono 660 unveiled last year as the third key element in Piaggio-owned brand’s return to offroad
Alan Cathcart

WORLD LAUNCH

Ultra-accessible performance of this true all-round model is certain to deliver satisfaction to riders of all levels of experience, while being completely versatile on road and off

Aprilia’s RS660/Tuono 660 middleweight duo have been the standout sellers from any European brand in 2021 in the ever more hotly contested 600-800cc middleweight sector fought over by more than a dozen different manufacturers from East and West. That’s a sector that until quite recently was dominated by increasingly more extreme 600/675cc Supersport models – but now a cocktail of insurance costs, speed cameras and good old fashioned common sense has sidelined these road-legal race replica rocketships to the race track where they rationally belong, and alongside the Naked roadsters that have provided an increasingly popular real world alternative to them, another segment is increasingly taking off in the middleweight marketplace. Dual purpose adventure bikes are the flavour of the moment, and while there will probably always be a market for two-wheeled Range Rovers like the BMW R1250GS, Ducati Multistrada and Honda’s Africa Twin, the real growth in the go-anywhere market is in that 600800cc midsize sector.

Now, in a challenge to Yamaha’s segment leading Tenere 700 mini adventure bike with its MT-07 parallel-twin motor, Aprilia has launched the Tuareg 660 – named after the nomadic North African people whose salt caravans crisscross the Sahara Desert, and a hallowed Aprilia model name since the mid-‘80s rather than VW’s SUV, which copied Aprilia by adopting the name only in 2002! This will be unveiled in public at the Milan EICMA Show later this month, and will be in dealer showrooms immediately thereafter. It’s available in three different colours, with the Acid Gold and Martian Red versions both costing €11,990 in Italy incl. 22% local tax, and the multicolour Indaco Tagelmust livery (a Tagelmust is apparently the cotton headscarf worn by the Tuareg, while Indaco is Indigo in their language) that’s apparently inspired by the colour scheme of the 1988 Tuareg Wind 600, retailing at €12,270 incl. tax. Contrast that with the €10,249 sticker price of the Tenere 700 in Italy. A 47bhp/35kW restricted power version will also be available for A2 licence holders.

Anyone much over the age of 40 is likely to be surprised if you tell them Aprilia was originally an offroad brand, more concerned with leavening its range of 50/125cc urban runarounds with World title-winning Trials bikes and a seriously capable range of Rotax-powered Enduro singles in various capacities up to 600cc, than ever going racing on the hard stuff. Indeed, company owner Ivano Beggio was a dirt biker himself, whose proudest moment for many years came in 1977 when his rider Ivan Alborghetti defeated the might of Japan Inc. as well as all Beggio’s Italian rivals, to win both the hard-fought Italian 125 and 250 cc Motocross championships in the same year on Aprilias. That’s quite an achievement – he must have been super-fit!

Indeed, it wasn’t until 1986 that the Aprilia name first appeared on a road racer, and then only on Loris Reggiani’s one-off 250GP entry powered by a Rotax tandem-twin motor. But after Loris won the 1988 San Marino GP to register the first of 294 Aprilia Grand Prix race victories, gradually thereafter the focus shifted, and the remainder of the 54 World Championships won up to now by Aprilia riders after Tommy Ahvala’s 1992 World Trials title all came in road racing, essentially rationalising the strategic decision to build a company better known today for its scooters, road bikes and road racing success. Still, the Enduro range of Tuareg 50/125cc two-strokes and 350/600cc four-stroke singles launched in 1985 helped Aprilia build a reputation for style and solidity, with the range-topping Rotax-powered 562cc single underpinning Beggio’s dream of competing in the Paris-Dakar rally. In 1989 a factory Aprilia Tuareg 600 did just that, finishing 20th – but that was the one and only time Aprilia entered the North African classic, and in 1994 the Tuareg was replaced in the company’s range by the more soft-centered dual-purpose Pegaso models.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BIKE SAView All

Wet Weather Riding

Wet roads can make you faster and smoother. They also open up a whole new world of riding possibilities.

10 mins read
Bike SA
May 2022

The Perfect Surprise

Anniversary Getaway

10+ mins read
Bike SA
May 2022

Langen Two-Stroke 250 Back to the Future

First ride on the debut model produced by Langen Motorcycles, the limited edition 250cc Two Stroke repli-racer produced by Britain’s newest manufacturer that’s now in production

10+ mins read
Bike SA
May 2022

International Female Ride Day 7 May 2022

It is that time of the year again and the ladies are coming together to promote female riders and ladies in biking. This international event is celebrated globally and in SA we are not shy to participate. Last year’s event brought together about 300 ladies on various motorbikes and we are aiming for 400 participants this year.

2 mins read
Bike SA
May 2022

Ex-norton Motorcycles Boss Stuart Garner Avoids Jail After Investing £11 Million of Pension Savings

Stuart Garner has received a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to using other people’s pension money to invest in his own business, Norton motorcycles.

3 mins read
Bike SA
May 2022

Being A Pilot

A Conversation with: Valentino Rossi & Lewis Hamilton

3 mins read
Bike SA
May 2022

Charley's Chat

Another story of Charley and friends’ madcap adventures...

6 mins read
Bike SA
May 2022

MotoGP Springtime for Aprilia

Don’t ask me how that happened. Aprilia, I mean. From bottom of the class to the top of the podium, in one easy move. Well, perhaps not one … it’s actually taken seven years of dogged persistence in the face of serial humiliation. But it still seems to have elements of all-of-a-sudden.

3 mins read
Bike SA
May 2022

Well, Sort of...Ducati 500 Bicilindrica GP

Classic Race Test: This article marks the 50th anniversary commemorated in 2021 of the debut of Ducati's first-ever 90° V-twin racebike in the 1971 racing season

8 mins read
Bike SA
April 2022

UNNECESSARILY FAST, OR UNNECESSARILY DANGEROUS?

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” This truism comes from boxing, but applies to all walks of life. Innovative MotoGP superstar Marc Marquez, however, adds a new twist.

3 mins read
Bike SA
May 2022
RELATED STORIES

End of an Era #GrazieVale

Valentino Rossi wraps his final MotoGP Grand Prix

3 mins read
FHM Australia
December 2021

DOWNSIZING MATTERS

Is the Aprilia SXR 125 still maxi-fun enough to consider?

3 mins read
Motoring World
August 2021

Rejuvenating Your Garage With Super Bikes

Top Upcoming Superbikes That Will Intensify The Glamour of Indian Market

3 mins read
FHM India
July 2021

APRILA SXR 125

THE 125CC ITERATION OF APRILIA’S FLAGSHIP SXR 160 PACKS A LIGHTER PUNCH, AND ALSO MISSES OUT ON THE ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM

5 mins read
Overdrive
July 2021

Yamaha's electric monster

Maestros of internal combustion turn their attention to building tech for the next generation of electric hypercars

4 mins read
MOTOR Magazine Australia
July 2021

TOYOTA SUPRA GTS

Power hike ups the ante on proven package

5 mins read
MOTOR Magazine Australia
January 2021

ITALIAN CHARM

The Aprilia SXR 160 was revealed at the Auto Expo 2020. Eleven months down the line, we finally get astride the maxi-scooter

3 mins read
evo India
January 2021

SUPERTWIN!

Aprilia’s way back into the hearts and minds of riders everywhere

8 mins read
Motoring World
December 2020

BMW Z4 M40i: BMW NOW OFFERS A Z4M ALTERNATIVE

IT’S EASY TO romanticise the convertible lifestyle. Sun-soaked weekend jaunts along the coast and whimsical Sunday afternoons frequenting wineries and eateries is the kind of existence a drop-top suggests. Perceived elegance and luxury is part of the deal, one the BMW Z4 has traditionally pulled off with varying degrees of success.

2 mins read
Wheels Australia Magazine
August 2020

Program the Manchester Baby

The Manchester Baby was the world’s first real computer. Mike Bedford introduces this pioneering machine and shows you how to write code for it.

10+ mins read
Linux Format
July 2020