To create Aprilia’s first-ever parallel-twin engine design powering the Tuareg 660 and its Tuono/RS660 sisters, its first middleweight four-stroke motor since the SXV450/500 V-twins developed strictly for off-road use 20 years ago, the Italian marque’s R&D engineers essentially sliced their seven-time World Superbike champion (three Riders crowns, four Manufacturers titles) RSV4’s unique 65° V4 motor in half, took the front bank of cylinders and stroked the result to produce a liquid-cooled eight-valve 659cc power unit measuring 81 x 63.93 mm. This very compact lightweight wet-sump design, with a 270° crankshaft and single gear-driven balance shaft to reduce any remaining vibration, weighs just 57kg dry including the two 48mm ride-by-wire Marelli throttle bodies, each with a single injector. The forged pistons whose wrist pins feature a DLC coating for improved durability, sit on split steel conrods mounted on the one-piece plain bearing 180-degree crankshaft (so, one-up, one-down, piston-wise) T
o keep the Tuareg’s chassis as narrow as possible – an issue essentially dictated by the width of the cylinder heads – the 660 motor uses the same modular camdrive arrangement as on the RSV4, with a chain driven via an idler gear running off the crank, which in turn drives the inlet camshaft for the DOHC cylinder head. Another pair of idler gears then drives the exhaust camshaft, delivering a narrow 250mm width across the top of the engine – this is a twin with the build of a single. That chain camdrive is offset to the right side of the horizontally-split motor, with the cylinders cast integrally with the upper crankcase half to reduce bulk and weight, and to make the structure more robust. These cylinders with separate Nikasil-lined aluminium liners are offset with respect to the crankshaft, so as to minimise internal friction during piston thrust.
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