I.A development can be observed in the motorcycle market that after the years of the arms race is astonishing, perhaps even pleasing. Instead of outbidding each other with huge engine power and correspondingly increased masses, the manufacturers are launching new models that come up with “reasonable” horsepower numbers below 100 and a puristic equipment. Yamaha’s Ténéré travel enduro, which generates a maximum of 73 hp from 689 cubic meters and has no electronics on board apart from an ABS, proves that this can be successful.
Aprilia is emulating this model. As Yamaha demonstrated, the Italians created an entire mid-range series around one engine. But the Tuareg 660 differs much more from its siblings RS 660 and Tuono 660, it is a completely independent development with a special tubular steel frame and highly suitable spring elements. The USD fork and the shock absorber are both fully adjustable and provide a mighty 240 millimeters of spring travel, with which even rough terrain can be taken under the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR studded tires.
The one-piece, non-adjustable seating furniture is correspondingly high. Normal-sized people don’t have to shy away from the respectable 860 millimeters, because the narrow waist also allows them to have safe contact with the ground when standing excellent wind and weather protection is refined behind the non-adjustable pane. So on the Tuareg, even long stages can be unwinded in a relaxed manner without clenched teeth or calluses, regardless of the good range of the rather generous 18-liter tank.
Despite the impeccable touring suitability, the Italian’s hour only really strikes on winding country roads and then when the asphalt ends. The in-line twin-cylinder, which has been modified according to the application and fits like a fist on the eye, helps it with this: camshafts with tamer control times and changes to the intake tract such as the exhaust system make the engine look fuller at the bottom and in the middle. The fact that a bit of top performance was sacrificed for this seems bearable, especially since the first gear as well as the entire secondary gear have been reduced for a crisp start. In the technology panel it reads as follows: The peak output of 80 hp is achieved at 9250 tours, a remarkable 70 Nm torque is already available at 6500 rpm.
Unlike in the case of the purist Yamaha, riders of the Aprilia, which is equipped with advanced electronics, have the choice between two fixed driving modes that specify the response and braking torque of the engine, traction control and the intervention of the ABS, as well as two other individually configurable settings. If that’s too much choice, choose “Explore” for the road and “Offroad” with ABS deactivated at the rear for off-road activities.
The Tuareg twin is unanimous with its good throttle response in all load conditions and high-pressure thrust even at low revs. From 2000 tours the Tuareg goes forward sensibly even in the last gear without complaining and really comes to life with around 4000 tours; however, not much happens at the top. Despite the smooth clutch, the Blipper is a recommendation for around 200 euros, which enables clutchless upshifts and downshifts.
The Tuareg can be driven enthusiastically over bends, regardless of the rough Pirellis, which roll surprisingly precisely and neutrally. For a motorcycle with a 21-inch front wheel, the 660 slips nimbly through the corners and remains beautifully stable, even on the brakes it does not dive in spite of the long spring travel – the basic set-up of fork and shock absorber is on the taut, active side, which is included slower pace takes a little of the driving comfort.
This design is fruitful on gravel roads and scree and makes the Tuareg an easily enjoyable off-road fun vehicle that works on sand, loose scree and slopes. The successful weight distribution of the fully fueled 204 kilograms creates a lot of trust as well as the good integration of the standing driver who, because of the good controllability, is quickly tempted to drift through the curve with the rear wheel spinning.
Although this is relatively easy to do, one does not want to overdo it. Because the Aprilia is anything but sparse, in addition to the fully adjustable chassis and the – not lean – driver assistance, there is an easy-to-read, multifunctional five-inch on-board computer and eye-catching LED lighting. The independent Tuareg pays back the 11,990 euros invested primarily through their happy driving fun on the road, their good traveling virtues and their easy-going terrain.
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