It looks like supersports aren’t quite dead; they’ve been
pining for the fjords of Norway mostly abandoned by the Japanese, but picked up by Europeans.
Specifically, the Europeans interested in Making Supersports Great Again are the Italians, with design drawings of the Aprilia RS660 coming to light.
The RS660 is the first really new performance bike in the 600-class to appear in some time. While the Japanese have made some minor updates to machines like the Yamaha R6 or the Kawasaki ZX-6R, the economics of motorcycle financing and insurance have killed most of the interest in the class. Honda’s approach, to let the CBR600 die and instead focus on the less-silly CBR650, seems to be the sensible way forward.
But Aprilia can rarely be accused of taking the sensible way forward, and last fall, we saw the RS660 prototype debut at EICMA. It uses a vertical twin engine, supposedly derived from Aprilia’s V4 1100, and more interestingly, it uses active aerodynamics. In other words, its bodywork adapts its shape to provide aerodynamic effects that help your riding.
Highly interesting stuff, but was it all just halo technology to be shown off at the show circuit, never to debut in real life?
It seems not! Motorcycle.com has uncovered design sketches of what looks like a production version of the RS660, filed in Australia. The guys at MO speculate at length as to whether this indeed is the production version or just a copyright protection move for the prototype, but either way, it’s an interesting find, and hopefully points to a future where 600s aren’t the lost, forgotten children of the motorcycle industry. It’s certainly true that the RS660 has been rumoured to be hitting production for the 2020 riding season, and it’s also true that Norton is rumoured to be using some of the bike’s tech as well. Keep your eyes and ears open, and we’ll let you know more when we can!