For many years after the retirement of Aprilia’s ETV 1200 Caponord, the Italian company lacked an adventure touring bike in its line-up. Finally, we got the Aprilia Tuareg 660 which we tested in Sardinia. The Italians have chosen to name the bike after their legendary Tuareg 250 Rally bike from the ’80s, a reference to its once impeccable performance and style.
A Worthy Successor
On paper, the key details look promising: a curb weight of 412 pounds, 240mm suspension travel front and rear, wheel sizes of 21/18 inches, and a two-cylinder in-line engine that received high marks from riders on the RS and Tuono 660. The Tuareg now has 80 hp available at 9,250 rpm, while a modified intake system—together with a new exhaust and adapted gear ratios—gets the most out of the parallel twin.
The newly designed chassis features a conventional steel tube frame. The narrow 4.7-gallon gas tank has been stretched far under the seat, giving the Tuareg a slim waistline that benefits off-road rideability. When maneuvering at a standstill, the Tuareg feels like a featherweight, to which its large steering angle of almost 90 degrees contributes. The suspension travel of the responsive and progressive Kayaba components gives a secure feeling while stopped, even though the nominal height of the narrow but comfortable seat is 33.8 inches.
The LED lighting system and the five-inch TFT display are class-standard. Several riding modes and adjustment options for traction control and ABS are available.
On the winding country roads of Sardinia, the 660 handles well with precise directional stability. The Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires harmonize with the machine and, despite long suspension travel, it doesn’t stagger even at a sporty supermoto-style pace. The Brembo braking system keeps the ride well under control.
Meanwhile, the engine offers discrete torque in the mid-range and revs up freely without vibration. With the smooth cable clutch and tared electronic throttle, the lively powerplant transmits a very direct feel to the rider.
The Tuareg is at home dancing on windy roads and traveling to the ends of the Earth, thanks to good wind protection, a comfortable seat, a vibration-free engine, and an efficient safety package.
Off-road, the bike displays outstanding qualities, whether going over gravel, rocks, sand, mud, or deep ruts and jumps. Just choose any line to the next turn and the Tuareg will take you there. The Kayaba suspension works great and the well-balanced chassis allows stunts worthy of a professional rally bike.
With the Tuareg 660, Aprilia has designed a brilliant ADV motorcycle with a price tag starting at $11,999. It’s suitable for a wide range of riding with exceptional off-road handling characteristics. It was well worth it to resort to the almost 40-year-old DNA of the Tuareg 250.