The growth in adventure and dual-sport motorcycle sales is only matched by how many new models are entering the market these days. From Harley-Davidson to Husqvarna, more and more motorcycle brands are getting into the ADV game. And now, it’s Aprilia’s turn to bring an adventure bike to market. Or rather, return to it, because the 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 isn’t the company’s first off-road model. However, the new Tuareg is more than just a name-drop.
Aprilia reincarnates its iconic Tuareg adventure bike with help from the RS 660
|2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660|
|Engine||660cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin|
|Transmission||Six-speed manual with slipper clutch|
|Front suspension and travel||43mm fully-adjustable Kayaba inverted fork; 9.4”|
|Rear suspension and travel||Fully-adjustable Kayaba mono-shock; 9.4”|
|Curb weight||449 lbs|
$12,599 (Indaco Tagelmust)
While the Aprilia Tuareg 660 is new for 2022, it isn’t the first adventure bike to bear that name. It first appeared on a 1980s motorcycle that raced in the Paris-Dakar Rally, Motorcyclist explains. But while the original Tuareg gave rise to the ‘90s Pegaso, Aprilia hasn’t offered an adventure bike since the early 2000s.
So, the 2022 Tuareg 660 has some big shoes to fill. Luckily, at least on paper, it comes well-equipped for the job.
The ‘660’ in the 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660’s name references its engine, which comes from the RS 660 sportbike. However, the Tuareg’s version of the parallel-twin is noticeably different. For one, while it’s up 3 lb-ft, it’s down about 20 hp. But while peak power is down, the Tuareg makes significantly more torque lower in its rev range, RevZilla says. And that’s more important for off-roading. So is the new airbox with its easily-accessible filter.
The changes don’t stop there, though. The 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 has different gear ratios than the RS 660 for better low-speed acceleration. Its 660cc engine also has a different sump to bring ground clearance up to 9.5”. Furthermore, while the Tuareg 660’s engine is still a stressed member of its frame, it’s mounted at a different angle. Also, it’s mounted in six places rather than two like in the RS. And speaking of the frame, the Tuareg has a unique steel-trellis one.
Aprilia gears the 2022 Tuareg 660 up for on- and off-road adventures
Because the 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 doesn’t have an IMU, it lacks cornering-enhanced ABS and traction control. But it does have cruise control as well as adjustable ABS, traction control, and engine-braking control. Also, several riding modes, including an off-road one. And they’re controlled through the 5” TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity.
The off-road riding mode isn’t the only dirt-focused feature that Aprilia brings to the 2022 Tuareg 660. It also has two metal skid plates, plastic handguards, and spoked wheels wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires. Also, optional LED fog lights, center stand, and electronic quickshifter. Plus, the rear brake pedal is adjustable and the serrated footpegs have removable rubber inserts.
And because adventure bikes are also touring motorcycles, Aprilia offers optional accessories suited for long-distance riders. The catalog includes things like a larger windscreen, heated grips, comfort seats, handlebar risers, and aluminum cases. Also, that ‘Indaco Tagelmust’ noted earlier? ‘Indaco’ means ‘indigo’ in Italian, while ‘tagelmust’ is the name for the headdresses that the Tuareg people wear. On the Aprilia, it refers to the optional blue paint scheme.
“Make no mistake,” Motorcyclist says, this ADV is the real deal
Some adventure bikes are arguably closer to dual-sports than touring bikes in terms of their overall design and feel. Given that ADVs were in their infancy in the 1980s, the original Aprilia Tuareg was arguably closer to a dual-sport, RevZilla muses. And in fact, Aprilia positioned the 2022 Tuareg 600 somewhere in-between street-legal enduros/dual-sports and full-on adventure bikes.
But intent is one thing; execution is another. So, how does the resurrected Tuareg hold up when the rubber meets the road? Er, dirt?
The short answer is, rather well. The 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 feels like it has more than 660cc the way it delivers power and torque, Motorcyclist reports. It doesn’t matter which gear you’re in, this bike pulls strongly. And Off-Road Mode features an easy-to-modulate power delivery that’s ideal for dirt riding.
The downside of the extra engine mounting points is more vibration, though it never reaches oppressive levels, RevZilla says. But the upside is excellent turn-in, fluid handling, and great stability on paved roads. And while long-travel suspension usually dives under braking on the street, that doesn’t happen with the Aprilia. The Italian adventure bike also avoids the slow and mushy steering that sometimes accompanies large front wheels. All in all, the Aprilia Tuareg 660 “is genuinely a joy on pavement,” RevZilla reports.
And the fun doesn’t stop when the pavement ends. The low seat height, fairly-low curb weight, and solid ergonomics make the Tuareg 660 easy to ride off-road. Shorter riders won’t feel like they’re toppling over, even when they’re standing on the footpegs, Motorcyclist says. Add in the great steering feedback, well-damped suspension, and off-road tires, and you have an impressively approachable ADV. Though some riders may want to get tank grips, RevZilla adds.
Is the 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 worth considering compared to its competitors?
In short, the 2022 Aprilia Tuareg 660 has a lot going for it. But how does it stack up to its adventure bike competitors?
The closest rival to the new Aprilia adventure bike is the Yamaha Ténéré 700. At $9999 it’s cheaper than the Tuareg 660. But while it weighs roughly the same, the Yamaha is down 12 hp despite having a bigger engine. It also has less suspension travel and fewer features. Also, while the Tuareg 660’s quickshifter isn’t as smooth as the one on the RS, it’s at least available on the Aprilia. And it’s the better off-road and on-road motorcycle, RevZilla claims.
There’s also the $13,099 KTM 890 Adventure to consider. Its 889cc parallel-twin makes 103 hp, and it comes standard with cornering-enhanced safety features as well as a steering damper. However, it has less suspension travel than the Aprilia. And some of the Tuareg’s standard features are optional on the 890 Adventure. Plus, the KTM is arguably less impressive off-road than the Aprilia, RevZilla says.
So, hats—or rather, headdresses—off to Aprilia for resurrecting the Tuareg in a way that lives up to its forebears. And if you’re ready for adventure, it hits US dealers in February 2022.
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