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This might be a nice, VFR alternative.....


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.....from a surprising manufacturer: Aprilia RS660. 
 

Claimed 100hp, claimed 372lbs, 6-axis IMU, cornering ABS, traction and wheelie control, RBW, electronic cruise control, up/down quickshifter, clip-ons above the triple clamp, TFT dash, and ~$11,500USD. I’m intrigued. 

https://www.motorcyclenews.com/news/new-bikes/aprilia-rs660/?fbclid=IwAR1YLCKZUG21ioyQ40joRMBlmNXN-ADigHjdXT-AjIrtCufF7It18cRrrTY

 

5C4C1EC9-16FE-4F95-A678-D441E5BDBBA9.jpeg

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Great looking bike. But wouldn't place it in the VFR's Sports Touring category. Honda Australia shows no Sports Touring category at all since the demise of the VFR800 and 1200 - bloody sad affair!

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Nice looking bike, but it looks way more sportbike than sport-tourer.  The clip-ons are below the top of the tank and the footpegs look pretty high.  I'm unsure what market Aprilia is going for with a parallel twin, but it's an intriguing design, especially loaded with all that tech.

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3 hours ago, Gebruiker said:

 

Am I the only one who thinks the future VFR is going to look more like this? https://www.damon.com/   

 

...Sorry for the sacrilege... No offense intended.

 

 

 

I'd like to try one...but I don't think Honda is this adventurous.

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18 hours ago, ducnut said:

.....from a surprising manufacturer: Aprilia RS660. 
 

Claimed 100hp, claimed 372lbs, 6-axis IMU, cornering ABS, traction and wheelie control, RBW, electronic cruise control, up/down quickshifter, clip-ons above the triple clamp, TFT dash, and ~$11,500USD. I’m intrigued. 

https://www.motorcyclenews.com/news/new-bikes/aprilia-rs660/?fbclid=IwAR1YLCKZUG21ioyQ40joRMBlmNXN-ADigHjdXT-AjIrtCufF7It18cRrrTY

 

5C4C1EC9-16FE-4F95-A678-D441E5BDBBA9.jpeg

I liked the looks of this until I saw it's a...parallel twin 650?  I see Aprilia's manufacturing story there (half of the V-4) but I'm just not sure I'd want one based on that.

 

It's pretty clear it's intended competition is the Ninja 650R as well, which is not exactly a VFR, but could fill some of the same niches.  When I bought my VFR in 2002, the choices I had at Honda were the VFR, a CBR 600RR (still a pretty new thing), or an F4i.  Pretty close race between the F4i and the VFR for all of the riding I intended to do that year.  This could also be in that niche and I could see getting one...if it were a V-twin or a four cylinder something or other.  Obviously I'd want a V-4 but I would take a twin from Aprilia here.

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5 hours ago, ShipFixer said:

It's pretty clear it's intended competition is the Ninja 650R as well, which is not exactly a VFR, but could fill some of the same niches.  When I bought my VFR in 2002, the choices I had at Honda were the VFR, a CBR 600RR (still a pretty new thing), or an F4i.  Pretty close race between the F4i and the VFR for all of the riding I intended to do that year.  This could also be in that niche and I could see getting one...if it were a V-twin or a four cylinder something or other.  Obviously I'd want a V-4 but I would take a twin from Aprilia here.

Honda makes a nice looking parallel twin 650 now, too, both in fully faired and naked versions.  If Aprilia is jumping in, maybe this segment is more popular than I thought.

 

It's funny you mention the F4i.  I also considered that bike when I was bike shopping in 2006.  Of course, I ended up with my 2004 VFR, but I really liked the F4i, however I bet the annual insurance premium would have been 2-3x higher since the F4i seems like more of a sportbike than a sport-tourer.  Thinking about it now, you hardly ever see those bikes (and the earlier models), despite their relative popularity back then.  I don't think these were throw-away bikes, so I bet many were crashed by squids, or tucked away and forgotten over the years.

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Are you thinking of their 500 parallel twin?  If I had to pick between the Aprilia and the Honda today...probably the Honda based on it being an I4 and a Honda, but if the Aprilia revs smoothly (a big if with a parallel twin), then maybe...

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parallel twins are utilitarian, boring and uninspiring imo. especially compared to a V-4.

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14 hours ago, ShipFixer said:

Are you thinking of their 500 parallel twin?  If I had to pick between the Aprilia and the Honda today...probably the Honda based on it being an I4 and a Honda, but if the Aprilia revs smoothly (a big if with a parallel twin), then maybe...

Honda makes both a 500 and 650 parallel twin, both in naked and full-fairing configurations.  I've done a test sit on one of the 650 faired versions, and the ergonomics are pretty sporty.  Not like the old Kawasaki Ninja 650, which (if I remember correctly) was the first popular 650 parallel twin sporty bike - but which seemed like a very watered down sportbike.  By comparison, the Honda CBR650R *looks* like a sportbike, though not as hard-edged as an actual CBR600RR.

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1 hour ago, TimC said:

Honda makes both a 500 and 650 parallel twin, both in naked and full-fairing configurations. 

I believe the 650 Honda is an inline 4. The 500 and 700/750nc's are parallel twins....

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1 hour ago, slo1 said:

I believe the 650 Honda is an inline 4. The 500 and 700/750nc's are parallel twins....

You are right.  My apologies to ShipFixer.  I checked Honda's website again.  I must have been looking at the wrong bikes earlier.

 

As for parallel twins, I think they've come a long way in the last 10-12 years.  I test rode a (maybe) 2015 BMW F800GT a few years ago and its engine was wheezy and unimpressive.  After some changes and tuning by BMW, the same basic engine in the 2020 F750GS was much better.  I don't know what a 650 parallel twin fares, but it might be okay.

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Yamaha's mt07/xsr700/tenere700/tracer700 is a crossplane parallell twin which sounds amazing and is actually quite fun and torqy with its 70 whp and about the same torque (Nm). So I wouldn't be upset per se by a paralell twin, but the characteristics would need to be right.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, iLikeThat said:

Yamaha's mt07/xsr700/tenere700/tracer700 is a crossplane parallell twin which sounds amazing and is actually quite fun and torqy with its 70 whp and about the same torque (Nm). So I wouldn't be upset per se by a paralell twin, but the characteristics would need to be right.

 

 

Yeah, they seem ok for stuff like adventure bikes where it's a low to midrange torque game.  The fact that almost all of the bikes in that genre are heading that way tells us something.  But for sport bikes...eh...I'll stick with options that are happy at high revs.

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I think if Honda was in tune with the market, the Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX is the perfect example target of where the VFR should be.....

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If Honda would add a gallon of gas capacity to the VFR1200 and lose 60 lbs, I would be in for one - even if it doesn't look as cool (IMO) as the Ninja...

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On 9/18/2020 at 6:49 PM, Grum said:

Great looking bike. But wouldn't place it in the VFR's Sports Touring category. Honda Australia shows no Sports Touring category at all since the demise of the VFR800 and 1200 - bloody sad affair!


With the clip-ons being above the clamp, I’d place it similarly to the 3rd Gen seating  position, which is quite sporty, especially compared to a 6th Gen. I’ve yet to see or sit on the RS, though. With Helibars and lowered pegs, it might be a pretty nice ride. 

 

On 9/19/2020 at 3:50 AM, iLikeThat said:

And it is a parallell twin not a V4... So not really anything like the VFR.


Alternative; not replacement. 

 

On 9/19/2020 at 6:52 AM, TimC said:

Nice looking bike, but it looks way more sportbike than sport-tourer.  The clip-ons are below the top of the tank and the footpegs look pretty high.  I'm unsure what market Aprilia is going for with a parallel twin, but it's an intriguing design, especially loaded with all that tech.


Every generation of VFR, 800cc or smaller, is below the top of the tank. The HeliBars on my 5th Gen are right at the top of the front of the tank. Lowered foot pegs, just like many put on their VFR, would help the peg situation. 
 

The tech is a huge bonus, to me. With higher bars, lower pegs, a Sargent seat, and it’s lighter weight, it would make for a more premium SV (I own a 1st Gen “S” model) that could offer most of the qualities of the VFR. 

 

On 9/19/2020 at 5:54 PM, squirrelman said:

parallel twins are utilitarian, boring and uninspiring imo. especially compared to a V-4.


Search YT for videos of this thing. It sounds like an uneven firing order, like the Yamaha MT and Honda AT, and nothing like a boring Kawasaki. AP Moto Arts, Hordpower, and others build Yamaha engines that truly rip. By what Aprilia are claiming, the building seems to already be done, so the RS should rip. 
 

 

I see the F4i being mentioned. That bike is very similar in seating position to the VFR of the era, was less expensive, faster, and lighter. It was the best 600cc Honda produced, IMO. Shockingly, Honda offer something similar in the current CBR650R and a bike similar to the F2/F3 in the current CBR650F and for similar price tags in today’s dollars. That’s hard to beat. 
 

The market has proven there’s no real desire for a replacement VFR, especially at Honda’s pricepoints, so we’ll need to seek alternatives if wanting a new bike. And, leftover 8th Gens are getting slim (in the USA). The aforementioned Ninja 1000SX is currently at the top of the open-class in sport-touring bikes. But, for me, it sure is ugly and looks/feels a bit cheap as Kawasakis usually do. The Suzuki GSX-S1000F lacks today’s tech and refinement, but, is lighter than the VFR.
 

All the above brings me back to this Aprilia RS660. If it’s similar to a 3rd Gen VFR seating position, sounds good, makes good power, and has nice build quality and detailing, it might not make a bad alternative. Though, I think, a price closer to $10K USD makes more sense. 

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I rode/raced EX500s for years ... and until the SV came out, and later the EX650"r", was a fun bike to race in multi classes. Once the "newer" stuff started coming out, the classes changed a lot Nationally, and eventually at my local club level ... then things just got too frustrating. Not to mention, this guy out of Nevada started building a "SV500" for his team and sold some as well, and that just really took all the wind out of the sails of us "budget racers".

 

My biggest issue with things like the smaller parallel twins, or even the Vtwins, is they're nearly always considered "entry level bikes", therefore they try to keep the prices down, and as a result you get a cheaper built machine, meaning mainly GARBAGE suspension. Fine for the actual entry level riders, or people just using them as transportation or whatever ... but if you want to have fun, or go to the track, you'll need to get out your tools, and more importantly, YOUR WALLET!!

 

The Aprilia is surely nice, but no "budget twin". I think the idea is to compete overseas in some of the lightweight stuff, and eventually, this may be the direction some of the support classes go in WSB and maybe even Moto3?? It's much closer to a full on 600SS bike than a " lightweight budget twin".

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1 hour ago, MJH said:

I rode/raced EX500s for years ... and until the SV came out, and later the EX650"r", was a fun bike to race in multi classes. Once the "newer" stuff started coming out, the classes changed a lot Nationally, and eventually at my local club level ... then things just got too frustrating. Not to mention, this guy out of Nevada started building a "SV500" for his team and sold some as well, and that just really took all the wind out of the sails of us "budget racers".

 

My biggest issue with things like the smaller parallel twins, or even the Vtwins, is they're nearly always considered "entry level bikes", therefore they try to keep the prices down, and as a result you get a cheaper built machine, meaning mainly GARBAGE suspension. Fine for the actual entry level riders, or people just using them as transportation or whatever ... but if you want to have fun, or go to the track, you'll need to get out your tools, and more importantly, YOUR WALLET!!

 

The Aprilia is surely nice, but no "budget twin". I think the idea is to compete overseas in some of the lightweight stuff, and eventually, this may be the direction some of the support classes go in WSB and maybe even Moto3?? It's much closer to a full on 600SS bike than a " lightweight budget twin".

 

I think, that’s a pretty accurate assessment. 


Zoran definitely knows his stuff, with the SV. There’s always going to be innovative, cost-no-object guys like him. The same could be said of Richard Stanboli, Chuck Graves, Erion Brothers back in the day, and others. The good thing is they’re the ones figuring it out for the rest of us, if one can afford their stuff. 


Suspension costs aren’t too bad. I’ve had aftermarket stuff on my last 4 bikes. I look at it as a cost to having the bike the way I want it. Truthfully, for how I and most people use a bike, springs, valves, and a shock are all one needs and that’s ~$1400. I’ve had cartridges and, on the street, they weren’t much different than just valves. Likewise, the performance difference between a Penske 8900 and 8983 isn’t much. It’s only at the highest of level track use will one notice things and that’s a minority of people and use, in this market segment. For sure, I’m not ever going to be turning the lap times I used to. 
 

I sure hope to see elite classes running this type of bike. The MA twins class is some of the best racing in the states. 

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17 minutes ago, ducnut said:

 

I think, that’s a pretty accurate assessment. 


Zoran definitely knows his stuff, with the SV. There’s always going to be innovative, cost-no-object guys like him. The same could be said of Richard Stanboli, Chuck Graves, Erion Brothers back in the day, and others. The good thing is they’re the ones figuring it out for the rest of us, if one can afford their stuff. 


Suspension costs aren’t too bad. I’ve had aftermarket stuff on my last 4 bikes. I look at it as a cost to having the bike the way I want it. Truthfully, for how I and most people use a bike, springs, valves, and a shock are all one needs and that’s ~$1400. I’ve had cartridges and, on the street, they weren’t much different than just valves. Likewise, the performance difference between a Penske 8900 and 8983 isn’t much. It’s only at the highest of level track use will one notice things and that’s a minority of people and use, in this market segment. For sure, I’m not ever going to be turning the lap times I used to. 
 

I sure hope to see elite classes running this type of bike. The MA twins class is some of the best racing in the states. 

Agreed on pretty much all you wrote ... especially the Zoran stuff! Not to mention he's quite the character! I had always hoped to get onto one of his bikes, but I was already just pretty much a part time racer when he was making his rise. There's another guy I know that had a nice chassis he made, for an EX500 motor(for some reason?), and I got to ride his "street version. It was a very nice build, but was very much overkill. His idea was to have a chassis with interchangeable pieces, so as to be able to use different "drivetrains". I disassemble my SRX6's motor and handed it over to him, but he said the layout was not friendly for the AK-1 chassis. Again, would be overkill, but A LOT of fun!!

 

Here's a little blurb on his stuff ...

 

https://thekneeslider.com/and-motorcycles-by-julian-farnam/

 

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, ducnut said:

 

I think, that’s a pretty accurate assessment. 


Zoran definitely knows his stuff, with the SV. There’s always going to be innovative, cost-no-object guys like him. The same could be said of Richard Stanboli, Chuck Graves, Erion Brothers back in the day, and others. The good thing is they’re the ones figuring it out for the rest of us, if one can afford their stuff. 


Suspension costs aren’t too bad. I’ve had aftermarket stuff on my last 4 bikes. I look at it as a cost to having the bike the way I want it. Truthfully, for how I and most people use a bike, springs, valves, and a shock are all one needs and that’s ~$1400. I’ve had cartridges and, on the street, they weren’t much different than just valves. Likewise, the performance difference between a Penske 8900 and 8983 isn’t much. It’s only at the highest of level track use will one notice things and that’s a minority of people and use, in this market segment. For sure, I’m not ever going to be turning the lap times I used to. 
 

I sure hope to see elite classes running this type of bike. The MA twins class is some of the best racing in the states. 

Plus the way I always "upgraded" my stuff, was also was the "budget racer method" ... just get stuff from a good 600/750/etc, and make it fit/work! I'm likely going to pilfer stuff(complete front end) from one of my old racebikes, and put it on my Gen 6 VFR ... the rear shock may kill my budget for keeping it "cheap", but the bike was gotten for a great price, so I won't mind too much.

 

I seen somewhere, likely in Italy, they are already set to have like a Spec Class for these bikes, the Aprilia RS660. Wouldn't be shocked to see some of them in the states soon enough. They also have a 250 twin version, so might be good for the MA Junior Cup and/or the bigger Twins classes. Also agree, those classes have some of the best/closest racing!!

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I wonder if this bike's target buyer is the overseas crowd which sees government limited hp figures.  This bike seems to have just 100 hp, which is enough for me but low for many US sportbike buyers.  I know there have been some terrific and popular smaller displacement sportbikes available internationally that we don't get here in the US.  With graduated licensing and overall power restrictions in some countries, but where buyers still want great looking sportbikes loaded with tech features, this new Aprilia might fare pretty well, especially being from an Italian brand.  Anyway, I hope to see one at my local Aprilia dealer eventually.

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I agree that it's hard to find a replacement (or alternative) to a V-4 engine.  And yes, I agree that a crossplane parallel twin is a bit of a far cry from the V-4 experience.

 

But here's an in-between engine candidate, the Triumph "T-plane" triple.  Surprisingly the T-plane triple engine has exactly the same firing order as the VFR engine, just without the 4th cylinder.  The T-plane fires like this: 1-0-3-0-0-2-0-0- and it sounds a lot like the VFR's V-4 engine.

 

At the end of this video there's a few seconds of full-throttle T-plane 3 cylinder acceleration to listen to.  You'll be surprised how much it sounds like a VFR V-4 engine.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Woh023WrZlQ

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