Our first job was to arrange for the required 300km of run-in to be completed. Fortunately, 59km of the initial run-in had already been completed by Aprilia Factory prior to the machine's departure - the remainder of the run-in was completed by OTC Dyno Centre in Widnes. Following the run-in, several "full power" dyno runs were performed - including "baffle vs no baffle" (which interestingly made minimal difference) and a true back-to-back comparison against our own Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin (straight as it was from Oulton Park).
The Aprilia is stronger than our ER650 everywhere except for 7000-8000rpm and has a healthy 10+bhp more at the top end :-) The fuelling, however, is very rich - this should mean that the initial throttle touch should be nice but also that there is possibly potential for tweaking out even more power.
We haven't rushed out to have the RS660 fuelling adjusted yet as we believe that there are quicker initial changes that can make a bigger impact. One of these areas is the final drive ratios (i.e. sprockets). All versions of the RS660 come equipped as standard with 17\43 sprockets. It is worth pointing out that along with our new machine, Aprilia Factory also provided a USB key containing 15 PDFs and an Excel file - to assist with the setup and maintenance of the machine. According to Aprilia's own information, this 17\43 combination will reach 162.92mph on the 11500rpm limit in top gear - a much higher speed than we are ever likely to see on UK circuits.
So we set about finding new sprockets to lower the ratio - and found that there is a distinct shortage of sprockets available! Eventually, we managed to find a 16-tooth front sprocket in USA (at Warhorse HSBK Racing) - which was shipped to our "Uncle Bill" in North Carolina who then forwarded it onto us - and we thought we found a 45-tooth sprocket in the UK, so ordered that only to be later told they had no stock...
The good news is that the well-travelled 16-tooth front sprocket has arrived, so the machine is now fit with 16\43 gearing (and is still good for 153.29mph in top gear) until more options become available. Following the fitment we checked the wheel alignment to ensure that everything was laser-straight!
When the bike arrived (and when it was at the dyno), the dash was set to Italian language. Once we managed to figure out how to access the "main menu" - which is accessed by press-and-hold a button to get to a screen, and then press-and-hold a button to get to the menu - we changed the language to English and checked out all of the available options. We also played around with the adjustable maps.
Our next job was to change the gear shift pattern from "race" to "road". The RS660 has both a quickshifter and blipper (which can be switched on/off in the menu), so we followed the configuration process in order for the ECU to recognise our preferred sequence.
The final changes we made were small ones - changing the clutch and front brake lever positions, so that they feel more natural.
Next up on the list were the mandatory safety essentials - draining coolant and replacing with water and lockwiring. It is unusual for us to have a brand new machine (that someone else hasn't already raced), so we took our time figuring out how we wanted the lockwiring to run, so that it was tidy.
We started with the main oil drain (carefully from two directions) so that lockwire could easily pass through, before deciding to drill a sump bolt in order to allow a very neat solution to that particular problem.
The final item to be secured was the oil dipstick. This was drilled so that an R-clip could be attached. A nearby hose bracket was then drilled to lockwire against. Finally, the lockwire was covered in electrical shrink tube for a neat finish.
Over the past decade we have mounted onboard cameras in a variety of locations - some easily satisfying the requirements of a club's scrutineer, others not so much. One piece of knowledge we have gained over the years is that "behind the screen" is a 'safe' place for a camera to be situated (rather than attached to the top yoke, situated on the front fairing, situated on the front mudguard, etc).
An issue we also found with our Kawasaki's is that the onboard camera blocks our view to the majority of the dashboard - something else we would like to avoid if possible! Following a lot of head scratching - and the creation of a rough mock-up - it was decided that a suitable mount could be created.
We ordered and paid for an AiM Solo2 DL (with CAN bus connection) around 5 weeks ago. Due to the global semiconductor chip shortage, AiM are running behind schedule and are yet to deliver their flagship GPS laptimer to us. However, as we already have an "old" AiM Solo GPS laptimer, we can still take advantage of onboard laptiming until the new unit arrives.
As with the GoPro mount, we did not want our view to be obscured, so decided to make use of a hollow top yoke nut to mount the laptimer to. This was made from aluminium so that it was fairly light - it was shaped to avoid any issues and minimise the required material. As a bonus, with no laptimer fitted, the bracket reminds us of "Homepride Fred"...
All that was left was to make the personal touches to make this bike feel like ours! Stickers and race numbers were measured up, ordered and applied.
For the brake pads, we bought some of EBC's GPFAX pads which we like the feel of. We then discovered that the RS660 Trofeo comes fitted with the excellent (but expensive) Brembo Z04 pads! So they will gladly remain in the machine until consumed. Talking of brakes, we must mention that the HEL brake line setup that comes on the RS660 Trofeo is very tidy - it's just another little thing on this machine that has impressed us.
Due to time constraints (or other reasons), there are additional things that we want to install/test. Some of these are:
* Weigh the machine (including front/rear bias) - Due to "explosafe foam" being installed into the tank by Aprilia Factory (mainly to help stop fuel sloshing from side to side during riding), it is difficult to tell how much fuel is in the tank right now. Our previous measurements of the ER650 Supertwin and ZX6R Supersport machines were performed with 3L of fuel in the tank, so having an equivalent volume in the RS660 Trofeo when measured will provide more useful results.
* Fitment of an R&G radiator guard - at the time of writing we have ordered but not received this. Once received, this will be installed as a precautionary measure against rogue flying objects.
* Fitment of 45-tooth rear sprocket (and/or other options) - Once we have ridden the bike, we will obtain a better view of where we will need to go in terms of gearing. Our initial opinion is that currently we will be overgeared at most UK circuits, even with the 16\43 option.
* Fuelling correction - as the season progresses (and time allows), we may have a piggyback fuelling module installed. If we do, we will let you know the outcome.
* Machine development - with a much greater number of riders using an RS660 in 2022 than in 2021, we have no doubt that performance developments will be made for the RS660 (especially as it can now be used at the IOM TT). We will try to keep track of developments and apply any as we see fit.