It isn't too sporty or too soft. It's just right.

Astronomers refer to the habitable zone around a star as "the Goldilocks zone." It isn't too hot and close, nor too far and cold, for life to exist. When it comes to motorcycles, Goldilocks bikes meet the same criteria of perceived perfection. That's where the Aprilia RS 660 stands, according to our colleagues at MCN. In a comparison against the Honda CBR650R and the MV Agusta F3 675, they found the Aprilia to be just right.

We got the chance to try the RS 660 for ourselves not too long ago. We found it to be a delightful sporty machine during an abbreviated ride in Sunny Cali. Unlike some sportbikes, it didn't punish the rider with an uncomfortable riding position intended to extract the maximum performance out of the bike. MCN wanted to know how the RS 660 stacked up to the competition, so they pitted it against two worthy adversaries. The F3 675 is one of those no-compromise sportbikes. It's faster and more powerful than the RS 660. The CBR650R, on the other hand, is more a sportbike for the masses, a bit softer and not quite as quick.

The test rides showed them that the Aprilia really does hit the sweet spot between performance and comfort. It'll outrun the Honda any day, and outflank it with superior handling. The CBR is more affordable, though, at $9,699 rather than $11,299 for the RS 660. The CBR might be a better choice for fun commuting while still being a good weekend warrior. The CBR650R does its job as a sportbike for the masses well, but the RS 660 kicks it up a few notches.

The MV Agusta is to the Aprilia what the Aprilia is to the Honda: faster, quicker, and better around corners. It does so at the expense of the Aprilia's comfort, as well as... well, expense. At $16,298, you'll pay dearly for the improved performance, quite a bit more than the difference between the Honda and Aprilia.

For just a few dollars more—$1,600, to be precise—the RS 660 brings you to a premium Italian brand with a significant performance benefit over the Honda. Yet it's still quite usable on the street, between its superior comfort to the MV Agusta and not being quite as high-strung. Aprilia should have named the RS 660 Goldilocks. Everything's just right.