Entry-level done differently.
Is 2021 the year of the 660? Aprilia and Triumph certainly seem to think so as the two European brands introduced their takes on the entry-level, mid-size naked bike.
We saw the all-new Aprilia Tuono 660 coming from ten miles away. Not only did the brand already introduce the fully-faired RS660, in 2020, but it also showcased the Tuono Concept at EICMA. After a year spent hyping the RS, the Noale firm was finally ready to add another member to the 660 family. Without EICMA to serve as a launch platform, Aprilia opted for a private affair to present its new half-size “naked”.
In Triumph’s case, the earliest clue we got was beyond vague. All we had to work with for the longest time was a trademark for the name “Trident”, filed in March, 2019. It all came together in August, 2020, when Hinckley introduced the Trident concept, an all-new middleweight model built on an equally new chassis and engine.
You’d think that with 660 in their names, the Trident and the Tuono have a lot in common but you couldn’t be any further from the truth. Despite a few minute similarities, the British and the Italians go about their entry-level business very differently.
|2021 Aprilia Tuono 660||2021 Triumph Trident|
|Engine:||Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 659cc, parallel-twin||Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 660cc inline-triple|
|Bore and Stroke:||81mm x 64mm||74 mm x 51.1mm|
|Performance:||95 hp/ 49 lb-ft||81 hp / 47 lb-ft|
|Weight (wet):||403 pounds||417 pounds|
Beauty and the Freak
Though the displacement numbers are (pretty much) the same, we’re looking at two very different bikes. In the blue corner, representing England, the Triumph Trident rocks an inline-triple. In the red corner, representing Italy, the Aprilia Tuono uses a more standard parallel-twin engine.
Producing 95 horsepower for 403 pounds, the Tuono is undeniably designed with performance in mind. Accessible performance, but performance nonetheless. Compared to the properly naked Trident that makes 80 horsepower for 417 pounds, the Tuono toggles the arrow further up the Tame-to-Aggressive gauge.
The compression ratios are yet another proof of that, with the Italian sitting at 13.5:1 versus the Brit at 11.95:1. Don’t get us wrong: they’re both very interesting numbers considering the bikes’ size and weight, but the Italian and its 11,500rpm redline are tuned more aggressively.
The brake setups support that dichotomy: the Tuono is fitted with two 320mm discs paired with Brembo four-piston calipers at the front wheel and a single, 220mm disc with a single-piston caliper. That’s a lot of braking power at the front.
Comparatively, the Trident gets a slightly smaller set of 310mm discs with modest dual-piston Nissin calipers upfront and a 255mm disc at the back, paired with a single-piston Nissin clamp.
To top it off, the Tuono gets cornering ABS, a slightly more advanced system that modulates its intervention in the bends to be less intrusive, while the Trident gets standard ABS.
Despite their differences, the two mid-rangers have one thing in common: their accessibility. Based on what our Senior Youth Correspondent Dustin—who rode on the RS 660—and on our OmniMoto colleague Luca—who rode on the Trident—had to say about the two bikes, both brands achieved their goal of creating friendly and accessible bikes perfectly.
If Looks Could Kill
You might be wondering: Why are we even comparing the two? The Trident and the Tuono don't look like they belong in the same segment. Strangely enough, however, they kind of do as they both fit their respective company's definition of an entry-level, mid-size, naked bike.
Granted, Aprilia's definition of naked is debatable, but that's about as stripped down as a House of Noale special gets—unless it were to keep the Shiver around and cram the new 660 mill in it, which we’re not opposed to.
The Tuono is the second 660 model in the Italian lineup and the RS 660’s stripped-down spin-off—though not exactly a naked model by regular standards. The Tuono is on the dressier side, sporting a trimmed-down version of the RS’ body panels. That being said, the fact that we still have a semi-fairing—with integrated aerodynamic appendages—comes in handy when considering the bike’s sportier aspirations.
Under the semi-fairing, the Tuono is built on an aluminum twin-spar frame with a detachable pillion seat that can be replaced with a cover. Support is provided by a 41mm Kayaba inverted fork with 4.7 inches of travel and a spring preload and rebound damping adjustable rear monoshock.
Aprilia also fitted its “naked” with a shorter final drive to improve its responsiveness
IN addition to the modified bodywork, the Tuono also received a few ergo tweaks to make it a little more commuter-friendly and more comfortable than the RS.
In comparison, the Trident 660’s aesthetic is inspired by Triumph’s other naked bikes—namely the Triples—however, the design has been mellowed out to make the bike more approachable. It’s built on a tubular steel perimeter frame mounted to a 41mm Showa USD fork and a preload-adjustable Showa monoshock.
Unlike the Tuono, the Trident is fully stripped down, which exposes the rider to wind pressure which also creates resistance as there’s no way to divert or direct the airflow. In terms of ergonomics and aerodynamics, it might not be as efficient as the Tuono when it comes to comfort at higher speeds.
Entry-Level Bikes, High-End Equipment
The fact that both bikes represent the most affordable option in their respective lineups speaks volumes about the brands' perception of what entry-level means. There’s a staggering $2,000+ difference in pricing between the two bikes.
Though its version of an entry-level bike is far more affordable, Triumph didn’t skimp on the equipment and materials. As we previously discussed, brake and suspension hardware is provided by Nissin and Showa—two respected names in the industry.
As Luca also noted during his ride on the Trident, the fits and finishes elevate the bike’s feel and appearance. If you treat the materials right and fit them well, the result ends up looking more premium than covering ill-fitted components in Alcantara leather and carbon fiber.
While the British model has a shorter list of features, it does come with a few interesting perks for the price point, including ride-by-wire throttle with switchable traction control and two riding modes (Road and Rain), a quickshifter, LED lighting, self-canceling signals, an elegant, gauge-shaped TFT display, and available MyTriumph Connectivity.
Aprilia opted for equally famous brands Brembo and Kayaba for the suspension and brake components. The Tuono’s higher price point is also justified by the addition of a significant number of higher-spec features which include ride-by-wire throttle with five riding modes, multi-level traction control, cruise control, anti-wheelie control, engine brake, and selectable engine maps, among other things. The Tuono is pretty much a premium entry-level.
Choosing between the two bikes is going to be pretty easy considering how different their personalities, are. It all comes down to your budget, the type of handling you’re looking for, and the level of equipment you’d like to have. Both are great to get you started if you’re looking for a first-time purchase, but they can also give more seasoned riders plenty of zeal to work with without getting bored. This isn’t about how fast you can go somewhere, it’s all about how much fun you’ll have getting there.
With its lower, more accessible price tag, the Triumph Trident is a mild-mannered mid-ranger that banks on quality components and assembly, minimalistic electronics, and a simplistic, purist approach to fun. Add to that the fact that you get to enjoy a pure-breed British inline-triple—complete with delightful note—and it’s not hard to enjoy your time in its saddle.
If you’re looking for a little more zhuzh and something that easily transitions from street to track, the Aprilia Tuono is the right option. It’s the most affordable Aprilia currently offered (though it’s significantly more expensive than the Triumph), however, the extra money gets you a suite of higher-end specs and features that promote performance and a more spirited ride. How do you want to ride?