Its an older article but read on... theres an update.
MaxMoto News. 15/06/03.
(Update 28/12/04. Gilera 600 revived?)
Are you thinking about a new supersports 600 bike for 2004?
Do you think that there's no credible Italian alternative to the Japanese big four?
Then read on….
The rumour mill has been busy on this subject of late, and whilst we have no official confirmation from Aprilia, we think that there is sufficient merit in this one to add a news item.
Ever since the untimely demise of the excellent Aprilia RS250 2-stroke (thanks to ever tightening emission laws in Europe), there has been a gap in Aprilia's range, and there can be little doubt that Aprilia aren't going to allow this situation to continue for long.
The RS250 had a donor engine from the Suzuki RGV250, so it would seem obvious to look to the GSXR600 four-cylinder engine for an Aprilia 600 to fill this gap. Whilst the industrial muscle and expertise of the Aprilia factory would indicate that they are quite capable of developing their own engine, it would leave this sector of the market uncovered for too long.
The styling inspiration and general philosophy for an Aprilia 600 are likely to come from Aprilia's continued success in the smaller GP categories. Have a look at the pictures of Manuel Poggiali's 250 GP bike on the right.
There's also a rumour about a 750cc version too.
So, if you've got cash for a middleweight sports bike burning a hole in your pocket, you might be advised to wait just a little bit longer for the best.
Now, if only Gilera could put their 600 supersports bike into production…
Update 28/12/04. Gilera 600 revived?
Now that the Piaggio merger has been signed (today), management attention can now be focused on the issue of filling the huge gap in Aprilia's range. A current rumour (yes, sorry, another one) is that an Aprilia rebadged version of the Gilera 600 supersport first seen 3 years ago could make it into production. Gilera is one of the brands in the Piaggio group and their Suzuki engined 600 supersport was well on the way to production before it was axed due to lack of available capital. Now that the new company is properly capitalised, reviving the project could provide Aprilia with a quick stopgap middle weight bike for next summer. Though, this highly competitive sector could be quite a challenge with even a 3 year old design. We shall see. Pricing is likely to be more than the Japanese big four but less than the Ducati 749.