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February (G.T.) – Two expert riders and long-range travellers – Emilio Radice and Sandra Luzzani – visited the international shows of Eicma, Milan (November 2023), and MBE–Motor Bike Expo, Verona (January 2024), browsing the stand of the most important motorcycle brands in the world. We asked them to comment on the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi offers, and to “pick” their favourite motorbike to recommend even to young people and lady riders. There was no doubt: for Emilio and Sandra, the answer is the Aprilia Tuareg 660, an ideal companion for any adventure. Here are their stories.

EMILIO RADICE: LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT FOR “LOLITA”, TEMPTED BY MOTO GUZZI. With Eicma and then with Motor Bike Expo, for those of us who travel, the time to choose was getting close: the right motorcycle, or rather, our companion in our lone wandering, the ‘mate’ to talk to, to confide in. And to whom we confidently entrust entire months of our lives. Sandra Luzzani, known by touring bikers as Brugola Selvaggia (Translator’s note: ‘wild’ allen key), still dusty from ‘los 73 malditos’ of Ruta 40 on her lone voyage that took her to Ushuaia, kneels with sparkling eyes before the Tuareg 660 on display in the Aprilia stand. Grateful for all her BMW 650 had already given her in the adventure to ‘the end of the world’, she also knows how much more comfortable and safer her future paths would be if travelled on the new enduro from Noale. On the other hand, I, Emilio Radice, who already made this choice in February 2021 (I fell in love with the Tuareg at first sight), rummage deeper into the Piaggio Group’s exhibition space, open to falling in love at first sight with something else. To be fair, after meandering through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia with ‘Lolita’ (my Tuareg), it won’t be easy to pry her from my heart. But it’s always nice to open yourself up to temptations, especially when they fly on the wings of Moto Guzzi.

My first bike was a Guzzi, a Stornello sport 125, and then I had an 850 T3 and an SP 1000 that I took as far as Syria. But, as a Guzzista, I was also mortified to see the long period that the brand was tarnished. To finally find myself today before the V85 TT, in a beautiful grey colour scheme with red accents, is almost the redemption of a love that I had feared lost. The V85 is the evolution on a classic base (still a pushrod and rockers engine, air cooled) of the old bike, then one we had awaited for thirty years. It is the best of modern technology (fuel injection, electronic power controls, ABS, adjustable suspension...) on a super tried and true chassis architecture. Plus, the bike is friendly, domestic, close at hand. For the ‘vintage’ traveller with a romantic heart, it could be the ideal vehicle for just about anyone and, especially in the TT and TT Travel versions, the mechanical version of John Wayne’s horse in The Searchers. The ideal destination? For me… straight to Istanbul to then zig zag through Anatolia.

But then, in 2022, the V100 Mandello arrived and more recently, at Eicma ’23, its on-off road relative, the Stelvio. And the music changed. No longer nostalgia or rebuilding what already existed, but only the future. It’s almost surprising to see first-hand. The V100 in particular leaves you speechless with its sleek and compact body, despite its engine capacity and power. It is a maxi, but it doesn’t flaunt it. In other words, it is the exact opposite of the large twin-cylinders from other brands on the market. It doesn’t intimidate the rider, but beckons instead.

The Stelvio even more, since it is about ten centimetres shorter. And it is astonishing that, with such a minimal and sleek design, both models nevertheless weigh around 240 kilos. As the saying goes, less appearance but lost of substance which, for a traveller like me, is discriminating. I would buy both of them; one - the Mandello - for a big European tour, the other - the Stelvio - to go to North Cape or to do the Transfagarasan in Romania. And then, on a whim: to be able to press a button that raises and lowers the front windscreen an amazing 7 centimetres. But, having already chosen light weight as the guiding principle for my upcoming trips on rough roads, my focus shifts elsewhere...

The Aprilia Tuareg 660, I will readily admit, is my latest great love - truly love at first sight. I saw it, I test-rode it, I bought it. For her, I instantly gave up my BMW 1200 ADV twin-shaft that I had been riding at the time, trading it in at the Piaggio dealership in Rome. I lost my head over the agility of the Tuareg, over her slender waist, her incredibly well-balanced chassis architecture, and her power: 80 HP and a weight just over 185 kg! An infatuation that even made me second-guess myself at first. What if I were to have regrets later? What if I were to discover fragilities? Wouldn’t it have been better to choose a bike that was better known and tried and true? Doubts and questions that also echoed throughout the Internet, on specialised  websites, but which were swept away last spring when I departed on my own with my Tuareg 660, called ‘Lolita’ (um…she and I are separated in age by quite a few years), for a long voyage through Central Asia, also going through Iran and the devastated roads that cut through the Hindu Kush mountain range in Afghanistan. Upon my return, the doubts were gone - a perfect bike! And then, Jacopo Cerutti’s recent victory in the Africa Eco Race made me happy. It was as if I had won it. I definitely got it right! What a bike! And now, with the more aggressive graphics and the red frame, the Tuareg even seems less bashful, more self-confident. Where would I go? ‘Lolita’ is my bike and she’ll take me anywhere, on any road, whether asphalt, dirt, or sand... Maybe a return to the Pamir Mountains and inner Afghanistan, the harder route. It wouldn’t matter. She can handle it.

WHO IS EMILIO RADICE? “My first trip was on the wings of a Stornello Sport 125 in a ’60s era ‘colonial’ Sardinia. And then, also with Moto Guzzi (850 T3 and 1000 SP), I travelled all over Europe, all the way to the Middle East, to a Syria which was still intact. My next trips were to Iran (6 times) and Central Asia. In 2023, with the Aprilia Tuareg 660, I achieved an ‘absolute first’ in Afghanistan, also touching Greece, Turkey, Southern Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. My next destinations, wars permitting, are Afghanistan once again and Mongolia.”

SANDRA LUZZANI: A RETURN TO APRILIA.As my dear friend, advisor, and inspirational muse Emilio Radice justly writes, motorcycle shows are an important time of discovery and meeting between the world of two wheels and the mad travellers who colour and enrich the noisy halls of Milan and Verona. But, above all, they are the right place to observe, discover, and try out the news and new proposals from the most popular or lesser-known motorcycle brands.

In my case, in the Piaggio Group-Moto Guzzi-Aprilia stands, it was a return to my first love… because when I came of age and wanted to purchase my first bike, I thought of an Aprilia - the Pegaso! Then, because of opportunities which arose, I bought a BMW 650 GS but, even today, a more agile bike with more of an enduro vocation attracts me and, wouldn't you know it, I find myself once again circling the Aprilia brand, curious to evaluate and have a taste of the new Tuareg 660. And then, allow me a bit of chauvinism: the Piaggio Group is all Italian. It enhances my sense of belonging to a nation famous the world over for engines, bikes, and cars.

So yes, both in Milan and in Verona, I threw a leg over a Tuareg and it was love straight away. Two in-line cylinders that develop 80 HP - 59 kW on a weight of 187 kg with an 18-litre tank (not too shabby) for a range of over 400 km. I liked the travel of the 240 mm ø 43 forks, the 21’ front wheel (which makes a difference off road!), the easy-to-handle chassis architecture that is sleek, so you can squeeze it tightly between your knees and stand up on the pegs, comfortable seating, lighter, and definitely extremely reassuring. Compact and, I must say, feminine! Light in its lines, but strong in character. In short, the right characteristics and lots of touches in the details that show how much time and attention was dedicated to this bike, suitable for tackling the most adventurous trips (aaaah, if it had only been my companion on the Carretera Austral in Patagonia!). Emilio knows of my plan to return to South America and take on the Atacama Desert, going all the way to Bolivia and telling me about the performance of ‘Lolita’, his Tuareg, he only reinforces my convictions: Aprilia Tuareg 660 will be my next bike.

My nickname - #brugolaselvaggia (Translator’s note: ‘wild’ allen key) - implies that I must know how to work on the bike to make it mine and to take care of it, if necessary, so the next step will be studying the engine and the structure to add all the instrumentation needed for a solo trip. I can't wait to test it in various situations. As I wandered through the Piaggio/Guzzi/Aprilia stand at MBE in Verona, I’ll also admit the pleasant discovery of the historic, nay legendary, Moto Guzzi bikes! Throwing a leg over the V85TT with its super tried and true engine, revisited in a modern key, I found it intriguing to discover that it is a bike that any woman would be able to ride (in truth, it was a good match for me, with its classic, timeless flavour) because of its reasonable height. I’d like to be able to ride it and then keep it in my garage/shop alongside my companions of infinite mileage, to then hop in the saddle for impromptu European tours, a quick trip to Paris, one to Berlin, but also for a relaxed zigzag around Italy. Fascinated by the majestic V100 Mandello and Stelvio, I couldn’t resist the temptation to hop on and feel the unique sensation of riding these dominators of the road with robust bodies, majestically designed to make them seem like gazelles. Elegant and modern designs whilst maintaining such an important brand identity. Well done, Piaggio Group, Italian in soul and body, all built within the Italic borders. I’m going to enjoy travelling the world representing the genius of our people. To be able to say, ‘Japanese? No, it’s made in Italy’.”

WHO IS SANDRA LUZZANI. One of the most renowned Italian motorcycle riders, actively involved in the Women’s International Motorcycle Association, which has affiliates in numerous countries. This is how she describes herself: “I love to host motorcycle travellers from all over the world. I'm called #brugolaselvaggia (Translator’s note: ‘wild’ allen key) because of my aptitude for working on bikes, disassembling and reassembling them... I purchased my first used bike in 2008 and then in 2010 my second one (new) and I haven't gotten off it since... now I’d like to bring the Tuareg 660 alongside it (hopefully). I’ve travelled all over Europe: Germany, France, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, etc. Then, when I was thinking about crossing Turkey, Iran, and then going up to Samarkand in Uzbekistan, eastward on the Silk Road... war broke out between Ukraine and Russia, blocking my return from the north through those countries, and I decided to go back west... way west! In South America, specifically Patagonia! I had already enjoyed riding the unpaved roads and off road in Iceland, but Patagonia literally enchanted me and, in order to fully enjoy its beauty, you must get off the asphalt (which you can find some without potholes) and ride on loose gravel that they call ‘Ripio’! I really could have used the Tuareg there! I’d like to take my next trip in South America again, but farther north, through the Argentinian Atacama Desert and the Andes, all the way to Bolivia to savour the breath-taking landscape of those enchanting places like the legendary Salar de Uyuni with its 11,000 km of salt flats 3660 metres above sea level! Maybe it’s a coincidence... but for me, this is the salt of life: Travelling on a motorcycle! Happy trails to all dreamers! If anyone wants to write to me, my email address open to the public You can find me on social media channels, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube.”


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