At last – a bike to test! A combo of semi-conductor shortage, hideous weather and deadlines at work meant that I had to put off the pleasure of testing this bike until a sunny but freezing cold window in January. The roads were dry, the salt had gone as I cocked my leg over the slightly high seat at 860mm – 33.9 inches in old money – (‘comfort seat’) on this latest offering from Aprilia at MoTech in Newcastle.

Andy had shown me around the controls. First impressions – the large TFT display was excellent; the aggressive stance of the bike with a narrow rear and a long, this seat looked promising, with a Perspex screen for road use, and the Aprilia attention to detail. It was a good looker. 

On the technical side, this is one-half of the V4 RSV4 engine, which is at 659cc but operates as a parallel twin but is configured to sound like a V twin. Clever. It puts out 79 BHP and is meant for equal amounts of on-road and off-road use. The power characteristics have been altered from the engine that it shares with the Aprilia Tuono and the and the RS660 (which I tested in the September 2021 issue). It’s 20 BHP down on the power output than the RS660, which was a smooth flyer.

Obviously, the power has been altered to give the discerning rider time off-road and there are serrated metal foot pegs rather than rubberised pedals, giving the intentions away, together with the sculpted, thin seat. The end can, which was pretty big, gave off a pleasant sound – even more when I realised that it was standard without spending too much on a go-faster can. As soon as the bike got underway, it carried its height very well. Urban traffic is no problem, and that commanding high position allows you to see over all the cars, which is a great safety bloom. 

I elected to keep it in Explore mode (standard) as opposed to Urban or Off-road, or Individual ‘set-it-yourself, faff-about’ mode. 

After I got out of the Tyneside traffic, I decided to go where my nose took me, and I ended up going up the Spine Road and then cutting across and going via Blagdon, Ponteland, and off up to Otterburn.

On a whim, before I turned back, I saw the signposts for Ogle on the backroads and decided that this was the place to really test the bike without going off-road. The A roads however, especially those with sweeping bends, we’re great. The power is much lower in this bike than in the RS660 and I delivered much further down the rev range.

As soon as I turned off the A696, I was on unmarked roads with no marked junctions, with potholes, farmers’ winter slurry on the roads and the like. This bike punched through all those difficulties. Potholes weren’t a problem and I wasn’t having to try to avoid them, but they were covered anyway in puddles, so I didn’t always know that it was a pothole. The semi-knobbly type Pirelli Scorpion Rally tyres still had the new blobs on them at 391 miles on this demo bike, so I decided that some caution was required on the bends in the muck and the middle. I had a seminal moment then – looking to my right over the hedges – there was a beautiful Stratocumulus cloud with a deep blue background sky. 

The bike has the standard Brembos brakes – two up front and one on the back – and you can disable the ABS front and back if you are serious about off-roading. 

This bike is a nimble, highly-manoeuvrable, punchy and good-looking bike. It’s a reincarnation of the previous Tuaregs that Apirilia did from 1985 to 1994. It launched at the back end of 2021. I was riding the Martian-red colour, but if you pay another £500, you get the lovely blue, white and red colours (not Paris Dakar), but Indaco Tagelmust. Of course, you will all know that this is the indigo dye on the headgear worn by nomadic Tuareg tribesman. It’s a fetching colour. I told my friend, Peter, which bike I was taking out. I stopped for a cuppa at Di Meo’s ice-cream parlour on the Ouseburn in Newcastle, for a cappuccino and focaccia sandwich. He had sent me a link to that hoot of an ad for Barclaycard in the 1980s, starring Rowan Atkinson. Have a look at this – it’ll make you smile:

Get on down to MoTech and desert (sorry!) the UK, for an adventure in North Africa on this appealing and very capable bike “Ah! Smell those Tuareg campfires! Unmistakeable!”

Mark Hipkin is a Partner/ Head of the Personal Injury and Civil Litigation department. He welcomes your e-mails or calls on the law (or your biking experiences) at or call 0191 2533509.


Mary was born and has lived all her life in the North East of England. Her first interest was science and she originally studied Biomedical Science at Northumbria and worked in the scientific research field and the NHS, before studying part time, again at Northumbria University, to obtain her degree in Law. Since then she has enjoyed a varied career covering many different areas of law, before specialising in Children Law, which she has done almost exclusively for the past 5 years.

Mary loves reading and history and at a weekend can often be found at one of the many historical sites the North East has to offer and has even been known to play video games when she can find the time.

Chris was originally a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives from 1997 and qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.

He has over 25 years experience in private client work comprising Wills, Trusts, Probate, Powers of Attorney and other Court of Protection Work such as Deputyship applications. Chris has been a Partner in several firms in the North East, being Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

He brings a wealth of experience to his role and works closely with clients, providing them with a service tailored to their needs

Susan was born and bred in the North East, spending all of her working life in Blyth. She qualified in 1981 and, after some years at Alderson Law, began to specialise in family law, covering both private and legal aid. Susan was a member of the Law Society Family Panel and an accredited Resolution specialist, specialising particularly in private children law and domestic violence.

Susan took part-retirement in December 2018 but still works as a Solicitor here at Alderson Law. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She has also been a Brownie leader for over 40 years.

Originally from East Yorkshire, Jasmine moved to the North East in 2012 to study at Northumbria University undertaking the M Law Exempting (BPTC) course (the only undergraduate course in England and Wales which incorporates the Bar Professional Training Course), graduating in 2016 with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Prior to joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm, before moving to another firm to work as a Family Law Paralegal.

In 2018 she joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal and before qualifying as a Solicitor within the Family Law Department based at our Morpeth office. Jasmine represents clients in a wide range of matters including; divorce and matrimonial finance, disputes regarding the arrangements for children as well as parents who are subject to Local Authority involvement both before and during Court proceedings.

In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach, going to the gym, watching live music and looking after her pet rabbit.

Julie is a highly experienced property solicitor. She studied Law at Northumbria University and, after qualifying in 2000, went on to work at national and international firms prior to joining the team at Alderson Law in 2017. She works alongside her clients, advising on residential and commercial property development, property investment, portfolio management, property finance, landlord and tenant, easements and restrictive covenants.

Fiona is a specialist private client lawyer providing advice and assistance with wills, trusts, tax planning, probate & estate administration, lasting powers of attorney, court of protection and elderly client work. Having previously worked with a number of Newcastle-based firms listed in The Legal 500, Fiona brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the association for specialists in family inheritance and succession planning.

Fiona grew up in Northern Ireland and studied law at Durham University, and has remained in the North East ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage in Northumberland.

Mark Hipkin, partner at Alderson Law LLP, has been advising businesses and claimants since he qualified as a solicitor in 1982.

Mark’s passion is for representing claimants on two wheels in complex, serious and catastrophic motorcycle, scooter and cycle injuries, but he also has extensive experience of acting for claimants in many other personal injury areas including occupiers and public liability work and accidents at work. He specialises in challenging and complex cases. Mark always puts the client first, looking from the first day of instruction to obtain the best and fairest outcome for a claimant, no matter how long a case may take. He is a fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early neutral valuation as alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, however, litigation is the best option, together with the necessary drive to see every matter through to a fair conclusion.

Mark also, having started his own business, advises business clients, often with motorcycle-, scooter- or cycle-related businesses and also deals with complex commercial disputes, professional negligence cases, and general civil litigation.

Mark likes to spend what free time he has with his family and practising Tai Chi and Tang Soo Do (Korean Karate – in which he is a second Dan).

Having worked in family law for over 25 years, Julie is a highly accomplished specialist in her field. She has a vast body of experience in dealing with family law, from divorce and related financial issues to complex child-related cases. Julie was the first person in North Tyneside to achieve the status of an accredited advanced family law specialist, and is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, which demonstrates her experience in complex contested family cases and other subject-specific matters.

Though multi-talented and highly experienced, Julie’s particular speciality is in complex ancillary relief (financial settlement) claims and complex residence and contact disputes.

In her spare time Julie enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and three grandchildren. She attends clients at our Whitley Bay and Blyth offices.

Tracey is one of our Partners and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. Throughout her career she has had a varied caseload undertaking matters in most areas of civil and private client law. Tracey can assist clients in a wide range of matters including: Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Debt Recovery, Residential and Commercial Conveyancing as well as Licensing and Landlord and Tenant matters.

Tracey is one of our most senior practitioners with over 20 years of local experience, having graduated from both Newcastle University and Northumbria University. When not in the office she enjoys walking, cycling, and cooking with her family.