Aprilia Pegaso 650


Make Model.

Aprilia Pegaso 650




Four stroke, single-cylinder, DOHC, 5 valves


652 cc / 39.8 cu in
Bore x Stroke 100 x 83 mm
Compression Ratio 9.0:1
Cooling System Liquid cooled


2 x 33 mm Mikuni BST33



Max Power

36.4 kW / 50 hp @ 7000 rpm

Max Torque

59 Nm / 6.02 kgf-m / 43.5 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm


5 Speed 

Final Drive


Front Suspension

40 mm Upside down forks preload adjustable

Front Wheel Travel

210 mm / 8.3 in

Rear Suspension

Monoshock preload and rebound adjustable

Rear Wheel Travel

210 mm / 8.3 in

Front Brakes

Single 300 mm disc, 2 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

Single 220 mm disc, 1 piston caliper

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre


Dry Weight

157 kg / 346 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

22 L / 5.8 US gal

Consumption Average

5.6 L/100 km / 17.7 km/l / 41.6 US mpg

Braking 60 km/h / 37 mph - 0

14.00 m / 45.9 ft

Braking 100 km/h / 62 mph - 0

41.4 m / 135.8 ft

Standing Mile  

13.50 sec / 150.5 km/h / 93.5 mph

Top Speed

172.9 km/h / 107.4 mph

Bike magazine, 1994

Source Bike Magazine of 1994, by Richard Fincher

APRILIA made a few changes when it turned the Pegaso 600 into a 650. It kept the name and threw away everything else. Not always a tip for the top, especially when you're hurling away a device as able as the 600.

But Aprilia's corporate hand was not to be stayed, and the 600 bought it. And in the middling-sized empty space left by everything carried over from old to new (a couple of screws, three spokes and a bent pin) a Remarkably Wonderful Thing happened.

A beam frame of unmitigated loveliness was crafted in alloy and filled with a spanking new Rotax-built motor. Unfortunately there isn't a picture to show you how compact this arrangement is, but if you imagine a smallish fruit juice carton leant upon by a largish bear you'll get an inkling of an idea. Bijou and angled is the result, and this must in many ways contribute to the taught, balanced handling. An object lesson in where to put an engine and what to put around it.

The motor itself has liquid-cooling and five valves per cylinder. Since it only has one cylinder, it only has five valves which is one more than your average four-valve motor and is supposed to let it breathe better at high revs. So rather strangely it's the midrange that singles out this single.

There is a big fat lump of it from 1500rpm to 6000. Actually, that isn't so much midrange as all-the-range. There's the customary wheezing through the final thou and seismic juddering below 2500rpm, but the engine is still among the most powerful singles on the market.

And if Aprilia is not off to a bad start with the motor, then the rest of the bike is no duffer either. Aprilia stands a good chance of losing Italian manufacturers their reputation if it keeps making fuel level warning lamps which work, a neutral light that only illuminates when the bike is in neutral and a relaxed feel to the controls. The Pegaso really is very well thought out: bodywork slotting together in a quality way, chromed fork-sliders, neatly sculpted rear-end (oh, token bad point, the rack isn't plastic coated), comfortable seat, decent pillion pegs and grabable grab handles.

The only unreservedly Italian hang-up is the outstanding styling. Front and rear are future-shock chunk; side-on shows balance and poise; the rider's eye sees defensive bulk. Subtly cutting-edge design; not muscular, not massive, certainly not petite. If any bike deserves a black-and-white Design Council Award, it's the Pegaso.

The suspension is Aprilia-esque in that it eases as the mileage climbs. Early stiffness gently gives way to a firm, controlled ride which is all street and no dirty play. By all means take a Pegaso green-laning but it's a silly waste of a nice piece of plastic. Apparently someone wants to take one on the Paris-Dakar; I bet there's not much original kit left before the start let alone after the first stack.

Very Good Idea

Talking of silly things, why hasn't the 650 got stainless brake hose? The 600 had it and it's a Very Good Idea when there's four miles of the stuff between the master cylinder and the caliper. The braking is strong but with a rather spongy feel as a result.

The tyres deserve a paragraph all for themselves. The Pirelli MT60s are fit only for placing over the heads of those who specified them for this bike and setting fire to. They are an object lesson in how to make a bike seem crap; it is testimony to the competence of the Pegaso that I was able to work out it was any good. All dual purpose tyres are pretty bad on-road (apart from Avon Gripsters) and a total nightmare off-road, so why bother? Especially on a bike like this, which has steering so fast the rubber feels like it's going into the corner several minutes after you've turned the handlebars.

Bikes that look like this aren't supposed to flick in so quickly, so it isn't always just the tyre that the Pegaso catches out. But whatever the rider inadvertently throws the way of the chassis, it copes. Are you surprised? We've already mentioned the frame; now consider the works-Kawasaki replica alloy swing-arm and the slim chance of 40bhp upsetting it.

The Pegaso 650 is heading the way of Yamaha's TDM in its outlook; almost-roadster frame supporting trail motor and trail style. I cannot tell a lie, I like the Pegaso.

Of all the singles I've ridden, it's the most useable most of the time. The fairing and motor are motorway-friendly, the weight, poise and motor make mean-streeting a snap, and the suspension, braking, steering and motor (I like the motor) make the Pegaso a real contender for any future bumpy back-roadster of the year award.

Oh gosh, I almost forgot something. Because the Italian economy is vying with our own dear Treasury to produce the most hopeless set of figures in recorded history, Aprilia UK have no option but to sell the Pegaso at 3995. Which, if you consider the price/value index of your average Italian object (Cor-netto, Ferrari, a Coke in the Piazza del Campo) is astoundingly good value. In fact, if you ignore the Italian factor and look at the Pegaso 650 as a motorbike which is rather good, it's a bloody bargain. Roll on 1994 and the chance to put it head on against the BMW F650. I suspect they're both winners.

Source Bike Magazine of 1994