Testing the Aprilia RS 457 at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore was the perfect way to explore the capabilities of the latest sub-500-cc sports bike to be launched in India.
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Apurva Ambep
One of the most awaited sportsbikes in our market has been the Aprilia RS 457. I have been eager to get my hands on the bike ever since it was unveiled and that is especially because of the sleek styling. I love how Aprilia has replicated the looks of the larger RS 660 and the RSV4. It is a great motorcycle to look at from any angle; it gets those iconic Aprilia LED headlights, a well-sculpted tank, and a sleek rear end. The standout feature on the RS 457 is the use of a twin-spar aluminium frame which is componentry we usually see on larger-displacement sportsbikes. There are three unique colour options on offer; Prismatic Dark, Opalescent White, and Racing Stripes. The overall fit and finish of the bike is good, but not extremely premium like I had expected it to be. It gets a 5-inch TFT that has more than adequate information and the switchgear is user-friendly to operate and has good tactile feedback.
The Aprilia RS 457 is a compact and lightweight motorcycle just like sports bikes are meant to be. It has a kerb weight of 175 kg and a seat height of 800 mm. It is obviously going to suit shorter riders better but I don’t think taller riders would be uncomfortable astride it. As I swung my leg over and headed out of the pitlane, I quite liked the riding position of this motorcycle. The reach to the clip-on handlebars is not as aggressive as something like the older KTM RC 390, but slightly more forward set than bikes like the Yamaha R3 or the Kawasaki Ninja 400. The footpegs are set higher up and towards the rear. With the well-sculpted tank, I was able to lock my leg while leaning into corners and overall, good ergonomics considering this is a bike that’s going to spend a lot of time on public roads. Over the short duration that we spent on track, I did like the comfort offered by the seat as well.
As mentioned at the start of this review, the bike gets a twin-spar aluminium frame with a bolt-on steel subframe. Sitting in this chassis is a 457-cc, twin-cylinder motor churning out 47.6 hp at 9,400 rpm and a peak torque of 43.5 Nm at 6,700. This makes it the most powerful motorcycle in the sub-500-cc segment in India. This is a potent motor that was just so much fun to exploit on track. The acceleration is linear and feels quite refined as you get going, followed by a strong midrange, and there is a nice surge in power that comes in at around 5,500 rpm as the bike quickly darts to the 10,500 rpm redline. Very few vibes are felt when the bike is almost at the redline but nothing that bothered me too much. I was able to get to an indicated top speed of just around 162 km/h in fifth gear before I had to get on the brakes to enter the first corner. Even at this speed, I hadn’t redlined fifth gear yet so it should be able to do an indicated speed of around 190 km/h in sixth gear. This motor is also tractable and could handle doing low speeds of 40 km/h in third gear. And then you have that lovely exhaust note which is delivered through the underbelly exhaust unit. This growling exhaust note is all thanks to the fact that the motor uses a 270-degree crankshaft. I do wish that a quickshifter was offered as part of the standard package. For now, we know that it is part of the official accessories going to be offered by Aprilia. Prices for the accessories should be announced soon.
There are three riding modes (Eco, Rain, and Sport) that can be switched on the go and four levels of traction control; three levels and the option to completely disable it. Suspension duties are handled by a 41-mm fork at the front and a monoshock unit at the rear. Both ends get preload adjustability, the front gets 120-mm of suspension travel while the rear gets 130 mm. I really enjoyed how the RS 457 handles out on track as the bike felt really confidence inspiring. Just a few corners in and it just felt so natural and familiar. It attacks corners with precision and flicks over from one side to another very effortlessly.
Special mention goes out to the grippy TVS Eurogrip Protorq Extreme rubber that made the experience all the more engaging and allowed me to push harder with every passing lap. There were a few times I did get carried away, but it was effortless to get the bike to correct a line mid corner. The only limitation were the brakes; They did work really well as we headed out on track but most of us journalists did face brake fade around 7 laps into the experience. Although, this is a bike that is going to be sold for the streets so it should perform well in that sense. Slight modifications will be needed in this regard if a rider is planning on taking their bike to the race track. The RS 457 gets dual-channel ABS and there is a mode that disables ABS at the rear and reduces ABS intervention at the front.
Priced at Rs 4.10 lakh (ex-showroom), the Aprilia RS 457 is expensive, but what you do get is an amazing chassis and engine package that is worth the money. Considering how expensive the other twin-cylinder options in the segment have become, this seems to be a great deal for a rider who is set on owning a twin-cylinder sport bike. The twin-cylinder motor in the RS 457 surely kept me addicted and it is paired with a very capable chassis that inspired a lot of confidence. We hope to test it soon in the city to tell you all about how it fares as a bike for the daily grind. With this new platform introduced, we can also expect to see a Tuono 457 in the near future.