‘Should I go now?’
‘Yes, you may. I will stay behind. Go ahead, and give it a shot.’
I nodded, and precisely 10 seconds later, I had a face full of fresh sparks, as Aprilia’s MotoGP test rider, Lorenzo Savadori, casually dropped and dragged his elbow while riding the company’s all-new made-in-India Aprilia RS motorcycle in front of me. My jaw hit the kerb.
That should give you a vivid idea of what the RS 457 is all about, but, then, the man riding the motorcycle was a rider extraordinaire. So, let’s review the RS 457 in the usual, more conventional way that’s suitable for us mere mortals.
Now, it’s a big deal, folks! It’s the brand-new Aprilia RS 457 – the company’s first made-in-India global motorcycle, which is in all likelihood going to be a make or break for its maker in the country. It made its India debut on the sidelines of the first-ever MotoGP round in India back in September 2023, and Aprilia has already put a price tag on it of Rs 4.10 lakh (ex-showroom), making it an irresistible offering. While you may have seen this motorcycle quite frequently in the past few months, what remains unknown is its performance on the road. Does it live up to the hype? Does it have the go to match the show? Is it a true RS Aprilia? Well, all your questions are about to be answered.
Aprilia RS 457: Design & Features
Since its India unveil during the Bharat GP, the RS 457 has made multiple public appearances, consistently captivating us with its design and styling. Inspired by the bigger RS 660, the RS 457 is a genuinely attractive-looking motorcycle. It would be fair to say that it has well and truly nailed the supersport aspect. Not to mention, it effortlessly mimics the design of its elder RS sibling – the signature twin LED headlamps, sleek bodywork, a MotoGP-inspired front wing, 2-in-1 underbelly exhaust, and a pointy tail section are all reminiscent of the RS 660.
The RS 457 is available in three distinct colour options. There’s the classic MotoGP livery, which comes in a matte finish with red stripes and loud Aprilia branding. Then, there’s Opalescent Light, which is finished in gloss white and gets beautiful details, making it particularly eye-catching. My favourite, however, is Prismatic Dark, which is a colour-shifting chameleon-like paint scheme. On the surface, it appears to be matte black, but on a bright and sunny day, it exudes multiple hues of purple and green, lending it a unique and exceptionally cool appearance.
In terms of fit and finish, Aprilia has done a commendable job here because the quality levels on this motorcycle are quite good. Of course, it's not like an RS660 or other big Aprilias, for it does have a few rough edges – the engine casing and many other exposed metal parts don’t quite have the sheen or finish that you'd usually associate with the Aprilia brand. However, I must add that it’s more than just satisfactory.
In terms of accessibility, the RS 457 is a great motorcycle. It feels instinctively right from the go. The riding position is sporty and typical of a road-going supersport with rear-set foot pegs and clip-on bars. However, the bars aren’t excessively low – they are positioned slightly higher a little high, resulting in a relatively more relaxed riding stance. It’s sporty but not a fully committed racer in that sense. The other great thing is its saddle height of 800 millimetres, which makes it ideal for riders of all heights. You will find it easy to flat-foot, and since it weighs 175kgs (kerb), it’s an easy motorcycle to live with. The tank is large and chunky, with 13 litres of fuel capacity. Overall, what you can say is that the RS 457 looks like a proper supersport, but it’s not a back-breaker, with brilliantly calibrated ergonomics.
Coming to the features and equipment, it gets a crisp 5-inch TFT display, along with three riding modes, switchable ABS, and traction control with three levels of adjustment. Among other highlights, there are full LED headlamps with integrated indicators and backlit switchgear. It also has a lot of accessories on offer, including a quick-shifter, electronic anti-theft device, adjustable levers, USB charging, and so on. Suffice it to say, it’s a decently kitted-out motorcycle, and I believe Aprilia has left no stone unturned to make it look and feel premium. In short, it well and truly covers all the bases in terms of design and features.
Aprilia RS 457: Engine Performance
Let’s now cut directly to the chase. Is the RS 457 a proper RS Aprilia?
We got to ride the RS 457 briefly at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore, making this more of a track test review rather than a real-world ride report. Nevertheless, a few things became evident during my time with the bike, and I will explain each one individually.
The engine is undeniably the star of the show. With 47bhp and 43.5Nm, this 457cc parallel twin motor packs enough oomph for both new and experienced riders. Unlike other small parallel-twin engines that you might have experienced before, it is not a peaky motor – in other words, the power is not concentrated towards the top end of the rev range. Instead, it feels more like a big V-twin motor, thanks to its 270-degree firing order. There’s ample grunt at low and mid-revs, with a linear and yet strong flow of power throughout the rev range. Although we only tested the RS 457 at the racetrack, it was quite evident that this motor would also shine in the real world. During the test, I didn’t have to wait for the power to come through while exiting the tight corners of Kari. All I needed to do was whack the throttle open, and I found a heavy dose of Italian torque at my disposal.
Another aspect of this engine that impressed me was its flexibility. Irrespective of the gear, the roll-on acceleration is strong, and you won’t find the engine lugging even when you pull from 30 – 40km/h in sixth gear. The gearbox is smooth, too, and while there was no quick-shifter on our test bikes, the clutch was feather-light, which is a significant advantage.
The engine is a little gruff and not silky-smooth like, say, the Yamaha R3’s twin, but it does have a character of its own. The exhaust adds to the overall experience, producing a throaty sound with a deep baritone and occasional pops between shifts. Quite an enjoyable auditory experience, I must say.
What about the top speed? Well, I managed to go a little over 150km/h (fourth gear) on the 700m straight of Kari. Aprilia claims a true top speed of 180km/h – I don’t doubt it because I could tell that there was a lot more in reserve.
Aprilia RS 457: Ride and Handling
Now, in terms of chassis and suspension, the RS 457 totally blew me away! Truth be told, I was under the impression that it was not going to be as aggressive or as sporty as a regular Aprilia RS, for it’s made for a particular audience in India and beginners in other parts of the world. But, on the track, it was an absolute weapon! It really surprised me, rather pleasantly, with its handling and agility. The ease with which it can be flicked from one direction to another, the front-end feel, the quick turn-in – everything is just so effortless and intuitive. The RS 457 is a true blue supersport – it’s sharp, precise, beautifully balanced, and offers unparalleled fun.
While the bike lacks fully adjustable suspension, the 41mm USD front fork does come with pre-load adjustability. The standard setup feels perfect on the racetrack – neither soft like a sports tourer nor rigid like a track-bred machine. The sharp geometry and a relatively short wheelbase make it a little bit edgy though, but overall, it’s a very forgiving machine. The ergonomics, too, feel great on the track, but you don’t feel like a committed racer. Slightly low set clip-ons and more rear-set pegs can turn it into a serious track tool.
What could be better? The braking performance, for sure. It’s the only weak link in this otherwise stellar package. Of course, in terms of hardware, it’s got everything, as it comes with a 320mm front disc with a 4-piston radial calliper and a 220mm rear disc. But, on the track, the brakes lack the bite that you would expect from a motorcycle this fast and powerful, especially while braking from high speeds. This could be because of its organic pads, so switching to sintered pads may make things better – something that Aprilia may consider addressing in the future.
Last but not least, the tyres. The RS 457 comes with made-in-India Eurogrip Protorq W-rated tyres. You might expect these to be a compromise, but that's absolutely not the case. In fact, these tyres are quite impressive. The grip levels are quite good, and even on the racetrack, when you're pushing the motorcycle, they feel perfectly fine.
Some motorcycles don't look great on paper but exceed expectations when you ride them. And then there are those that look great on paper, but their real-world experience leaves a sour taste in your mouth. The Aprilia RS 457, though, falls in neither category. It’s a motorcycle that sounds too good to be true on paper and surpasses all the expectations when you ride it.
When I first saw the RS 457 in the flesh, I thought there was surely going to be some compromise or other in terms of the riding experience. But, now, I have been decisively proven wrong. The RS 457 is as good as it is cracked up to be – in fact, I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to call it a proper supersport motorcycle. And I know I have been banging on and on about the ‘supersport’ aspect since the beginning, but, then, that's what it feels like. The way it looks, the way it goes, the way it rides, every aspect of it oozes that supersport feel. It’s a remarkable product and a testament to the remarkable efforts made by Aprilia. They have undeniably got a winner here!
- Aprilia RS 457
Engine: 457cc / Parallel Twin/ Liquid-Cooled
Power: 47bhp @ 9,400rpm
Torque: 43.5Nm @ 6,500rpm
Price: ₹4.10 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: Looks like an Aprilia, goes like an Aprilia, and while it’s not priced like an Aprilia, it indeed is an Aprilia.