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xBhp was born more than 16 years ago and since then we've had a chance to ride or drive hundreds of machines running on two wheels or four wheels, and sometimes even three wheels. We are not done yet, and this list is still growing. In these pages, we take a deep dive in the treasure trove of our ride experiences and bring you all that we have ridden or driven.

Aprilia RS 457 Review :: Being a racer!

457CC 47.6BHP 43.5NM

Years ago, if someone told me I’d be riding a made-in-India Aprilia right here in India, I would have probably scoffed at the thought. I am not a cynic but still, the thought would have seemed a little too outlandish or optimistic. That was years ago though. For me, the first month of 2024 has started with a bang called the Aprilia RS 457. Right off the bat… believe the hype, people! 

If you are someone like me, born in the 80s, you probably grew up riding the RX-100s and the RD350s. Then the CBZs, the Pulsars, and the R15s. All of these motorcycles played their part in revolutionizing the Indian motorcycling scene. Fast forward a few years, India was manufacturing motorcycles from brands that we weren’t sure would even be sold here. 

Look at us now. KTMs are being made in India. Husqvarnas are being made in India. BMWs are being made in India. The latest entrant to the party is Aprilia; the RS 457 is being manufactured at the Noale brand’s Baramati plant. It is a matter of immense pride for us that world-class motorcycles from world-class manufacturers are being made here, for us and for the world! 

Talking about the motorcycle and starting with the looks, the RS 457 looks everything like an Aprilia should. In a word, it looks stupendous! Starting with the front, the DRLs are the highlight. The integrated little winglets, the little scoops over the brow, the fins on the fairing and so on; this is a motorcycle that is dripping with Italian character and flare. 

The aluminium frame which is a segment first further augments the premium big bike looks. The lines taper towards the rear beautifully ending in a tail section that will make a lot of motorcycles envious. The tank is meaty and even the clip-ons make you feel like you are riding something special. The indicators are incorporated in the all-LED headlight which further makes for cleaner lines.

I also loved the layered fairing and the underbelly exhaust integrated with the belly pan. The handlebar controls are backlit and the 5” TFT display is vivid and displays everything you need to know while riding the RS 457, including be a racer. The last bit is extremely important. Looks may be subjective but not in this case. In terms of design, The RS 457 is a 10 on 10. And it ought to be considering it is inspired by the RSV4 and the RS 660. 

Now to the juicy bit, the engine. 457cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve, parallel-twin; sounds good, right? Add to that the uneven 270-degree firing order and it starts to sound too good, literally! It is the best-sounding motorcycle south of 500cc or more than two cylinders. In terms of numbers, it makes 47.6 bhp of power at 9,400 rpm and 43.5 Nm of torque at 6,700 rpm. 

This is one of the few occasions where I have mentioned the rpm for peak torque and power because it is important here. Usually, small-capacity twins with tons of power require you to wring the throttle to get going. In the case of the 457, you don’t. There’s tons of grunt right from the get-go. One of the reasons is that Aprilia had room to work with as the engine is probably capable of even more power but south of 48 horses keeps things nice and accessible for A2 license in Europe. 

As a result, the engine is not being worked too hard. This should translate to tractability and on-demand power on public roads. I will not speculate though and just talk about how it goes on the racetrack. In a word, it rocked my world. The power delivery, the amount of power, the gearing, the grunt, and that crescendo of its exhaust is something that you simply have to experience to appreciate. 

Castrol is the official partner of Aprilia worldwide and their partnership extends to the racetrack as well with Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE being the official engine oil partner of the Aprilia Racing Team. With my years of experience with it, I am also going to be using Castrol POWER1 ULTIMATE as and when I get my own Aprilia RS 457.

Kari Motor Speedway is not the fastest or the most flowing layout and yet, you find yourself going bonkers on every corner exit just to hear the engine sing and deliver thrust that is rarely felt in this class. I usually keep the discussion about weight for the handling section but I need to mention it here. At 175 kg (kerb), the RS 457 is as light as it could be which translates to a power-to-weight ratio that is beyond impressive. 

Right off the line, it simply flies off and the power just keeps on coming and coming and coming. Despite all that, the RS 457 is extremely refined. Again, there are perks to not overstressing an engine. The fact that it’s a twin also helps the matter. The gearbox was slick though on a racetrack, one does miss a quickshifter which I thought would be standard but that’s just being greedy. It is an optional accessory but more on that later. 

In terms of electronics, the ride-by-wire system facilitates sophisticated riding modes that adjust power, torque, and traction control. The latter can be disabled as well if you’re hardcore. The engine is an absolute gem and I am sure that it is more than capable of powering more motorcycles on the platform; we’d love to see a Touraeg or a Tuono powered by this peach of an engine. 

Ergonomics and handling are next. If be a racer does not clarify it, let me tell you that the riding position is quite committed. But it is not a backbreaker either. 800mm seat height makes it accessible to almost every rider. The handlebar sits low but the footpegs aren’t too high. Overall, it is a nice compromise between track riding and road riding with a little more emphasis on the former. 

In terms of handling, the Aprilia RS 457 is akin to a surgical tool. It is precise to the point that it can turn on a dime. The weight has a role to play, yes, but the chassis and the geometry are tuned to perfection. You point where you want it to go and it goes there. The turn-in is quick, the side-to-side transitions are smooth, and it holds its line like a racing machine should. 

It inspires so much confidence that despite the track not being the smoothest, I could push it harder and harder, braking later and later. The 320mm disc on the front has a radially mounted 4-piston calliper which grants the RS 457 with very confidence-inspiring stopping power. The ABS seemed a little too eager but I found that it has two maps as well. So one can play around to find what fits their riding style the best. 

The suspension was tuned very well as well. Though not fully adjustable, the fork offers preload adjustability. The quick riding session did not allow me the time to mess around with those but even in stock, the suspension system works phenomenally. How well it does on Indian roads remains to be seen but I have a good feeling about that as well. 

The handling prowess of the Aprilia RS 457 is augmented by the TVS Protorq tyres. These are steel radials offering all the grip one can ask for. We had tested these tyres not too long ago and came away impressed. On the RS 457 as well, they do a splendid job of taming the power and the dynamics of the motorcycle. 

Overall, the Aprilia RS 457 justifies its tagline. It is a roadgoing motorcycle but it is an immensely capable track tool. It is precision on two wheels and the whole package is something that can prove to be a fantastic first motorcycle if racing is something that you’d like to take seriously. And at INR 4.1 lakh (Ex-Showroom), the RS 457 is perhaps the most VFM entry-level supersport motorcycle you can get your hands on considering the package and Aprilia’s legacy. 

Talking about the competition, there’s the Ninja 400 which is more expensive and personally, less appealing. They may be neck to neck in terms of performance but the RS 457 offers more character and features for less money. Then there’s the R3 which is more expensive and very basic in terms of the package. It may be more of a sports tourer but in direct comparison with the RS 457, we know which one takes the cake. 

The Apache RR 310 is a little too far off in terms of performance so a direct comparison is a little futile but if you were to compare the looks alone, the competition is level. Finally, there’s the RC 390; the closest in terms of power-to-weight ratio, cheaper, and fairly loaded in terms of features. The RS 457 has an extra cylinder, is more relaxed, and sounds better too. 

The only thing that remains to be seen is the after-sales experience when it comes to the Aprilia RS 457. Aprilia’s footprint in India is relatively limited but with the launch of the RS 457, we are hoping for a major overhaul in that department as well. That is the only minor concern I can think of. Other than that, which motorcycle is right for you is something I cannot decide. Go out there, get a feel for all of them and then make a decision. If it was up to me though, the RS 457 is a very easy recommendation to make. 

Also, a small note about the accessories will follow. The prices for these have not been announced yet but here’s the list nonetheless: 

  • Quick shifter
  • Adjustable brake lever
  • Electronic Anti Theft
  • Front Brake Lever Protection
  • Assembly system for Electronic Anti Theft
  • Internal Bike Cover
  • External Bike Cover
  • Helmet Lock
  • USB Charging
  • High Windscreen
  • Heel Guard
  • Front Axle Protector