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  • Sachin Sen

All-new Aprilia RS 457: Will it raise the bar? Will it be the segment’s new performance benchmark?

Updated: Sep 17, 2023


Aprilia RS 457
Aprilia RS 457: Aprilia's all-new parallel twin with a 270-degree crank for that fantastic feel and drive...

Likely so.


Aprilia has just unveiled its first ever sport bike in the beginner class, called RS 457. It looks every bit an RS model, but it most closely resembles the supersport RS 660. The RS 457 seemingly packs a brilliant parallel twin 457cc liquid-cooled engine, which seems to have the 270-degree crank by the sound of it, giving it that v-twin-ish feel. In that case, the new RS 457 is the first motorcycle in the sub-500cc category to have a parallel twin motor with a 270-degree crank, promising excellent tractability and feel. Not to mention it will be the most unique engine in that aspect.


The RS 457 is entirely conceived, designed, and developed by Aprilia in Noale, Italy, and it affirms Aprilia’s stand in the sub-500cc motorcycle segment. The bike packs an all-new 457cc parallel twin, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve engine, producing 47.5 PS of power. The RPM range and the torque figures are not yet disclosed, but I would guess that it should be around 40 NM easily. The Honda CBR500R, another parallel twin with a 471cc parallel twin engine, makes the exact same 47.5 PS of power and 43 NM of torque, and the Kawasaki Ninja 400 with a 399cc parallel twin motor makes 37 NM of torque. So, the new Aprilia RS 457 can conveniently generate 40 NM of torque.


Aprilia RS 457
One could mistake it for the RS 660; there's no shortage of premiumness on this motorcycle

Furthermore, the promo video indicates that the 457cc engine has been given the 270-degree crank treatment for the best possible power and torque curve, making the engine more engaging (and easy) to ride especially in city traffic.


The all-new Aprilia is designed as a true RS sport bike to provide that premium look and feel, and that exotic riding experience expected from a European brand. This motorcycle looks more from its lineage than possibly every other motorcycle in this segment that is designed to mimic their respective elder siblings. And it shows how focused Aprilia is with its motorcycle in this segment.


The RS 457 literally appears to be a smaller version of the RS 660, with its entire bodywork, headlight, and silhouette resembling its mid-capacity sport bike. Even the 17-inch wheels appear to be similar. Everything looks to be of high-quality so far, including the fit-n-finish, from my mobile and TV screens.


Aprilia RS 457
The RS 457 already appears desirable, and that is the half job done by Aprilia

The entire beam frame is made out of aluminium, although the swingarm is steel. There’s a pair of preload-adjustable 41mm upside-down forks at the front while the rear gets a horizontally mounted monoshock (with preload adjustability). The braking setup is typical of this class with a 320mm disc managed by ByBre 4-piston callipers and 220mm disc at the rear.


Along with the seemingly class-leading engine, the newest RS gets ride by wire along with three riding modes as well as three-level traction control that can also be switched off. The all-LED lighting is there of course.


Competition


The RS 457 is going to compete with other prominent fully-faired sport bikes of the beginner class (or the A2 licence class in Europe), such as the KTM RC 390 and the Kawasaki Ninja 400. Personally, the Ninja 400 feels like the closest competition purely because it’s also run by a parallel twin engine. Ninja’s liquid-cooled, DOHC, 8-valve unit is 399cc, which is more than 50cc less than the RS 457, but makes a healthy 45 PS at 10,000 RPM and 37 NM at 8,000 RPM. It weighs 168 kg ready to ride.


Aprilia RS 457
One of the best ways to outperform the competition is to out-spec them!!

The Aprilia, in comparison, would weigh 175 kg fully fueled but has the cubic capacity advantage as well as 2.5 PS of power more. And there will be no way that the RS 457 will make any less torque; expect it to be 40-41 NM. As far as the specifications are concerned, the RS 457 has the advantage over the Ninja 400, and clearly, it shouldn’t have much trouble keeping the RC 390 in its rear view mirrors as well. On that note, we are aware that KTM is already testing the next-gen RC 390, with chassis and engine from the newest 390 Duke, and that should bring things closer. But twin cylinders will always have an advantage over the singles when it comes to handling stress. Finally, there’s the Yamaha R3 as well, but with its 321cc parallel twin motor making 42 PS or power and 29.5 NM of torque, it’s the least powerful parallel twin in this class looking at all major markets.


However, there’s another motorcycle which is even more unique, in fact, the most unique motorcycle in the segment, the recently introduced Kawasaki Ninja ZX-4R. The 399cc inline-4 high-revving, maddening, proper supersport churning out 77 PS or power at 14,500 and 39 NM of torque at 13,000 RPM. This motorcycle really has no direct competition (and it may stay like this), nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how much does the RS 457 attract the riders who might be at least thinking about the ZX-4R.


Where will the RS 457 be made?


Aprilia RS 457
It will be made in India (at least for the Indian market), which will allow Aprilia to price it competitively

It is said that Aprilia will make the RS 457 in India itself. The company already has a production line for its scooters here, and it’s possible they’re making the required changes to build the all-new RS model. In the pictures, I’ve noticed that the RS 457 is equipped with TVS Protorq Extreme tyres, which is an interesting choice. And though these tyres can already be bought from the market, the ones on the RS 457 are co-branded with Aprilia.


Manufacturing the motorcycle in India will keep the price competitive in our domestic market, which is most likely where the bike is expected to sell in good numbers (regardless of how well it does in Europe). And that will also mean whatever market the Ninja 400 enjoys in India currently will come under threat as well.


I can't say it enough that I'm absolutely excited to ride Aprilia's latest RS 457 and that I'll get to do it soon is all I can think of.

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