Aprilia RS 457: Be a racer?

An Italian performance machine cheaper than Japanese rivals, that too built right here in Amravati, WHAT?! Meanwhile, the Japs who’ve been in India for much longer still choose to import their higher-end bikes.

It looks & feels from a cc class above, while taking much inspiration from its elder sibling: the RS660. It captivates you from every angle & the only sore point being the exhaust that looks unfinished.

‘Racing Stripes

On regular use the buttons & the display works perfectly fine, however accessing the plethora of features hidden in the TFT will require a lot of memorization of buttons & sequences, it’s only then that you notice the switchgear sometimes doesn’t respond as you’d expect.

Bluetooth enabled call & music control functions are accessed via the Aprilia App. Call alerts are neatly displayed on the screen & this is a helpful feature but the lack of feel in the direction buttons sours the experience a little bit.

Turn-by-turn navigation features are powered by Here Maps & work well for the most part but can be difficult to find some addresses, also the guidance arrows occasionally go blank. All things said the system could be a bit more seamless but it’s still better than what the competition has to offer.

Display’s bright enough to read in direct sunlight but the camera wasn’t able to capture it.

Aprilia know a thing or 2 about designing suspension & chassis, the 457 being no outlier to this fact. Commuting with it was decent, going over most broken patches comfortably as long as the speed is low; the suspension, firm seat & leaned forward ergonomics will punish your spine if you attempt the same at higher speeds but it still remains unphased when hitting undulations at triple-digits.

The riding posture’s a tad more aggressive than rivals, but still not nearly as uncomfortable as the R15. I wish the RS was the ultimate road machine but the truth is that it’s committed to performance & getting used to its fiery nature will reward you immensely.

Seats aren’t plush but still not as bad as the 1st gen. RC 390. The RS was born & bred to carve corners, while still being adequately comfortable to commute to & from your favorite Sunday twisties.

Aprilia’s signature DRLs that look exactly like the ones from the bigger bikes.

Bike’s quite well-behaved for riding around town & despite going through heavy traffic in near 40-degree heat, the cooling system still kept everything under check. The heat is rather well contained & you do feel warmth from the motorcycle but there are no unpleasant blasts of hot air. 

Don’t expect the best mileage in bumper-to-bumper traffic. However, increase the speeds & things will get better. When ridden at a brisk pace, you can realistically get 220-240km on a tankful. 

Opalescent Light

There are 3 riding modes, which only change the throttle response & not the power output. Sport mode is the default when the bike turns on & will be quite sharp for newer riders, switching to Eco or Rain dulls the throttle nicely. The clutch is super light but still has a nice feel to it.

On the highway it climbs to triple-digits with little to no effort, even 120-130 km/h is very smooth & this engine will make for a great tourer. Vibrations are very well controlled for the most part only with a mild tingle in the footpegs at higher rpms. 

Gearbox is slick enough & never faced any false neutrals but it sounds a bit clunky, kinda like KTMs. It deserves the quick shifter as standard & not as an optional accessory for a whopping Rs. 28,000!

‘Prismatic Dark’

It’s the fastest accelerating bike in its class with the 0-100 times being in between 4.6-4.8 secs. Also, it certainly knows how to make the right sounds by way of the 270-degree firing order which makes it bark & growl. Downshift to be welcomed with small, occasional pops & cracks.

During the 1st ride review at the Kari Motor Speedway many people had complaibed about brake fade, but thankfully under normal riding conditions it’s actually quite impressive & the bike has the best stopping power in the segment thanks to sharp front brakes.

Batarang, anyone?

This motorcycle looks, sounds & rides like a big machine but for more affordable money. It has got the exotic vibe spot on, snob value & impressive heritage of being Italian. Aprilia have managed to beat the Japs at their own game. But only time will tell if this motorcycle has the reliability & service network to match that the others have. Leaving aside a few shortcomings which are either easy fixes or can be look past at, the RS 457 will make you feel special everytime.

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Tanmay Kulkarni
Tanmay Kulkarni

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