Ever since Aprilia announced the RS 457, it’s been on every enthusiast biker’s mind. Firstly, as an approachable sub-500cc bike from Aprilia, the RS 457 sounded like a pretty good idea. Secondly, as soon as the price was announced, it became evident that the locally produced motorcycle had a lot in store for the Indian motorcyclist, including great value. But what’s the point of getting acquainted with a new Aprilia if you can’t find its limits? Thankfully, a first ride experience was organised at the Kari Motor Speedway, and we knew the hard day’s work would be well worth it.

Drawing inspiration from its larger brethren (the RS 660 and the RSV4), the RS 457’s design leaves a lasting impression. At the same time, it’s impossible to not raise your expectations, because it looks focussed — and it’d be a shame if it didn’t turn out to be so.

Ridability

Using the first lap of our time on the track to warm the tyres up, I realised how tractable the 457cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine is. Fourth gear, 40 km/h, and it just didn’t throw any tantrums. A mere twist of the wrist, and there was instantaneous power; something I wasn’t expecting at all. This continues from as low as 3,000 rpm to about 9,500 rpm. The headline figures of 47 bhp@9,400 rpm and 4.43 kgm of max torque (the latter coming in at 6,700 rpm) don’t give away how easy the Aprilia should be to live with.

Three riding modes

The engine emanates a raspy note, thanks to a 270-degree crank, which is pleasing to the ears. There are three riding modes to choose from (Eco, Rain, and Sport)and they vary the fuelling to optimise power delivery. The 6-speed gearbox felt very smooth on the move, and it can also be specced with a quick-shifter, which is available as an optional extra. There’s also switchable traction control, ABS (you can switch the rear ABS off, if you like), a 5-inch TFT console (with phone and music readouts), and Protorq Extreme HR tyres from TVS Eurogrip.

Ergonomics, too, seem perfect on the RS 457. Not only do you sit pretty much within the motorcycle rather than being perched atop it, but the overall position enables the rider to focus more on setting the perfect lap time. The motorcycle’s dual-beam aluminium frame and the preload adjustable suspension deserve special mention for that. It doesn’t take away from the riding comfort either — the clip-ons are adjustable and the seat is good, too. It mightn’t have the fanciest of switchgear, but the build quality is good and the cockpit is well laid out.

There’s some innate forgiveness that the RS 457 exhibits, especially when you veer off the ideal line. On the other hand, the suspension setup does inspire confidence to push the motorcycle closer to its limit. What let the experience down slightly are the intrusive ABS (thankfully you can switch the rear ABS off) and the organic brake pads, which exhibited some fade after continuous use at the track.

As a complete package, the new Aprilia RS 457 feels like it’ll be a solid purchase and is deserving of the ₹4.10 lakh (ex-showroom) price tag it carries. It makes you want to ride more at the track, and if a motorcycle does that, it’s always a good thing.

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