A decade back, Aprilia led the way into the current electronics craze, with superbikes running highly advanced safety systems and suspension that nobody else could compete with back then. Now, the company is making moves in the other direction. First, we got the 660-series machines, bringing Aprilia into the middleweight class. Now, at EICMA, we see the new Aprilia RS457 sportbike appearing officially (we had a glimpse earlier in the fall). The company is now ready to attack the small-bore sportbike category.
Like the 660 series, it seems the idea with the RS457 is to create a machine in a more affordable class of motorcycling, but with specs and capabilities beyond the competition.
What we’ve got here, then, is a liquid-cooled parallel twin engine with DOHC top end and four-valve head. Although we still haven’t seen a whole lot of information on the engine, we do know that it’s supposed to top out at 47 hp, with 36 lb-ft of torque. Because this machine has to stay legal in the restrictive A2 learner-licence category in Europe, those numbers aren’t particularly impressive when compared to the competition. Everyone makes the same power in this bracket. Its 175 kg claimed wet weight is similarly in-line with the competition.
Where the RS457 stands apart is the idea of purpose-building a performance bike in this category, instead of a mass-market machine aimed at budget-strapped learners. A throttle-by-wire arrangement allows for multiple riding modes (the bike comes with three modes as stock, but we bet tuners will figure out how to add more, or Aprilia will offer them as an accessory). You can choose between three levels of traction control as well, and upgrade to an optional quickshifter.
The twin-spar aluminum frame is a much swankier affair than the cheaper chassis found on competitors. Same for the lightweight aluminum wheels and beefy 320 mm front brake disc, mated to a four-piston Brembo caliper. The bike comes with a 5-inch TFT as standard, and even the switchgear is backlit. This is top-shelf kit.
The RS457 appears on Aprilia’s Canadian website right now, but there’s no info on pricing or availability yet.