Aprilia has quite a history when it comes to miniature sportsbikes. The Italian brand was dominant in the old 125 and 250cc two-stroke Grand Prix racing classes, with the replica RS125 and RS250 road bikes being real cult classics these days. In recent years the RS660 almost singlehandedly invented the ‘supertwin’ class and now, for 2024, there will be an all-new mini race replica, with the addition of the RS457 to the range.
The RS457 will go up against the likes of the Honda CBR500R, KTM RC390, Kawasaki Ninja 400 and Yamaha R3 in the A2 licence sportbike class, with the expectation it could also hit the racetracks in the Supersport 300 class – where the Kawasaki is currently dominant.
Like the Ninja, the Aprilia is powered by a liquid-cooled, two-cylinder engine with twin camshafts and four-valves per cylinder. Capacity hasn’t been officially announced, although the name suggests 457cc, and the bike is right on the A2 licence power limit of 35kw (47bhp). With power capped, Aprilia claim a class leading power-to-weight ratio thanks to a claimed 159kg dry weight (175kg fuelled and ready to ride), while the spec sheet is much higher than that of competitor models, with an aluminium frame used as a stressed member and an electronics package including traction control and three-riding modes.
Suspension is adjustable for preload, with 41mm upside down forks up front and a monoshock at the rear. Braking comes from Brembo’s budget ‘ByBre’ brand, with a single 320mm disc grabbed by a radially mounted four-piston calliper – with the two-channel ABS system able to be operated on either both wheels or the front only. Tyre sizes are the same as on the Ninja 400, with 17” wheels shod with 110/70 rubber up front and 150/60 at the rear, and the promo pictures show the RS457 running Aprilia-branded budget TVS Protorq Extreme HF rubber.
Styling is, understandably, in line with that found on the RS660 and the bigger RSV1100 superbike models. The LED headlamp and turn signals are integrated into the fairing and, overall, it has more presence and more of a ‘big bike’ feel to it than you’d expect to find on an A2 model. That premium feel continues from the cockpit view, with a modern 5” TFT dashboard, backlit switchgear and sporty clip-on handlebars. In line with other models in the class, the clip-ons rise and sit above the upper yoke for a bit more comfort on the road. For those looking for a more upright riding position, we’d fully expect a higher-barred Tuono variant to be in the pipeline – in line with other Aprilia models.
There’s no word yet on when we can expect to see the RS457 in showrooms, or a price, although having seen the spec sheets we’d expect it to be more in line with Kawasaki’s £8699, four-cylinder, ZX-4RR than the £6099 of the two-cylinder Ninja 400.