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Aprilia RS 457 vs Kawasaki Ninja 500 - Competition Check

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Rishabh Bhaskar

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Aprilia RS 457 vs Kawasaki Ninja 500 - Competition Check

Kawasaki launched the new Ninja 500 in India recently and to everyone’s surprise it is priced exactly as much as the Ninja 400. Essentially, you’ve got a bigger, more powerful engine, more features and revised styling in the Ninja 500 for no extra cost. Nevertheless, as promising as the Kawasaki sounds, it faces stiff competition from the made-in-India Aprilia RS 457. This is how they stack up on paper.

Design

The Kawasaki Ninja 500 features a contemporary design that is in line with Kawasaki’s current supersport design language. You’ve got a sharp-looking front end, with split LED headlights, a layered side fairing and a very Ninja ZX-10R like tail section. It looks attractive but we think Kawasaki should’ve offered the SE variant in the Kawasaki racing team colours instead of the standard black colour in India.

Kawasaki Ninja 500 Right Front Three Quarter

The Aprilia RS 457 is a gorgeous motorcycle and there’s not a single angle from which it looks ungainly. From the shape of the fairing, the way the frame is left exposed to the short yet stylish tail section, the RS 457 is a good example of form and function working seamlessly.

Features

Kawasaki Ninja 500 TFT / Instrument Cluster

Both motorcycles feature all-LED illumination, dual-channel ABS and instrument clusters with Bluetooth connectivity. But, that’s where the similarities end. The Aprilia RS 457 is significantly better equipped with more modern-day features like a colour-TFT display, traction control and ride modes.

Engine

The Ninja is powered by a newly-developed 451cc, parallel-twin engine that produces 45bhp at 9,000rpm and 42.6Nm at 6,000rpm. It is paired with a six-speed gearbox with slip and assist function.

Kawasaki Ninja 500 Right Side View

On the other hand, the RS 457 is also equipped with a parallel-twin engine but the 457cc mill has a 270-degree crank and that results in a markedly different sound and character from that of the Ninja. It produces 47bhp at 9,400rpm and 43.5Nm at 6,700rpm. The Aprilia is clearly the more powerful engine of the two. It too gets a six-speed gearbox and the company will sell a quickshifter to you as an accessory.

Hardware

The Ninja employs a steel-trellis frame that’s suspended by a 41mm telescopic fork and a link-type monoshock with preload adjustability. Braking duties are taken care of by a 310mm disc at the front and a 220mm disc at the rear.

The Aprilia has a dual beam aluminium frame that should be lighter than the Ninja’s. The suspension components consist of a 41mm USD fork and monoshock, and both of these are preload adjustable. The bike also has the larger brakes, with a 320mm disc at the front and a 220mm disc at the rear.

Price

Since Kawasaki has decided to bring the Ninja 500 to India via the CBU route, the taxes levied are significantly higher than those that apply to made-in-India bikes. Which explains the Kawasaki’s high asking price of Rs 5.24 lakh, ex-showroom.

The Aprilia RS 457 is made in Maharashtra, India and that has allowed the Italian manufacturer to price the bike quite competitively at Rs 4.10 lakh, ex-showroom. That’s an eyeball popping price gap of Rs 1.14 lakh.

Choosing between the two should come down to not only the price but also individual preferences with regards to design, engine character and features that are desired.

Kawasaki Ninja 500 Gallery

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