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Feature: Coming of age
You have finally come of age and can get yourself a scooter. Well, the scooter has come of age as well
We’ve all been there, turning 16 and being allowed to (legally) ride a scooter on the streets. There’s no greater purpose to your life than badgering your parents with ridiculous reasons on why you need a scooter when you’ve survived 15 years just fine without one. And there’s no greater joy than the moment they give in to your ridiculous reasons. For years, the go-to scooter for this particular demographic has been the Dio – the boy racer’s wet dream. I mean, have you seen the angles on that thing? Oh, but scoots have moved forward, and how. Everything from design to performance and features have evolved over the last two years, and we’ve got together the best of the lot.
The Honda Grazia is the Dio’s spiritual successor – aggressively styled but remains an Activa under the skin. The Activa 125, this time around. The Aprilia SR125 is a step down from the SR150 – it has the same chassis and design, but a smaller engine and a revised CVT. The TVS Ntorq is TVS Motors’ first attempt at a 125cc scoot after dabbling in smaller capacity ones for years. There’s plenty you need to consider before you choose. You’re going to have to live with that decision for a whole two years until you start pestering your parents for a motorcycle, after all. Fret not because we’re here to help. We realise that the price and mileage are irrelevant as dad will be footing those bills. Neither are after sales and service – you think you’re far too capable to wrap your scooter around a tree.
What are priorities are how quickly you can get to (or away from) college, how many guys swoon over it, how many girls swoon over you and if you can stuff your mother’s weekly grocery shopping into the boot. All three have huge potential. But daddy is only going to get you one, so which one will it be? We’ve conducted some wholly unscientific tests to come to some rather convincing conclusions.
Let’s be real, getting you from one place to the other within a city is the raison d’etre of a scooter. Now any scoot with two wheels and an engine will do so, but the one that will get you there the quickest and with the least bother is what will win this test. Our very unscientific drag race of seeing which scooter out accelerates the others (and then swapping seats for the reruns because of one particularly portly member) saw us conclude that the Ntorq is the quickest. If it’s the numbers you care about, the Ntorq makes 9.2bhp and 10.5Nm, while the Grazia makes 8.52bhp and 10.54Nm and the Aprilia makes 9.5bhp, but only 9.9Nm.
The Ntorq pulled away from the others every single time, while the Aprilia was the slowest. You wouldn’t imagine that with the 150’s legacy, but it has been set up for economy over performance, and it shows. The Ntorq’s CVT has been tuned for a quick 0-60kph and those rabid dashes to overtake traffic is the easiest on the TVS. Whack it open, and it dives forward with an aggressiveness that the other two simply can’t match. The Ntorq takes the cake on the manoeuvrability front as well. It may be heavier than the Grazia but it is super-flickable and will weave though traffic with far more nonchalance. The way the chassis is set up allows for quick changes of direction and it feels the most confident doing so. Hugely inspiring for when you’re late for that first lecture at college.
The Ntorq has another little trick up its sleeve. That all-digital cluster than hooks up to your phone via Bluetooth. It throws up navigation prompts, as well as gives information on who is calling or messaging you. That’s extremely convenient – it means you don’t have to keep halting to check if you’re on the right route, and also means you don’t have to use your phone with riding gloves which is a right pain in the ass.
Get someYes, your hormones are raging and you’d like to think that owning a scooter will get you attention from women. Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but that is simply not going to happen. They tend to care more about your personality than what’s between your legs. At least that’s what we men would like to believe, right? So your scooter is going to do no favours finding you love, or whatever else you are looking for. However, if you already have someone who wants to spend time with you, the right scooter could go a long way in making sure she continues to.
The Aprilia is a no go here. The seat is uncomfortable and the suspension is far too stiff, every single undulation on the road filters to your (and consequently her) backside. This can get rather annoying especially if you live in a city which has bad roads. Which is any city in this country. The SR125 doesn’t even get a grab rail as standard. I know you’d probably enjoy that, you dirty bugger, but madame would beg to differ. The Ntorq is second best in this regard – it gets a grabrail and a comfortable seat. However, the suddenness in acceleration can catch a pillion passenger off guard. The Grazia checks all the right boxes here – the seat is comfortable, as is the ride. You get a nice chunky grab rail and the scooter is never bitey with its acceleration. You know the secret to happiness, kids? Keep your woman happy. And buy a motorcycle. But also keep your woman happy.
Grab ’em stares
Hey, what’s the point of splurging `60k on a scooter if you aren’t making the boys a bit jealous? The Honda simply doesn’t feel special enough, and the Ntorq would have probably won this too if the third contender wasn’t Italian. The SR125 looks sleek and has neat bits and bobs like the large 14-inch wheels and the exposed monoshock that make it look rather sporty. Yes, the design is a familiar one – it’s been around on the SR150 for a while but that doesn’t take away from the 125. If anything, it adds to its appeal.
It’s the scooter you can buy and start talking about front-end feel and chassis stiffness (all picked up from that one MotoGP race you watched) while your buddies gawk at how wise you sound. It gives you access to this exclusive club of Aprilia owners that also has some really cool superbikes and a lot of other SRs. You can also boast about the 54 world titles that Aprilia has won, 20 of which are in the 125cc class though those 125s are nothing like your humble SR. No one needs to know that though.
Cram It We would have loved to see which one of the three could fit the most beer bottles in their boot, but then we’d be encouraging you underage teenagers to drink. That doesn’t go down well with our family friendly image so we’re going to try and score some brownie points from the mums instead. Chug, I mean, chuck the beer and see how much of her shopping you can get into the boot. All three scooters have hooks in the front to hang some luggage. The Grazia even gets a neat little glovebox with a USB charger for your phone. But no groceries save for the strip of chewing gum you picked up at the checkout counter is going to fit there. Under the seat, where it matters the most, the Ntorq is king. It has a massive 22-litre storage compartment compared to the Grazia’s 18 litres. I couldn’t find the exact volume of the Aprilia’s boot , but it was certainly smaller than the Ntorq’s.
Bottomline Right, so if you had to put your dad’s money on one, which one would it be? The Ntorq certainly seems like the most appealing option. It is the best to ride around town on, and has the practicality to go with the pep. While it may not have the sheer desirability of the Aprilia, it looks striking and will turn heads without a doubt. Then there’s the information cluster which takes the features list of its rivals and takes a nice long wee on them. The fact that it is the most affordable of the three also means convincing dad to get one should be easier. It’s quite the no brainer, really.