Review: Aprilia SR 150
Another gearless scooter to challenge the might of Honda Activa?
One word answer. No. Honda can be credited for jump-starting the gearless scooter segment a decade ago. Since then we have seen every other manufacturer trying to get an Activa clone to the market to challenge the leader. Aprilia on the other hand is trying a different approach. Instead of the usual follow the leader, it's trying to create an all-new Sport Scooter segment with the SR150.
A Sport Scooter? Tell me more?
Unlike most scooters that have a commuter friendly 110 to 125cc motor, the SR150 packs a 150cc engine. As you must have guessed it by now, this motor is sourced from its sibling the Vespa 150. While the engine might be shared between the two scooters, that's about the only commonality between them. The 14-inch rims are a first in the gearless scooter segment and not only give the bike its sporty look, but are functional on road too. These are the two most distinguishing facts that separate the SR 150 from other scooters in the market.
Okay, I am convinced it's not another grocery shopping scooter. Now lets talk performance shall we?
The SR 150's engine is an air-cooled single cylinder 154.4cc motor that makes 11.4bhp and 11.5Nm of torque. Thanks to all that power the SR 150 never shies away from making the dash to a 100kph. Max indicated speed that we saw on the speedometer was an 110kph, though we are pretty sure if we get a road long enough, it might just clock 120kph. It's not just the SR 150's top speed that we are so impressed with. Overtaking other vehicles on a scooter can be quite a pain especially on the highway. No such problem with the SR 150. Riding at 70kph, the scooter always has power in reserve to overtake slower vehicles.
110kph\\! That's supersonic as far as scooters go. Is it stable doing those speeds?
Given our usual skepticism about scooters, we were cautious for the first 100 meters. After that we have been riding it more like a motorcycle than a scooter. The SR150 feels eager even at triple digit speeds. Surprisingly, vibrations are minimum even at higher revs. The only giveaway is the engine that sounds a bit stressed above 80kph. Though we did not notice any lag in performance.
Taking corners is another department where the SR 150 impresses. The sticky tyres grip well, and we found ourselves leaning harder into every successive corner.
The suspension is on the stiffer side, so the ride can be a bit choppy on bumpy roads. The higher ground clearance helps in going over speed bumps without scraping the underbelly. Given the bigger wheel size, going over potholes or broken road does not unsettle the SR 150, like most scooters with smaller wheels.
Is it feature rich like other scooters?
Technically, the Aprilia SR 150 has everything you can expect on a scooter. A powerful engine, disc brakes upfront and underseat storage. What you won't get is gimmicky things like boot light, USB charger and remote fuel release. Out of all these the last one is the only feature that really matters to us.
Filling the six-litre fuel tank requires the usual exercise of getting off the scooter, opening the boot, then filling fuel. Given that the Aprilia is so much fun to ride, we are pretty sure owners wouldn't mind missing out on some of these features.
Anything else that I should know before sealing the deal?
We have been impressed with the overall performance; the most exciting feature is the price. Unlike the Vespa 150 that has an asking price of Rs 85,000, the Aprilia SR 150 retails for Rs 65,000 ex-showroom, Delhi. And for that price you get the performance of a motorcycle wrapped in the practicality of a scooter.
Engine\: Air cooled, 1-cyl, 154.4 cc, 11.4bhp, 11.5Nm, Fuel tank capacity\: 6 litres
Performance of a motorcycle wrapped in the practicality of a scooter, all with an attractive price tag
Price\: Rs 65,000 ex-showroom, Delhi