Aprilia has tried to bring in the best of both worlds, sheer riding pleasure of a motorcycle and practicality of a scooter. We find out if the SR 150 manages to live up to the hype.
I felt like a little kid anxiously waiting for his Christmas present when I was waiting to ride the most anticipated scooter of this year, the Aprilia SR 150. The iconic Italian two-wheeler company unveiled the scooter at the Auto Expo in February this year, which managed to grab a lot of attention from both the media and potential customers, and unfortunately, we had no choice but to patiently wait for 5 months before we could get our hands on it. Now I know Aprilia will not like the fact that I’ve called the SR 150 a scooter, twice actually, but then what do I call it. Well in a conversation with Managing Director and CEO Piaggio India, Sefano Pelle, he called it a sport-scooter bike, a hybrid or a crossover which has the qualities of both a motorcycle and a scooter. Call it what you want, but Aprilia has got the SR 150’s design spot on. It exuberates the sporty nature of the Italian manufacturer.
Two things that straight away caught our attention were the twin headlamps, neatly housed above the front nose, and the gorgeous all black 14-inch alloy wheels, which is a first for a scooter. The edgy design will certainly attract a lot of suitors, especially the youth. Personally, we think the Aprilia SR 150’s rear makes more of a statement, thanks to the angular tail lamp and the long seat grab rails. The plastic quality of the body panel is fairly up to the mark, but the stickers could have been much better and an Aprilia metal badging would not have really hurt its image. The riding console houses a basic twin pod speedometer and a fuel gauge, which honestly looked jaded and out of place on this scooter. It’s quite evident that Piaggio had to take some cost cutting measures. Unlike its Vespa sibling, the Aprilia gets a more practical flat foot board and the pillion’s foot pegs are neatly tucked into the body rather than being integrated into the board. It also gets a flash pass switch but we couldn’t fathom why there wasn’t a brake lock clamp.
Before we fired up the 154.4cc engine, we wanted to clear the doubt in everyone’s mind that the SR 150 is not a Vespa with sporty gear. Apart from sharing the powerplant, there is absolutely nothing in common between the two. The Vespa has a monocoque chassis, while the Aprilia gets the more conventional underbone chassis. It is also roughly 2 kilograms lighter than the Vespa, owing to the use of plastic panels instead of metal. Though the power output of the two are identical, Aprilia pointed out that the SR 150 has been tweaked to provide a better delivery as they wanted it to be one of the most powerful vehicles in the segment, if the not the most. We’ll get into all that a bit later.
Finally, it was time to take this eye candy out for a spin. As soon as I plonked myself on the seat I realised that its height is quite high for an average Indian and the cushion could have been better as it is slightly hard. We fired up the engine and it had a distinctive note, which actually sounded like a cross between a scooter and bike - it sounds a bit gruff.
Mated to a CVT automatic transmission, the initial response was quite mellow and predictable. Honestly, we were slightly disappointed. But once the SR 150 hit the mid-range in the power band, there was no looking back. The speedometer needle kept climbing up going past 80km/h without a whimper. Usually scooters tend to run out steam, but the SR was in no mood to slow down.
We hit a series of twisties where the SR 150 got into its groove. With 32mm telescopic forks and 120/70 14-inch Vee Rubber tyres from Thailand, the Aprilia was taking turns with full authority and ease. We never felt that it would overshoot the line or second guess its handling capabilities thanks to the grippy tyres. We could flick it in corners and the SR 150 would happily respond and remain stable. All this was made possible because of a suspension set up that's on the stiffer side. Though the bumps on the road could be felt, it didn’t crash into potholes and make the ride quality bone jarring.
Unlike most modern scooters, the Aprilia SR 150 doesn’t come with features like USB charging port and has limited under seat storage capacity, as Aprilia is focused on handling and power, which is not a bad trade off for many young buyers and enthusiasts. With 220mm front disc and 140mm drum, the SR 150's brakes have a good bite. Unfortunately, at idle, one can feel the vibrations on the handle bar, but once on the move, it manages to iron out this issue. All told, the Aprilia brand, its sporty design and its enticing introductory price – Rs 65,000 (ex-showroom Delhi) - will definitely appeal to many.
- Aprilia SR 150
Engine: 154.4cc / 4-stroke / single-cylinder / air-cooled carbureted
Power: 11.4bhp @ 7,000rpm
Torque: 11.5Nm @ 5,500rpm
Transmission: CVT automatic
Price: Rs 65,000 (ex-showroom Delhi)
Also read: Aprilia SR 150 launched at Rs. 65,000