First unveiled at Auto Expo 2016, the Aprilia SR 150 sure had us beaming with joy at the prospect of a new scooter! It was impossible to resist. After all, it carries a legendary name like Aprilia, and it is a true-blue sporty scooter too. If that wasn’t enough, seeing the bike in its almost Aprilia RSV4-style livery and hearing its incredible price at a recent announcement was enough to make our jaws go slack with shock and awe. With this exciting little scooter slated to enter showrooms soon, we thought we’d make a quick list of some important things that everyone needs to know about the Aprilia SR 150.
1. Sensible power
While a lot of us were expecting a 150cc sporty scooter to pump out something close to 15 horsepower, the reality is, well, a bit more realistic. The SR 150 will actually be powered by the same 150cc SOHC air-cooled motor that does duty on the Vespa 150, which has a slightly modest output of 11.6hp of peak power and 11.5Nm of peak torque. While there will be some difference in the gearing, seeing as how the Aprilia is running larger 14-inch wheels (as opposed to the 10-inch rear wheel on the Vespa), we expect power and torque figures to remain in the same ball park. However, combined with a lower kerb weight figure (for reasons discussed below), the SR 150 will likely be a lot sprightlier when you decide to open the taps. Just for the record, internationally the most powerful SR is a 125, with less than 10.14hp.
2. Advantage: Chassis
While the SR 150 might share its motor with its classier sibling, it certainly isn’t a Vespa. What makes a Vespa a Vespa, on the most part, is its distinctive steel monocoque body. And the SR 150 has clearly gone a more conventional route with underpinnings which consist of a traditional underbone scooter chassis as well as a telescopic front fork arrangement and a single offset monoshock at the back. With 14-inch wheels at both ends sporting 120/70 size tyres, the inspiration has undoubtedly been from Aprilia’s international range of SR Motard scooters. And from what we understand, this should not only equate to great handling, but the larger wheels should also add a healthy dose of practicality by offering improved stability over other scooters. Also, the larger wheels along with telescopic suspension should make this the best scooter to tackle our monsoon ravaged roads on.
3. Within reach?
With that fantastic masterstroke of pricing already announced and out of the way, Piaggio has got its Baramati plant running in full swing to get the Aprilia SR 150 into showrooms by the last week of August 2016. And apart from the fact that it’ll be available from the company’s small handful of exclusive Motoplex outlets, a majority of buyers will get access to the sporty scooter from the 100 or so Vespa dealerships across the country.
4. Made in India; Made for India
Clearly Piaggio group has its fingers on the pulse of the Indian market and has dovetailed its resources and strategy to deliver a hit. The bike maker makes the Vespa at its plant in Baramati, which has a capacity to manufacture 1,50,000 units per annum and has room to double that capacity too. The SR 150 will also be manufactured here. Recently, Piaggio shocked us all with an amazing masterstroke of pricing of the Aprilia SR 150. At an ex-showroom price of Rs 65,000 not only is it a lot more affordable than any of us had earlier predicted, or even expected for that matter, it also undercuts the cost of the Vespa 150 by nearly Rs 30,000. What’s more is that it’s even cheaper than the Vespa 125. The SR though, comes with plastic body panels, not metal. Also, the SR uses a more traditional underbone chassis (as opposed to the Vespa’s expensive-to-make monocoque) to lower the costs. Nonetheless, the SR 150 also signals a leap of thinking in Italy that has enabled this price. Whether this aggressive strategy works for Piaggio remains to be seen, but we’re more than happy to get what seems like a brilliant scooter at a brilliant price!
5. It’s India’s first sporty scooter
Now hear us out on this. Yes, we’ve had the Honda Dio for quite a while now and so far it has been the basis of what most of us in India refer to as a 'sporty scooter', at least with regards to aesthetics. And more recently we’ve also got the Yamaha Ray-ZR that gets fairly racy lines and even a disc brake option. However, these two scooters are merely reskins of very competent, but distinctly un-sporty scooters. The Aprilia on the other hand has some seriously sporty pedigree and equipment to boot. While its motor might not offer genre-redefining performance, we certainly expect that its lighter weight will allow that Vespa 150cc motor to endow the SR 150 with quick acceleration. And the choice of suspension setup should make for great handling as well. Truly India’s first properly sporty scooter then!