Scooters haven’t had it easy. In the eyes of a motorcyclist, their rather utilitarian nature has had them ostracised from all things fun and exciting. But that changed a few years ago when Aprilia went ahead and decided to launch the SR 150 in India. New levels of sportiness, fantastic design and engaging performance were all on offer, while still keeping the price realistic. The SR 150 was launched to the Indian public in the latter half of 2016 and after all this time, still happens to be the sportiest scooter you can buy in the country. Given the engine capacity, an upgrade to ABS brakes was a given for 2019, but Aprilia took the opportunity to make a few other changes as well – and that’s why we decided to do a separate story on this new machine.
Brakes offer potent stopping power and now come with ABS. MRF Nyogrip Zappers offer great grip.
HOW’S IT DIFFERENT FROM THE OLDER SR 150?
For starters, it now comes with ABS. The single-channel unit works extremely well and doesn’t judder violently like some other affordable systems do. We also felt that it’s not very intrusive; and this may be because the system creates high-frequency vibrations rather than more spaced out, aggressive triggers. This gives a new sense of security to what was already a powerful braking setup with a 220mm disc/140mm drum combo. In fact, the SR’s brakes are more effective than what we’ve experienced even in some motorcycles. To elucidate this, the SR 150 comes to a halt from 60kph in 17.85m. For reference – the KTM 125 Duke comes with significantly better braking hardware and does the same in 19.2m.
Also new on the SR 150 for 2019 is the move from the old Vee Rubber tyres to MRF Nyogrip Zappers. We even took the Aprilia out on a go-kart track and the tyres offered great levels of grip. The tread pattern is quite different from the earlier Vee Rubber tyres and while we didn’t get a chance to test the new tyres out in the wet, past experience with the Zappers leads us to believe it will perform well in those conditions, too.
The Aprilia was designed to be a very sporty scooter and it doesn’t take too long on the saddle to grasp that. However, this did have its drawbacks. One of the biggest letdowns of the SR 150 has been its painfully stiff front suspension. Aprilia decided to address this in the new iteration with a slightly retuned fork. The fork gets new springs and bushes, among other things, and while it still remains a considerably firm ride, it’s definitely not as uncomfortable as it used to be.
The SR 150 also received a new analogue/digital combo instrument cluster in 2018 and this continues with the latest update. What we have noticed now is that the speedo error is lower, and while the previous gauge used to optimistically show 125kph, the new one struggles to get past 105kph. The only difference is that this is much more indicative of true speed and we found speedo error to be less than 5kph, which is normal. A preload-adjustable rear shock, an under-seat USB port and some minor changes in its visuals with slightly different graphics round up the list of what debuted in 2018 and continue for 2019.
Stepped seat is uncomfortable for taller riders.
WHAT STAYS THE SAME?
Pretty much everything else. Unfortunately, this includes some things we feel could be a bit better. For instance, the stepped seat on the SR 150 is uncomfortable for taller riders and the minimal legroom on the footboard means tall riders have to perch themselves slightly further back on the seat, right where it begins to step upwards towards the pillion space. The overall fit and finish remains fantastic in some areas and so-so in others and the switchgear still feels somewhat cheap. The SR 150 is also mechanically identical to the older model and continues to use the same 154.8cc motor that makes 10.06hp and 10.9Nm of torque.
The 2019 Aprilia SR 150 offers what it always did – and a tiny bit more. At Rs 83,860 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the SR isn’t exactly cheap. But then it does offer considerable value for the price and is far more affordable than the Vespa 150s. It’s still not something you buy for comfort and convenience, but it has made a small improvement in that regard and there’s nothing else like it on the market.
Shot at the Ajmera IndiKarting Circuit, Mumbai. The circuit is open 7 days a week for go-karting, but also allows enthusiasts to use their personal bikes/cars.