There's an old saying 'change is the only constant' and this holds true in the automotive space as well. Keeping a product relevant in an ever-evo...
There's an old saying 'change is the only constant' and this holds true in the automotive space as well. Keeping a product relevant in an ever-evolving market requires regular updates, and the Aprilia SR160 is the latest recipient of one. After being around for years, it finally gets a much needed facelift and features update. Let's find out what's new.
2022 Aprilia SR 160: new design
Aprilia launched the SR 160 in India about half a decade ago and, in the recent months, its styling had begun to grow long in the tooth. Aprilia has fixed that by redesigning the front apron and I've to say they've done a commendable job. It looks sharper, sportier while retaining the Aprilia SR identity.
Another aspect that catches your eye is the new LED headlight cluster with integrated LED position lights. It gels with the flow of the apron, and I quite like how it gives the scooter a big, smiley face. Aprilia says these headlights are of the high-lumen variety, but we'll reserve our judgement till after a proper test in the dark.
You'll also notice the new cowl on the handlebar with faux intakes and the carbon-fibre finish on the front fender. The variant you see on these pages is the top-spec SR-Race which also gets knuckle guards as standard. Another exclusive to this variant are the red wheels and the delectable paint and graphics scheme, which are inspired by the colours on the Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP machine.
Other visual updates to the Aprilia SR 160 include a chunkier grab rail and an X-shaped LED tail-light.
Overall, these small yet significant design updates have managed to uplift the appearance of an already good-looking Italian scooter.
On the ergonomics front, the seat has been reworked and features a split pattern design. In the time I spent in the saddle, it felt more supportive than the previous SR's perch.
2022 Aprilia SR 160: features
Besides the new LED headlight and tail-light, the SR160 gets a fully-digital dash that's identical to the one seen in the Aprilia SXR 160, save for the orange backlight instead of white. The information displayed is comprehensive and includes battery voltage, average speed and fuel consumption data. While all this is appreciated, we would've liked to see Bluetooth connectivity being offered as standard. At present, Aprilia will charge you Rs 2,500 for the Bluetooth module and that's not fair, considering the price point that this scooter retails at.
Also, Aprilia India missed an opportunity to introduce a multifunction key slot on its flagship sports scooter. Nevertheless, this isn't a dealbreaker because the rest of Aprilia SR 160 attributes continue from the previous BS6 model.
2022 Aprilia SR 160: areas unchanged
Aprilia hasn't made any changes to the mechanicals of the scooter. The 160.03cc, three-valve, air-cooled single makes 10.9hp at 7,600rpm and 11Nm at 6,000rpm. The 'SR-Race' version you see here has a slightly different tune to its CVT transmission than the other SR 160 variants, to facilitate better bottom-end performance. Although, the difference is hard to tell without a proper Vbox test.
Out on the road, the engine feels smooth and unstressed up to 80-85kph. Responsiveness in the city is pretty good, as the scooter feels as zippy as ever. For reference, the BS6 SR 160 that we tested dispatched the 0-60kph run in 7.96sec. We also managed to see an indicated top speed of 90kph before running out of road. It's around these speeds that the performance begins to taper off.
The pertinent point to make here is that, while the SR 160 was a properly quick scooter when it was introduced in India back in 2016, current 125cc scooters like the TVS Ntorq have narrowed the performance gap significantly and then there’s the new Yamaha Aerox which has streaked ahead. Ideally, Aprilia should try and squeeze out a little more power and torque in the next update. As far as fuel efficiency is concerned, since there are no mechanical changes, the 2022 models should return a similar 36.1kpl overall that we got during our tests with the previous scooter.
All said, I'm glad to see that Aprilia hasn't tinkered with the chassis. The frame suspension, brakes, et al, are carried forward and they work very well for the scooter's intended application. The low-speed ride is stiff, but it gets better as speeds rise, with only the nastiest of potholes resulting in loud thuds. The trade-off comes in the form of communicative handling, which has always been the hallmark of the SR. It feels nimble, flickable in the city and planted around corners. The MRF Nylogrip Zappers on our test scooter felt grippy from the word go and we've got no complaints at all. But, given the paucity of time at this first ride, we can't comment on the Ceat and Vee Rubber tyres that some of the other scooters at the launch event were shod with, as we didn't get a chance to ride them. Which tyre a customer will get simply comes down to luck.
Braking as always is great and one of the best on an Indian scooter.
2022 Aprilia SR 160: should you buy one?
The new design and additional features have certainly brought the SR 160 up to date, while sticking to the attributes that make it a fun scooter. But all of this comes at a significant price hike of about Rs 12,000 over the outgoing version. That pushes the SR 160 closer to its bigger and more comfortable maxi-scooter style sibling, the SXR 160. Crucially, the SR 160 Race Edition, at Rs 1.27 lakh, sits tantalisingly close to the Yamaha Aerox 155 that's priced at Rs 1.29 lakh. The Yamaha is more powerful and feature loaded, and brings a new flavour of sporty scooter to the market. But that doesn't automatically mean that it's a better scooter than the Aprilia SR 160, and we'll settle the debate after a comparison test. For now, the SR160 presents itself as a genuinely good, easy-to-ride sports scooter with a lovely Italian design. That's quite a combination, no?