A few weeks ago, we got a chance to sample the SXR125, Aprilia’s latest offering in the 125cc scooter space. At the cost of repeating myself...
A few weeks ago, we got a chance to sample the SXR125, Aprilia’s latest offering in the 125cc scooter space. At the cost of repeating myself and for the sake of setting the ground for this review, the SXR 125 is nothing but the Aprilia SXR160 with a smaller displacement engine. How does it fare in the realworld? A proper road test is what we’ve got, to put it through its paces.
Walking up to the SXR 125 test scooter, the one affirmation that resounds in my head is that Italians are masters at making anything look good. Besides the lovely stealth-black paint job on our test bike, the LED headlights catch your attention, while also doing a pretty good job of illuminating a dark road. Speaking of attention, the number of eyeballs that the SXR125 attracts is unlike any scooter I’ve ever seen.
In terms of ergonomics, the seat is large enough to accommodate two adults, while the floorboard has decent space. However, the awkward angle of the footrest behind the apron makes it unusable in true maxi-scooter style. Also, 6ft-plus Rishaad wasn't happy with the shape of the single-piece seat, as he was seated right where it curves upwards to the pillion seat. He also wished that the handlebar was a tad wider.
Now, to answer the burning question that’s been playing on our minds ever since we rode the SXR 125. What is the performance going to be like?
During the first ride, we did suspect that while the SXR125's 9.52hp and 9.2Nm figures are in the same ballpark as other 125cc scooters, its highest-in-class kerb weight will have a bearing on its performance. Strapping a VBOX testing device on the scooter confirmed our concerns.
In the run up from 0-60kph, the SXR 125 took 11.2sec while the 90kph mark was breached in 27.44sec. These figures are nowhere near that of some of the quickest 125cc scooters, like the Suzuki Access 125 and the TVS Ntorq 125. This is hardly a surprise, considering the SXR 125’s 74.96hp/tonne power-to-weight ratio. The roll-on acceleration figures are also indicative of the fact that the Aprilia SXR125 builds speed slowly. The time taken to get from 30-70kph, for instance, is 14.64sec and you’ll have to be a bit more patient with the build-up of speed if you’re climbing a flyover.
In all, the acceleration is progressive yet slow, but the engine packs a little surprise by offering some shove post 80-85kph. Keep the throttle pinned, tuck down behind the small windscreen and the digital speedo goes past the 100kph mark.
The issue, however, is that most people are not going to use that top-end performance for 90 percent of the scooter's life. Instead, if the powertrain was tuned for stronger performance down low, it’ll make for a more enjoyable scooter, especially in the city.
The obvious advantage the SXR 125 has over its 160cc sibling is better fuel economy. Compared to the 33.57kpl and 36.43kpl that the SXR 160 managed during our road test, the SXR 125 returned 46.47kpl in the city, with the figure rising to 51.91kpl on the highway. These fuel efficiency figures are decent, considering all that mass that the engine has to lug around.
Ride & Handling
For all the flak that the SXR 125 receives for its lukewarm performance, it makes up for it with its fantastic high-speed stability and handling. The trade-off comes in the form of a firm low-speed ride, but it does improve markedly with rise in speed.
The brakes are another positive, as they offer a strong and progressive bite, with the scooter covering 18.25m from 60kph to standstill. We also found the CBS to be calibrated well, and there’s no heavy fork dive when you grab the rear brake lever. However, there’s no denying that ABS would’ve been more than welcome, especially on the rain-soaked road that we were on.
Aprilia’s stab at the 125cc maxi-style scooter space is an interesting one. It brings the style, functionality and premiumness of its sibling from a segment above and marries that to an engine that offers mediocre performance while being more frugal. However, the scooter’s proverbial chink in the armour is its Rs 1.16 lakh price tag, making it among the most expensive 125cc scooters on sale.
The price seems steep considering the kind of performance it offers, but more so because Rs 12,000 extra will get you the SXR 160. If you're willing to spend this much on the SXR 125 for its design, features, quality and sheer feel-good factor, you might as well pay a little more for the 160's obvious performance gains and the ABS. It just makes more sense.