Piaggio shocked the Indian 2-wheeler market in August, 2016 with a motor-scooter as their offering. Though, many condemned this to be not a great strategy for a global brand… to enter a growing market like India with a motor-scooter. Aprilia’s maiden offering was the SR 150 motor-scooter, equipped with a 150cc mill, creating an all new segment of motor-scooters, the segment of ‘sports crossover’ scooters. Against the predominant belief that scooters were only about fuel efficiency and low maintenance, Aprilia challenged this belief with a product that was lightweight, lighting fast and stylish, specifically targeted to the youth of this country.
Now, the question arises, why? Did they think out of the box? Well, I say its market research. The Indian 2 wheeler market has been growing only because of robust sales in Motor-scooters since the past few years, growth in the geared-motorcycle market is considerably small as compared to mopeds. Riding on the Moped wave, Honda has managed to get its market share closest ever to Hero Motocorp, the market leader. Ok, now we know why a motor-scooter was obviously targeted at India, a young country with the maximum population being young. Obviously, Piaggio identified this gap and filled it. And there lies the success of SR 150.
On 9th Feb, 2017, Piaggio launched yet another Aprilia, this time, the SR 150 Race Edition. As the name suggests, this is a special edition of the SR 150. Making it more stylish with the Moto GP inspired body graphics, and an all new CVT ratio, allowing it to achieve speed swiftly and make it lightening fast. Does the Aprilia SR150 Race Edition live up to its name? Does it deliver what it promises? We find out, as we test ride this Italian non-geared scooter in the beautiful meadows of the Oxford Golf Course, located off the Pune-Bangalore highway, testing the scooter’s abilities on corners, city riding, high speed highway riding, and off-roads too.
Engine & Transmission:
The Aprilia SR 150 Race comes equipped with the same 154.4cc single cylinder air-cooled mill, fuelled by a carburetor, which manages to produce 10.6 BHP at 6750 RPM and 11.4 Nm of torque at 5000 RPM, which is 0.5 Nm more torque than the earlier model. The earlier model shared the same engine as the Vespa 150, though the automatic transmission was replaced to enhance acceleration, especially in the mid-range. Likewise, in the mill that powers the Race edition, the transmission ratios have been re-tuned to provide better acceleration at lower RPMs, making the Race edition faster in the 0-60 kmph run than the regular SR 150. Since there is no real change in the engine design as much, this bump in initial acceleration is at the cost of top-end power. We rode both, the SR 150 and the SR 150 Race edition, and there is a considerable change in the power delivery as soon as you twist the throttle, and the SR 150 Race edition manages to race ahead. The bike starts losing its breath after 60-70 kmph though, and to reach 120 kmph one requires maintaining constant acceleration for a long stretch. The only bump in power is felt in the initial 0-60 range, and then it is no different from the existing SR, rather the new model loses out its breath earlier in a race to achieve top speed. The engine is refined, and has a noticeable rough exhaust note, unlike most mopeds. We tested the scooter with 1 litre fuel in the tank and managed to cover approx 37 kms riding on the NH4, constantly at 90-100 kmph. The engine seemed to be at ease, not showing any signs of heating or any changes in sound or performance, achieving the highest speed of 120 kmph.
Suspension & Chassis:
The Aprilia SR 150 Race Edition shares the same distinct chassis design as its preceding model. Clearly inspired from the international range of SR Motard scooters, the Aprilia uses a traditional under-bone scooter chassis fused to a telescopic fork arrangement on the front, and single offset shock absorbers on the rear. On the front side, Aprilia has used lo 32mm telescopic forks, best in the lot available, and offers better control and balance during high speed rides. On the rear, the spring-loaded shock absorber performs efficiently to guarantee a comfortable ride, even on bad patches and off-roads. The overall suspension and chassis fused with the 150cc mill manages to put forward a impressive show, ensuring a comfortable and peppy experience for the rider. The SR 150 Race edition though, has the rear suspensions colored in Red color from the RSV4 color scheme.
Brakes & Wheels:
In addition to this crossover designed Chassis and sturdy suspension setup, the Aprilia is the only moped in the Indian market to sport 14-inch alloy wheels, the widest tyres in its class, and a 220 mm Bybre Disk brake setup on the front. On the rear, the SR 150 Race comes equipped with a 140mm drum brake. The Front and the Rear brake combo works effectively and surprising much better than expected, bringing the SR150 to halt in hardly 60-70m from a 120 kmph slope downwards sprint. Braking distance from 60 kmph to 0 was hardly 15-20m. We also enacted a few serious design tests to test how the bike reacts to emergency braking, braking on corners, fish-tailing situations, and the SR 150 does not leave ground. Deep cornering get the main stand scrapped possibly, but be careful, make sure you heat up those rubbers before you try so. I am sure, all those who attended the Bike Testing event would agree to this point.
The tyre setup on the Aprilia SR 150 Race are ‘VEE Rubber’ branded curved tubeless tyres, with 120/70-14 spec tyres both on the rear as well as the front. These rubbers mated with the braking, provide a outstanding performance, allowing the rider to ride confidently on busy streets, tight corners and high speed weekend rides. These tyres mated to 14-inch alloy wheels manage to keep the light weight moped steady on its ground, even during high speed overtakes. This certainly makes the SR 150 Race a capable highway touring option too. The SR150 Race Edition is different only in 1 aspect from its earlier model, the front brake calliper now comes coloured in Golden Yellow color from the RSV4 color scheme.
Dimensions, Weight & Capacity:
The seat height on the SR 150 Race is same as the earlier model and stands 775mm tall. Only 10mm taller of Honda Activa. It stands approachable to youth from all age groups, our photographer for the day, a 5ft 2incher managed to ride the SR 150 comfortably. The SR 150’s ground clearance stands at 160mm, much higher than its competition, allowing the rider the confidence to go off-roads and explore random trails. Weighing only at 122kgs, the SR 150 is surely a pocket rocket to have. For someone who wants a performance spec scooter, the Aprilia SR 150 Race edition is surely the way to go ahead. Aprilia has opened doors to performance scootering, and so will emerge opportunities of talented bikers. Why do i say so? Keep reading.. you’ll find out soon.
With a fuel tank of 7 litres, the SR 150 manages to cover around 200Kms in a Full tank. The beauty of Italian designing could be noticed in the boot space design, providing ample space in the boot, enough to store a helmet inside it, and being lean and mean from the exterior. Certainly, SR 150 as package is mouth-watering, a performance cross-over moped, I mean…who thought of that coming to India?! To make your mouths water more, let me tell you that Aprilia might soon launch the MP3 -3-wheeled bike in the next coming years. When discussed with the company spokesperson, he has confirmed that saying Aprilia is currently in talks with Government Authorities to classify a 3-wheeled bike as a legal vehicle, which will then open doors to the next generation of moped biking in India.
The Aprilia SR 150 Race is surely a stylish looking premium motor-scooter when it comes to packaging and finishing. The paint job looks stunningly rich and sporty. It comes home with MotoGP inspired RSV4 color scheme based body decals, adding to the aggressive and sporty look of this Italian rocket. Also, unlike the earlier color options of black and white colors in SR 150, Aprilia is offering the SR150 Race edition in a all new Green and Grey paint schemes. Also, the rims on the SR 150 Race edition come power-coated in Red now unlike black earlier. The front fairing of the scooter houses the Sporty headlight powered by a 35/35 watt halogen bulb. Also, the Aprilia is equipped with good horns, and good quality switches are used in the console. The instrument cluster of SR150 Race is same as earlier, and consists of a analogue tachometer, and an analogue fuel gauge. We would have loved to have a trip meter in the tachometer console though. Other than this, signal lights, pass light and pilot lamps get signal alerts when switched on. Like other mopeds, the Side stand comes as an accessory and has to be purchased separately while buying a new bike.
All these features come home only at an additional cost of Rs. 2,338 over the previously launched SR 150 model. Along with this, Aprilia is soon to launch performance accessories like Free flow Exhausts and performance Carburettors, to fuel the passion of those who want to increase the performance of their scooters, allowing new talented bikers to showcase their talent and skills of moped biking. Soon, a new breed of moped biking events backed by Aprilia will become the platform for such talent to showcase their talent in events across India. When it comes to business, Aprilia is very serious and committed to the market they serve, they are here to service a niche segment of performance scooters, fuelling the passion of youth and stylish dominated ever-hungry moped-purchasing market. The SR150 is already Piaggio’s best selling motor-scooter in the Indian market, and Aprilia is all ready to take advantage of this lead with the SR150 Race edition.
The Aprilia SR 150 Race edition is surely a mouth-watering offering, with a price tag of only Rs. 70,288/- (Ex-showroom, Mumbai). Surely the best performance scooter offering in the market, the SR 150 Race edition is sure going to pull some eye-balls, especially of people who are looking for a sportier and moto GP inspired paint job moped from the OEM directly. The Italians definitely know how to make fast moving automotives.