Indian two-wheeler enthusiasts were introduced to the newest member of the Vespa family on 22 August, 2016, drawing delight and cheers. After a long wait, the Aprilia SR150, a sports bike in a scooter’s avatar or vice versa, sets a new trend that aspires to make Piaggio & C. Spa, its parent company, dominate the two-wheeler market in India.
With aspirations of growing in the premium bike segment with the sensational introductory price of INR 65,000 (ex-showroom price Delhi), Aprilia, a Piaggio marquee, is captivating everybody with its 154.4cc “scooter-bike”, as CEO Stefano Pelle calls it. Piaggio’s highly anticipated Vespa GTS 946 Emporio Armani will be hitting the European markets soon, but launching the SR150 in India in the meantime came as surprise to probable customers and analysts alike.
Aprilia is a revered name on the MotoGP circuit with its Spanish affiliate Gresini doing fairly well this season. The company is known mainly for producing powerful yet stylish sports bikes for the road and the track.
The Aprilia SR150 is a dream to say the least
The ‘sportiness’ of the Aprilia SR150 is not limited to its angular and edgy rear, red and black graphics, carbon fibre look of meter dials or how the foot pegs sleekly tuck themselves into the body work; its powerful engine lets it effortlessly cruise at 80 kmph when most other scooters would struggle to either make the speed or maintain it without compromising on balance and vibration.
Bike expert Rahul Chakraborty says in awe, “First look at this beauty and you get transported to the Moto GP paddocks. That is where we Indian motorcycling enthusiasts get to see such awesome machines. This is by far the best looking scooter in the Indian market. The Italian styling, racing graphics, twin front headlamps and the 14-inch alloys make it a complete package. This scooter isn’t just about looks. She performs like a dream.” It churns out 11.39 bhp at 7000 rpm and has 11.5 NM of torque at 5500 rpm. It has a CVT transmission with crisp and precise throttle response and goes up to 120 kmph. The Aprilia SR 150 comes with a 220 mm front disc (2 piston number callipers) and a 240 mm rear drum brake. It also gets gripping tyres from the 14-inch Thai VEE rubber, a size not ordinarily manufactured. And the tyre-and-braking combo is phenomenal. So the braking of such a powerful scooter is smooth.
When asked how the users will be reacting to the scooter when they hit the roads on it, Rahul concluded by saying, “The Aprilia SR 150 handles like no other. There isn’t any other scooter in the Indian market which can come even close to its handling. It’s so good it actually handles like a motorcycle. Changing lanes is child’s play. It’s a delight to ride it through rush hour traffic, thanks to its very capable chassis and refined engine.”
The consistency of its attractiveness to enthusiasts, quality of manufacturing, servicing avenues and sustainability in the Indian two-wheeler market remains to be adjudged.
It should be interesting to see how other international players in the Indian two-wheeler segment compete with this range of Italian automobile stallions.