Ever since I set my eyes on the Aprilia SR150 at the Auto Expo 2016, I wanted to ride it. I remember many fellow auto journalists harbouring the same intentions. I am not really a scooter person and wanting to do this means the Aprilia has got the pull. Eventually, I did get to experience the scooter but in a parking lot. Fast forward to 2017 and the Aprilia SR150 Race was launched. It was initially thought to be a cosmetic variant but then Aprilia mentioned that the scooter has got changes to the way the CVT behaves. Essentially the scooter was said to be a tad faster than the stock SR150. Since I hadn’t ridden the stock scooter much to form an opinion, all the reasoning about the SR150 Race stems from this review.
Aprilia SR150 Race design and features
The MotoGP-inspired graphics are the fresh addition. There is no panel in the Aprilia that has been left squeaky clean thanks to the graphics. The red 14-inch wheels continue and so do the dual pod headlights within a black casing. The top of the handlebar gets a nice glossy black paint scheme. This is one lithe scooter and while the general shape is similar to the SR150, the graphics scream that this is the Race edition. The dual tone seat as well as the red shockers at the back are the same unit from the regular scooter. LED blinkers as well as a LED tail light too are present. Aprilia has also given a plastic saree guard as well as a rear tyre hugger.
A semi-digital instrument cluster too has been provided with the Aprilia SR150 Race. Twin trip meters, fuel read out, clock and the odo meter are done in digital format while the speedo is in analogue. The pass light is integrated with the upper-dipper button. The right side of the handlebar has the electric start button. Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed the blue icon too. That is to show that this is a connected scooter. Like on the TVS NTorq, even this one has an app which is available both on iOS and Android. Through this, I can ideally check the fuel level, nearby service stations, locate the scooter in a parking lot and more. However, you must have also noticed that the test unit is running on temporary plates. The app needs the scooter’s registration details to be entered for it to function.
A front disc brake, USB charging support under the seat as well as a boot light have been given. One needs to open the seat to fill fuel.
Aprilia SR150 Race engine and transmission
The Aprilia SR150 Race runs the same 155cc, single cylinder, air-cooled motor from the SR150. This engine produces 10.4PS/11.4Nm, numbers which are amongst the highest of any scooters in India. The tweaked CVT boasts a better initial acceleration. I didn’t find the scooter to be as fast as claimed though. While the acceleration seems at par with other 125cc offerings which have cropped the market off late, the top speed seems to be higher. While our scooter came with a disconnected speedo, the Aprilia SR150 Race was able to keep up easily with the taxis (80kmph speed limit). Also, at the top of the rev range, the scooter seems to have no problem with very little vibrations creeping in. However, this twist-a-throttle medley proves to be a deterrent when it comes to efficiency. The best I could eke out of this scooter was 37kmpl.
In terms of NVH, the scooter displayed the least amount of vibrations at start-up.
Aprilia SR150 Race ride and handling
Telescopic front suspension and dual shock absorbers at the rear comprise the suspension components of the Aprilia SR150 Race. The company uses Vee rubber tyres, made by a Thai company. These tyres are grippy enough and while I couldn’t get to test them in the wet, they should clear that as well. Stiff is the one word which comes to mind. The makers of the Aprilia SR150 Race had one thing in mind and that is go faster. So, expecting any kind of cushion from the suspension is just going to be that, expectation. Even over small bumps, the SR150 will let the rider know what he has just gone over. The same thing happens with a pillion on-board. It becomes a bit bearable though.
There is no bottoming out of the suspension as well. I tried it with a pillion (slightly less porky than the usual 124kg that I pile on) and the ground clearance seemed more than enough to take on the bad roads. This being said, a taller rider or a healthier pillion will have issues. The rider will definitely hit his knees on the low set handlebar while the pillion will complain the lack of seating space. What remains stellar is the handling. This is easily one of the best handling scooters out there in the Indian demographic. Period!
The disc-drum combination works really well but there is no ABS or CBS at the moment. Aprilia promised us a few months ago that they will soon roll out the ABS model. We are waiting, Aprilia!
Aprilia SR150 Race verdict
The Aprilia SR150 Race is one competent scooter. It is one of the best racing tools if you intend to do that with your scooter. There are a lot of modifications available as well. However, if you intend to get the groceries, drop kids to school and also think of it as a fill-it, shut-it, forget-it scooter, then you are wrong. There is less space in the boot for groceries, the kids will be tossed around on the hard suspension and the small-ish tank with the 37kmpl average is not going to act like the regular scooter. This could ideally be the scooter for someone who owns one of the big German cars and wants to use it on the racetrack or for visiting the local paanwaalah.
The Aprilia SR150 Race price in Mumbai is Rs 73,588, ex-showroom. It is costlier than your regular SR150 by Rs 1,000 and we believe that is an insignificant amount you pay for the goodies. Go for it if you’re an aspiring racer or someone who wants to hone their skills on a scooter. For the others, there are the bunch of Vespas or Suzukis available in the same price bracket. Or perhaps less!
Things we like in the Aprilia SR150 Race
Styling still draws attention, performance on offer, badge value
Things we don’t like in the Aprilia SR150 Race
Not a scooter for everyone, hard ride will give you a backache, costly to own/maintain
Trivia: The Race Edition was supposed to get updates in the form a bigger jet for the carb and more such equipment. Aprilia was expected to roll this out soon after launch, however the tepid response to such modifications seem to have put their plans on a back burner.