• Aprilia SR 160: First Drive Review

Some much-needed updates for one of the country’s sportiest scooters, finally!

Sporty scooters in India are a bit of a misnomer. Most scooters are dolled up with sharper bodywork, but sit on commuter underpinnings and a powertrain aimed at frugality rather than performance. There are exceptions though, like the Aprilia SR 160. It started life as the SR 150, a fun scooter that caught the fancy of enthusiasts and college kids thanks to its sharp bodywork and racy graphics. Of course, a hike in displacement saw it become the SR 160 and Aprilia has just given the scooter another midlife update. But is a nip and tuck job enough to keep the cash registers ringing?

Its new headlamp and livery certainly give the updated SR 160 a more premium vibe. It features a larger headlamp unit with inset LED DRLs and LED lighting. The other styling bit I like is the faux carbon fibre finish on the front mudguard and instrument console surround. At the rear, there’s a larger grab rail and new, X-shaped tail lamp now. Except for these updates, bodywork remains unchanged and well, the SR 160 is still quite a looker. Fit-finish levels are good, befitting the ‘premium’ tag. The seat has been reprofiled to look like a split unit and is wide at the back, but tapers quite a bit towards the front and is better suited to shorter, smaller riders. Even the floorboard is narrow and the front apron eats into space so you might have trouble placing a bag there. The large and comprehensive digital instrument console straight off the SXR 160 and is a welcome change given the amount of information it offers, including the tachometer, fuel efficiency and tank range as well.

The powertrain remains unchanged and offers the same 11PS and 11.6Nm as before. It does feel more refined and power delivery feels smoother too, especially when getting off the line. There is a bit of vibration at the floorboard, between 4,000 and 5,000rpm though. The SR 160’s quick acceleration has always been a distinct highlight though and I like how quickly it gets to 80kmph. The scooter also masks speeds well, so you don’t realise you are doing 80kmph until you look down at the speedometer.

The suspension remains unchanged, though I wish Aprilia had given the setup a once over. The SR 150’s were notorious for the harsh ride and the 160 hasn’t changed a lot. Road imperfections are felt via judders on the wrists and lower back. The stiff setup is what makes the SR 160 a great handler and effectively compliments engine performance very well, yes, but a slightly softer setup would make it more likeable, especially on less than perfect tarmac.

At Rs 1.17 lakh ex-showroom, the updated SR 160 costs Rs 11,500 more than the outgoing version, a bit of an ask for just the LED lights, digital console and other minor updates. Bluetooth connectivity isn’t standard either and you need to shell out an additional Rs 2,500 for it. The revised styling is bound to attract a more mature set of buyers, but there is more room for improvement, especially in terms of the ride quality, as the harsh ride could put off potential buyers. That said the SR 160 is still one of the sportiest scooters on sale in India though and certainly one that’s on top of most college goers’ Christmas lists!

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