A quick jab at the starter and the engine fires up with an audible purr that soon turns into a growl as you twist the throttle. The 150-cc air-cooled SOHC engine revs freely and eagerly, getting the scooter to 60 km/h in less than seven seconds, and on to 80 km/h in just over 13 seconds. The top speed we recorded during our test was 102.06 km/h, and the quarter mile was dispatched in 21.75 seconds, with a terminal speed of 92.56 km/h; very respectable performance for this class of vehicle. The SR 150 seems laid-back at quarter to half throttle, between 40 and 60 km/h, with enough power standing by for quick overtakes; and she can cruise comfortably between 75 and 85 km/h for extended periods without feeling one bit strained.
The Aprilia handles like no scooter before it; push it into a corner and it responds in a predictable manner, holding its line well thanks to the sticky rubber and firm suspension. On the flipside, the suspension might be too firm for someone looking for a plush ride, especially on bad roads, although I was quite happy with the way the scooter was sprung, allowing me to get good feedback from the road surface. The brakes are leagues ahead of the competition, and haul the SR 150 down from speed at a fantastic pace, while still maintaining composure and no sign of fishtailing. A 220-mm disc gripped by a dual-piston Bybre calliper handles braking duties up front, while the rear is taken care of by a 130-mm drum. With these anchors, the Aprilia comes to a standstill from 60 km/h in just 1.88 seconds, covering a distance of 15.26 metres, with excellent bite and feedback allowing precise brake modulation.
The view from the rider’s seat is dominated by two white-backed dials, one for the speedo with incorporated odometer and one for the fuel-gauge, with the telltale lights for high beam and turn signals placed around. The grips feel soft and comfortable, while the switchgear is sturdy, easy to use and seems to be built to last. I did notice the lack of a brake lock for the rear brake, a feature seen on most scooters in India. Down on the floorboard, space is at a premium, and there’s hardly any room to pile on shopping bags, especially if you have large feet; but as I said, this is a fun scooter, more suited to quick blasts than to market duty. The pillion seat is comfortable, and the fold-away pillion footrests are a nice touch; when folded up they seem to be part of the bodywork, and blend in well with the design lines.
With the introduction of the SR 150, Aprilia have opened the doors to performance-oriented scooters, and priced aggressively at around Rs 71,000 (OTR, Pune). We can’t wait to see how the competition responds.