India’s most powerful scooter, Aprilia SR 160 Race, receives an engine upgrade for 2020, making it even faster than before. We put it to the test to find out how quick it really is.
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Apurva Ambep
Formerly known as the Aprilia SR 150 Race, the scooter was first launched in India in 2016. Since then it has made quite an appeal to rookie riders looking for a fast, fun, and good-looking ride. This demand stemmed from the fact that it is one of the most powerful and sporty scooters on sale in India. With BS6 emission norms kicking in, the manufacturers have upped the engine capacity in the Aprilia SR 160 Race from 154.8 cc to 160.03 cc and made a few more changes as compared to the standard model.
Starting off with the design, the SR 160 Race is identical to the BS4 model but gets an all-new livery inspired by the manufacturer’s RS-GP 20 MotoGP machine. We get the same sharp panels this time in matte black colour and a dual-tone seat to complement that striking MotoGP livery. This has to be the best looking SR 160 Race we have seen yet. Further adding to the visual appeal of the scooter is the use of those chunky, orange 14-inch wheels which also improve the handling by a mile. These larger wheels result in a riding position placing the rider slightly higher up, so shorter riders will have to slide towards the edge of the seat to get their legs down comfortably. The scooter offers adequate comfort levels for a pillion and the leg rests are placed in a compact manner, folding back into the bodywork. Something we would have really liked to see Aprilia use in the BS6 model is an LED headlight, which would make it stand out even further.
The engine in the previous SR Race offered quick acceleration and because of this it was considered to be the fastest scooter that could hit speeds of up to 100 km/h. In the BS6 model, the engine uses an electronic fuel-injection system and the displacement has been increased from 154.8 to 160.03 cc. This new unit puts out 11 hp at 7,600 rpm and a peak torque of 11.6 Nm at 6,000 rpm, thus marking an increase of 0.4 hp and 0.7 Nm peaking at slightly higher rpm. Starting up the scooter is when you know that it is going to be a sporty ride around town. The engine has a unique exhaust note which has quite a grunt and this sound gets more engaging as the accelerator is twisted open.
Compared to the standard SR 160, the engine in the Race gets a re-tuned CVT with upgraded roller bearings and slightly tweaked gear ratios. I had the chance to ride both scooters back to back and, honestly, the difference felt is very minimal. To give you accurate figures of how much faster the Race is, we shall soon V-Box the standard variant too.
Until we wait to compare, let us talk about how fast the SR 160 Race really is. The scooter quickly gets off from a standstill to 20 km/h in just 1.41 seconds and to 40 km/h in 3.69 seconds. This makes overtakes and making your way through city traffic much quicker. We were able to achieve an indicated speed of 103 km/h and the true speed in this run was 96.49 km/h. The scooter is comfortable cruising at speeds of 60 km/h and a rider will not feel the engine being stressed. Overall, what we have here is quite a peppy engine that will continue to offer new riders the thrill they are looking for.
Suspension duties are handled by a telescopic fork at the front and a monoshock at the rear. This is a stiff set-up that is supposed to complement the sporty nature of the scooter. When it comes to having fun with the SR through a corner, the set-up is great and inspires more confidence in the rider, but it is, unfortunately, a bit too stiff for our uneven roads and will be felt by a rider depending on the duration of the ride and other conditions. Another difference in the Race is the use of CEAT tyres which prove to be a good fit and keep the SR stable at all times. All these factors endow the scooter with very nimble and sharp handling — the closest you can get to the feel of riding a motorcycle without actually being astride one.
The braking set-up used is a 220-mm disc at the front with ABS coupled with a 140-mm drum at the rear. This is one of the best braking set-ups that we get on a scooter in India. Feedback from these brakes is highly impressive and perfect for bringing the SR to a halt in a sharp, precise, and instantaneous manner. Applying the brakes hard from 80 km/h, it takes 2.75 seconds and 30.14 metres to a standstill, while 60 km/h to a halt takes 2.04 seconds in 16.33 metres. What was the most fun part about the brakes was getting the scooter sideways simply by locking the rear and going into a supermoto slide.
Other features include a sporty-looking and well-laid out digital-analogue console and a USB charger in the under-seat storage. Unfortunately, the storage space under the seat is minimal. In a nutshell, this scooter is a purely performance-oriented machine, but not the most practical one out there. Its price, Rs 1.11 lakh (ex-showroom), places it into the premium scooter segment but it will still be considered by many on account of the thrill it offers.