Designed and developed in Italy, the Aprilia SXR 160 is an all-new model made specifically for India and will be the marque’s most premium scooter offering in our country. Though prices will be announced in December, the new 160-cc scooter goes on sale from January 2021.
Like the SR range, the new Aprilia SXR 160 is also a segment creator that will target not just new motorcycle and scooter buyers, but also car owners for their local commute. In fact, Diago Graffi – the President and Managing Director of Piaggio India (the mother brand of Aprilia) went on to to term it as a touring machine. “With the SXR 160, we offer a premium experience along with great performance, comfort and style. So, you can even take it on longer rides in comfort. In fact, you must try riding the bike with a pillion because it’s just so comfortable.”
The Aprilia SXR 160 was showcased during the Auto Expo 2020 and is quite a head-turner. A large smoked screen in front is a dominating design element and offers decent wind protection during city speeds. While the split headlamp with built-in LED DRLs are positioned on the front body and look pretty premium. The motorcycle-like handlebar is covered in matt plastic giving it a nice chunky look. The rear is sleeker with a carved out grab-rail and sharp tail-lamp design. The only thing that comes close it’s maxi-scooter-inspired styling would be the Suzuki Burgman Street 125. But the Aprilia is definitely more proportionate. The Aprilia SXR 160 is large without being bulky and every design element comes together pretty well.
Using the same underpinning from the SR 160, the new scooter also employs the same front telescopic fork and mono-suspension at the back but they have been tuned to offer a softer ride. However, a major difference is these beautiful 12-inch alloy wheels which, in terms of grip and handling, can’t match the 14-inch wheels of the SR. It seems to have a longer wheelbase, while the steering rake angle also appears to be more relaxed. The SXR 160 being the company’s flagship scooter, a 220 mm front disc brake with ABS (single channel) comes as standard while there’s a 140 mm drum at the rear. The braking still is among the best in the segment, so no complaints here.
The rider gets access to a range of information through a large LCD screen, not a colour unit but probably the biggest in the segment. It reads out info like speedometer, tachometer, outside temperature, time, fuel gauge, trip and odometer, even an engine temperature gauge. Even the sturdy-looking switches and buttons are picked from SR’s parts’ bin, the only difference is that the SXR gets a mode button on the right-side unit which helps cycle through the various information on the display. Then there’s Bluetooth connectivity for smartphone too, but that’s currently an optional feature and I couldn’t try it on my short ride experience.
The seat has nice contrasting stitches and is large enough to accommodate a pillion. Underneath is a wide but flat storage area, which means only small open-face helmets can fit in. I found the position of the ignition slot not very user friendly as it is hidden from the rider’s vision making it difficult to insert the key. There’s another storage space on the front apron and it’s lid pops open with a gentle push on the ignition slot. This one gets two small pockets and a built-in USB charger for your phone.
The Aprilia team never referred to the SXR 160 as a maxi-scooter, so for obvious reasons, there’s no central spine which international models offer. Instead, it gets a regular floorboard like conventional scooters but one that isn’t expansive mainly because the SXR uses the same platform as the SR. And that’s why it also borrows the 160.03-cc SOHC, three-valve, single-cylinder engine which is also used by its siblings. But to match the moto-scooter positioning Aprilia have tuned the ECU for a much-relaxed power delivery. A chat with the R&D team revealed that the CVT has been tweaked as well, but they didn’t elaborate much. Thought the SXR 160 makes 11 hp and 11.6 Nm, both the power and torque peak slightly earlier in the rev range. Due to this, the SXR 160 gets an easy-going character which sets it apart, making it less intimidating for the casual riders.
Right off the line, it’s faster than the usual 110-125-cc crowd but not as lightning-quick as the SR 160. And even the exhaust note is also more subdued. The other difference is that the SXR gets a seven-litre fuel tank which is one-litre more than the scooter it’s based on. There’s decent mid-range too, which would translate in to hassle-free cruising too. It even has enough steam to touch almost 90 km/h on the speedo and remains pretty stable at high speed. But just in case this is too much for you to handle, the Italian brand is also working on a smaller capacity SXR 125.
Ride and Handling
On the SR suspension, as you know, is notoriously stiff. Thankfully the SXR feels a shade better, intending to offer more comfort without losing most of the agility. You can flick this large scooter around with ease and it remains nice and composed around corners as well, but it’s not as razor-sharp as its sibling. The tuned front fork ensures that the front doesn’t skip and bounce any more, making it more forgiving to ride. Over broken roads, the pillion will find the ride quality to be still on the firmer side, though most riders won’t find the setup troublesome. Though the smaller wheels take away from the motorcycle like dynamics the SR range boasts off.
The official price announcement is scheduled for this week but our guess is that the Aprilia SXR 160 will demand about Rs 1.25 lakh (ex-showroom), making it close to Rs 20,000 more expensive than the Aprilia SR 160 (Rs 1.04 lakh ex-showroom, before 2021 price revision). Needless to say, the SXR 160 is a premium scooter which will attract a niche crowd. One that’s taken away by beautiful Italian styling, a large digital display, and that sporty performance.