With technological improvements running at warp speed, we pit two scooters against each other, both boasting of some interesting smart-connective systems.
Story: Zal Cursetji
Photography: Saurabh Botre
Technology: defined as the application of scientific knowledge to enhance practical purposes. A fair definition of the word that has been part of human existence. In recent years, though, advancements in technology have taken place at warp speeds which, so far as the industry is concerned, has manufacturers spending more and more money and focus on their respective R&D departments. The inter-web and connectivity have changed our lives forever and its long tentacles have reached beyond what we thought was feasible, or possible, barely five years ago.
There are examples galore of the speed at which technology is moving. A quick look at the music industry will give you an idea. In less than a century, we went from LPs to A-tracks, compact discs, MP3 format and so forth. It’s the same story everywhere and the motorcycle industry is no exception. For instance, the anti-lock braking system (ABS), which was a unique selling point only a few years ago, will now be mandatory. Then comes the big daddy of tech advancements: communication. Arguably the fastest constantly changing industry, communication rules our lives today. So much so that we were not merely pleased with being able to talk to each other as and when we want and share all our self-indulgent experiences with anyone willing to click on a page or open an application; nope, we wanted more. Motorcycle companies have now started paying heed to that, for bikes and scooters are now being offered with some very interesting technology allowing the owner to communicate and experience systems that, in simple terms, make life easier.
We at Bike India, pitted two scooters and their smart systems against each other. The two in question are the TVS Ntorq 125 and the Aprilia SR 150 Race. Yes, it might seem unfair since the SR 150 has a larger engine displacement, but, again, I would like to remind the reader that this is a tech-only comparo. Furthermore, “Aprilia Connectivity” is available in both the SR 150 and SR 125 models.
TVS have named their connective tech “SmartXonnect” which has a range of features and in fairness rules the scooter industry with what’s on offer. Download their app, called TVS Ntorq, into your Android device or your iPhone. Aprilia’s app is called “Aprilia Connectivity” and it has its own list of features.
This one is an easy win for the TVS Ntorq. Hold down the “mode” button on the dashboard when in “Street” mode and then hold the pairing symbol on the app and, voila, you are ready. The Aprilia, however, is a different story. First put in the chassis number followed by a one-time password (OTP) that is sent to the registered mobile number. The procedure is aimed at ensuring a secure connection, which is a good thing, but working it felt a bit like trigonometry; it is supposed to help, but no one likes it.
“Aprilia Connectivity”, apart from the aforementioned pairing niggle, is quite a user-friendly application. The home screen showcases its main features and further options with drop-down menus. The main features are; “Find Me”, “Follow Me”, “Navigate Me”, and “Share Bike”. The “Find Me” option is where the scooter starts honking and flashing lights that give you a visual and audible way to locate the vehicle.
“Follow Me” is a more discreet way of locating the scooter. No blaring horns and here the indicators get activated for 10 seconds.
Next we have the “Navigate Me” feature, which, as the name suggests, involves a map which, when followed, brings you to your Italian friend.
Last is the “Share Bike” option. This is meant for adding another user to scan a QR code which allows access to the features mentioned above.
Below these you find a number of options with their own drop-down menus:
“My Services”: Allows you to locate service centres, dealers, petrol pumps, and even book a service appointment.
“My Aprilia”: Here you have access to Aprilia World, vehicle info, the owner’s manual, and value-added services.
“Customer Care”: Connectivity to customer care, raise concerns, e-cart, and social media.
You also get two very important safety features, one being a direct button for roadside assistance and the second a “Panic Alert” feature. To set up the panic alert system, a user first registers a number to contact in the event of an emergency. Activation of the system is done by turning the left indicator on and off four times consecutively. This then sends two messages and the location to the registered emergency number.
This is a very good thing and we hope other manufacturers will consider launching similar safety systems.
TVS Ntorq 125
“SmartXonnect” on the TVS Ntorq is in many ways an absolute game-changer. Pairing, as mentioned earlier, is done easily. The app itself is simple and easy to use, with a personalized profile of the user and the main functions listed in a big window below. What makes this a game-changer, in my opinion, is the inbuilt navigation system more than all the other features. What the system does is display basic navigation directions on the scooter’s console. This means no more mobile phone holders or constantly stopping to check maps. It is right there on the dash, stating the actual distance to the next turn. I used this navigation extensively in a number of different cities and it worked well 99 per cent of the time. The only glitch was that when the cellular network failed, the navigation system seemed to falter. Not for long, though, but long enough for me to miss a turn once. However, once the network became operational, it put me back on the right track.
But wait, there’s more, you get alerts on the console to inform you whenever you receive a phone call or a text message (SMS), for which there is an auto SMS reply that can be activated. Quite handy. Other features include two trip meters, auto-sync clock, speed alert that allows you to set a speed limit, route saving, and the vehicle locator.
“Aprilia Connectivity” has its own set of features and there are quite a few of them, indeed, but it falls short of the TVS Ntorq when you think of it for everyday use. However, having said that, Aprilia’s “Panic Alert system” is a superb initiative where safety is considered.
Both these systems have their selling points and arguments to win this comparo and both of them are winners on account of their attributes mentioned above. The question is not what comes next but will smart systems become the norm? I have no reason to think otherwise. In a perfect world, the next versions will have the pros of both. Either way, the future looks great for consumers and “what’s next?” is an exciting thought.
To read our first-ride reviews of these two scooters, click the link below: