Aprilia SXR 160: Test ride

Look back in time, and you will find that scooters have been in the automotive market for a little over half a century. Invented in war-torn Europe in 1947, the first scooters were developed as a low-cost option for motorcycles, and their main purpose was to transport the masses.

Since then, a lot of time has passed, but scooters have stayed true to their testament. Eventually, scooters got bigger and better–to offer more comfort, space, and storage, giving rise to a neologism, maxi-scooters. Now, in 2021, maxi-scooters have generated a mass following and are a popular option because of the large storage and comfortable riding position they provide. Such is the Aprilia SXR 160, the first of its kind developed specifically for the South Asian market by the famed Italian automobile makers. So, the question stands, ‘how is it?’. To test the waters, we took the scooter for a spin around the city, and here is our review of it.

Design 

The Aprilia SXR 160 has been designed in Italy and takes heavy inspiration from Aprilia’s RS 660 sports bike. Inspired by the bike, the front of the scooter is equipped with LED lamps that look sleek and sporty while providing more than enough illumination. Just atop the LED lamps sit the smoked windscreen, which adds contrast to the design and makes the scooter look bulkier than it actually is. The scooter also gets the three stripes from the Italian flag along its side, which is, once again, borrowed from the RS 660.

For its sides, the scooter plays the part of a maxi-scooter with its voluminous body complemented by sharp lines with SXR 160 decals. The scooter is extremely well designed, especially the pillion footrest, which is hardly noticeable when folded as it neatly fits into the scooter’s body. Atop the body is the contoured seat with contrast stitching, which looks premium but could have been a little more padded to provide better comfort. 

At the rear, the design is kept to a minimum and the scooter gets full-LED tail lamps with integrated turn indicators. 

Features

The scooter comes standard with single-channel ABS and a 5.7-inch fully digital instrument cluster that displays a surfeit of information. The scooter also scores big on practicality with its two storage compartments. The front compartment can hold daily necessities such as a phone, wallet, and glasses, and also gets a USB charging point. However, the under-seat storage is underwhelming at best, as it is too small to accommodate a standard full-face helmet.

Engine and Performance

The SXR 160 shares its engine with its sportier sibling, the SR 160. Powering the scooter is a 160.3cc, BS-VI compliant, air-cooled, 3-valve, fuel-injected engine that produces a power of 10.8BHP and 11.6NM of torque. However, the engine has a slightly different ECU tuning than that of the SR 160, which the company claims, results in smoother and more linear power delivery.

  

As for the powertrain, the engine feels refined and docile at lower revs and gets peppier and zestful as you rev it harder, making it an ideal companion for the cities and highways alike. The scooter easily cruises at speeds of 75-80 kmph with no noticeable vibrations, and it feels completely at ease in the cities as well as on the highways. 

Handling and Comfort

To be accepted as a maxi-scooter, the scooter’s ride and comfort play vital roles, and the SXR 160’s upright riding position and excellently placed handlebars make the rider feel at home. Hop on to the scooter and it doesn’t feel bulky or big, and it easily accommodates riders taller than 6 feet. Though the ride lies on the stiffer side, the scooter doesn’t upset you or leave you wanting more, as the suspensions do a terrific job of damping out the irregularities of the road. However, the absence of a stretched-out footrest and a hard seat might be a nuisance for long-haul trips. 

Talking about the handling, the SXR, with a wheelbase of a massive 1365mm, isn’t the most flickable scooter on offer, but the 12-inch wheels at the front as well as the back, and equipped with MRF Zappers, provide ample grip and confidence. 

Braking and Suspension

The braking setup is similar to its sportier sibling, the SR 160, but the suspension has been dampened to provide a better ride quality. The stopping duties are taken care of by 220mm disc brakes at the front, while the rear is equipped with a 140mm traditional drum brake. ABS comes as standard, and the braking is sharp and responsive. Moving on to the suspensions, the front is handled by forks with a 30mm inner tube, while the rear gets an adjustable mono-shock.

Verdict  

Nothing is perfect, and the Aprilia SXR 160 is no exception. Sure, the seat might be too hard, the handling could’ve been better, and the price could’ve been lower, but there is no doubt that the scooter is one of the finest Aprilia has on offer. It is feature-packed with its LED lights and a large LCD display, and it surely is more comfortable and practical than its hardcore race-oriented siblings in the SR series. So, if you’re up to pay the premium, there is no reason why we wouldn’t recommend it.  

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