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Aprilia SXR 160: First Ride Review

21 December 2020, 10:01 AM Anuj Mishra

Introduction

Aprilia SXR 160 action

Meet the Aprilia SXR 160. A very special scooter, mainly for two reasons. First, it gets a maxi body style, which is still quite uncommon in India with the Suzuki Burgman Street 125 currently being the only scooter featuring it. And second, it comes from Aprilia, a brand which sells sporty and engaging SR series of scooters and this one here promises to deliver the same fun factor, but in a more practical package.

Aprilia SXR 160 Right Front Three Quarter

Piaggio had showcased the SXR at the Auto Expo in February, pumping up some excitement into the event, which was otherwise bleak as compared to the previous years. It has been designed and developed in Italy, especially to cater to the Indian market. Underpinning the SXR are components borrowed from the SR 160, which is currently the sportiest scooter on sale in India. But Piaggio has executed certain changes to make it friendlier and easier to live with. 

Now, this whole recipe sounds really delicious, but as we know, the proof of the pudding is in eating it. So let's ride and find out if it's any good. 

The Visuals

But before we do that, let me put emphasis on its design, which has been the main talking point ever since it was revealed at the Expo. 

Aprilia SXR 160 windscreen

Typical of a maxi-scooter, it boasts of large and free-flowing body panels. But there are sporty visual touches too, which are inspired by Aprilia’s supersport, the RS660. When looked at from the front, it greets you with a scornful fascia comprising of a sharp and compact twin-pod headlamp, tall windscreen, and sculpted front apron. At the back, the sleek and angular tail lamp with a flat grab rail complete the overall young, classy, and attention-seeking visual presence of the SXR.

Aprilia SXR 160

Aprilia SXR 160

  • Displacement160.03 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)10.84 bhp
  • Kerb Weight129 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 1,28,353

Aprilia SXR 160 Right Rear Three Quarter

Amongst the four colour options it will be available in, we particularly like this matte blue paint scheme which truly enhances its personality. Speaking of quality, almost every minute nook and cranny of the SXR exude premium feel. The stitching on the seat, the finishing of plastic panels, the fitment of console, and the paint quality are all impressive. Even the switchgear feels solid and operates without any issues.

The Package

Aprilia SXR 160 Rear Wheel

The engine, chassis, and the suspension of the SXR are all borrowed from the SR 160, but they have been mildly tweaked to suit the former’s purpose. Powering the SXR is a 160cc, air-cooled, three-valve unit we are familiar with, and at 10.7bhp and 11.6Nm, the power figures are also nearly identical. It rides on 12-inch wheels with telescopic forks and a monoshock for soaking up bumps while braking hardware includes a disc and a drum. 

Aprilia SXR 160 Instrument Cluster

The cockpit of the maxi-scooter houses a fully-digital LCD console, something that was never seen before on an Aprilia scooter. And this is a fairly large unit with all the vital data on display like a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, fuel range, real-time fuel efficiency, two trip meters, a clock, and a temperature indicator. I quite liked the startup animation and the layout of the information as it resembles that of some sports cars. However, the placement of the console should've been slightly higher for easier visibility, especially while wearing a full-face helmet. 

Aprilia SXR 160 Front Glove Box/Seat Open Switch

Coming to the practicality bit I mentioned before, there are plenty of utility elements that should make the SXR a good daily driver. On the front, it gets a luggage hook for hanging bags and there’s a closed glove box which has two small compartments. One of these has a USB port but doesn't have much space to store things while the other one is larger and deep enough to place your phone or a small water bottle. This glove box opens up on pushing in the key. 

Aprilia SXR 160 Underseat Toolkit Holder

As for the under-seat storage provision, it's quite small. We tried fitting in my full-face lid but that was impossible, and I doubt it can take in even a half-face helmet. However, your small belongings can be stuffed in easily and the boot light will surely make life easier in the dark.

The Ride

Aprilia SXR 160 action

One of the main duties of maxi scooters is to cruise on the highway while keeping the rider comfortable. Now, the SXR is not a full-blown maxi scooter and that's noticeable from the moment you hop on to it. You sit in an upright position, with the handlebar close to you making it more city-oriented than highway-centric. Also, the seat has a decent space but it should have been cushier. As for the floorboard, there's very little room to move your feet around. We would've loved to have more space like that on the Burgman Street.

Aprilia SXR 160 action

Let’s talk performance now. The SR range of scooters, especially the 160cc iteration, is known for its peppy acceleration. The SXR feels the same on moving off the line and you have enough grunt for easy overtakes in the traffic. But as you progress higher in the speed band, the acceleration mellows down. Piaggio says the engine has been tuned to deliver power more linearly as compared to the SR 160 it is based on. 

Aprilia SXR 160 action

While the journey to 80kmph is not blisteringly quick, once you're there, the engine feels unstressed and you can maintain that pace all day long without much bother. The SXR is not excitingly fast, but it isn't slow either. Overtaking on the highway isn’t easy, but in the city, the SXR will surely be quicker than its lower displacement contenders. 

Aprilia SXR 160 action

And while on the move, vibrations are the last thing you would worry about. Not that it's completely vibe-free as there's a slight quivering on the footboard when you gas it aggressively, but nothing too bothersome. Also, we have always admired the throaty exhaust note of Aprilia scooters and the SXR retains that trait. 

Aprilia SXR 160 action

With a kerb weight of 122kg, it is not a very light scooter. But once you get going, the SXR feels extremely nimble and flickable. May it be switching lanes or going around tight corners, the scooter feels fairly stable which inspires oodles of confidence. It obeys your steering inputs without any fuss or drama. 

Aprilia SXR 160 action

The suspension of the scooter feels like it is tuned for sharp handling which results in a slight compromise in the ride quality. There's a bit of harshness in its ride while going over small potholes, sharp-edged undulations, and pebbles. However, you won't end up with a sore back whatsoever. And seldom does it feel to be losing composure, even if you cross large speed bumps at fairly high speeds.

The brakes of the SXR do a great job of shedding speed. The rear is progressive and rarely does it end up locking the wheel. While the front disc could do with more bite, the ABS works efficiently and it isn’t too intrusive.

Conclusion

Aprilia SXR 160 Front View

After riding the SXR 160 in traffic, around some twisties, and a bit on the highway, we can surely say Piaggio has done a good job with it. It packs likeable performance, useful features, brakes are efficient, and most importantly, it handles like a charm. Every time you'll head out on it, people will surely turn their heads to catch a glimpse of its elegant design. But one problem with the SXR will be its pricing. Although it’s not announced (while writing this review), we know it will lie to the north of 1.25 lakh, ex-showroom. We agree that's the case with every Piaggio offering because of their premium appeal, but we also wish a product as good as the SXR should've been affordable. 

Photography by Kapil Angane 

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