EASY RIDER APRILIA GIVES US A MUSCLE-BOUND SCOOTER THAT’S EASY TO RIDE ON LONGER COMMUTES
I was sold at the mention of a V-Twin. Not that they are anything new. They power some of my favourite motorcycles, but when we think of scooters the feeling is that they are generally a little bit ... well, tame. Exciting engines such as big V-Twins don’t usually make the grade for a vehicle targeted at buyers who want economy.
Aprilia has clearly seen an opening in the marketplace for a muscle-bound scooter that is easy to ride on longer highway commutes. As such, it has appropriately squeezed a big 839cc 90 degree V-Twin between the frame of the SRV 850 to make those highway rides a breeze.
When the offer came in to test the new Aprilia SRV 850 scooter, all I saw was the unique-to-the-class engine configuration.
Now when you think of a 90 degree V-Twin from Aprilia, you probably think of the Shiver motorbike. The SRV850’s engine, while sharing the 90 degree V-Twin layout, is significantly different to that found in the Aprilia’s entry-level naked bike.
First, the SRV’s engine is larger than the Shiver’s 750cc unit, but also has a more friendly tune with single overhead cams doing the inhaling and exhaust duties for the 88mm by 69mm cylinder.
Producing a solid 56.6 kW and 76.4 Nm of torque from the big bore and short stroke, it’s an engine you can love. It also retains the characteristic V-Twin exhaust note, albeit muffled by the large twin exhaust cans. Sitting at idle there is no doubt you have a V-twin under your seat.
“It is the fastest production scooter and I think it offers a good crossover of the power of a sports bike and the practicality of a scooter,” said Aprilia NZ’s Michael Beckhaus. “It’s an ideal machine for those who have a longer work day commute but also for those who enjoy a blast on the weekends. It even serves pretty well for touring.”
I had thought all this performance would come at the cost of fuel efficiency but I was happy with the 5.9 litres per 100km figure I achieved while not riding at all for efficiency. I’d expect that, with a light hand, it would achieve even better fuel economy once fully broken in.
Transferring power from the engine is a twist and go CVT transmission which can feel foreign at first, especially when coming to a stop. After the bike and I had a few kilometres under our wheels the CVT became much less of a foreign property and much easier to use. Slamming on full throttle provides a jump in revs from the engine and a quick burst of speed.
It’s not surprising that Aprilia has laid claim to the title of “fastest production scooter” with the SRV 850. With an engine much larger than most competitors, and the ease with which it slingshots to the motorway limit, I’m willing to take that claim at face value.
Styling-wise the SRV 850 is undeniably an Aprilia, with the big front fairing resembling that of the RSV4 superbike.
Though it is large, giving the front of the bike a weighty look (to go with its 249kg dry weight), it doesn’t offer the greatest amount of protection, with things getting blustery on the motorway.
Like all step-through scooters there is a large airy cockpit to the SRV. Sitting atop the 780mm high seat, with feet planted on the footboards, the reach to the handlebar is nice and comfortable. The bars look great, with the big shiny aluminum offset by the centrally mounted Aprilia logo.
In Europe you can get the SRV 850 filled to the brim with hi tech additions such as ABS and traction control. Sadly, those aren’t on the horizon for New Zealand.
“We have only the base model at the moment which is why it is priced so competitively at $14,990 plus on road costs. We will look at the full spec version if we get some interest,” said Beckhaus.
That said, the SRV still uses quality components in all the right places. Build quality is good with none of the fabled Italian build quality visible on our test model.
On top of the brilliant engine you have brilliant brakes from Brembo, arguably the best in the business at making bikes stop, and though you can lock them up with enough pressure on the levers in normal riding conditions they work well.
One area where the SRV 850 falls short is the limited storage under the seat. Yes, you can fit a full-sized helmet in the storage area — more than can be said for a motorcycle — but it is restricted to just that thanks to the big V-Twin which takes up space that could otherwise be used for storage.
Other offerings on the market may have the SRV 850 beaten on the storage front, but in terms of performance I suspect it is hard to match.
APRILIA SRV 850 SCOOTER
$14,990 + orc
839cc 90 degree V-Twin
Bragging rights, great performance, ease of use
It’s heavy at 249 kg without fuel, small under-seat storage