Aprilia SR125: Twist and go!
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I’ll admit that even with my usual level of enthusiasm at collecting a shiny new bike, I wasn’t expecting a heck of a lot from Aprilia’s SR125 “Motard” scooter out of the box.
After grabbing it from Bayride Motorcycles in Tauranga — straight off the showroom floor — with just 1km reading on the digital display, I was expecting my 80km ride home along the state highway network to take much longer than the norm.
However, to my surprise, the little Aprilia not only made the trip in easy fashion, it hit the legal highway speed limit straight out of the box. An impressive feat, considering it was still, technically, running in when I handed it back and was pushing a top speed which, at times, would get a speeding ticket from the boys in blue.
Behind all the plastic at the rear of the SR125, is a 124cc 4-stroke single cylinder punching out a seemingly tiny 9.5hp and 8.2Nm of torque.
A powerhouse this motor is not, but when combined with a CVT transmission, the little scoot makes happy progress no matter where you take it.
Like the majority of scoots these days you simply hop aboard the plush seat — which looks fantastic in red and black — turn the key, and throttle away with no more to it.
The hardest part is popping the bike off its centre-stand, which, depending on which way you look at it, is either a Godsend or an oversight, due to it being the only stand option.
Thumbing the starter requires you to hold the brake lever (there’s no clutch, obviously) and once the motor has sung itself to life you ease off on your next adventure.
With the SR125 my steed for a wacky and highly entertaining ride around the Waikato with the Moped NZ MC club, I set off from Cambridge to meet the group out on the road and grab some of the action as they passed through.
Heading into the hills near Te Miro, I was impressed by the Aprilia’s ease at maintaining a decent speed up the tight and twisty road through the hills. Sure, it’s not designed for running 80km/h through the countryside, but it did it with aplomb thanks in part, to its decent 14-inch rubber.
Hitting a pothole doesn’t turn into a drama with this little scoot.
In the city, with its much lower speed limits, this will ensure the little Aprilia will tackle even the hilliest of Auckland’s routes with ease. It is amazing how good a CVT transmission it is for a low output engine, keeping it in the meat of its power without sounding like it is going to blow to pieces.
In fact, the new 125cc engine sounded content no matter where my crazy route through Waikato took me. While other bikes of a similar (and sometimes larger) capacity have struggled, the Aprilia’s engine happily cruised along with a quiet confidence.
It is even more at home in the city, and Bayride Motorcycles’ managing director, Damian Fleming, told me the little Aprilia is their top seller to new scooter riders in Tauranga.
That’s a big deal, since the Aprilia requires at least a learner motorcycle licence to operate legally.
It’s worth the hassle of going back to an L-plate if you don’t have one, though, compared to the smaller 50cc mopeds as the last thing you want to do is come up to a hill and slow to a crawl in traffic.
With enough space under the seat for an open-face helmet or a few groceries, pillion, and of course the obligatory curry hook (yours can’t be considered a real scooter without one), the little Aprilia left us content.
With its Italian styling keeping things modern, the SR125 is a great option for urban mobility at just $2995 if you want a stylish little twist and go, it’s also fantastic value as a quick and easy commuter.
APRILIA SR125 MOTARD
Engine: 124cc single cylinder, four-stroke
Pros: Easy to operate, inspires confidence, frugal
Cons: Requires Class 6 licence to ride, under seat storage is not as big as competitors