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It is inherent that in every decision, we tend to look for multiple capabilities when purchasing almost anything that involves long-term ownership. While cars and motorcycles can still be associated with single-handed use in a family, it rather takes a complete u-turn in the case of scooters. A scooter is not just for you, but for the whole family’s convenience. Frankly, it does make absolute sense, but it’s still a compromise in the end, right?

In the larger scheme of things, Aprilia, a brand poised with a racing heritage and portfolio of scooters derived from to the same lineage have always been faced with limited takers due to the very same compromise. Like it is said, it is always safer to float the tide rather than fight it, which is exactly what Aprilia has planned with its new maxi-scooter, the SXR 160.

Is it a looker?
The Italians sure know a thing or two about design and the SXR 160 is a proud testament of it. The front end of the scooter draws its inspiration from the RSV4 which if you ask me is enough for anyone to fall in love with it. It’s not just the front, but from any given angle, the SXR 160 looks simply gorgeous. The maxi-scooter proportions are just perfect to show dominance over others while still being compact enough to be easily manageable. The sharp and edgy lines with well-positioned air-vents and tall flyscreen bear a strong resemblance to the larger maxi-scooters sold in the European market. A fantastic thing I say!

What’s great about it?
You see, the SXR 160 is Aprilia’s very first scooter that has been designed in Italy with Indian buyers in mind. Till now, all Aprilia scooters were mainly focused on sportiness and style, while comfort, convenience and usability always took the backseat. That’s not the case with the SXR, however. Sure, it’s powered by the SR 160’s peppy and engaging 160cc mill, but here it gets a different state of tune that is more relaxed and welcoming. The quick accelerating nature of Aprilia’s earlier scooters has been traded for a linear graph making the power a whole lot more accessible. Also, being a 160cc mill, the engine revs remain low and doesn’t feel stressed while cruising at city speeds. Even out on the highway, with the throttle wrung open, the SXR feels composed at its sub-triple digit top speed.

That said, the other factor that used to be a concern with most Aprilia scooters was their stiff suspension. With the SXR, Aprilia has dialled down the stiffness by several notches making the scooter a whole lot more pliable for our road conditions. It has a sweet balance of damping and stiffness that soaks up the bumps with being agile and confident in corners.

Speaking of agility, the SXR has a tight turning radius that makes it a hoot to ride in the city. The dimensions tend to shrink once astride on the large and comfy seat. Notably, the handlebar has been positioned in a way that it doesn’t hit the knees during full-lock turns but is still comfortable enough to rest the hands on. Lastly, the full-digital instrumentation is well-spaced out and has a couple of features like ambient temperature, average speed, instant mileage and battery voltage besides the standard information to keep you occupied when waiting for the light to turn green.

What’s not so great about it?
Not much really. Only two things, if I had to nitpick. First is the quality of the switchgear. While they do the job fairly well, the material used could have been better, offering a better feel and tactile operation. And second is the cowling of the exhaust muffler. While the dual-tone design flows with the shape of the tail section, the fit-finish of the plastic and the gap between the panels feels like a hurried job. Even the overall size of the unit could have been reduced to match the sleekness of the scooter’s design.

And the last word is?
The ideology behind the SXR 160’s Indianisation is something that Aprilia should have thought at the time of venturing in the Indian market. However, I think it is still not too late for the Italian company to have realised it. Given the way the scooter segment has boomed in recent years, it might just turn out to be the right time to bring in some healthy numbers. The SXR 160 is no longer a compromise, it’s a scooter that can very much quench the want for a sporty machine while still catering to a much larger audience.

Click here to view more detailed pictures of the Aprilia SXR 160.


Displacement: 160cc, single
Max power: 10.8 bhp@7100 rpm
Max torque: 1.12 kgm@5750 rpm
Transmission: Variomatic

Type: Underbone

(F/R): 220-mm disc / 140-mm drum

(F/R): 120/70 R12 / 120/70 R12

L/W/H (mm): 1963/803/1205
Wheelbase: 1365 mm
Ground clearance: 161 mm
Seat height: 770 mm
Kerb weight: 129 kg
Fuel capacity: 7 litres

PRICE: Rs 1.26 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune)