The SR 150 came in like a breath of fresh air for those wanting a sporty, fun to ride scooter in India. A displacement of 150cc and a sporty design to go with its sporty handling have ensured the SR 150 has been quick to rise to popularity. Goes without saying then, that the SR 150 Race, an even sportier version of the SR 150 has generated a lot of buzz, as Piaggio India claims the Race edition not only looks sportier but is quicker too. But is it really quicker? That’s a question a lot of buyers have wanted to find the answer to, especially since the Race edition commands a premium of Rs 3000 over the standard SR 150. And if yes, what’s the trade off for the improved peppiness? We have the answers. But before delving into that, let's talk styling.
Design and features
On paper, there isn’t a huge difference between the two as the bodywork is the same. What the SR 150 Race gets though is a grey paint job and new livery, straight off Aprilia’s MotoGP bike. You might want to think grey isn’t a very sporty colour to begin with, but in the flesh the Aprilia Factory MotoGP livery looks stunning. And with the grey paintjob and red wheels, it looks more like one of the paddock scooters that the Aprilia Racing Team would ride around the paddock on race weekends.
The red and green accents really pop out and when parked next to the stock SR 150, and the livery almost makes the normal scooter look a decade old. Who knew a simple paint job and livery could make such a difference! On the features front, the SR 150 Race retains the same features as the standard version which I think is an opportunity missed. A digital instrument cluster instead of the analogue speedometer would have looked better with the racier design.
Engine and transmission
The SR 150 race comes with the same 154.8cc air cooled single cylinder engine as the standard SR and makes the same 10.5PS of power and 11.4Nm of torque, but the transmission has been tweaked to enable the bike to get off the line quicker. A new set of cones in the CVT transmission allow the SR 150 Race to accelerate quicker from standstill. Admittedly, the Race does feel peppier as you open the throttle which makes it feel slightly more exciting, but it is difficult to gauge the improvement without an acceleration test.
We used our in-house VBOX to test the Race edition back to back with the standard SR 150, and the acceleration tests did bring in some interesting results. In our 0-60kmph acceleration tests the SR 150 Race clocked a time of 6.89 seconds, which is 0.3 seconds quicker than the standard SR 150’s time of 7.20 seconds. Expectedly, the Race edition was quicker to cover the quarter-mile as well. In fact it further distanced itself from the standard SR, clocking a time of 21.68 seconds, which is 0.99 seconds quicker than the standard SR’s time of 22.67 seconds. The Race edition’s exit speed at 400 metres was quicker too, as it clocked 93.5kmph as compared to the standard SR’s 89.3kmph.
So clearly, there is an improvement in performance, though the difference isn’t big enough for you to notice it on your daily commutes. Top speed is a trade-off though, as the SR 150 Race managed to clock a lower top speed of 98.7kmph with its altered gearing, as compared to the standard SR’s top speed of 101.3kmph. What’s more interesting than the performance gains though is the fact that the Race is actually more efficient by a small margin in city, thanks to its better initial grunt, and returned 46.11kmpl in our city test. On the highway, the SR 150 Race managed to return 48.84kmpl, which is a slight disadvantage compared to the regular SR 150. Aprilia is also offering an optional aftermarket exhaust for the SR 150 Race that claims to improve performance, though I don’t see why it cannot be fitted on the stock bike as the two are identical mechanically.
Ride and handling
The SR 150 Race uses the same suspension as the SR 150, and has the same telescopic forks upfront and a single damper at the rear. The front suspension setup is pretty stiff and while it aids handling, it also compromises ride quality. That said, the Race edition exhibits the same delicious handling qualities of the standard scooter with good levels of grip and excellent composure on well surfaced roads. Tyres are Vee rubber mounted on 14-inch wheels and overall stability and grip offered is impressive. Brakes are the same too, and 220mm single disc and drum brake perform duty at the front and rear end respectively. The only change on the Race is a golden finished brake caliper. Braking is excellent for a scooter, and the SR 150 Race came to a standstill from 60kmph in 20.22 metres in our VBOX tests.
Come to think of it, Rs 3000 does not sound like a lot, as you would end up shelling the same amount of money or even more for the snazzier stickering on the Race version if you were to get it done from outside. Of course, the three grand gets you slightly quicker acceleration, which makes the SR 150 a wee bit peppier at low speeds in city, which is the scooter’s typical domain. You do lose out on top speed, which, however trivial, may matter to some buyers. But on the whole, the SR 150 Race does sound like a good deal.
Let me put it this way, if you are looking for performance, you are shelling Rs 1000 for every 0.1 seconds of increment in acceleration which for me, does not make too much sense. But if you like the concept of a sporty scooter, then being able to brag about the quickest one around would seem better still. In that case you can forget about the small pinch to your wallet, walk down to the nearest Piaggio dealership and put your money down on the grey one.
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