An overwhelming number of 125 cc scooters made their debut at the Auto Expo 2018, five to be precise, one of which was the Aprilia SR125. Easily the sportiest offering amidst all these scooter launches, the SR125 is the younger sibling to the much-acclaimed Aprilia SR150 and promises to offer the same fun experience but with a smaller motor and a lower price tag. Sounds good? Well, yes, the Aprilia SR150 has made quite a name for itself as performance-oriented scooter without any inhibitions. It's just the right tool for anyone looking at convenient, sporty commuting and we reckon, the SR125 should do the same. But, with at least seven scooters to beat in the 125 cc scooter segment, can the Aprilia SR125 really stand out? Let's find out.
Does it belong to the Aprilia SR family?
We loved the Aprilia SR150 for its splendid Italian design and the Italian manufacturer has gladly offered us the same on the SR125. We mean that quite literally since the Aprilia SR125 and the SR150 use the same body shell. The cycle parts on both scooters are the same, so you get the same slender and sharply designed front apron with the twin-headlamp design, while the indicators continue to be mounted on the handlebar.
The swooping side panels remain the same and sharply meet at the taillight on the scooter. We loved the exposed engine on the SR150 and glad to see that element too remains untouched on the SR125. The same 14-inch alloy wheels are offered on the scooter wrapped in the same tyres.
Is there anything new?
There is evidence of cost-cutting on the baby SR with the scooter missing out on the split grab rail from the SR150, which are now offered as optional, and replaced with a belt-loop for the pillion to hold on. The seat remains the same but is now finished in all black, instead of the dual-tone red and black version seen on the 150 cc scooter. The colours are new though including the bright candy blue, which by far, is my favourite in the SR family and will also probably be the more popular choice among young buyers, as opposed to the very understated metallic silver. There's a newly designed saree guard as well, and while our test vehicle did not have it, the SR125 and the SR150 now get the unit as standard.
The all-analogue instrument console is completely carried over from the SR150 and is just bland to look at with the absence of even a digital display, especially when compared to its feature-rich rivals. The scooter also misses out on a USB socket, a feature we are seeing more commonly now on two-wheelers. Aprilia should've used this opportunity to upgrade the unit, and it's a useful feature to have, so that's a miss.
How does it ride?
The Aprilia SR125 shares its powertrain with the Vespa 125 scooter. It's a 124 cc single-cylinder, 2-valve motor tuned for 9.4 bhp at 7250 rpm and 9.9 Nm of peak torque at 6250 rpm. The unit is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) unit. The difference in power is about half a bhp over the SR150, while the torque figure is down by about 1 Nm. Compared to the Vespa 125, the motor has been tuned for slightly peppier performance.
That being said, the SR125 lacks the initial grunt that everyone loves on the SR150. Power is available mostly towards the mid and top-end and that's really where the scooter is in its element. Initial acceleration feels a little bit sluggish, which can be due to the CVT calibration (SR125 Race should change that perhaps) and there's no urgency from the motor. However, once past 35-40 kmph, the speedometer needle starts rising rapidly. Add to that the lovely 14-inch alloys with Vee Rubber tyres and straight-line stability is downright amazing. We managed to pull the SR125 all the way till 110 kmph (speedo indicated) and that certainly says something about the 125 cc scooter, which will win in terms of pure performance in comparison tests. Special mention goes to the engine as well, which barely feels out of breath even past 100 kmph. There are no vibrations to complain of and the scooter boasts of sturdy build quality.
What about handling and braking?
Just 'brilliant' is the word when you talk about the SR125's handling dynamics. The suspension setup has been carried over without any changes from the SR150. While it may be harsh and strain inducing over bad roads, the SR125, like its sibling, is an absolute menace given a flat tarmac with bends. The scooter is confident through a corner, especially the tighter ones and that makes it a lot of fun to ride. Also aiding that potent suspension are the alloy wheels, the largest in the segment, which really gives the scooter its dominating character over the competition. They are brilliant I must tell you and we are glad Aprilia hasn't changed those one bit.
The flaw that the SR125 carries over from the SR150 is its ride quality and that's a compromise you have to make to enjoy that incredible handling. You feel even the slightest of undulations due to the stiff suspension right down to your spine. Backaches are common for SR150 owners and that will be the case for the SR125 buyers too. But if it's performance that you're looking for, then there's no other scooter which comes close to the Aprilia twins.
The bike is easy to flick in traffic with the riding position being aggressive. A big issue has been the saddle height on the SR models, which remains unchanged on the SR125 as well. So, riders of short height will have a problem to put their feet completely flat on the ground. It's not a deal breaker honestly, but does take some time to get used to.
Aprilia hasn't made any changes to the braking setup either on the SR125 and the ByBre unit is sharp in providing feedback. The disc at the front offers a crisp bite that can be felt at the slightest press of the lever and is complemented by a well-balanced unit at the rear too. Although, if you press the rear brake lever hard,the tail does have a tendency to slide out.
Should I buy one?
The SR 125 makes a fantastic entry-level scooter under the Aprilia brand. It looks premium, thanks to the shared components with the SR150 and certainly is a joy to ride. The no-nonsense feature list may not be to everyone's taste but I do like that we have an offering now that focuses only on performance. Priced at ₹ 65,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the SR125 is a logical buy for anyone looking at a fun scooter that is not trying to be the jack of all trades. It falls in the same league as the Volkswagen Polo GT; an affordable tarmac scorcher which you buy from the heart more than the head. That being said, the SR125 is only about ₹ 4000 cheaper than the SR150, which serves as a complete package, a premium I am ready to pay for. Let me put it this way; if I have to live with a backache, considering our road conditions, and mind you both the Aprilia scooters will give you that, (if you ride every day over pothole infested roads), I'd like to do that with more power at my disposal. But for the younger Aprilia fan, the SR125 is a splendid package.
(Photo Credit: Pawan Dagia)