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Scooter News

Aprilia SR MAX 300 Review

The Aprilia SR MAX might just be the surprise packet of the year.

Allen Drysdale

Introduction

Piaggio made the decision recently that Aprilia would stand for everything "sports". They rebadged the Gilera Nexus turning it into what they now call the Aprilia SR MAX. Typically, Aprilia gets straight into making the SR look like a sister to the RSV4 superbike range. From the front it could easily be mistaken. So was the SR MAX worth converting? Can it still make a valid contribution? We answer all these questions and many more. 


Specifications 

Aprilia has started with a generous base here, and a good one at that. The Gilera Nexus platform was a well balanced package. It was always one of the better handling scooters on the market. The Nexus also had many of the features covered when it came to everyday convenience. So it only makes sense that Aprilia would be able to wave a wand over the Nexus and still make good of this design.  

Firstly underseat storage is a bonus. Normally sporting scooters and storage don't go together but thankfully a 14 inch rear wheel and tall seat height make for plenty of room. Accessing the storage is via the ignition key, push it in and turn it to the left. Under here you'll find enough room for a full face helmet plus more. The storage is long and wide and will negate the need for an ugly top case. 

The SR comes with some nice features that are actually well thought out. The 3-way adjustable screen is handy. The vents in the fairing allow warm air to flow through the radiator and out onto the legs. The pillion gets a nice set of flip-out pegs with sturdy grab handles. Under the seat we have a 12 volt charger and a light. On the dash there's a small storage bin for loose change and your iphone. 

The dash itself has a thousand modes. Top speed, average fuel consumption, range till empty, a couple of odometers. Speed and tachometer are both analogue and separate from the digital layout. There is a clock and fuel readout, both being digital. A mode switch lives on the right hand bar.

Would you believe the SR has a 15.5 litre fuel tank? The fuel tank is housed nice and low in the frame, the filler splitting your feet. The battery is housed under the seat but towards the front and at the lowest point. Again centred and balanced.

Brakes are disc both ends, single 260mm disc on the front. Suspension on the rear is courtesy of two - 3 way adjustable shocks. The front suspension is standard scooter affair, 35mm telescopic forks. Wheel size on the front is 15 inch, the rear makes do with a 14 inch wheel. 

The engine is the diamond in the pearl here. Piaggio's super smooth Quasar, liquid cooled,  278 cc, 4-valve engine. Power is the same as it is everywhere else across the Piaggio range. Around 16Kw's of power and 23Nm of torque.





On the Road 

The SR MAX is "maxi" in size, completely different from the Sportcity 300 for example, even though it shares the same engine. Longer wheelbase, taller in the saddle, larger everywhere. Some may say I don't need anything this big, though, on the SR it works. It works because the longer wheelbase allows for greater composure at speed. It works because the frame provides a rigid platform. The fuel is low and central and this all points towards a nicely balanced package.  

You feel like your over the front wheel when riding the SR. This helps with vision, it also helps with feel. The feeling of trust is concrete. I found myself finding corners, fast flowing corners, forever trying to see how far I could lean the SR over. Further and further until the SR got the better of me. It just sticks and remains composed and confident. Only larger mid-corner bumps and undulations tend to upset the SR. I'm talking 120 km/h plus speeds where the rear end is doing its best to match up with the front. Around town and in its normal commuting environment this is one of the best handling scooters I've ridden in a long-long time. 

Inner city commuting is helped via the riding position. Because you sit or feel like you're sitting further forward than usual, the ability to judge where you are on the road makes filtering easy. Low speed manoeuvring is helped through the balance and weight of the engine. Also on the plus side is passenger comfort. Big pillion footpegs and a huge flat pillion seat with sturdy grab handles make doubling a breeze.  

If I owned the SR I'd play with the screen level. I didn't move it away from it's lowest setting though I'd be searching for a little less buffeting at freeway speeds. Other ergonomic features include central heating. Simple idea but the vents actually work. During winter you can feel the additional warmth they provide. The dash I found a little hard to read in the dark given the red on red colour scheme. 

The engine and transmission combination is one of the best available on the market today. A fraction of lag at take-off but once we get the revs up and we reach 40 km/h the SR is singing. Sitting anywhere between 80 and 110 is just cruising. And this is the benefit of having a larger frame and wheelbase. The SR handles these higher speeds with such confidence. And touring is just another feather in its cap. Interstate trips would not be out of the question on the SR. A really nice mid to high range means the SR will see higher speeds and maintain them. Only the longest steepest of hills will have it running out of breath.

Probably one area where the SR could improve is in the braking department. This could be fixed with pads I'm sure, but for me the standard front disc brake was a little woody and lacked an aggressive bite. Which is needed when the SR builds your confidence to levels where a big handful of brakes is required. Pull on the back and front brake together and they combine well.

On our test machine, we clocked up over 1000 k's. With a massive 15.5 litre tank, we were easily averaging 400 km's plus. This backing up the SR's ability to tour. 




Conclusion

The SR is surprisingly good. Surprising because I really didn't think it was going to be as fast or as nimble as it felt in reality. A big bodied scooter with a Quasar engine that's shared across many platforms. I thought it would struggle a little, especially out on the open road. How wrong I was. 

From a style perspective, the design for me is a little dated. For others though, I can't begin to tell you the amount of people that stopped me. For the next few minutes embellishing just how good they thought it looked. The SR is a real head turner. I do prefer the look of the white colour scheme over our test models red and black. It's personal, as most people preferred the red and black - funny that. Everyone loved the shape.  

The SR MAX isn't cheap but for the specification level, it's right in the mix and where you'd expect it to be. High sevens on the road or $6990 plus. For this you get a scooter that's one of the best all round handling and performance packages on the road today. In the mid capacity market not much will stick with it at higher speeds. If higher speed comfort and handling are both part of the purchasing criteria the SR will be hard to surpass.  

I'm glad Aprilia gave the SR a go. It deserves to sell well, though I doubt it will in huge numbers. The fact is, "it's a scooter" and this will stop many from giving it a second look. And that alone is such a shame. The SR MAX would simply smash any number of learner legal motorcycles that are driving sales across our market today. 

The SR MAX will be available in dealers shortly. Make sure you take one for a test ride but don't be stopping at the freeway entrance. Remember..... you'll have to turn back at some point. 

For further information and dealers visit www.aprilia.com.au



 

 

published 18/07/2012

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