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Scooter Review

Aprilia SR MAX 300 Update

Update: Ongoing thoughts on our extended test of the Aprilia SR MAX 300.

Allen Drysdale

Aprilia SR MAX 300 Update

We’ve been commuting for just over a month now on Aprilia’s SR MAX 300, getting to know Aprilia’s mid-capacity maxi in the daily throws of Sydney traffic and adjoining fast moving motorways.

The Aprilia SR MAX retails for near on $8000 on the road registered. No, it’s not cheap, but this is a scooter at the pointy end of the market when it comes to ability, quality and performance. The SR MAX is made and fully imported from Italy.

The SR MAX utilises Piaggio’s 278 cc engine as shared with Vespa’s GTS range and many of the other models in the group. It’s tried, tested and remains the benchmark for mid-capacity scooter engines. In real life, the engine spins up nicely to just over 7000 rpm and on the spec sheet this is where the SR creates its peak power.

Cruising along Sydney’s motorways comes easy for the SR MAX and it’s where this scooter clearly differentiates itself from the majority of other mid-capacity scooters. The fairing provides good weather protection and with the addition of wind deflectors that move air around the rider, it works. The large screen is manually adjustable over three settings, again it’s fairly large and protective.

The chassis for me is the secret of the SR's success. It’s long because the chassis originally started life as a 500. The SR MAX makes the most of its size and it can blend agility with a sure-footed nature that many other scooters could only wish for. The large 15 inch front wheel is partnered with a 14 inch rear and the combination works well.

You sit on the SR MAX, initially you might feel like you're perched. The SR MAX is not overly heavy so being tall in the seat is probably the biggest issue here for the shorties. One of the benefits of height is when turning into a corner with ample ground clearance. This can become a game of how confident you are as a rider, the SR MAX will continue to lean over as far as you’re willing to take it.

Brakes are disc either end and initially the front felt a little vague until I really latched onto the front lever. From here this seemed to bed in the brakes nicely and now the SR MAX pulls up in a brisk fashion and the feel is responsive.

The central frame helps significantly with handling. There is the big difference when comparing a scooter in this layout to one with a flat floor. The additional handling benefits are significant. Sometimes though this can limit storage, but in the SR MAX’s case, the options are still fairly generous. There’s lots of room under the seat, and with the free box option, I’ve never found myself short yet. My helmet stores in two locations, under the seat or in the box itself.

Fuel consumption will be reported when we have some clearer figures. I wouldn’t see it any different from other 300 class Piaggio scooters, but where the SR MAX does differ is in the massive 15.5 litre fuel tank. Trips to the petrol station remain rare and if you're only doing local commutes you might just be carrying enough fuel for a months worth of riding.

Pillion accommodation is also worth a mention given its large, flat and comfortable. There will be no complaints from the other half. The dash and switchgear is nice and functional and includes range till empty, trip counter and clock. The dash though does look a little dated and some kind of blinker "left on" warning indicator would be nice.

At the moment all of our trips have been local, cross-city type trips where motorways speeds have limited the SR MAX to 100 km/h, for the SR this remains easy work. The SR is quick from standstill, will reach 80 km/h before you know it and remain in the zone without losing momentum. Next we’ll look at how the SR MAX handles longer distances and freeway type speeds.  

The SR MAX has been a nice addition to the garage, a scooter that has very little limitations when it comes to commuting in large capital city type environments. Its smooth, fast and efficient and because it was originally built for the 500 engine, somehow the 300 capacity just feels more at home. Aprilia states it developed the SR to keep going long after the city boundaries end. We’ll place this on the agenda and prove it on our next round of updates.

Till then it’s happy commuting.






published 8/07/2014


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