If the need is speed, the Aprilia SRV 850 is now available for take off. Enter here to commence the countdown...
Aprilia has taken a massive leap of faith in the SRV 850. Here is
a scooter worth a little over $17,000 registered. With sales on the
automatic Mana and Mana GT motorcycles being a little flat, how will the
scooter focused SRV stack up? We spend a few weeks getting to know the
worlds fastest production scooter.
Aprilia SRV 850 ABS/ATC Review
Without turning a wheel and the SRV is already making a number of
go-fast claims. From the front superbike nosecone, to the Dorsoduro
inspired rear tail. The racy white or black colour schemes with the
go-fast stripes. The SRV 850 stickers are the big hint that something
fast is going on here. For anybody who likes the burble of a twin, the
SRV sounds sublime at idle. Ours was fitted with the optional Arrow
slip-on - a flick of a switch is enough to get the heart racing.
The SRV 850 is not overly new. It first started life as Gilera's GP800.
When Piaggio made the decision to reposition the GP800 under the Aprilia
banner, it renamed it the SRV 850. Totally understandable given the
brands racing heritage and performance focus. A few design changes were
made to bring it inline with the rest of the family, a few suspension
changes were made to kerb some front-end gremlins. In its latest guise
the SRV also adds ABS and traction control.
The first thing you notice about the SRV is the well balanced weight.
The SRV is no lightweight, and at 250 kilos it's surprising that there
isn't that top heavy feeling that normally comes with something this
heavy. Like every good Italian machine, you do get that nice sensation
of quality. The dash, the plastics, the seat, the SRV does give off an
The seating position is low and for those that would normally struggle
with taller machines, you should find the SRV manageable. Coming to a
stop doesn't require that tip-toe feeling. The SRV has also lost the
complexity of the semi-automatic Mana and this has been replaced with a
simple "twist and go" CVT transmission. The SRV does run a chain final
drive which will mean some additional maintenance is required.
The SRV borrows its dash from the Piaggio Mp3 range. Same twin-round
analogue dials with a central arrangement of digital readouts. The
speedo can sometimes be difficult to read at a quick glance. Everything
else is fairly easy to visualise. Trip, time and temperature is all
digital. Speed, fuel and tacho is all analogue. The switch for the
traction control resides on the right hand bar. Everything else is
pretty much standard affair. I should mention the adjustable levers,
though expected, they're still a nice touch. The adjustable mirrors with
integrated blinkers, again these mimic those found on the RSV4.
The storage options, whilst a little minimal, are still fairly
manageable. Especially when taking into account the large diameter rear
wheel and the need to shove an 839 cc motor into the double cradle
frame. The underseat storage is enough for a full-face helmet and gloves
only. The absence of a glovebox or any additional hooks is a bit
painful but you can strap a bag to the large flat passenger seat. The
decision quickly becomes box or no box. The optional box and rack
resolves any storage fears. The box also increases passenger comfort no
end. Remember though, fit the box and you will lose your sexy rear.
The stats will tell us the SRV produces a whopping 88 Hp and 74 Nm of
torque. Around town and the SRV has you darting for gaps quicker than
you ever have before. On the open road and you have the ability to
gather speed like no other scooter can. The SRV's engine is mounted in a
way that reduces vibration and this means things remain really smooth.
When accelerating from a standstill, you might feel a sensation of lag
soon get over this by simply nailing the throttle. Man, does this
thing get up and boogie.
You can feel a little naked at higher speeds and anything above 110 km/h
can have you being buffeted, mainly thanks to the small sports screen.
Crouch down behind the screen and you're immediately in the slipstream,
listening to that sweet twin revving itself into a lather. The SRV is
clearly in the "Licence Losing" bracket. We saw an easy 180 km/h on the
track (with more to come), the SRV should see 200 km/h and over given
the right conditions.
Through corners and the SRV remains well behaved. The rear will allow
the rider to get really confident out of corners. The rear suspension
comes with seven settings of preload adjustment. The rear shock is
mounted horizontally and the swingarm itself is attached directly to the
frame. Things are certainly nice and rigid without any flex.
The front suspension is all scooter and the forks are only half-length,
full-length like on a motorcycle. You'll get a good dose of lean angle
from the SRV. I found hanging off the SRV will get you the best results.
Enter corners too hot and you can always slam on the rear brake and rip
open the throttle coming out. In the SRV's case, power solves
Before our review I'd been doing a little research. Many were talking
about the front suspension or the uneasiness at high speeds. In this
latest generation, Aprilia definitely have this sorted. The SRV remains
composed and when pushed hard or at ridiculous speeds, it's a similar
story. The SRV is a well balanced machine, not razor sharp, just well
balanced and a good compromise covering all bases.
The addition of traction control is a real "nice have". You have 4
settings, on, complete off, sport and normal. I only felt it go into
action once, this was in the slippery car park of a local shopping
centre. In real world conditions, if the roads are damp or the type of
riding calls for it, having the traction control engaged is very
The brakes on the other hand are some of the biggest available on any
scooter today. Dual 300 mm discs on the front and a single 280 mm disc
on the rear with park brake. Front and rear brakes are both Brembo and
both brakes feature ABS. By the time we'd performed 1000 km's the brakes
felt well bedded and super strong. Having ABS on a machine carrying
this much speed potential is doubly reassuring. Having both ABS and
traction in the one package, especially on a scooter with this much
performance, is priceless.
Fuel usage relates directly to the right hand. On average somewhere
around 20 km/l is a good figure. Ride remarkably sensibly and you'll be
above the average, ride with some intention and you'll be below. The
fuel tank is a massive 18.5 litres in total. This should give the SRV a
range of somewhere over 350 km's.
So who'll be lining up to buy the SRV 850? My thoughts are that it'll be
someone who likes looking fast. There is something about owning the
fastest production scooter available. Look at me, hear me go past, I look like I'm going really-really fast.
If this is important, you won't be disappointed and the SRV will easily
do the trick, the SRV is the ultimate scooter show pony.
Though, let's give the SRV some credit. When it comes to maxi scooters
the SRV's engine is in another class. The SRV is so easy to ride, and
given its lack of complexity and low seat height, the SRV can be ridden
by just about anyone. The SRV will perform the daily commute or carve up
your favourite country roads come the weekend. It'll probably even
carve up your mates. The negatives were always going to be the initial
purchase price, ongoing cost of ownership and lack of storage standard.
These are obvious.
The SRV is one cool customer. It's a unique piece of kit and that
wonderful engine is the real differentiator here, especially when it's
all piped up. If you don't like your scooters big, loud and fast, you'd
better stand clear of this one. Otherwise, the SRV is a nice blend of
easy to live with high performance with the added advantage of ABS and
traction control. Book yourself a test ride, I'll bet you'll come out
the other side smiling.