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Aprilia SR Max 300 2012 Review

This scoot oozes Italian flair with taught lines and sporting heritage in the graphics.

The gauntlet was thrown down when Aprilia called this mid-size scooter a "grand tourer". Aprilia says the SR Max 300 is equal to a GT sports/touring styled motorcycle.

"The SR Max 300 will be completely at home on motorways or touring long distances which is not really the domain of a typical scooter," they say. So I accepted the challenge and put this rebadged version of the Gilera Nexus to a 400km weekend test.

VALUE

At $6990, it's highly competitive with other mid-size scooters and, if it proves to be a grand tourer, then it's a lot cheaper than any maxi scooter. Add to that the sporting heritage and street cred of the Italian marque and you have a good value proposition.

For your money you get excellent build quality and a host of features such as a comprehensive instrument display with information such as range, average economy and speed, clock, odo and trip meters, top recorded speed, plus a heater that directs air from the engine on to your feet, and a light and 12V outlet in the generous luggage area.

TECHNOLOGY

It's powered by a four-valve, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected single with only 16kW of power, so it's not exactly a "GT. sports/touring styled motorcycle". And while it has a 155mm longer wheelbase than the Sport City 300, it's still no maxi scooter.

However, it does have big 15-inch wheels, a solid double-cradle steel frame and a sophisticated suspension system from a larger scooter. Up front is a 35mm traditional telescopic fork with a hydraulic shock absorber and on the back are twin three-position adjustable spring preload shock absorbers.

DESIGN

This scoot oozes Italian flair with taught lines, sporting heritage in the graphics, a compact nose and bold silver grille between the dynamic twin headlights. Even the boys on their sportsbikes gave me a nod as I rode past.

There is a big screen and a generous saddle with lumber support for the rider and big handles for the pillion. Under the seat is enough room for two open-face helmets and gloves. Our test scoot was white, but there is also a "factory red" model which is race inspired with the livery derived from the RSV4 Factory.

SAFETY

There is no ABS, but the brakes are strong with a 260mm disc up front and 240mm at the rear, not a drum. The 15-inch wheels prevent the familiar bump steer of most scooters and the wide tyres are tubeless.

RIDING

I went nowhere near emptying the 15.5-litre fuel tank which at 3L/100km is good for about 500km range. I also went nowhere near getting saddle sore or sick of this ride. It may only have 16kW of power, but it has instant torque and enough acceleration for all traffic duties and also for pulling out of low-speed corners or roundabouts.

It will hit 60km/h in about six seconds and 100km/h in a shade under 10. A pillion or a hill doesn't seem to make too big a dent on its performance, either.

This scoot may not increase the pulse rate of a sportsbike rider but it did startle a few when I rounded them up in the tight and twisty sections of my favourite mountain pass. The 15-inch wheel, grippy rubber and sophisticated suspension make it quick through corners while the longer wheelbase provides stability at high speeds.

The indicated top speed in the on-board computer reads 142km/h and while I didn't set it, I have no reason to dispute it. This scoot will travel comfortably at legal highway speeds all day. I found the screen a bit short for me, but it is wide and gives plenty of cold morning protection.

VERDICT

This is a proper touring scooter.Like a maxi scooter it will take you inter-city in style and comfort, even with a partner along for the ride. Yet it is still compact enough to get you to work or the local cafe economically and park in places a maxi scooter won't fit.

Aprilia SR Max 300
Price: $6990
Warranty: 2yrs/unlimited km
Service Intervals: 10,000km (transmission belt 15,000km)
Engine: 278cc single-cylinder 16kW/23Nm
Transmission: CVT auto
Dimensions: 2110mm (l), 780mm (w), 815mm (seat)
Fuel: 15.5 litres; 4L/100km

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