There seems to be a new mode of two-wheel fun that's sneaking up
on the motorcycling community. It's always been around, but just
recently has been a little more prevalent. I'm talking about scooters.
Not your average shopping kind either. Sports style, a style that hangs
out at the AMA and WSB pit's and the kind you don't mind being seen
(and heard) on, and certainly the kind you lust after when you see your
favorite factory rider whiz by, usually on one wheel.
We turned in our spare tea, coffee and playboy cash and bought a couple
to see what the deal was and to establish if: A) Are they practical? B)
Are they tunable? And C) Are they cool enough?
Worst-case scenario is they would be the ultimate race day runabouts or camera vehicles.
do hope you're not shy. This two-wheeled wonder turns you into Tom
Cruise. All missions are possible, you can even do your own stunts
(if you want). The attention you'll get is pretty incredible. I
don't know if it's the cute factor of the bike or whether I'm getting
more shaggable with age, but I enjoyed more Q and A's about this
bike far more than any other exotica I've owned or ridden. I had
a tremendous amount of boyfriends pull their girlfriends away from
me (and my new ride.) We got lots of positive attention too. Even
old grannies love our new scoots. Maybe it's a shopping basket short
of their dream bike, who knows?
No, err yes; actually I'm not sure. The main problem seems to be speed.
Yes, I know most motorcycles are never fast enough, but in most instances
you must at least be able to keep up with traffic. Sadly, on a modern day
50cc scooter, you can't. With our current moped laws most scooters are
restricted to about 30 mph, and that, ladies and germs is the first problem.
Whilst riding these vehicles it becomes immediately apparent that with the
decent suspension and braking that they enjoy, they could handle two or four
times it's stock output. Instead you're reduced to a rolling road block that
just frustrates you and more importantly the large Buick
or three stuck behind you.
For shits and giggles we strapped the Aprilia
to Full Spectrum Racing's
dyno. Stock was 4.1 BHP.
This brings us quite nicely to tuneability.
More Power! Please.
of the modern day scooter's come with the same style Minarelli
motor that is either air cooled like the Yamaha
Vino or water-cooled like the Italian jobbies. Restriction for the
US market is usually in the form of a simple exhaust plug and a
little something something within the variator that inhibits top
speed. Remove one or both of these and you can achieve an extra
10 to 20% more power, for free. Imagine that sort of increase on
your current sportbike. That would certainly put a smile on your
face wouldn't it? Well this is scooter world buster, and speed is
relative and that smile still comes with that increase, even when
we are only talking around 10 mph.
Is it enough? Nope. 'Fraid not. It's still a tad dangerous in traffic,
acceleration is better and on par with your average SUV, however, you're
potential road kill if you can't top at least 50mph. More speed?
We only want another 10mph...
OK, go get your credit card now. We'll still be here when you get back.
Aprilia SR50 Tetsuya Harada Replica.
this is the pit transportation of the gods. Massimiliano Biaggi
and Valentino Rossi have both been seen aboard this little scooter
from the factory in Noele, Italy. The same company that took on
the world of two smoke racing and ruled the roost for many World
Championships. The build quality of this bike rivals the Mille
for attention to detail. It's solidly built, doesn't rattle and
is probably one of the fastest stock scooters available in this
country (USA). Right out of the box. Top speed was around 40 - 45
mph and acceleration could have been described as brisk, as in brisk
walking pace. Styling cues seemed to have been pulled from the Mille
or was it the other way round? This particular bike came with an
optional set of passenger pegs and a styling side and center stand.
Handling is pretty stable and the whole bike is very roomy. Instrumentation
is pretty good too with a reliable fuel level indicator, speedometer
and the usual idiot lights.
We did have an "incident" with this bike. The centerstand ground out
during some knee down showing off and we levered the rear wheel off the
road with some spectacular results. We don't condone this sort of riding,
totally unnecessary, but top laughs. The bike crashed well too.