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Scooter Shootout: Aprilia SR 125 vs TVS Ntorq

TVS

Two new scooters battle it out to earn the ‘coolest scooter’ tag. Which is the coolest of these two? We point and scoot to find out


In our inaugural issue of Fast Bikes India, I had revisited my days of turning sixteen. At that time one could just blindly opt for the Honda Dio as the cool scooter for the younger audience. But things have moved on and we had the likes of the quick Aprilia SR 150 and the funky Honda Navi arriving in the market. Two distinctly different approaches for the same demographic. There is a new player in the market though. It comes from Hosur with a 125cc heart and though the name misses out on a couple of vowels, the SMS (My God Jehan, it’s Whatsapp now – Ed) language does tell the entire tale of what the scooter is all about. And we welcome the TVS Ntorq.

Though the market is flooded with 125cc scooters with a few more on the anvil, the Ntorq is quite different from the rest. It certainly carries TVS’ rich racing heritage alongside high levels of quality, refinement and a major party trick with the LCD console. Thus in this smorgasbord of conventional economic-centric scooters, the Ntorq brings forth a new flavour. A spicy flavour. One that is enough to heighten senses but not over the top to make you pant and gasp for air, destroying your palette.

Also, there is another (relatively) new scooter in town that perhaps has a racing legacy that matches TVS’ and caters to the needs of the youth. More importantly it also has a 125cc heart. I am talking about none other than the Aprilia SR 125. The baby SR is near identical to its elder sibling and apart from the missing grab rail, stickers and colour options, it is hard to distinguish between the two, visually.

So it all boils down to this – which scooter would the 16-year-old Jehan buy if he was to choose only from these two? Let’s find out.

 TVS Ntorq

The party trick remains the fully digital LCD info panel. The cluster reminds you of the Nokia N-Gage, Google it millennials. It has got a Street mode, a Sport mode and a lap timer, just in case you wind yourself up at the MMRT. The Street and Sport modes do not alter the engine characteristics as they are more focused towards providing a different visual experience. The Street mode displays your regular trip details while the Sport mode ditches them for riding time, distance ridden and will also display your 0-60kmph time. That’s not it. TVS has equipped it with smartphone connectivity wherein you can connect your Android device (iOS compatibility not there as yet) to the console via Bluetooth, and have navigation as well as incoming call alerts displayed to you thanks to the SmartXonnect App. This kind of vehicular interfacing is unheard of in this category or even in any motorcycle, leagues above. The closest one that I know of is the beautiful console on the KTM 390 Duke and that is aimed at a very different customer. Kudos to you TVS. There is a small issue though and I am nitpicking here, but I just wish they had the interface synced with Google Maps instead of MapMyIndia as the former is a more seamless option of the two for navigational needs.From the Graphite concept to the actual production spec model, the Ntorq has a striking design. With muscular panels popping all around, it seems to give off a big scooter aura. It is buffed up, no doubt, but it feels too similar to the current crop of Japanese scooters (Honda Dio, Yamaha Ray ZR) available in the market. There are bits and bobs that do stand out. The contrasting thread colour used for the stitching on the seat as well as the huge faux afterburner-inspired rear panels will appeal to the millennial folk. (Don’t lie Jehan, you like it too! – Abhishek)

The Ntorq matches the style statement in the riding department as well. The 125cc mill is one of the smoothest ones in the market as it races from naught to 60kmph in 7.48 seconds. There is a massive drop in the performance as the bike takes nearly double the time to reach 80kmph thereafter. Surprisingly, there are no vibes when you seek higher speeds, the scooter feeling extremely stable when doing so.

To say that the Ntorq is not flickable would be extremely harsh but when you have the Aprilia right next to it, the Italian surely has the upper hand. Despite that, the Ntorq is probably one of the best handling scooters out there. It has funky 12-inch diamond cut alloys shod with TVS Remora rubber that offer tons of grip in almost all the situations that we have come across so far. My qualm is with the brakes and that is probably due to the Aprilia spoiling me in this regard. The 220mm petal disc front offers great amount of bite with ample feedback relayed back, bringing the scooter to a dead stop in 3.01seconds from 60kmph, travelling 24.03m in the process. It just doesn’t have the phenomenal stopping prowess of the Aprilia.

Extremely easy to live with, the suspension is tuned to withstand any situation and doesn’t jar you like the SR does. The seat is very comfortable with a lot more storage space than on the SR, both floorboard and under-seat.

 SR 125

Of the two, the Aprilia is the racier scooter. The sleek motard styling was a huge hit with teens and enthusiasts alike, when the SR 150 broke cover. Thus Aprilia has not messed about in the styling department, leaving it just like it is. There are subtle changes though and you need an eye for detail to spot them. The seat is longer as well as wider, while missing the two tone treatment. The grab handle is not present, appearing as an accessory rather than a standard fitment. I like the new colours to be honest. They bring the visual appeal that the monotonous themes of the SR 150 lack. It looks particularly refreshing in this blue shade. The slim beak as well as streamlined body panels get revised stickering with the tricolore right above the headlight.

The riding stance is identical to its elder sibling. The ergonomics are spot on with the sporty nature of the scooter. The seat cushioning is softer than before, the change brought in after much market research and customer feedback, got from the SR 150.The analogue console looks way too simple in comparison to the Ntorq. The switches as well as the plastics are not as premium as the ones found on the TVS. That said, both scooters get underseat USB charging. The SR 125 has a larger fuel capacity with a 6.5-litre tank to the Ntorq’s 5. But there is hardly any under seat storage here.

The biggest change from the SR 150 to the SR 125 is the 124.7cc single cylinder air-cooled mill that is also found on the Vespa models. This motor is tuned differently to the Vespa as it produces 9.52bhp and 9.9Nm (the Vespa ones make 9.92bhp and 10.6Nm). This makes it fractionally more powerful than the Ntorq but less torquey, with the Ntorq producing 0.6Nm more. These fine margins are reflected in the acceleration timings, the Aprilia doing a slower 0-60kmph run in 9.01seconds. The CVT gearbox has been tuned to deliver a better mid-range performance. As a result, it makes up solid ground on the Ntorq in the 0-80kmph run, clocking 14.97s as opposed to 16.24s.

The cycle parts are carried forward from the SR 150 which is great news for those who love to hunt down corners. And while this is favourable for the young blooded, for daily commuting, the stiff setup will make sure that you book yourself a spa session every month. The 14-inch wheels do help in giving you more confidence while out on the road, the sticky Vee Rubber doing a fantastic job. The braking unit is simply incomparable for scooters in India as the 220mm disc takes just 2.61 seconds to come to standstill from 60kmph, stopping 4m earlier than
the Ntorq.

Conclusion

There is a big gulf in the outcome between the two as I fail to see the purpose the Aprilia SR 125 serves. It is not as fun as the 150. It is heavy and not as quick as one would come to expect from the Italian brand. If you are not juiced up on some Red Bull and painkiller combo, it is a pain to ride around town. And though I love the SR 150, I am not quite sold on the 125. Detrimental to its own cause, the SR 125 is priced at Rs 66,764, ex-showroom Delhi. For four grand more you could get the SR 150. Or, you can ride home the Ntorq and save yourself eight grand.There is little doubt in my mind as to which of these two scooters I would put my money on. Hands down, the winner is the TVS Ntorq. The last time a scooter blew my mind, it was the SR 150 and this is right up there with it. It is quick, well built, comfy and lively. The console is just too good. The ergos are spot on and she will take abuse happily. It is also the cheaper of the two here, retailing for Rs 58,750, ex-showroom in Delhi. It is all the scooter that you need and I would definitely recommend that the 16-year-old Jehan buy this if he was restricted to 125cc. I would stick my neck out to set the record straight by claiming that TVS has produced the best 125cc scooter that the country has ever seen, a big accolade since I hold the Suzuki Access 125 in the highest of regards.

I turn 26 this year, celebrating ten years of riding and I am still in love with moto scooters. My first love was the Dio. I absolutely adore the Aprilia SR 150. The TVS Ntorq is the first scooter that has come very close to toppling the SR 150 off the top spot in my list of best scooters of all time. And that says it all.


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