Exclusive: 2019 Aprilia Storm 125 first ride review
Is that an Aprilia scooter?, asked a friend when he saw the Aprilia Storm 125 for the first time. In case you aren't aware of the accessible Aprilias on sale in India, there is the SR family of scooters that is offered with two engine options, 125cc and 150cc. They also power the Vespa's range of scooters, part of the Piaggio group. The SR range is essentially for the generation who want to scoot but in a quick manner. For what it offers in terms of value and performance, the SR 150 was our Scooter of the Year. Aprilia then went a step ahead and offered all of the goodness of the 150 in a smaller package, in the form of the SR 125. And now, the Italian manufacturer has launched the Storm 125 that is positioned below the SR 125 as the most affordable Aprilia in India. So, what makes it special?
The basic design of the Aprilia Storm 125 remains unchanged, except for the new paint scheme and chunky tyres
Does it look any different than the current crop to SRs?
The basic design that was introduced with the SR 150 has been left unchanged, and we like that. Calling it a "scooter" is not entirely right especially going by what we are used to seeing on Indian roads. To make the Storm 125 look distinct, Aprilia has given it a matte paint job but the colour options again limited to red and yellow. Given our experience with matte paint, we suspect it'll take some TLC to maintain the finish in our dusty conditions. The headlight assembly too has been changed as this one gets a single bulb as compared to the twin set-up in the SR 125. Further, it gets body graphics with Storm badging on the front apron and also on the side panels. The Aprilia logo too has been shifted to the front apron on the Storm 125. While I really love the screaming-for- attention-paint scheme on the SR 150 Race, the Carbon's black and red tone also works for me. Compared to that, the Storm 125's matte red shade is not as exciting. Also, at some places, there are panel gaps that don't do justice to the Aprilia brand name.
Notice no disc brakes! The Aprilia Storm 125 will be offered with drum brakes as standard
The main difference in the design, compared to the SR 125, is the presence of dual-purpose 12-inch Vee Rubber tyres with 120/80 profile at the front and 130/80 at the rear. These chunky tyres with a block tread pattern add a dose of ruggedness to the overall design. Rest of the bits like instrumentation, switchgear, seat and blackened grab handle have been carried over from the SR 125.
The Aprilia Storm 125 gets dual-purpose 12-inch Vee Rubber tyres with 120/80 profile at the front and 130/80 at the rear
Heart of the matter
The 125cc in the Storm 125 is identical to that of the SR 125, without any change in the state of tune
Under all that typical Aprilia scooter snazziness is a 125cc engine that makes 9.52PS at 7,250rpm and generates 9.9Nm at 6.250rpm. Yup, the state of tune has been left unchanged from that of the SR 125. Similarly, the engine response too did not feel any different during our brief test run. If you have just ridden the SR 150, the Storm 125 might appear a little low on enthusiasm. However, the 125cc engine offers decent performance for someone who has to deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic. While at lower revs, the pull isn't as quick as its larger sibling, it is only when you are in the mid-range and at higher revs that the engine comes into its element.
While zipping past traffic is something that you would enjoy on the Storm 125, it is on comparatively longer stretches where the engine performs really well and without the strain at high revs. In fact, just to replicate real-world riding conditions, I rode it with a pillion who weighs close to 85kg, and even then the motor didn't feel out of breath. It's a trait that I have always liked in Aprilias.
Riding the Storm
One of the most popular questions that we were asked in our LIVE videos was if the Storm 125 rides any different than the SR 125. The SR comes with 14-inch wheels, which is the largest in the segment, while the Storm gets smaller 12-inch wheels. However in the case of the Storm, the profile is different as it gets a larger sidewall and also a wider rear tyre.
The fun quotient of riding the SR is present in the Storm 125 as well
The Vee Rubber tyres are already high on grip but these dual-purpose make it more suitable for riding over bad roads or broken surfaces, since the additional sidewall helps in absorbing bumps And that is something that we thoroughly enjoyed in our short test run. Actually, these tyres also help in reducing the effects of a stiff front fork and monoshock, an area that has plagued SRs for long. The firm ride quality has been the bane of the SRs for long and nowhere near the plush set-up on some of the other 125cc offerings. I also noticed that the block tread pattern tyres get noisy at higher speeds.
These dual-purpose tyres make it more suitable for riding over bad roads or broken surfaces, since the additional sidewall helps in absorbing bumps
Unlike the SRs, the Storm 125 is being offered only with drum brakes only. Additionally, it gets CBS as standard, in line with the April 2019 mandate. The braking performance on our test bike had enough bite to bring the Storm to a standstill without much drama. But nothing can replace the feel, feedback and assurance that a disc brake offers.
Should you then ?
Considering how the Indian audience has developed a liking for more performance based machines, getting the SR range of scooters to India at the right time was a smart move by Aprilia. It not only helps the brand get visibility but also helps prospective buyers gain confidence in the brand. And now to the Storm 125. At a price of Rs 65,000 ex-showroom Pune, it is Rs 6,385 lower than the SR 125, making the Storm, the gateway to the world of Aprilias.
The Aprilia Storm 125 is priced at Rs 65,000, ex-showroom Pune
Who should get the Storm 125? This one is for those who are looking to commute to college or similar places on a cool, rugged looking scooter. Yes, the purchase decision is mainly based on the fresh looks of the Storm 125. And that without the need for spending more to get the powerful SR 150. Though, we still believe that the 150 is worth the stretch. The Storm 125 competes with the likes of the Honda Grazia 125, Activa 125, TVS Ntorq 125 and the Suzuki Access 125. Is it better than its rivals? That's a story for another day.
Images clicked by: Aditya Chatterjee and Rahul Yadav