Aprilia pimps the world's fastest scooter to remain at the forefront of the super-commuter classView gallery - 55 images
Aprilia is Europe's most successful racing motorcycle manufacturer, with two superbike world championship titles, nine off-road world championships and 38 world titles in Grand Prix motorcycle racing. So, it is entirely appropriate that as the "racing" marque of the Piaggio stable, which is one of the world's largest producers of scooters, Aprilia should produce the world's fastest scooter.
The Aprilia SRV 850 is based on the Gilera GP 800, the world's fastest maxi scooter that was created back in 2007 when Piaggio Group put an Aprilia Mana sports V-twin engine into a purpose-built scooter frame.
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The bike was launched in 2007 as a Gilera GP 800 Maxi Scooter and now it's the turn of another of Piaggio's marques (Piaggio owns the brands Piaggio, Gilera and Aprilia, plus Moto Guzzi, Derbi, Vespa and Laverda), the race-orientated Aprilia brand, to make its mark on the GP 800 and make it the SRV 850.
Indeed, the scooter and motorcycle appear to be morphing into a new class of two-wheeled machine, with the power, acceleration, braking and roadholding of the motorcycle, and carrying capacity, weather protection, comfort, safety and ease-of-use of the scooter.
The specifications read like any Italian sports bike: the 55.9 kW (76.0 HP) engine is a fuel-injected, electronic ignition, four valves per cylinder, 90° V-twin in a lightweight rigid trellis frame. The handling and roadholding are reportedly quite extraordinary, partly because of the lightweight but very rigid trellis frame, and partly because the crankshaft and transmission rotate in the opposite direction to the wheels, significantly reducing the gyroscopic effect.
The overall package is far more rigid than the GP 800 even though it is only slightly lighter (by just 5 kg/11 lbs). The suspension has been replaced at both ends - the 41 mm cast aluminum swingarm, completely revamped suspension geometry and top class brakes sitting on fat 16" front, 15" rear lightweight cast aluminum rims.
The company claims that by removing this suppression of the rotational inertia, "the handling and quick entrance into turns" of the Aprilia SRV 850 has been improved.
The chassis design has also given Aprilia a way of minimizing the vibrations of the big V-twin by isolating the engine from the frame with "elastic mountings" and similarly with the 2-into-1 exhaust system.
The braking system on the SRV 850 is similarly top shelf, hauling an admittedly porky machine (for a scooter, 249 kg/549 lbs), to a stop from its road bike speeds with ease. Up front are Brembo Gold Series double piston floating calipers and two 300mm semi-floating steel discs, and at rear the floating caliper has opposing pistons and acts on a 280 mm steel disc. Twin channel anti lock braking makes this a breeze.
The SRV comes standard with radial tires, being a 120/70 at the front and 160/60 on the driving wheel.
Aprilia's influence on the sporting character of the bike is most pronounced in the area of suspension. A cast aluminum swingarm is similar to that of the remarkable RS250 road bike which is sadly no more.
View gallery - 55 images