The SR Max 300 can be easily be classed as a man’s scooter because ladies aren’t likely to buy because the tall seat height is exaggerated by the seat’s width and the width of the running boards. If 5ft 8in blokes have to tip-toe at the lights, then the other half is going to be in trouble. With 15in front and 14in rear wheel sizes, the SR Max doesn’t suffer from wibbly-wobbly steering at speed and over bumps. Occasionally the twin rear shocks get overwhelmed with a series of stutter-like bumps especially with luggage or pillion onboard. But that’s what preload adjustment is for and the shocks’ adjustment is easy to get at.
Engine capacity is actually 278cc and isn’t the strongest four-stroke single-cylinder out there with its claimed 21.7bhp and 17ftlb of torque. Honda’s SH300i beats this with 26.82bhp and 19.2ftlb. As a twist and go, the SR Max gets away from the lights easily and simply. But don’t expect to get away first, though. With a bored, piss-taking sales rep at the wheel of a diesel Ford focus, the Ford will get the drop on the Aprilia. MCN recorded a claimed 53mpg average after a 38-mile commute consisting of B-roads and a 15-mile stretch of A1. Testing showed the highest speed figure achieved was 91mph. It took a while to get there after the initial zippy burst up to 57mph. Overtaking from 60mph into a head wind needs to be weighed up very carefully before the throttle is turned in anger because it can be a slow process.
Aprilia’s engine is from the same development/production line as the Gilera Qasar engine and we’ve no complaints about this because it means the Aprilia is fuel frugal and will cruise happily at motorway speed in exactly the same way. It may be a scooter but everything looks to be built with the same care and thought as Aprilia’s sports machines.
If scooters are your bag then the Aprilia is a genuine contender. Its looks are part of its attraction along with miserly fuel consumption and ease of use. The tall seat height is only a problem if you’re short of leg length. The real problem is there are a lot more scooters in this class to view, and some of the far eastern models are cheaper and do the same job of simple commuting.
The black/red colour scheme is eye-catching and the angular layout of the bike is eye-catching – indeed the wide, spacious red/black vinyl seat is, erm, attention grabbing. The LCD dash readout is controlled by two mode buttons, one bar-mounted and the other inset in the dash. Functions like average fuel consumption, recorded top speed, tank range etc are easy to read. There’s a vast cavity with a 12v socket under the large seat to take a full-face helmet, waterproofs and an evening’s take-away. The central tunnel for the frame has vents to direct warm air from the radiator onto legs and feet.