Aprilia SRV850 first ride: "like something made as a dare"

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The new Aprilia SRV850 is the most powerful scooter yet - and nearly £2000 cheaper than BMW's C650 GT.

The SRV850 is a restyled and re badged Gilera GP800 with the same chassis and 839cc V-twin engine.

Aprilia says there have been 250 tweaks, including to the suspension and engine, resulting in sportier handling and marginally more power - 76bhp compared to the Gilera's 75.

It costs £7799 compared to £9395 for BMW's new C6OO Sport and £9705 for the C650 GT.

I've just ridden the SRV at the launch in Tuscany. It's certainly fast for a scooter. Aprilia claim 124mph and it seems plausible.

The throttle response is excellent for a big twist-and-go scooter. There isn't the delay you often get. Flick your wrist and the power is there.

It's heavy - 249kg - but unintimidating thanks to its low centre of gravity. The long wheel base is good for stability but not U-turns.

With its bulk and weight, I'm not convinced it can be described as 'sporty'. It's more 'fast armchair'.

It feels fun but ridiculous. Compared to the two BMWs, which I rode earlier this week, it's like something someone made as a dare.

Unlike the BMWs, it has no glove boxes and space for just one helmet under the seat, but you do get a 12 volt power socket.

It arrives with UK dealers next month.

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell