Tag Archives: step-through

Aprilia’s SRV 850. 850cc Scooter. Is it Still a Scooter?

Aprilia SRV850

Aprilia have released their official video for the monster scooter known as the SRV850 (shown below).

With an 850cc fuel-injected 90° V-Twin engine producing 79 horsepower, this scooter surely holds the accolade for the most powerful production scooter on the market.

While I have no doubt it is a remarkable machine – which I would love to spend a day on, It does, however, cause me to pause and wonder: is it actually still a scooter in the generally accepted meaning of the term?

While writing my recent book, Buying Your First Scooter, I had to make an attempt to define what a scooter actually was, because the lines are beginning to be increasingly blurred.

Here is what I came up with (quoted from the book):

  • It will have a “step-through” design. Meaning that to mount the vehicle, you “walk” through the gap between the saddle and the handlebars. This is as opposed to the motorcycle where you swing your leg rearward over the saddle.
  • It will likely have automatic transmission. The most common type of automatic transmission is the CVT or Constant Velocity Transmission, which we will cover later. Again, there are instances in some of the larger or “Maxi” scooters where it is possible for the operator to control gear selection by the use of “paddles” on the handlebars, but this is most definitely the exception, rather than the rule.
  • It will most often have considerable under-seat storage.

I may have added to that list that they generally have smaller engine sizes than motorcycles.

The item on that list that comes first is the fact that it has a “step-through” design. It was first on that list for a reason. Personally, I feel that the SRV 850 would be not so much a “step-though” as a “stumble-onto” design.
I feel I would be at a loss to decide whether to swing my leg rearward as I would on a regular motorcycle, or do the one-legged hop with right leg extended like a half-maimed flamingo.

I also have to wonder whether – once the engine and power characteristics reach this level – it is actually still a scooter, or merely a slightly differently configured automatic bike?

Now, I understand that scooters with a larger than average step-through portion are nothing new – witness the fine Suzuki Burgman and even the Genuine Scooter Company’s Blur, but this trend to push the boundaries of traditional scooters is causing me to question the point at which a scooter becomes a motorcycle even more.

Don’t get me wrong, I welcome the progress in the scooter world, and think that little but good for us all can come out of it, but it does keep forcing that question on me: When does a scooter become a motorcycle?

I would welcome your thoughts on this. Do you consider this a scooter? would you buy one? The comment thread is open!