Aprilia Sportcity 200 Review

Whether you want to be smart, sophisticated or just plain speedy, the Sportcity 200 will take you to the dark side.

Words photography by JEREMY BOWDLER

So is this the coolest scooter or what? That’s some stylish bodywork sitting in the office carpark. That sleek modern silhouette looks stunning in the silver once the lights go up, but wait until you see it in the all black.

Sheesh, that’s superhero standard equipment.

In fact, the Sportcity is exactly the kind of scooter you’d see the Dark Knight on, besting the forces of evil, if Gotham City had the kind of fuel prices we are getting used to here in Australia. Or maybe Neo would be rattling around the Matrix aboard the silver job, if Aprilia had scored the sponsor’s gig and not Ducati. It would have been a lot more realistic than Keanu and Carrie-Anne on a Ducati 996 in green?

And the good news is that once you’re underway, the performance and handling more than live up to the looks. There is some serious sporting potential beneath the twistgrip.

The liquid-cooled, four-valve, 200cc, four-stroke engine, which is shared with the Scarabeo 200, pumps out a claimed 15.6kW and that’s almost overkill for the normal commuting drudgery, with a top speed in excess of 120km/h. It’s the way the scooter delivers the power, however, that is so impressive. From the lights, the Sportcity bounds away, not quite as quickly as Bolwell’s HD200 (p46) it must be said, but with a smooth, linear power delivery that rapidly comes into its own.

You need never fear traffic again, that’s for sure. The midrange is impressive, so there’s none of that hesitation before you’re back up to speed if you get baulked by slower traffic for any reason. Power on tap, wherever and whenever you need it.

Of course, all the power in the world is of little use of the chassis cannot harness it and the Aprilia shines in this regard, too. Tracing its heritage from Aprilia’s expertise in making sports and racing motorcycles, the Sportcity has a front-end weight bias that allows the rider to pitch the scooter into a corner safe in the knowledge that you’re both going to come out the other side safe and sound, in one piece and somewhat faster than you’d previously thought possible.

Many scooters, with the engine and rider sitting over the rear end, have less than ideal weight distribution, leading to that vague feeling from the front tyre at or near the limit, as the back end pushes the front. This can be kept in check by using the rear brake through corners, but there is no need for this with the Sportcity. Just line up the corner and get on the gas.

It’ll stick to a line like glue.

It’s manoeuvrable, too, with good balance and big 15-inch wheels (carrying 120/70 and 130/80 rubber front and rear) that make a mockery of road conditions. The suspension, too, is tuned to the wheel/tyre combinations and the engine’s performance. Hefty 35mm front forks and twin rear spring/dampers with four-way preload adjustment offer 100mm of wheel travel at the front and 80mm at the rear.

Potholes, corrugations and speed-humps are of little consequence, and throughout, the tubular steel frame remains straight and true, with none of the flexing found in some other scooters.

Disc brakes front and rear offer safe and sure stopping, with good feel at the lever from both. I think confidence-inspiring is the technical term.

Aprilia Sportcity 200

Okay, so the Sportcity goes like a cut snake and handles like it’s on rails. What about the really important stuff? Well, unless you wear a shorty-style helmet, you won’t be leaving it under the seat.

The accessory topbox would be high on my shopping list. The lockable glovebox in the legshield has pockets for knickknacks and a mobile phone power socket and there is a parcel hook above it, high enough to be of practical use. There are fold-out passenger pegs and the rear rack incorporates grab handles for your pillion, but with the shape and size of the seat, it’s better if they’re a close friend.

Speaking of the seat, it’s well shaped and firm enough to be comfortable for the long-haul. There is a bit of room in the flat footwell for carrying stuff, but you’d be looking at a case of small stubbies, not the full-size numbers. Even so, the cockpit is roomy enough for my 195cm height and that is saying something in such a tidy package.

The instruments are a mix of digital and analogue, with a large digital clock, fuel and temperature read-outs together with a scrollable display for battery charge, trip, and fuel economy, operated by a switch on the right-hand switchblock. The analogue speedo nestles to the left of the digital read-out. I’m more used to a digital speedo and analogue tacho, so I found reading my speed a little counter-intuitive, but you’d get used to that.

You’d need to, because you could rack up some hefty demerit points if you didn’t!

The bodywork and small screen break the worst of the windblast and the two vents on the bodywork’s ‘shoulders’ supply warm air to the rider once the accessory leg cover is fitted. Other accessories include a Body Guard armoured cable lock, a sports and a high windshield and the already mentioned topbox and leg cover.

All in all, this is one sleek, sophisticated machine that dispels the myth that scooters are slow and wobbly. Even if you’re not a superhero yourself.

As published in TW SCOOTER MAGAZINE – 24/09/2005

Aprilia Sportcity 200
Aprilia Sportcity 200
Aprilia Sportcity 200
Aprilia Sportcity 200
Aprilia Sportcity 200

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