Aprilia RSV4 x Gilera GP800 = Aprilia SRV850

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So you’ve got a scooter brand no one in the modern world has ever heard of. That scooter brand just so happens to have a very unique, very special product which really deserves to find a wider audience. What do you do? If you’re Piaggio, you rebrand that scooter with a name people have heard of and you don’t stop there, you give it a radical facelift to equip it with the looks of your flagship superbike. Then, you have the Aprilia SRV850, the new most powerful scooter in the world. It just leaked.

Equipped with the same 839cc, liquid-cooled v-twin and CVT transmission as the Aprilia Mana, the Gilera GP800 makes 75bhp and 54lb/ft of torque. That’s a LOT for a scooter; in comparison the Piaggio MP3 500 makes just 40bhp. Unfortunately, it has to move a lot of weight — 235kg/518lbs (dry), in fact. That’s two pounds heavier than a Mana in running order, fully filled with fuel. Still, that power is good for a top speed in excess of 120mph. It should be fairly stable at such speeds too, wheels grow to nearly motorcycle-size; 16” up front and 15” rear.

The Gilera GP800. Note the identical forks, brake calipers etc, etc.

Maxi scooters like the GP800 or, say, the 2012 Yamaha TMAX are massively popular in Europe where they offer commuters the traditional scooter attributes of extreme ease of use and high practicality, but add highway-level speeds and huge weather protection. They look a little dorky to American bikers, who ride for leisure rather than utility, but they’re actually awesome products. Imagine cruising to work on something that keeps you mostly dry when it rains, can hold its own in the fast lane, stores a week’s shopping dry and safe under the seat and that you can bust traffic on without getting a sore left hand. In fact, no part of you is sore because the riding position is relaxed and the seat is like a lounge chair. They’re sort of like mini Goldwings.

The GP800 has the most epic set of exhaust pipes ever fitted to a stock scooter. Let’s hope they’re carried over the SRV.

Piaggio has gone to extraordinary lengths restyling the GP800-cum-SRV850; grafting on not only the RSV4’s lights and nose, but also lookalike mirrors fitted with indicators and even a tail fitted with the 45-degree winglets. What they haven’t done is made an evident mechanical changes; forks, brakes, wheels and chassis all appear identical to the donor Gilera. Details are still a bit scant, this image appeared briefly this morning on Piaggio’s press site with no details. It’s now been removed.

The GP800/SRV850 locates its v-twin in the middle of the frame, a la TMAX.

Will the SRV850 make it to the states? Well, we don’t get Gilera, but we do get Aprilia. Having said that, the motorcycle market here is vastly different than in Europe. Selling a dorky scooter that looks similar to its flagship superbike would likely hurt sales of the latter while achieving very few sales of the former. Big scooters just aren’t populare in the land of riding as recreation. The fact that other Gileras like the Fuoco 500ie have been rebranded as Piaggios like the MP3 500 for the American market is indicative of the brand separation that occurs here. You could hardly rebrand something with RSV4 headlights as a Piaggio though. The SRV850 also lacks that traditional unique selling point that can move scooters; it only manages 33mpg. For us Americans, this news is mostly going to be relevant as a what-the-RSV4-would-look-like-if-it-let-itself-go.

  • jason McCrash

    So when does it actually become a motorcycle and not a scooter?
    It isn’t step thru.
    It doesn’t have mini wheels/tires.
    It has a real engine and top speed.
    The riding position is more standard bike than most cruisers (which are becoming more scooter like).
    Bikes are available with what are basically auto trannys now.

    Like i said on the other page, I’m all for scooters as it opens up the gate to bikes, especially for women, but when does it actually become a bike? or stop being a scooter?

    • Paul

      Scooters are a form of motorcycle? Scooter is akin to how we use the terms ‘Sportbike’ or ‘Cruiser’

      The only thing that really separates different types of bikes from one another is the task they were engineered to do well – in the case of a scooter that task is commuting easily and inexpensively.

      • jason McCrash

        I have to disagree in that they are ‘considered’ a different type of vehicle and not a class of motorcycle by the motorcycle press and even the companies that make them.
        There may also be different licensing requirements for certain scooters that no motorcycle can fall under, depending on where you live. It is all semantics, my point was that ‘scooters’ are becoming more ‘motorcycle-like’ which I see as a benefit for the industry as a whole and some features previously relegated to scooters are becoming accepted on bikes. I remember the PC800 coming out, with it’s built in trunk, and the shitstorm of slamming it took for being “a giant scooter’ and not a ‘real’ motorcycle. That Gilera looks a lot more like a PC800 than a Vespa to me.

  • robotribe

    Here’s the dirty little secret: scooters–ESPECIALLY maxi-scoots–are more practical and useful than any “traditional” step-through motorcycle. It carries cargo more readily without the immediate need for panniers, has a relaxed seating position, and because of the CVT drivetrain, is easier and more convenient to operate than a geared bike. Take a trip to Europe and you’ll see what I mean.

    It’s biggest hurdle for sales success outside of Europe is our own preconceptions of what a “real” should “be”.

    • jonoabq

      I’ll agree with the practical nomenclature in terms of them being utilitarian, but if, like me, your definition of practical includes racetrack handling/performance they fall short. If I need to get a huge pile of stuff home from costco I’ll take the subaru, otherwise I can fit enough stuff on the pillion or in a messenger bag to make a traditional motorcycle practical for me.
      Having said that I’ve been considering a hi-po mini scooter for my daughter…that I might have to tool around on once in awhile.

      • Devin

        The biggest hurdle to me is the lack of a manual transmission. I love shifting my own gears, both in a car and especially on my bike. I don’t live in a big city so the “sore left hand” thing is moot for me.

        • Martin

          The Genuine Stella has a manual transmission. People love it.

      • robotribe

        I absolutely don’t include racetrack handling and performance under the category of “practical” for what most humans in need of transportation and limited by economics and physical space define that word as.

        I ain’t got nuthin’ at all against bikes with track abilities and excitement (I admit my share of nonsensical antics on my Street Triple and bikes before it), but the fact is most folks on two wheels will NEVER set their foot on a track, and that for those large number of folks who just need wheels to commute on and space to carry some groceries would find a useful tool like a maxi-scoot more practical than you run-of-the-mill 600cc sport bike and beyond; and yet, like flies to shit, many (including myself), are more likely drawn to the bike that’s fast and sexy than the one that’s dorky yet ultimately more useful in the most simple definition of “everyday life”.

        My 250cc Vespa could carry a week of groceries for two grown-ups and a kid and get me to the office with a 70 mpg fuel economy, but it never thrilled me like my motorcycles.

        This isn’t an opinion attacking power sport “toys” as much as it’s a comment on how what’s most practical isn’t what’s most fashionable or desirable.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    Right. So the factories seem to be wanting to make a scooter that can highside our ass to the moon…

    • Denzel

      Ha!

    • dux

      Maybe it has 8-step traction control?
      Faster than a Nissan GT-R around a carefully scripted test track?

      I dunno, but it’s pretty neat nonetheless.

  • paul

    Last year I hired a maxi scooter in Italy for a week (I normally ride an old Guzzi but the cost to hire a full sized motorcycle was outrageous)
    I had a total blast, My girlfriend and I covered a large area around Tuscany clocking up some good miles and we could stash loads of fresh local produce in the luggage to take home to cook that night. I was amazed how well it handled and highway speeds 2 up was not an issue.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]

      Sounds like a perfect vacation vehicle!

  • http://www.twowheelsplus.com/ Anders

    Weird. Like the face of Claudia Schiffer grafted on to the body of Angela Merkel.

    • dux

      Yum

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]

      I actually prefer the looks of the stock GP800.

      • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

        I actually prefer the looks of the stock Claudia Schiffer, but the intelligence of the Angela Merkel is attractive to me. Package it all up with the humor of Margaret Cho and the classic lines of Betty White and I’d ride it for a lifetime.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Can I get some Carla Bruni in my maxi scooter too?

          • http://www.davidfolch.com david folch

            you’re asking for problems the next you’ll be in France. Nico-the-midget is watching everybody badmouthing his wifey…
            :-o

            • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

              Oh I’m not badmouthing.

  • caferacer

    “Selling a dorky scooter that looks similar to its flagship superbike would likely hurt sales of the latter while achieving very few sales of the former.”

    A totally unfounded statement. Tossing thoughts like that around can only further convince Piaggio and other scooter manufacturers to not bother bringing their interesting large displacement scooters to the U.S. market. The popular SR50 looks decidedly sportbike-like and, while it’s not my doppio espresso, I bet the appeal lies largely in its racy looks to offset the tiny runabout, and I seriously doubt it’s cannibalizing RSV4 or even GSX-R sales. I agree the 33mpg of the SRV850 is pretty foolish and off-putting for what’s supposed to, and should be, an intelligent and highly-evolved (oh god, “Euro?” Ick…) form of next-gen transportation for us Americans. And as much as I’d love to see Gileras for sale again, I also think it’s best branded as Aprilia or yes, Piaggio (why not?)

    But don’t simultaneously praise the cool (and R&D cost-saving) design and very existence of the SRV850 while dismissing its potential in the U.S. with an unverified statement from Marketing 101. Better to encourage Piaggio to do market research here on customers’ interest in capable high-end scooters as alternatives to cars, and get these cool products to U.S. showrooms so we can buy something other than another damn Toyota Camry to drive to work. Assuming it will use less gas than a Tundra, of course….

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      The American market is very, very different from Europe and requires a different approach to branding and marketing. Maxis aren’t big here, despite valiant efforts from Piaggio and Yamaha. There’s a cost attached to importing a new model too. High cost + low MPG + non-existent market segment = loser. Devaluing Aprilia brand, which is still in its infancy in the US = double lose.

      • robotribe

        Absolutely. In America, when it comes to the decision of what bike to own, most seem to base their decision on two criteria:

        1. What’s the most baddass bike (as defined by performance and/or displacement or combination thereof) I can afford?

        2. How awesome and bitchin’ of a character are others going to see me as when I roll up on this badass machine?

        It’s not true for all, but I suspect it’s at least partially true for most of us.

  • Keith

    ” Imagine cruising to work on something that keeps you mostly dry when it rains, can hold its own in the fast lane, stores a week’s shopping dry and safe under the seat”
    Yes I can…it was called the Honda Pacific Coast!
    I’m with Jason on the idea that these bikes just can’t be called “scooters”
    Come on…800cc 75HP!!
    I don’t care how you massage the info…Scooter my a$$ !
    Nice bike though, and I suppose if calling it a “scooter” or “maxi scooter” gets more people out on bikes, it’s a good thing.
    However, it’s still a bike and should be subject to the same training and licencing as any other bike.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    If they billed this as a mini-Goldwing (that gave me a good chuckle) it would sell like hotcakes!

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1100]

    33 MPG isn’t anything to write home about, but if you factor in the amount of time moving vs the amount of time idling in traffic, in urban areas where lane splitting is allowed, a two wheeler filtering through traffic will spend less time and therefore expend less fuel than a car to reach a given destination.

  • Gene

    Not that I’d ever consider buying an Italian bike ever again, but that’s nice. I know a lot of friends that would go for the “mini-Goldwing” label, too.

  • Thom

    What more could you ask for ?

    All the Utility of a Maxi Scooter

    With all the cache of an Exotic Italian Brand

    Seems like the perfect combination for a sales success in the US as well as the EU .

    Cause of course ya know all those Sport Bikes/Pocket Rockets are getting so much daily use . Wink Wink .

    So maybe its about time we ( US ) start making our buying decisions for two wheeled transportation in our Brains instead of our crotches .

    Cause again all those Sport Bikes are just getting so much use .

    ( sarcasm intended for any that might miss the point that Sport Bikes in fact spend more time in their owners garages than they do on the road . At some point I’ll throw some numbers at you I observed in my multiple road trips this last summer . Hint . They don’t make Sport Bikes look too good and place a lot more credibility towards Cruisers and Dual Purpose M/C’s )

  • Gene

    FYI, that nifty neat-o keen CVT transmission from the Mana? Uses a belt between 2 variable pulleys.

    The belts wear out in about 10K miles. Replacing the belt includes recalibrating the shifting computer using an unobtainium tool. Not doing this means you can either burn out the pulley motor or eat the new belt in a couple hundred miles.

    Unobtainium meaning Piaggio won’t sell it to you, at any price, unless you’re a dealer. No exceptions, buckwheat. Found this out when I tried to buy a Mana, confirmed by several dealers and a couple Aprilia forums.

    A) My dealer is 120 miles & 3 hours away and I don’t have a truck to put the bike in, if the belt suddenly takes a shit.
    B) I do all work on my bikes anyway.
    C) Fuck ‘em.

    You do the math. At least Suzuki would sell me the computer tool you need to work on post ’08 bikes to do stuff like TB syncs.

  • Troy R

    I was ready to love it but….33mpg? OUCH. Definitely makes more since in areas with more ingrained scooter culture. But seriously, my ST1300 get better fuel economy.

  • Charlie

    A legitimate segment and growth opportunity, but may represent too much utility for the vain. I’m sure there are lot of people ready to plunk down $20k+ for the new, incredible 1199 – and use it just like a maxi scoot. However, I will readily admit that the Burgman is unrideably ugly. But this Aprilia looks ok – and that concept BMW looked like the future too. Anything on 2 wheels works for me (except the Burgman)

  • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

    i dont know about the scooter but i rode the rsv4 once and i just cant get it out of my head.. love the lights love the sound loved the power.

    • Gary Mastro

      Yeah, it only took me about 3 weeks to stop tingling after riding my buddy’s RSV4. Say yes to drugs.

  • Taco

    If it can stash more of your PBR’s and keep them cold like the Mana then I say WINNING. http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2011/08/the-850cc-v-twin-italian-beer-cooler/

  • http://bloodfalcons.blogspot.com motoguru

    This thing makes a lot more sense to me then say the Honda DN-01. Not to mention it looks 100x better. Also, if you’re gonna have an automatic type bike it may as well be comfy and offer a ton of storage. 33mpg is less than all 3 of my “real” bikes, so I think I’ll keep my 100mpg SR50 for commuting.