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2008 Aprilia SportCity Scooter Review

Thursday, September 24, 2009
Sporty and aggressive  youd never guess the SportCity was also affordable!
Sporty and aggressive, you'd never guess the SportCity was also affordable!
What was Aprilia thinking when they came up with the SportCity 250? I'm willing to take a guess; it was probably something like "how can we add some sex appeal to our current, rather stuffy line-up?" Go ahead, go to their site and look at what they've got. Besides the punchy SR50 and the ornately chromed Mojito they've got the Scarabeo series weighing in at 100, 200 and 500cc's. Given a one-word description, all three Scarabeos can be summed up as "Business". They all beg the rider to "sit up with a proper posture", they all have rather calm "face" about them with their single headlight and badged "chest". They come in a variety of drab colors, all except for that trouble making Red one. If you were looking for a FUN scooter, you'd likely look right past a large portion of the Aprilia line-up, that is until you saw the SportCity 250.

Still quite business from a color and seating position standpoint, the SportCity's design is anything but boring as a matter of fact I would say it's closer to breathtaking! The front end is aggressive, giving oncoming traffic a stern look as it comes around the bend. The 15-inch wheels are big and substantial, giving the rider a high degree of confidence in the turns and on less than perfect terrain. I took her from San Pedro, California to Point Dume and back hitting the curvy canyon roads along the way.

The large wheels allowed the SportCity to grab hold of Mulholland’s curves with a high degree of assuredness; hugging each curve with confidence and aggression usually reserved for larger, sportier motorcycles. The SportCity had no issues keeping up with the pack of Guzzis on the turns, though the straightaways were a different story. What did you expect from a petrol-tottling 250cc engine? It couldn’t possibly keep up with the 1100ccs of raw power those bikes produce. Even still I managed to touch 80 mph, allowing me to keep them in my sights until the next roadside police car cooled their jets for a bit.

GO!

The SportCity 250 is powered by a fuel injected 244cc engine capable of producing 22.5 hp.
The SportCity 250 is powered by a fuel injected 244cc engine capable of producing 22.5 hp.
Now back to that engine. The SportCity is driven by a 22.5 hp, electronic fuel injected, 244.29cc, horizontal single cylinder, 4-stroke, forced liquid-cooled, 4-valve head with overhead camshaft *gasp*. What does that mean? It means that the SportCity has no problem carrying my 200-lb body from 0 to 50 mph in under 10 seconds and up to 60 mph in 14, beating out the 21.7 hp 250cc Vespa GTV I tested by nearly 2 seconds. In places like California where they allow lane-filtering (filtering forward in slow traffic especially at traffic lights where 2-wheelers have an off-the-line acceleration advantage), the SportCity really shows its colors; leaving 4 passenger cars in the proverbial dust. The SportCity 250 is rated with a top speed of 79.5, though mine registered 80 downhill, just enough power for short jaunts on most non-life-threatening highways... yes, even California's 405. Best of all, in these times when $4-5/gal gas is still scarred into the memory banks, is the 61 mpg fuel efficiency; that and a 2.7-gallon tank capacity means more than 160 miles per fill up!

STOP!

The SportCitys dual front discs will stop you in your tracks.
The SportCity's dual front discs will stop you in your tracks.
Stopping power is provided courtesy of Aprilia's triple disc braking system. At times it felt a bit touchy, but at no time did it feel insufficient. In the front she's got Twin 260mm stainless steel discs under the grip of twin piston floating calipers and a 220mm stainless steel disc in the back with a single piston caliper. I'm certain I could literally "Stop on a dime" with enough practice.

Storage

One of the benefits of owning a scooter is storage space. On a standard motorcycle you've got engine under your seat, but on a scooter like the SportCity you've got room to keep your full-face helmet safe and sound as well as whatever else you can stuff inside your helmet. I actually kept my video and still camera there on my ride. If that's not enough there's also a locking storage compartment built into the leg shield to give you a place to keep your papers, glasses and gps safe as well as a place to stow and even charge your cell phone. Those Italians think of everything. Also included above the leg shield storage is a standard grocery bag hook found on most every proper scooter. If you need even more storage, you can strap your briefcase onto the luggage rack or add a top case from Aprilia. All that space makes the SportCity a great commuter scooter.

Ergonomics

Clean and easy to read  I loved the gauges.
Clean and easy to read, I loved the gauges.
The SportCity 250 is one of the lightest scooters in its class with a very narrow profile making her very easy to maneuver. The 32-inch seat height makes for good visibility but also makes it hard for anyone less than 5'7" to sit flat footed (both feet flat on the pavement). The short windscreen does a good job of keeping the wind off of your chest, but you'll want to wear a full face helmet if you don't want the wind in your face. The gauges are clean, simple and easy to read. The speedometer is analog with a prevalent reading in MPH, as it should be for the US market. The digital display shows an odometer, trip odometer for two different measurements, a clock (I love scooters with clocks), a tachometer, fuel gauge, engine temperature and a host of other important warnings. The SportCity's floorboard has some pluses and minuses. It is completely flat which is good for times when you need to carry something in between your legs, like a case of beverages but it is also rather narrow which limits the rider's ability to vary their foot position on long journeys. Try sitting at your desk for more than two hours without shifting your feet around and you'll understand how important it is to have a large, open floorboard area.
Steve Guzman on the SportCity  for scale
Steve Guzman on the SportCity
(for scale)


Conclusion

There are only a handful of scooter brands whose name alone inspires confidence and Aprilia is one of them. The SportCity 250 is superbly stylish with a quality fit and finish you would expect from the Italians. She performs well, handles well, burns clean and economically. It's really hard to find fault in this little gem and to make her even more irresistible the SportCity 250 has an MSRP of just $4599, that's less than any other Japanese or Italian 250cc scooter. I don't know how they did it, but I'm not mad at 'em. The 2009 edition doesn’t seem to fair as well in the fit and finish department which is a disappointment considering she’s a hundred dollars more.
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Comments
llazy1   May 5, 2012 07:42 PM
I wish you had elaborated on the 2009 fit and finish issue. I rode one today. I loved it's handling but the aggressive face you find so attractive I find butt-ugly and think it looks like an alien. The other major drawback is that it doesn't come in red. Red can pretty-up ugly but ugly and wrong color is just too much to stomach. I did enjoy it's handling- it was very nice in city- neighborhood tight turns. Loved the styling - from the handlebars back. The fact that the floorboards are sculpted inward more is a bonus for short folks. I don't get why it's so hard to make a lower seat height on a 200-250 cc bike.. one would think they are aimed at smaller or older folks.
milwaukee mike -WTF stacymcmah@onyahoo.com  September 26, 2009 03:54 PM
Well OK. So you do admit that "only gay men ride scooters". But could you please explain your statment;"not getting a numb left hand in traffic"? And your comment; "It can only be the limp wrist factor".

It's not that only gay men ride scooters, there are gay and straight women riding them also. Are you comparing yourself to them?
bikerrandy -'08 Aprilia SportCity scooter  September 25, 2009 08:15 PM
Milwaukee mike, you're starting to get on my nerves. I ride my wife's 250 MP3 more than she does because it's great for local shopping and gets 60-70 mpg on regular. I have 7 rigs. 3 of them are scooters and 4 of them are real motorcycles, none of which are cruisers. Any time you want to compare who can ride thru corners faster, or ride cross country on 500-650 mile days repeatedly(trouble free), let me know. What you or anyone else thinks of me riding on any of our rigs thinks, I could care less.
desmolicious -I stand corrected  September 25, 2009 01:38 PM
and will eat humble pie. Aprilia does offer a 2009 model.
But this still is an old test from another source!
;P
desmolicious -another lame old review  September 25, 2009 09:56 AM
Here's a clue. Aprilia does not offer this bike anymore!!!
dgover -Aprilia 250  September 25, 2009 07:45 AM
Ok so my wife is that 'certain element of our society'. But my wife loves her new 2009 SportCity 250. She drives it everywhere including following me (on my new 2008 CBR1000rr) on 200 mile trips through scenic Vermont mountain roads. Always better on your own 2-wheels rather than being on the back on my 2-wheels or worse yet - on 4-wheels.
WTF -stacymcmah@onyahoo.com  September 25, 2009 07:31 AM
You're so clever, Mike. Yes, only gay men ride scooters. Nobody else cares about gas mileage or not getting a numb left hand in traffic. It can only be the limp wrist factor...
milwaukee mike -aprilla sissy scoot  September 24, 2009 07:16 PM
Oh so Cute.
Yep probably the "to die for" scooter for a certain element of our society.