Why are you comparing a 125 to a 150?
Convenience, practicality, low running costs and fun come standard with the New Suzuki Access 125. When we rode it, we knew it had the potential to take the fight to the Honda Activa 125. It was versatile, frugal, surprisingly quick off the line and a decent amount of fun, too. It met most expectations one would have from a scooter of this kind.
But then comes the SR 150, an unconventional offering that rips the expectations sheet to shreds and invites the Suzuki to a fistfight. It’s a different kind of scoot: it wants to go fast and it makes no bones about its intentions. It’s a displacement mismatch, yes, but we know they’re both ruddy good, and we need to know which is better.
All right. What are they strutting?
The new Access 125 is ‘New’, because the original is still around. The new one was always going to be evolution over revolution, and that’s what this is. It looks different – toeing the neo-retro border but not quite crossing over. Chrome has been used generously, but not tastelessly. It’s a safe, plain design, and it looks fine. That said it’s no head-turner.
The SR’s minimal bodywork is peppered with cuts and slashes. It’s all sharp beak and tapered tail. You can only have one in black or white, but that’s okay, for it grabs attention regardless. This thing looks small and racy, which isn’t something you can say about any of its peers. The large 14-inch front wheel only serves to add to its alien status.
How do they go?
This one is 10kg lighter than the original, and even with the same amount of power as before, it’s quite pacey. Weaving through serpentine city traffic is effortless, there’s plenty of torque on tap and the pliant suspension soaks up protruding manhole covers and sharp road joints. Riding the Access is almost therapeutic. Past 70kph, you can feel the front lighten a touch, moving around a little more than you’d like it to.
Here, there’s a lot more feel being delivered to your palms. You feel every pothole and lumpy surface you hit, but it’ll cruise peacefully at 80kph all day, and it’ll also go on to breach the 100kph mark. Not for a moment does it feel even mildly jittery doing a ton, the 14-inch front wheel aiding it to a great extent. It does those speeds even with a pillion on board, and the large front disc helps shed speed quickly.
What about practicality?
You’ll notice first up that the Access is a full-size scoot. It’s longer than the original (with a longer wheelbase), has a seat big enough to accommodate a pillion comfortably and has a clean, detailed – if a bit bland – instrument cluster. There’s a small pocket for odds and ends on the inside of the apron, two bag hooks, and the 21.8-litre under seat storage space can gobble up a full-face helmet. We checked. Twice.
In contrast, the Aprilia feels decidedly small. It has a rather compact foot board (the foot board is itself a little slippery), the dual-tone seat is only just big enough for two and the speedo and fuel indicator gauges look dated and out of place. Plus, space inside the underseat bin is also tight, and it’ll only take a half-face helmet at best. Switchgear quality is more or less the same on both – par for the course.
So, which one takes the cake?
There’s nothing wrong in wanting the Access. For all intents and purposes, the Access is a more complete being. It has more features than the SR, is more comfortable, more practical, is decent fun for a scooter and still returns 45kpl. It does everything we’ve come to expect from a scooter, and does it really well.
The SR does more than we’ve come to expect from a scooter. It doesn’t pretend to be a scoot for everybody. Some things about it are painful, but the pain is part of living with the SR. If you had an Access and an SR in your parking lot and you had to choose one for the grocery run, you’d take the SR and wear the bag of groceries around your neck.