Aprilia Atlantic 500

   

Make Model.

Aprilia Atlantic 500

Year

2002 - 06

Engine

Four stroke, single cylinder, SOHC

Capacity

460 cc  / 28.1 in
Bore x Stroke 92 x 69 mm
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Cooling System Liquid cooled

Induction

Electronic fuel injection

Starting

Electric

Max Power

27.5 kW / 37.4 hp @ 6750 rpm

Max Torque

42 Nm / 4.3 kgf-m / 31.0 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm

Transmission 

Automatic with continuous variator 

Final Drive

V-belt
Frame High-strength tubular steel frame with superimposed closed double cradle

Front Suspension

Hydraulic fork, ō35 mm

Front Wheel Travel

105 mm / 4.1 in

Rear Suspension

Engine acting as swingarm. Two gas filled shock absorbers with 5 position spring preload adjustment.

Rear Wheel Travel

90 mm / 3.5 in

Front Brakes

2 x ō260 mm disc, 3 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single ō220 mm disc, 2 piston caliper

Wheels

Aluminium alloy, 5 spoke

Front Tyre

120/70 -14

Rear Tyre

140/60 -14

Dimensions

Length: 2200 mm / 86.6 in

Width:     815 mm / 32.1 in

Wheelbase 1549 mm / 61.0 in
Seat height 770 mm / 30.3 in

Dry Weight

199 kg / 439 lbs

Fuel Capacity

15 L / 4.0 US gal

Average Fuel Consumption

4.4 L/100 km / 22.5 km/l / 53 mpg

Tank Range

282 km / 175 miles

Standing ľ mile

16 sec

Top Speed

161 km/h / 100 mph

Two main qualities give the Aprilia Atlantic an advantage over its rivals - its stable and predictable handling, and its relatively low price.

The surefootedness it has round corners is down primarily to its large, by scooter standards anyway, front wheel. The fifteen-inch, alloy five-spoker gives the Atlantic a more conventional motorcycle feel. Itís a virtue which immediately became apparent just pootling around the gravel car park at the launch venueís hotel. And instead of feeling like the front end would instantly tuck under if it lost grip, as most scooters do, the Aprilia gave the impression it would slide much more gracefully and give you a chance to save it. That untypical, but welcome margin for error made itself obvious later, out on some very slippery roads. It was a feature that I and my skin were more than thankful for.

But the real plus point of the Atlantic is its price. At £4,720 on the road, the Aprilia is significantly cheaper than its Japanese rivals, the Yamaha T-max 500 and Honda Silver Wing 600. Both cost in excess of £6,000. Price is always an important consideration when buying any two-wheeler and the Atlantic has a significant head start with buyers.

The ride round some very demanding roads on Sicily also proved that not only is it cheaper to buy, but offers just as much value for money as its competition.

Itís a good looker, with similar lines and shapes to its sports-touring big brother, the Futura. It also has plenty of features to make it a practical, go anywhere, anytime, machine.

Thereís plenty of protection from the fairing and screen. Though in the chilly weather that greeted us at the start of the test, the plastic didnít prove to be quite as good at fending off the elements as the Honda Silver Wing.

But the plush seat, and very relaxed upright riding position make it suitable for any length of journey, and more than a match for any other super-scoot. Though itís worth noting you canít adopt the more reclined feet-forward stance as you can on most others. And thatís simply because thereís simply not enough room on the footboards to stretch your legs. In fairness, though that might be a bit unusual, I never found it a problem.

Thereís little to criticise the engine for either. The 460cc single cylinder fuel-injected motor, supplied by Piaggio, is the same one thatís fitted to the rival firmís ill-fated X9 (recalled due to handling problems), with an Aprilia-spec airbox, exhaust and fuel-injection mapping.

Itís a cracking engine which runs very smoothly, has bags of punch, and zips from a standstill at a right old rate. Thereís very little lag when you twist the throttle, as the centrifugal clutch bites promptly and smoothly - a feature thatís particularly important when youíre manoeuvring at very slow speeds. In fact, feet-up U-turns feel easier and more composed on the Atlantic than they do on many other scoots. Thereís no rolling on this ship, despite the Aprilia looking a tad big and bulky.

That same sense of poise possesses the Atlantic, even when going a bit faster, thanks mainly to the stiff, steel-tubed trellis frame, long wheelbase, and ( shock horror ) a steering damper, keeping things nicely on track - even when the Atlanticís flat out.

Keep the throttle pinned and youíre soon up to a very decent pace. Cruising at around 85mph is easily possible. Tuck in a bit youíll see a maximum of around 100mph registered on the analogue speedo.

The rest of the instrumentation is very comprehensive. Thereís a fuel gauge and rev counter, two trip meters, and a digital readout which records average and highest speeds, ambient temperature, fuel consumption, battery charging rate, and a Ďservice dueí indicator. Thereís also a clock, and even a lap timer!

Fuel consumption ranges from 34mpg if youíre caning it, to an impressive 72mpg when youíre cruising along at just 60mph. And with a bigger than normal tank size of 16 liters , the Atlanticís fuel range is between 120-250 miles. Thatís a hell of a lot longer than any of the other super-scoots, and a very welcome feature.

Being able to ride the Atlantic over longer distances means youíll inevitably be tempted to sample it on some backroads like I did. And after the fun I had on it around Sicilyís twists and turns, Iíd recommend that you give one a go too if ever you get the chance.
Stable handling with great feel for what the scootís actually doing into and round corners soon encourages a bit of lunacy. Itís a big bus by scooter standards, but chucking it about is still pretty easy. The linked brakes are OK, and will haul the Aprilia up sharpish, but you must give the levers a big squeeze to be sure of stopping on time. Apriliaís technical men say theyíre going to fit different pads for sharper initial bite on the production models. That should be all thatís needed for them be fully up for the job. And while theyíre at it, they should also fit the parking brake, which theyíre considering. My bike fell over twice when I parked it on an incline, as thereís nothing to hold it in position.

No such attention is needed to the suspension. Itís stiff enough to allow sporty riding, and the rear shocks in particular do a very credible job as they have to control the very heavy unsprung weight of the engine, which in true scooter fashion forms the swingarm. The impressive control the forks and shocks give is another reason why the Atlantic can feel so settled thrashing along Ďproperí roads. But it has to be said, if a really smooth ride is crucial, you wonít appreciate the firm suspension settings so much.

Creatures of comfort will be thankful for the generous pillion carrying capacity, complete with large grab handles. Theyíll also like the underseat luggage space, which is big enough for a full face helmet after a bit of juggling. An aftermarket top box is available if you need more space. Up front thereís a slim glove compartment, big enough for stuff like documents and a packet of Marlboros.

More room would be needed here to praise the Atlantic fully. But, and itís a fairly big but, thereís still a bit of doubt about the scooterís sales chances in the UK. The Atlantic is a great scooter. But the fact that itís a scooter and not a Ďreal bikeí will put some off. And though the price is a lot lower than the opposition, itíll still be considered a bit too steep by most riders.

On the other hand though, depending on its success, even if that turns out to be only in Europe, I can still see even bigger, automatic scoots coming to us in the very near future. Iíd predict that happening within just two or so years. A new side to biking is about to unfurl. How big it gets over here is down to us Brit bikers recognising its benefits. Ride an Atlantic and youíll see the light.

Source insidebikes.com