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Aprilia ETX 150 Adventure Bike

My sister recently took an interest in adventure riding to the point that she decided to buy a bike. I gave her a hand to select a bike that would best suit her. Initially I was looking at lightweight, low seat options like the DR200, XT250 or similar however Aprilia had just released their new ETX 150 with a brand new ticket price of $2950.

This bike intrigued me so I did some research. I found out the ETX 150 is not produced “by” Aprilia, it is produced by another company “for” Aprilia. The ETX 150 is also produced for Derbi reusing an existing engine and available under the Derbi branding. The Derbi ETX150 looks identical to the Aprilia ETX 150 aside from the Derbi or Aprilia tank stickers.

Aprilia would not put their name on an unfavourable product and since the bike comes with a full year warranty, my sister went ahead and bought one.

Photo 1 of Aprilia ETX 150 Adventure Bike

After a few trips it has so far proven to be a great little bike but of course the true test will be time. There are some really good points about the ETX 150, equally there are some not so good points.

Below are the good and bad points taken from the prospective of a rider that would use the bike for what it is advertised for… adventure riding. It would be unrealistic to expect the ETX 150 to perform off-road like a KTM500, however it would be realistic to expect that the ETX 150 should be able to handle gravel roads, general off-road terrain and small stream crossings as this is the type of terrain you would expect from typical adventure riding.

Good points of the Aprilia ETX 150

18 Litre Tank
This is probably one of the biggest drawcards for the ETX 150 with regards to adventure riding and the need for a long-range tank to go the distance. Bikes that are new to the market often have limited or no options available to customise them into an adventure bike. In this instance, Aprilia/Derbi have already ticked the box for a long-rage tank.

At 118 kg it feels relatively nimble to ride and of course easy enough to pick up should you have a not so glamorous moment when riding off-road.

Low Seat Height
The ETX 150 has a nice low seat height allowing even the shortest of people to plant two feet squarely on the ground.

This is one of the bikes most boasted features in many of the sales brochures/advertisement. It is an economical “run on the smell of an oily rag” engine. Many claims online say this bike can do 50km to a litre of fuel. At the bottom of this page is a link to a review which has the actual range this bike got in varied terrain.  

Long service interval
Of great benefit to adventure riding is the service interval and the ETX 150 has a generous one at 5000 km

Backup service
Being under the Aprilia umbrella the ETX 150 has reliable replacement part availability through the numerous Aprilia dealerships

Well, it's hard not to agree that this bike represents great bang for buck

Not so good points of the Aprilia ETX 150

The ETX 150 is fitted with basic twin shocks with limited adjustment options.

Photo 2 of Aprilia ETX 150 Adventure Bike

Drum brakes
Accompanying the era of the twin shocks is the outdated rear drum brake. Not the end of the world, but it has the typical drum brake dangling bits that can hang up on obstacles and be subject to damage.

Photo 3 of Aprilia ETX 150 Adventure Bike

Centre stand
The centre stand hangs very low and effects ground clearance. A simple fix would be to remove this to improve ground clearance plus lessen surplus weight.

Exposed Exhaust + Low Muffler
This is where it is easy to see this bike hasn't had a high R&D budget resulting in the ETX 150 being advertised as an “adventure bike” with probably one of the most exposed and low-lying headers and exhaust systems on the market. This limits ground clearance significantly. If it didn't have this low-lying exhaust system, the ground clearance would be great. There is no aftermarket bash plate available at the time of writing this. 

Photo 4 of Aprilia ETX 150 Adventure Bike
Derbi Terra Adventure 125
Photo 5 of Aprilia ETX 150 Adventure Bike
It is not as though the small capacity bikes aren't capable of having high exhausts, Derbi make a number of other low capacity engine adventure bikes with high exhausts that are routed very smartly. A lot of these Derbi bikes appear to be styled on the likes of the XTZ660 or similar and look quite sharp. It is surprising to see that the routing of the exhaust up to the muffler on the ETX 150 "adventure bike" ends up sitting so low and exposed.

Exposed Gear Shift Linkages
With the engine being a borrowed power plant and not specifically built for the ETX 150, linkages have been implemented to locate the gearshift lever in the right position. The resulting problem is that the linkages sit low in an exposed and vulnerable position able to be taken out by an obstacle such as a rock etc.

Photo 6 of Aprilia ETX 150 Adventure Bike

17” Wheels - Front and Rear
Naturally the 17” tyres assist with a nice low seat height however we all know how 17” front tyres go in off-road terrain in comparison to a typical 21”; especially over rocky terrain. This is most likely not a huge issue for those not venturing into highly technical training however.

Photo 7 of Aprilia ETX 150 Adventure Bike

Steering - Full lock
Unfortunately the ETX 150 has the most limited full lock I have ever seen on a bike created for adventure riding. Even just moving the bike around the garage is a pain in the butt, full lock provides such a wide turning circle it takes a number of passes to manoeuvre the bike around. It is possible to increase this slightly by modifying the steering stopper blocks however the already tight clearance of the tank and front shocks means it can only be improved so much.

Photo 8 of Aprilia ETX 150 Adventure Bike
This is the bike at full left lock

Final summary of the Aprilia ETX 150

Adventure riding can mean completely different things from rider to rider. My spin on adventure riding is heading out into remote areas and riding challenging terrain on a lightweight bike set up for adventure riding. The items raised in this review slightly lean towards that style of riding and may not be applicable to riders that don't venture onto anything more challenging than gravel roads. If however challenging off-road terrain is what you are looking to ride, then the likes of a DR200 or similar would be a more suitable option.

To be fair however, for those that are happy to do some modifications or are looking for something a little different to the all too common DR200, the ETX 150 still has potential as an off-road adventure bike (as does any bike within reason). Aside from the shallow steering lock, many of the shortfalls can be addressed to provide a workable solution for more adventurous off-road use. Primarily, whipping off the centre stand and installing a custom bash guard to protect the exposed exhaust and gear linkages would be the most critical areas to address.

All in all the Aprilia ETX 150 is proving itself to be a great little bike. One of the things I haven't mentioned so far is that it is actually quite a fun little bike to ride. Currently my sister is having a blast riding this bike and at the end of the day, this is probably the biggest deciding point of owning any bike!

For a 6,000 km review on the Aprilia ETX 150 click here:  Aprilia ETX 150 review


Author of this article: RMOTO