Overall, the Atlantic 500 is a good scooter for someone interested in an affordable used maxi-scooter.
Excellent Italian design
Small owner community
APRILIA ATLANTIC 500
The Atlantic 500 was first introduced to the USA for the 2001 model year. With its introduction, the Atlantic 500 beat Honda’s Silverwing and Suzuki’s Burgman to the title of North American’s first full size maxi scooter.
Unfortunately the Atlantic 500 did not enjoy a long run here like its Japanese competitors. The Atlantic 500 was only sold for 2001 – 2004, so the total number sold was quite low. Accordingly, the owner community for this scooter is much smaller. The Atlantic 500 continued to be sold overseas after its withdrawal from our shores. The Atlantic 500 was redesigned for 2005 for the European market as the Atlantic 500 Sprint, where it continues to be sold.
Design and Amenities
The Atlantic 500 is physically a large scooter (i.e. 63” wheelbase) but it’s actually fairly light for a maxi-scooter. It tips the scales at claimed 425 lbs and ends up a little over 450 lbs once you include fluids and the free top case. For comparison, Suzuki’s Burgman 650 and Honda’s Silverwing also have 63” wheelbases, but are much heavier at 610 lbs and 540 lbs respectively. Storage wise, the Atlantic 500 has enough space under the seat for two helmets (47 liters). There is also a large glovebox with a power outlet and a smaller compartment at the base of the handlebars. All of these compartments are centrally unlocked by the ignition switch, which is a nice touch.
Unless you count Honda’s Helix, the Atlantic 500 was the first maxi-scooter to be sold in North American with its 2001 debut. The Honda Silverwing was second (2002), while Suzuki’s well known Burgman 400 and 650 were both introduced for 2004. In typical Aprilia fashion, the Atlantic 500 differentiated itself through the use of advanced technology. The Atlantic 500 featured a neat and very capable on board computer that provides more information than you ever realized you need. This computer will tell you fuel consumption, time, maintenance due, battery charge level, average and max speeds, ambient temperature, engine diagnostics and more. The Atlantic 500 also bests the competition with the use of a steering damper and a 15” front wheel (versus 14”) to make the Atlantic 500 a confident handling bike for what it is. The front forks are also large diameter (40mm) and the rear shocks are dual adjustable gas shocks.
In terms of performance, the Atlantic 500 uses a Piaggio 460cc engine that shines in both fuel economy and power for its size. That’s more displacement than the Burgman 400, but quite a bit smaller than the motors found in the Silverwing and Burgman 650. The 460cc motor used in the Atlantic 500 makes 39hp which achieves great acceleration in a machine this light and a top speed near 100mph. It’s hard to argue that you need more power than that, although serious touring enthusiasts may disagree. This motor has also been used in Piaggio’s X9 and it has lived on in recent years inside the Scarabeo 500 scooter. This engine is a proven reliable performer that achieves about 50 mpg, while its larger competitors typically achieve closer to 40mph. That can be a big difference if you’re covering a lot of miles.
Overall, the Atlantic 500 is good scooter for someone interested in an affordable used maxi-scooter. The asking price back in 2004 was $6499 which is about what you’d expect. That’s in line with the offerings from the Japanese manufacturers which is impressive when you consider that Aprilia is a smaller Italian make. Used Atlantic 500’s are often sold for quite reasonable prices and they are long lived scooters, so if you can find one and you’re looking for something a bit different then pull the trigger. The owner community is pretty small for this scooter as it was only sold for four years and the maxi scene was tiny back then, but this scooter is well supported by Aprilia and the engine has lived on to present day so parts are easy to come by.