Commuter motorcycles have been an integral part of India's transportation solution. Delivery boys, sales executives and many others bank on a frugal yet nimble machine. Add to this, the requirement of small dimensions that helps weaving through traffic. In this game of commuter motorcycles, TVS had introduced the Victor in 2001, which was subsequently discontinued in 2007. In its second proper iteration, we find out what is good and what could have been better
A commuter motorcycle is generally supposed to have a practical and functional design and the TVS Victor too comes across as a pleasant design with the right balance of curves in its elements. The overall design is actually quite refreshing for someone who wants a decent looking motorcycle on a tight budget. The trapezoidal headlamp with pilot lamps, a large clear lens tail lamp, slanted rear cowl and covers along, blackened out engine, exhaust and a bit of chrome on the muffler add a premium feel.
The sculpted fuel tank accommodates the knees, even for a person with a large frame fairly well. The cost-cutting aspect, as expected takes over and there are some plastic bits, which could've had a better finish quality although fit is impressive. That said, it is one of the better looking 110 cc motorcycles in the market right now.
One noteworthy mention is the absence of an engine kill switch, which is replaced by a hazard warning switch. Although, it is used for emergencies across the globe, most road travellers in the country use it for better visibility of oneself. That is one more plus in the practicality department.
Engine and Transmission
Powering the commuter motorcycle is a 110 cc petrol motor which produces a generous 9.59 hp of power and 9.40 Nm of torque. Numbers aside, the power is delivered quickly at lower revs and starts tapering after the mid-range of about 5,500 rpm. This also helps less gear changes as the Victor can be slotted in fourth gear after 25 kmph. Vibrations also creep in when the motor crosses 7,500 rpm and is at about 75 kmph. Most people riding the motorcycle would be rarely reaching speeds of 97 kmph in the top-most cog and most of their time would be spent in the 50 kmph to 60 kmph band.
The transmission is where my grouse lies! The gear shift is notchy and downshifts or upshifts happened with an unpleasant mechanical clunk. Sometimes, slotting a gear feels too soft while in other situations a quick downshift would be too hard. Adding to this is the small eight litre fuel tank which might disappoint some buyers who would prefer less fuel stops. Through my commute from Gurgaon to Noida and back, the commuter motorcycle lost just two bars in the digital fuel gauge after covering 300 kms. Rated fuel efficiency of the Victor is 75 kmpl and our test vehicle delivered an impressive 69 kmpl. Overall, my expectation out of a frugal commuter motorcycle was met.
Ride and Handling
TVS has been known to tune the suspension setup in a way where it has a good balance for bad or rural roads. It does have a slight recoil while riding on paved terrain, but if your weight is like mine at 97 kgs, you would not have to worry about any bumps on the road. The extra rider weight adds to the comfort! The suspension setup while soaking up bumps keeps the motorcycle composed over corners without any loss in confidence and the Remora tyres at both ends have ample grip to keep the motorcycle composed.
Speaking of grip and tyres, the TVS Victor comes with an optional 240 mm disc brake that has a good bite and along with the 130 mm drum brake brings the commuter motorcycle to a stop fairly quickly. Stopping it from 60 kmph to a halt wasn't unnerving and the motorcycle stopped in a reasonable 65 metres.
Clearly, the TVS Victor in its reincarnation has a number of modern touches that justify the price tag of Rs 50, 175 for the drum brake version and Rs 52,715 for the front disc brake variant, both ex-showroom Delhi, however, some aspects could have been better. The feel of the plastic quality and smooth gear changes could have been better. Besides this, the motorcycle's positives such as the engine refinement, comfortable riding posture and fuel-efficiency overshadow the negatives