TVS never really had a great time in the 125cc motorcycle segment. Speaking of which, the Victor GLX 125, Flame and the Phoenix 125 have been quite decent motorcycles but these didn’t manage to attract many customers. And which is why, despite the fact that the 125cc bike segment is a volume churning one, TVS has been absent from this space for the last four years. Now, taking learnings from its failures over the years, the company has now re-entered the said space with its latest offering – the Raider 125. We recently rode it at the company’s very own test track in Hosur to find out if this bike can change the fortunes of TVS in the 125cc motorcycle space.
If you look at the last few years, TVS has been making quite aspirational products in terms of design and the Raider 125 is no different. Upfront, the bike gets an all-LED headlamp with cross-styled LED DRLs and these should look good in the dark. The fuel tank of the bike is well chiselled and thanks to the sharp character lines and a dual-tone treatment, it looks quite appealing too. The Raider 125 gets a split step-up seat set up and the only other bikes to offer this in the segment are the Pulsar NS125 and Duke 125. Overall, the bike looks quite proportionate but you may feel that the rear tyre looks skinny against the rather decent proportions of this motorcycle.
The fit and finish and the attention to detail are great, something that anyone expects from a TVS motorcycle these days. The motorcycle is fitted with a 10-litre fuel tank and gets a small storage area under the seat along with a USB charging port at the front. Overall, the TVS Raider 125 gets a sporty design that may or may not be instantly likeable but when it grows on you, it grows really well!
Now, to one of the biggest highlights of this bike, the Raider 125 gets a reverse LCD display. Not only this is clearly a segment-first feature but in typical TVS fashion, the cluster shows information in plenty. In order to be precise, apart from the usual bits, the display gets a side stand indicator, distance to empty range, twin tripmeters, top and average speed recorder, gear shift indicator and also, the ride modes indication that I’ll come to in a bit. TVS says that it will soon launch a new variant of the Raider that will feature a 5-inch coloured TFT cluster with Smart Xonnect comprising Bluetooth connectivity, Voice Assist, and also, Turn-by-turn Navigation.
Powering the TVS Raider 125 is a 124.8cc, three-valve, single-cylinder engine that is good for developing 11 hp of power, 11.2 Nm of torque and gets a five-speed gearbox. This engine has been developed from ground up, which means that it is not a derivative of any of TVS’ existing or previously discontinued 125cc products. The Raider 125 also features the company IntelliGO tech, which is basically the silent engine start system. As the name suggests, once you start the bike, you won’t hear the electric starter sound and all you hear is just the sound of the engine. Moreover, the bike gets two ride modes namely Eco and Power and these can be toggled on the go with the help of a switch on the right.
Watch Video | TVS Raider 125 First Ride Review:
When engaged in Eco, the engine on the motorcycle gets turned off automatically after a few seconds during idling. This is quite beneficial in terms of fuel-saving and in order to start the engine again, all you need to do is just twist the throttle. While there is hardly any major difference in terms of the throttle response in both these modes, the rev limiter kicks in a bit early in the Eco mode resulting in a 10 percent decrease in the top speed.
Speaking of which, during our tests, we managed to achieve a top speed of around 94 kmph in the Eco mode and 104 kmph in the Power mode. The engine on this motorcycle feels super smooth and has a decent grunt in the lower revs. The low and mid-range are strong, thanks to which the bike has a sense of urgency as you start from the standstill. After 3,000 rpm is when the engine starts to come into its element and around 6,000 rpm is the sweet spot at which you can relentlessly do 80-85 kmph on this bike all day long.
The vibrations become evident only after this speed but these are not troublesome even when you are close to hitting the rev limiter. The gearshifts on this motorcycle are buttery smooth and this is certainly one of the best gearbox set ups that I have experienced on a 125cc motorcycle till date. TVS claims a fuel efficiency of 67 kmpl for this motorcycle. While this is an oil-cooled engine, you won’t see an external oil cooler and the reason for that is that TVS has employed a mechanism in which the oil is cooled via exposed fins behind the clutch cover. The company’s GTT (Glide Through Technology) has been given a miss on this motorcycle. There is no kick-starter as well and this would be a bit of a concern for many prospective buyers.
The TVS Raider 125 has a seat height of 780mm and hence, even shorter riders can ride it without much hassle. The comfortable yet slightly sporty riding position is all thanks to the handlebar that is set a bit lower and the footpegs are considerably rear set too. Coming to the ride and handling part, as we have ridden this motorcycle on the company’s test track, we can talk about the exact city mannerisms only once the bike comes to us for a proper review. But from what we have experienced, the TVS Raider 125 should feel very flickable in the city as it was super quick to directional changes. Add to that the weight of this motorcycle, which is on a quite lower side at 123 kg and hence, the Raider feels super manageable as well, especially at low speeds. The suspension is set on a softer side but the 5-step adjustable monoshock at the rear gives an option for a stiffer ride as well, which means more fun around corners whenever you are in a mood for that. The only limiting factor we felt is the grip from the tyres, which is just satisfactory and not great.
But as you are going to ride this bike for the maximum time in the city, we don’t think there is anything big to complain about on that front. The brakes do a decent job of bringing this bike to a halt and both the front and the rear offer good feedback and bite. Overall, the TVS Raider 125 feels like a great city bike and with that super smooth engine and spot-on riding dynamics, it has got all the essential ingredients to be your humble yet entertaining daily commuter.
With a starting price of Rs 77,500, the Raider 125 costs almost the same as the top-end disc variant of the Honda Shine. At this price, the Raider 125 comes across as a great value for money offering as it is smooth, comfortable, and more importantly, the most modern-looking and feature-loaded 125cc motorcycle that you can buy in India at present. So, if you are in the market on the lookout for something unique in the 125cc segment and that stands out from that large sea of simple and plain-looking commuters, then the TVS Raider 125 is one option that you should definitely check out. This model will go up against the likes of Hero Glamour, Bajaj Pulsar NS 125, and most importantly, the segment-leading Honda Shine and SP 125.
It has to be noted that the front disc brake variant of the TVS Raider costs around Rs 8,000 more and is priced at Rs 85,469. Both prices mentioned are ex-showroom, Delhi. This premium seems a bit unfair considering the fact that there is no inclusion of any extra features in this trim apart from just a front disc brake. That said, the drum variant would be our pick to go for at this moment. The Raider is TVS’ fourth attempt in the 125cc motorcycle segment and since the competition looks really tough, it would be interesting to see how this bike performs in the market.
All the best, TVS!
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