Is there a more mind-numbing word in the motorcycle world than “commuter”? Well TVS wants to change that because its latest 125 says it can meet budget sensitivities while still being fun and desirable.
Design and functionality
Meet the Raider 125 and the first thing you will think is that this is probably a 150cc or 160cc machine. The bike has a sense of presence you wouldn’t expect from the mostly sensitive 125s, and the design is pretty cool.
Its sharp looking LED headlamp with a striking set of daytime running lights is significantly more pleasing to the eye than the original headlamp from larger RTRs. Then there’s the large sculpted fuel tank that looks like it came from a bigger bike. TVS made it even more interesting in the form of small silver-colored tank fairings and an engine guard.
Split seats add to the sporty flavor, but the rear section is a bit simpler with a large, handy grab bar and a few neat-looking LED brake lights. There are four colors available including black, an interesting looking dark blue, and a nice shade of red.
The good news keeps coming when you are sitting on the bike too. There’s no boring riding position for commuters here and TVS has injected a touch of sportiness into the footrest position as well as the slight forward tilt of the handlebars. It’s still nice and comfortable, and the seat-to-footrest ratio isn’t as tight as on the bigger Apache RTRs. The split seats are well padded and there’s plenty of room for bigger pilots too. Smaller riders won’t feel left out either, thanks to the user-friendly saddle height of 780mm.
The company also thought about the design of things like the interesting-looking brake lever, generous under-seat storage, and the optional USB port mounted in front of the fuel filler cap. Perhaps the most upscale bit is the new negative LCD display which shows a lot of information including a gear position indicator, two trips, fuel economy, range and more. The bike even has an engine shutdown feature on the side, which is rare at this price point.
And that’s not all because TVS will even offer a top-of-the-range model with Bluetooth connectivity and TFT display. But this bike will be launched a few months later.
Indeed, the TVS Raider is easily one of the most feature-rich motorcycles in the segment. But there are a few rough spots like questionable-looking plastics in the switchgear and the loose-feeling fuel filler hatch. However, for the most part the quality levels and finish are quite good and the Raider feels more upscale than you would expect from a typical 125cc machine.
Engine and performance
This is TVS’s first 125cc motorcycle in about a decade and they’ve built a new engine for the job. On paper, the 124.8cc three-valve architecture is identical to the Ntorq’s engine, but the company says that’s where the similarities end. We are told that all internal components are new and therefore this engine develops two more hp than the standard Ntorq for a total of 11.38 hp at 7,500 rpm and 11.2 Nm at 6,000 rpm. min.
The engine also benefits from an intelligent heat management system where the oil is cooled via fins exposed behind the clutch cover. This eliminates the need for the expense and complexity of an external oil cooler.
The Raider is also the first TVS motorcycle with a built-in starter generator, which means it does that creepy quiet start without any typical starter sound. The ISG also allows a start-stop system where the engine stops automatically if it has been idling for a certain time. A quick throttle starts the engine again and the system seems to run smoothly, but it’s something we’ll have to test on public roads with heavy traffic.
Another segment first is that the Raider has two drive modes – Eco and Power. These modes do not change the power output, but the Eco mode brings the rev limiter to 8,000 rpm on the first four gears and to 7,000 rpm on the fifth gear, which limits the speed a bit. point. Eco also offers slightly smoother responses, and TVS says it will improve fuel efficiency by about three percent. The power mode, on the other hand, gives you sharper responses, but disables the Start-Stop system.
The value of the ride modes on an 11 hp motorcycle may count more on the brochure than the actual riding experience. But don’t let that take anything away from the engine itself, because this little thing is very impressive.
First of all, the levels of refinement are really impressive and the engine is very smooth no matter the speed. Actual performance is also pretty good and this engine has the most torque in the segment, while horsepower listed comes right after the 125cc Pulsar.
Acceleration is strong for the segment and comes with a distinctively energetic exhaust note one would expect from a TV. We saw an indicated top speed of 107 km / h in the long straight on the TVS test track – and even at this point the engine didn’t feel really stressed or unhappy.
The engine is also quite manoeuvrable, with peak power at 7,500rpm and you don’t mind being in fifth gear as low as 35km / h. The drivetrain is smooth and precise and that all means the bike should be quite pleasant to ride on the streets as well.
TVS says they have also focused on energy efficiency and say customers can expect an actual efficiency figure of 67 kpl. This is something we will be setting aside for comment until we can fully test the bike. But as it stands, this new engine is a pleasure to use.
Chassis, handling and handling
The Raider gets a whole new chassis that keeps things together. This single down tube frame uses a single shock rear suspension and the entire bike weighs 123kg. The slim 30mm telescopic fork and 5-step preload adjustable damper have been tuned for that typical soft, supple feel you’d expect from a TV and ride comfort should be pretty good.
While we will have to wait to confirm it, what is clear at the moment is that the Raider is a nice little manager. The bike is incredibly light and agile, to the point that you have to get used to how quickly it reacts to inputs.
Once you’ve done that it’s a lot of fun to be had and TVS Remora tires have a lot of grip when you need it. We never scratched the footpegs in the corners, but the rear suspension feels a bit soft and bouncy when you really push it to the limit. Increasing the preload helped, but for most customers in the segment this level of handling is definitely very engaging.
Braking is provided by a 240mm front disc and 130mm rear drum. The front brake has a nice firm feel to the lever, but performance is a bit lackluster – as you would expect from a bike in this segment. There is no ABS, but the combined braking system works well. However, you will be able to lock the rear brake if you squeeze the lever hard enough. TVS will also sell a base Raider variant with a front drum brake, but we didn’t get to experience this bike.
Prices start at Rs 77,500, ex-Delhi showroom, for the drum brake model which is excellent value for money. That puts the Raider on par with relatively young and sporty 125s like the Bajaj Pulsar 125 and Honda SP 125, not to mention making it Rs 20,000 cheaper than the Pulsar NS 125.
However, TVS will charge you Rs 8,000 more (Rs 85,469) for the disc brake model you see here. Seems like an unreasonable amount for just adding a front drive, as the company tells us that the drive model doesn’t come with any additional features. Maybe TVS will increase the price of the base model in a few months to narrow that gap.
But even so, the Raider offers plenty of game-changing styles and features, as well as a really fun character to ride, making it not only a compelling 125cc motorcycle, but also a legitimate alternative to the popular Yamaha FZ that produces. just 0.6 hp more.
We still have a lot to discover when we are riding on public roads, which is what it’s all about, but after an explosion of fun on the TVS test track, things look good. The Raider comes at a time when motorcycles in general are getting painfully expensive, purchasing powers have been curtailed, and just visiting a gas station leaves you angry and frustrated. A relatively affordable yet stylish, feature-packed, and really fun bike to ride might just be what the doctor ordered in these tough times.
TVS Raider 125 video test
TVS Raider 125 image gallery