TVS Raider 125 Review: Another Groundbreaking Product From TVS?
Positioned as a 125cc sports commuter motorcycle, the Raider marks the arrival of TVS in the 125cc segment after a long, long time. We got to ride the Raider at TVS’ testing facility and our findings were quite interesting.
TVS does know how to surprise us, Indian motorcyclists. When TVS bombarded us with teasers of its upcoming motorcycle, it led to a series of speculations. Some people expected the resurrection of the Fiero moniker but most of us knew that it is going to be something else. Fast forward to today and TVS has launched the Raider. Positioned as a 125cc sports commuter motorcycle, the Raider marks the arrival of TVS in the 125cc segment after a long, long time. We got to ride the Raider at TVS’ testing facility and our findings were quite interesting.
The thought process
During the launch event, TVS especially emphasized the fact that it is targeted at Gen Z. It is developed from the ground up to be a revolutionary and unique product.
TVS realized that the market needs a 125cc commuter that is sporty and tech-laden in its intent and this is the reason why the company has spent big bucks to develop the Raider. It strays away from the regular 125cc commuters that we have in the market today. It has got bucket-loads of style, first-in-segment features and cycle parts that are neatly put together.
Distinctive is the word that can be used to describe Raider’s styling in just one word. Starting from the front, it gets unique bug-eye shaped LED headlamps flanked by LED DRLs. Some people might like the way the whole setup looks while some might not.
The Raider has been designed as a naked streetfighter and that can be seen in its design approach as well. It gets a muscular fuel tank with deep knee recesses, a split seat setup, body-coloured belly pan and four colours to choose from: Yellow, Black, Red and Blue. The overall build quality is really top notch according to the segment standards.
Instrument cluster and notable features
TVS has loaded the Raider with many first-in-segment features as mentioned above and that includes the negative LCD instrument cluster as well. Apart from looking good, it shows a plethora of information including usual bits like tachometer, speedometer, odometer, two trip meters, fuel gauge.
It also gets additional bits that are really appreciable including gear indicator, distance to empty and average fuel efficiency. TVS is also going to offer an optional 5-inch TFT cluster that looks gorgeous, at a later date. With the inclusion of this TFT cluster, you will also get voice assist tech and Bluetooth connectivity. The switchgear’s quality is again, worth appreciating but it does miss out on an engine kill switch. If you want to charge your smartphone on the go, TVS has also included a USB charger in the mix.
Engine and performance
Raider’s powertrain too has been developed from the ground up and it is a 124.8cc 3-valve unit with patented oil-cooling technology. While it doesn’t get a full-blown oil-cooled mechanism, it is a derivation of the same tech and helps the engine cool down and perform in a desired manner over a long period of time. The engine puts down 11.4ps @7500 rpm and 11.2Nm @ 6000 rpm on the ground. While the maximum power output isn’t the best in the segment, the torque output is the highest! It also benefits from a high-capacity air filter that lets the fuel-injected engine breathe a little better. The engine comes mated to a 5-speed gearbox that offers slick gearshifts. We are going to stick our neck out and say that this transmission is one of the best in its segment.
Disposing of more numbers now, TVS claims that the Raider can achieve a top speed of 99 km/h. You can expect to see up to 105-106km/h displayed on the speedometer. The engine is quite tractable too and can chug around at 28km/h in the 5th gear. Talking about the engine’s character, it starts pulling from 2-2,500 rpm and one can experience a strong pull 5,000 rpm onwards. The vibrations are almost absent as TVS has managed to craft an appreciable mill. Vibrations are virtually absent till 8,000 rpm and you can feel the vibes creeping in as you start reaching its 9,000 rpm redline.
Can you tour on the Raider?
Yes, absolutely! The Raider runs at 90 km/h in its top gear at 7,000 rpm. So yes, you can hold speeds up to 85 km/h. What supports its touring credentials is the comfortable seat. It might look a bit sportier as compared to its rivals but it is quite comfortable. Even the pillion seat is easily approachable and is quite comfy, despite being a split setup.
One of the most talked-about features of the Raider has to be its two ride modes: Eco and Power. The modes can be toggled through a switch neatly placed on the right side of the handlebar. The power mode offers sprightly acceleration while the eco mode is more biased towards being frugal. The difference in acceleration and engine character is quite noticeable when you switch modes.
TVS has positioned the Raider as a ‘sports commuter’ and that is quite evident when it comes to the rider triangle. The flat, wide handlebar in tandem with the slightly rear-seat footpegs offers a sportier riding stance as compared to the upright commuters that flock our streets. Its low seat height of 780mm makes it easier to helm the motorcycle, even for shorter riders. Its ground clearance is set at 180mm which will see you gliding over potholes and speed-breakers without getting worried about the underpinnings scraping the tarmac.
Ride and handling
The suspension setup is slightly more biased towards being comfortable as opposed to being out and out sporty. The front gets conventional telescopic forks while the rear gets a gas-charged, 5-step adjustable monoshock. The suspension setup is the most balanced in its class when it comes to the compromise between ride quality and dynamic ability. The Raider soaks up all the bumps our infamous roads throw at it and that too, with finesse.
The Raider has the longest wheelbase in its class and that aids its riding dynamics by a mile. It remains quite stable even if you push it to its limits. If you want to extract the most out of its chassis to have a good time banking it in sweeping corners, we suggest that you dial up the monoshock suspension to its stiffest setting. The feedback from the front end is quite pronounced and is better than almost all the motorcycles in its segment and below. It is also one of the lighter motorcycles in its class as its weight stands at 123kg. The Rimora compound tyres deserve a special mention here as they assisted the chassis and made the Raider shine around bends.
TVS has stated that the Raider will return 67 km/l in ideal riding conditions. Despite pushing it hard all day long, its fuel efficiency as displayed by the instrument cluster didn’t drop below 40 km/l on one single occasion. And we are talking about riding it at its full chatter, all the time because we rode it around TVS’ testing facility. In real-world conditions, we can expect the Raider to return around 50-60 km/l. Couple that with its 10-litre fuel tank and you have a full-tank range of about 600 kilometers and that isn’t bad at all!
Priced at INR 77,500 ex-showroom, the TVS Raider is a breakthrough product in its class. While its styling is a bit debatable, TVS has actually nailed all the other aspects of this ‘little devil’ as they like to call it. It is a unique proposition and that actually works in its favour. We can expect Gen Z to flock to TVS dealerships if they are on the lookout for a 125cc commuter motorcycle. Is it safe to say that it is the best motorcycle in its class? Absolutely yes and by quite a margin!