TVS Raider 125 First Ride Review – Adding Fun In Functional – carandbike

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The 125 cc commuter motorcycle segment is already crowded. You would wonder if there is a need for another one in this space. Turns out, there is one. And TVS Motor Company is back here with an all-new offering. The brand’s newest 125 cc motorcycle is called the Raider, and instead of being another “me-too” product, this one is trendy and stylish, attracting a new and younger breed of customers. A frugal, efficient motorcycle that promises premium appeal, and good dynamics. And yes, the TVS Raider 125 is a global product made not just for India but SAARC and Latin American markets as well.

Also Read: TVS Raider 125 Launched In India

The headlamp looks quirky and may get a polarising opinion, but the rest of the design is quite likeable especially the bulging fuel tank

Design

At first glance, the TVS Raider 125 is an attractive motorcycle, more sporty than commuter, and looks more premium than perhaps any other 125 cc motorcycle on sale right now. The new headlamp remains the highlight with the in-your-face LED DRLs. Yes, it’s a little loud, a little over-the-top, but then the usual 125 cc customer may just like the full-LED unit. The overall design is quite likeable too.

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The 17-inch alloy wheels look nice, while the swanky LED taillights add a touch too

The 10 litre fuel tank looks macho, with the bold and sculpted lines, more in line with 150 cc motorcycles than a 125. And the tank shrouds finished in black add more heft and sharpness to the design. The rear gets a more commuter-like appearance. The single grab rail and plastic panels look functional. But you do get the swanky LED taillights and 17-inch alloy wheels with 80/100 section tyre at the front and a 100/90 section tyre at the rear. A fatter rear tyre would’ve definitely added to the sporty look in our opinion. But we understand this was chosen in favour of fuel efficiency. The kerb weight is on par with the competition at 123 kg.

Quality feels sturdy if not the best, while the paint finish is certainly good. The exhaust muffler has deep bass and a throaty note, which sets the Raider apart from its rivals. Something that will certainly appeal to consumers in this segment.

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The plastic quality feels sturdy while the overall fit and finish is appreciable

The design also becomes a strong selling point for the Raider 125, which distinguishes itself from every other 125 cc offering on sale. This is TVS’ second attempt in this space since the Phoenix 125 was launched nearly a decade ago. While that was a more direct rival to the top contenders, the Raider will carve a niche of its own instead.

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The LCD screen is loaded with information and TVS will offer a TFT screen on a higher variant with SmartXonnect Bluetooth

Tech & Ergonomics

The Raider 125 gets a negative LCD instrument console, rich in information. The small unit gets all the info nearly laid out including three trip meters, distance to empty indicator, Integrated Starter Generator indicator, and average speed recorder. The bike also gets a side-stand cut-off switch as a safety feature. And keeping up with the current trends, TVS will also offer the SmartXonnect Bluetooth functionality on a higher variant with a TFT screen. This, in turn, will bring a host of new features including call and SMS alert, navigation, Digi locker and more app-based features, further adding more value. Now, TVS says the customer who actually uses the Bluetooth feature actively is different, and possibly a minority in this segment, which is why the feature isn’t standard with the LCD unit.

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Innovative features like a USB charger, Eco & Power modes, under-seat storage, and contoured split seats give the Raider an edge

The riding posture is upright enough to keep you comfortable but sporty enough to keep you engaged with the riding experience. The low seat height of 780 mm makes it accessible for riders of all sizes, while the 180 mm ground clearance will ensure you do not scrape that underbelly. The 1326 mm long-wheelbase makes the saddle spacious enough for the rider and pillion. The split seats have also been designed to maximise comfort, especially when it comes to the width of the saddle.

So while the design is sporty and the seats comfortable, how is the performance like?

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Power delivery is progressive and the Raider builds speeds quickly without any notable vibrations from the engine

Engine Specifications & Performance

The TVS Raider 125 draws power from a newly-developed 124.8 cc air and oil-cooled engine. It’s a three-valve motor and makes about 11.2 bhp and 11.2 Nm of peak torque. The bike offers one of the best performance figures in the segment, and the engine is very tractable. Power delivery is progressive and spaced out evenly across the 5 gears. The engine feels comfortable in the fifth gear at 40 kmph just under 4000 rpm. Meanwhile, push it hard at 90 kmph at just about 7000 rpm and it still remain vibrations-free. Speeds climb quickly and steadily, and the overall performance feels quite refined. TVS claims a top speed of 99 kmph and we really got close to that figure at the TVS test track at the Hosur plant.

The brand is known for its innovations off-late and the Raider gets it too. The motorcycle is the first in the segment to get riding modes – Eco and Power. TVS says the power mode adds about 10 per cent more juice at the top end while improving the 0-60 kmph sprint by 0.4 seconds, over the standard version’s time of 5.9 seconds.

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The TVS Raider is agile and likes being thrown into corners. Even the suspension, although tuned towards comfort, is confidence-inspiring around a bend

From behind the handlebar though, we found performance identical in both modes with a minor change in throttle response. TVS also claims a fuel efficiency figure of 67 kmpl and it gets the integrated starter generator to help lower fuel consumption.

The chassis is flick-able and the bike remains agile when thrown into a corner. TVS has struck the right balance between a commuter and a sporty setup. And the bike gives you thrills without compromising on comfort. The clutch is light and gear shifts feel seamless. There’s a gear-shift indicator as well to help you maximise performance and fuel efficiency.

The bike uses telescopic forks at the front while a monoshock serves purpose at the rear, which is a big step-up over the twin shock absorbers that some of the rivals have to offer. The suspension isn’t too soft but it is inclined towards a plush ride quality. There’s plenty of travel to absorb undulations and did well on the track. But we will have to see how it performs on open roads.

Braking performance feels just about right from the front disc with a drum brake for support at the rear. The Raider stays well in control under heavy braking and the brake lever offers a sharp bite. It goes well with the sporty undertone on the motorcycle.

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Barring the Heo Glamour, the TVS Raider undercuts nearly every other 125 cc commuter motorcycle in the segment

Pricing & Rivals

The TVS Raider 125 is priced from ₹ 77,500 for the drum brake variant, with prices going up to ₹ 85,469 for the top-spec variant. And those are competitive prices. Only the Hero Glamour undercuts the Raider, while the new TVS offering is more affordable than the Bajaj Pulsar 125, Pulsar NS 125 and the Honda Shine SP 125. When you think about sheer value, the TVS Raider certainly has an edge over the competition with the sheer number of features that the motorcycle has to offer.

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The TVS Raider 125 comes across a well-packaged offering that will pleasantly surprise buyers with its performance

Verdict

TVS has made a late but productive entry to the 125 cc segment. Its second innings feels well thought out and the company manages to bring some novelty to the crowded segment. There has been the need for a motorcycle that caters specifically to young buyers at an attractive price point. And the Raider 125 ticks the right boxes on the checklist. It is in no doubt as practical as commuters get. But it’s the fun-to-ride quotient that will attract buyers, which makes it a nearly complete package.

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