On paper, the two bikes produce the same power - around 20bhp. But that’s where the similarities end. The TVS uses a perfect square engine layout which gives it both an easy and quick-revving nature but without having to compromise on mid-range torque. Additionally, the Ronin uses oil cooling, a four-valve head, a higher compression ratio, and it is significantly lighter.
The Hunter, at a little over 180kg, is nearly 20kg heavier. It also only uses a two-valve head and runs a long-stroke configuration. The latter means it would ideally favour low and mid-range torque over top-end performance. Not surprisingly, its peak torque figures are significantly more than the Ronin.
In the real world, the Ronin immediately strikes you as the more eager motorcycle. It sweeps through its rev range quicker and is happy revving to its redline too. It also seems to run shorter gear ratios for its five-speed gearbox, and that enhances the feel of the performance. These closely stacked ratios also mean that the Ronin doesn’t get bogged down even if it is in too high a gear. Anything over 3,000rpm and the TVS pulls cleanly.
The Hunter feels comparatively more relaxed in the way it delivers its performance. It feels like a bigger bike with a bigger engine with a lot in reserve, but it won’t be rushed into delivering it all. Now don't get us wrong, the Hunter is brisk but just not as alive as the Ronin. At least coming off a traffic light. It is fantastically tractable, though. And it will keep up with city traffic without a bother, overtake without much effort, and hit 100kmph without gasping.
It manages the twisties well, too, disguising its weight and feeling agile, willing, and involving. The only thing holding it back is the tyres. And the front brake, which lacks power and bite, fades too quickly.
The Ronin - its commuter seating notwithstanding - is light and agile too. It tips into corners without much effort, stays true to its line, and doesn't weave or wallow when leaned over, and with those Eurogrip tyres offering such a good feel, it instils confidence in the rider. But, a slightly more aggressive seating triangle would have made for a more involving experience.