TVS Phoenix

24 March 2014, 04:38 PM Pratheek Kunder



The commuter motorcycle segment in India is vast and with many sub-segments doing the rounds, it becomes difficult for the customer to pick one. These set of buyers always look for value for money  rather than a product that will satisfy only some of their requirements. But there is also set of consumers who are ready to pay a slightly premium amount; provided they get a good buy. This is how the premium commuter segment was born and with bikes like the Honda Stunner and Bajaj Discover 125ST already doing a good job, there was immense space for other Indian manufacturers to join in. TVS saw this opportunity and developed a bike from scratch, called the Phoenix and marketed it as a bike with ‘car-like features’. Let’s find out if the Phoenix lives up to our expectations. 

Looks & Styling


As a premium 125cc commuter bike, the overall design plays a very important factor for customers to walk into the showrooms.  TVS has done a good job in this area. But let me talk about the most obvious attribute of the Phoenix that has resulted in the bike not only looking good but also makes it stand out, thanks to the decals or the dual tone graphics. TVS has done a very good job in applying these decals that start from the front fender, flow on the fuel tank, side panel and end at the tail section. The large ‘125’ text on the fuel tank is very much visible from far but the colour combination used makes it quite unique. 


Last known Ex-showroom price

6 Used TVS Phoenix bikesstarting at 20,000

The bike sports a bikini fairing that houses a headlight which performs quite impressively at night and it also gets LED pilot lamps like the Apache RTR 180. TVS has equipped the LED tail light with a petal design which is a not- so-important characteristic but we appreciate the company’s effort in taking care of minute detailing. The side and the rear-end panels look very similar to the Star City but the quality is much better. It gets a 12-litre conventional fuel tank but the graphics on it makes it look more than conventional. The blacked out theme of the lower end of the bike that consists of alloy wheels, engine cover and the exhaust gives it a very sporty look. The overall paint quality of the Phoenix I tested was excellent but be ready to shell out an additional Rs 2,370 for the white paint scheme. With six colour options – Moroccan Red, Alaskan Green, Belgian Black Red, Helsinki Black Silver, Oxford Grey and White, the Phoenix makes a very attractive buy. 


Engine and Gearbox


The Phoenix gets a single cylinder 124.5cc air-cooled engine that produces 10.9bhp at 8,000rpm and a maximum torque of 10.78Nm at 6,000rpm which is much lower than its competition, the Discover 125ST and the Hero Stunner. This engine is refined and doesn’t feel stressed even after riding for more than hundred kilometers at a stretch. The engine is mated to a four-speed gearbox with an all-down shift gear pattern. The absence of the fifth gear is something I didn’t like. I was searching for fifth year when I was cruising on national Highway 8. Presence of fifth gear makes the bike cruise at low rpm, thus increasing fuel efficiency and also avoids vibrations. However, TVS claims that this bike will be used within city limits where the fifth gear is not required as much.


The Phoenix, which I tested, was brand new due to which the gear shift was decent. Low- end torque is pretty good and despite me weighing over 100kg, the bike picks up easily from 30kmph in the fourth gear. TVS claims an ARAI fuel efficiency of 67kmpl which is really good. 

Instrument Cluster & Switch Gear


TVS has done a great job by equipping the bike with a good instrument cluster. Everything is well laid out and the effort in giving it first in the class features can be clearly seen. The center area features a digital speedometer which can be easily mistaken for a tachometer at first glance by those used to higher-capacity motorcycles. The digital speedometer is a first-in- the-class feature unlike rest of the bikes, which have boring looking analog speedometers. However, the fonts used in this speedometer made reading difficult but you will get used to it when you spend more time with the bike. It also sports a segment first low battery and service due indicator along with the digital trip meter.  This is a very good feature, considering the fact that this class of consumers tends to use the bike continuously, and indicators like these will help them keep their bike in good condition. The odometer is one of the few that we’ve seen that shows a tenth of a kilometer as well, just like the trip reading. The left instrument cluster shows basic functions like the neutral gear indicator, turn indicators and the headlamp upper and dipper indicator. The right side of the cluster has a large TVS logo on it.

The switch gear of the Phoenix is top-notch and there are no bikes in the segment that can come close to the Phoenix in this feature. The buttons are very tactile and the quality is excellent. The Phoenix gets hazard lamps that can be operated from what looks to be an engine kill .This may seem a small feature but is very important in case your bike breaks down. It is also a feature that is desired by a surprising number of Indian customers.

Ride & Handling


The moment I swung my leg over the Phoenix, the comfort aspect became evident. The long single padded seat is very comfortable and I didn’t face much problem during the entire testing duration. With the help of the single down tube chassis, telescopic forks at the front, series spring rear suspension and the TVS tyres, the handling of the Phoenix is excellent for its class. Its low seating height and upright riding posture makes it very comfortable to ride in city traffic. My ride from my workplace to home is around 70kms which consists of heavy traffic zones, highways and also some nice ghat sections and honestly, the Phoenix has all the character to comfortably enjoy these roads.  However, ride the Phoenix for more than a few hours on the highway, and the lack of that fifth gear will make itself felt in the vibrations above 70kmph.


The commuter seating posture also puts zero weight on the rider’s wrists and feet (unlike the Stunner/Ignitor twins) so long stints on the highway will leave the rider with an aching posterior. It tends to bounce around at highway speeds, but that is perfectly acceptable because of the sublime ride quality that the Phoenix offers on a bumpy tarmac or broken roads. Even with my weight and no suspension adjustment, it took everything into its stride and made sure it wasn’t transferred to me. Braking on the Phoenix is excellent thanks to the 240mm petal disc at the front and 130mm drum brakes at the rear. I wish the front disc had a little more progression though as it will offer much more confidence to riders who are undoubtedly going to be using a front disc brake for the first time. There is no denying its stopping power, though.  



The Phoenix is undoubtedly the bike what TVS claims it is-a premium commuter 125cc motorcycle. Its entire package that includes handling, looks and styling and performance is more than satisfactory and checks all the correct boxes except its four-speed gearbox. You will get the Bajaj Discover 125ST with a five- speed gearbox but will have to pay Rs 1,600 more. The other advantage its direct competitor, the Bajaj Discover 125ST has is the rear mono suspension but the Phoenix dual series spring rear suspension does a great job. With an ex-showroom Pune price of Rs 52,070 for the disc variant, the Phoenix is not only cheaper by Rs 1,660 than the Discover 125ST, but is also more features loaded. For this class of buyers, fuel efficiency, readability and practicality are the utmost important factors and with all these attributes in place with the Phoenix, it is worth the buy. 


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