This is the new TVS Raider 125. It's a 125cc motorcycle. It is being positioned as a sporty commuter motorcycle and TVS is hoping that young Indians will buy this bike in good numbers. In terms of product placement, the Raider will sit between the Star City Plus and the ageing Apache RTR 160. And like we mentioned in our exclusive video that was published a few days ago, it's clear that TVS wanted to fill that big 40k price gap and that's why we have the Raider.
I have to tell you this. The Raider looks pretty cool in person. It manages to give out a nice sporty feel, thanks to the cool looking headlamp unit, large fuel tank and the split seats. Other bits like engine cowl, upswept exhaust and 3D brand logos enhances the overall appeal of the motorcycle. In terms of styling equipment, there’s LED DRLs and taillight. The turn indicators get bulbs – a way to keep costs in check. The large grabrail, however, looks a bit utilitarian
TVS is one company that gives out a lot features on their bikes. The Raider is no different. I'm going to start with the Bluetooth enabled instrument cluster. It's compact but has been neatly packed with lots of ride data. Things like two tripmeters, riding range, average fuel economy and top or average speed recorder can be seen here. There's also side stand, gear shift and helmet indicators.
The Smart Connect features can be used too. There's turn by turn navigation, an option to manage calls and also voice assistance - these features are something we haven't seen in this 125cc space. There’s an under seat storage space as well and I don’t think I have seen so much space ever on a motorcycle.
The Raider is a sporty commuter. So the ergonomics are bound to be slightly non-commuterish. And it kind of feels that way. While the handlebar and seat positions are fine, these foot-pegs are slightly rear set. And that's why the legs are a bit angular. But it doesn't feel uncomfortable. This seat is something I really like. It's nice and wide. There's lots of space too. So in case you feel uncomfortable, you can move around. Coming to the pillion seat, it looks fairly comfortable. But we will be able to tell you more once we get this bike for a longer duration in Mumbai.
The 125cc single cylinder air cooled motor churns out 11.2bhp at 7500rpm and peak torque of 11.2Nm at 6000rpm. And this motor is mated to a five speed gearbox. Now we rode this bike for about 45 minutes but I have to say this, the first impressions are quite good. The engine feels refined and peppy. It doesn't feel strained if you are riding at high revs for long. The power delivery is nice and linear. But the best aspect is its tractability - it can do 32kmph in fifth gear and this is something everyone is going to love in the city because you don't have to shift gears too often. The gearshifts are nice. Not extremely smooth but works quite well.
There are two modes - the eco mode restricts the rpm and thus results in lesser top speed whereas the power mode gives out all the power. So we did see the bike touching 100kmph quite a few times. But as the bike will be mainly used in the city, there’s a high chance not a lot of people are going to see triple digit figures.
The brakes on the Raider work well too. The front has decent feel but when it comes to braking performance, TVS hasn't given it sharp braking. And not because it can't. It's because the customers in this segment don't want powerful brakes. The rear gets a drum brake. But it works. The Raider gets its fun aspect due to the way it handles. The bike feels light on its feet and changes direction as and when you want to.
So the first impressions of the TVS Raider are pretty good. The bike looks quite cool and with this yellow paint scheme, there's some kind of vibrancy in it. Then there are some usable features that make it extremely enticing and aspirational, thanks to the presence of full colour TFT screen and the way it shows all the ride data. The performance is appreciable and we believe this bike could be fun to ride in the city - thanks to its kerb weight and fun to ride dynamics. And these traits obviously made the bike a lot more fun in the corners - something that is missing in this 125cc segment. Now the main question, should you buy this new TVS Raider? At Rs 1.01 lakh on-road Mumbai (disc brake variant), the Raider offers lots of value and is a good motorcycle to own. So if you are one of those, who wants a stylish 150-160cc motorcycle but don’t have the budget, you should definitely checkout the Raider.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi