Why to buy it?
- Super easy to ride in city
- Lots of features
- Good fuel efficiency
Why to avoid it?
- Lacks highway performance
- Confused product positioning
This is what the production version of the Zeppelin concept looks like. It's called the Ronin and it isn't just a cruiser anymore. At least that's what TVS wants us to believe. Now, this company has sold many good bikes in the last few years, like the Apache, and their product portfolio keeps getting better. I say this because I enjoyed the Raider 125 when I tested it on the track and then on the road. Now it looks like the brand wants to venture into more segments, hence we have the Ronin 225 here.
Styling & Quality
If you look at this TVS, you will notice its peculiar styling. This design language is new, something that we haven’t seen in any other TVS motorcycle. Although many design traits have been borrowed from the Zeppelin concept, there are other things that make this bike quite unique.
From the front, the Ronin looks stunning, and I think the majority of the credit goes to the premium-looking headlamp unit and the golden fork tubes. Then, the brightly lit T-shaped DRLs provide a unique experience, which I don’t think any other motorcycles in the segment exude. And those 41mm chunky-looking fork tubes with a golden finish make the Ronin look like a motorcycle from a segment above, and why not, those are the same ones seen on the Apache RR 310.
Moreover, other bits like the bulbous fuel tank, large side panels, and a stepped seat amplify the road presence of this motorcycle. Now, because the motorcycle also has scrambler design traits, you can see raised rear mudguard, dual-purpose tyres, and an offset instrument cluster. This cluster was first seen on the Ducati Scrambler and the market accepted it well. So, overall, I feel that the layout does enhance the appeal and aspirational value of the bike.
Ergonomics & Comfort
The Ronin has a seat height of 795mm and kerb weight stands at 160kg. This suggests that the bike is accessible and easy to use. With this seat height, the motorcycle is quite easy to get on and once on it, you can plant your feet on the ground completely. It even works well for shorter riders. Thus, with the feet fully planted on the ground and its perfectly distributed weight, moving the bike around becomes quite trouble-free. Even when you aren’t on the bike, it can be moved around with ease — quite a boon in tight parking spaces.
When it comes to the overall seating triangle, the Ronin has some cruiser traits, and that’s why there’s this swept-back handlebar, centre-set footpegs, and wide seat. In fact, it just feels as if I’m riding a large commuter bike – and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing for the Ronin.
Engine & Performance
The Ronin is powered by a 225cc four-stroke air-cooled engine with an oil-cooler. And just like the Apache RTR 2004V, this one too gets a four-valve head. This motor produces around 20bhp at 7,750rpm and a peak torque of 20Nm at 3750rpm. TVS claims a top speed of 120kmph for the Ronin.
In terms of the ride experience, I thoroughly enjoyed riding the Ronin in the city for the various things that work in its favour. First, that 160kg kerb weight –you can feel how agile this bike is and that too with its raked-out front. The latter offers good straight-line stability. Now, when you combine these aspects with its 225cc engine that offers good performance – you have a motorcycle that is easy and happy to ride. The bike is stress-free and can do a lot more than you think. Second is its tractable nature – even with a 90kg rider on board, the bike could easily do 35kmph in fifth gear and this is such a boon for riders who don’t like to shift gear often. And thanks to this engine’s strong low-end, you can easily pull the motorcycle from 35kmph. It also has a light clutch that amps up the overall city experience and can be adjusted through three lever settings. If you are one of those who always run late for work, good thing is that the Ronin offers good performance between 3,500rpm and 7,000rpm. But post 7,000rpm, you may reach the office with buzzy fingers.
Further, Ronin gets the premium USD forks at the front and the back, and then there’s a mono-shock. This combination offers good ride quality. It is not too plush but something that you would like, especially at low and moderate speeds. At high speeds, the rebound at the rear is a little aggressive but you will only experience this over really bad roads.
I rode close to 400km over two days with a mix of city and highway runs but I just failed to enjoy the Ronin on the highway. The bike gets a little buzzy and there’s no wind protection. I love doing long distances and appreciate bikes that let me stay at 100kmph-110kmph throughout the day because that allows me to reach my destination as planned. And despite its decent performance, paying close to Rs 2 lakh for a bike that can do 90kmph comfortably – doesn’t make sense to me. Plus, those scrambler-inspired tyres, work in dirt conditions as much as on the road, but ask yourself, how much time will you be able to spend on such terrains on a bike like this? A pair of better road tyres would have helped the bike so much more.
Features & Technology
When it comes to features, TVS loves to load their motorcycles. And it is the same story with Ronin. It gets LED headlamps and taillights, LED turn indicators, multiple riding modes, glide through technology, silent engine start, USD forks, slipper clutch, three-step adjustable clutch, and front brake levers. There’s also the digital instrument cluster with Bluetooth connectivity. As a result of this, the bike offers a navigation system, call and message alerts, and also voice assistance. The cluster also shows distance to empty, clock, gear shift, and side-stand indicators. And the model that we tested had dual-channel ABS too.
The TVS Ronin gave us a decent fuel efficiency of 42kmpl in our city test conditions. So with a fuel tank capacity of 14 litre, this bike should easily give 500km of riding range. It actually can up to 600kms, but we encourage you to fill up fuel the moment you see that last bar.
Should you buy it?
The Ronin is a neatly done motorcycle from the house of TVS. So, we are talking about very good quality, great NVH levels, and robust after-sales service. And even with its polarising status, the Ronin has managed to attract a lot of onlookers with some pretty interesting questions.
That said, you should also know that Ronin checks many of the right boxes. It is light at 160kg and that makes it easy and extremely comfortable to ride in the city, and with its upright seating posture, you aren’t looking at stressed riding days to work. It also has many features that are practical, useable, and just fun to have. And then comes the 225cc engine – it is peppy, refined, churns out good city performance, and is quite torquey too. While this motor emits some vibes, they majorly reflect when riding the bike at higher revs. Further, on the highway, you need a bike that can do at least 100kmph-110kmph comfortably and this bike can’t. It is also not meant to be ridden off-road.
In short, the Ronin is a well-packaged motorcycle. If you are in the market for a motorcycle that is easy and comfortable to ride in the city and comes with that little exclusive touch, then you should check out the Ronin which is priced at Rs 2.03 lakh, on-road, Mumbai.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi