TVS Star City Plus

28 October 2014, 12:58 PM Pratheek Kunder

Introduction

110cc is the most complex but a high sales generator segment. The market share of the Indian manufacturer is decided on their performance here. While some manufacturers manage to sell just a few thousands each month , there are others who consistently breach the six figure mark. It is this segment that TVS has set its eyes upon with the new Star City Plus, hoping to capture the lost ground. 

With the Victor brand, TVS entered the mass market commuter segment in the early 2000 and it put the company’s sales chart on fire. Unfortunately, the Hosur- based company lost out to companies like Honda and Hero MotoCorp after failing to respond to the changing market dynamics with the advent of numerous scooters and very affordable motorcycles. Now TVS has been slowly but steadily launching two-wheelers in the mass market segment like the Jupiter, the new Wego and the latest being the Star City Plus. While most of their new products have been performing very well in the Indian market, let’s find out if this new motorcycle from TVS will be able to survive with the “Dreams” and the “Discovers”.

Looks & Styling

At first glance, it is not very difficult to guess the design inspiration of the TVS Star City Plus. Yes, it is from its elder sibling, the Phoenix which is the 125cc commuter offering.  But the company has also made sure to carry forward the styling of the older Star City. The major changes seen on this bike are the headlight, which gets a squared design, making it look very contemporary and I really like that. It also gets a new bikini fairing which carries noticeable creases across its body, giving it a little aggressive appearance. 

Come to the side and the first thing you will see is the “Star City Plus” 3D logo on the side panel of the bike, which is quite appealing. Such logos are usually used only on cars. Just above the logo, there is a plastic mesh insert as well. These two features clearly show the effort put by TVS to make the bike look premium. There is a decent amount of decals running across the motorcycle, making it look sporty; possibly because TVS wants to attract young consumers. But if you look closely, you will find that lot of components like the front and rear mudguards, grab rail, saree guard and turn indicators have been taken from the Phoenix 125 – a way to keep costs in check (but we won’t complain much since they are coming from a premium product).  The tail light is new but really doesn’t give the “wow” factor because of its basic design. The exhaust gets chrome finished heat shield that has ‘ecothrust’ written on it. This is quite noticeable and it is bound to sell because of our liking for shiny things. Paint quality is excellent and is meant to last. Overall, the styling of the Star City Plus is contemporary and but not radically different from the rest of the competitions in the segment. The Star City Plus is sure to attract footfalls in the showrooms but won’t make a very big difference to the likes of Hero and Honda. 

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 53,041
 

Instrument Cluster & Switch Gear

The Star City Plus gets a well laid out instrument cluster. It’s a mixture of analogue and digital detailing. The speedometer console is big and features a white background. The inspiration for this has been the tachometer of the Apache RTR. The speedometer also sports two indicators – economy and power. This feature was also seen on the Jupiter and we can expect this feature to be standard on future models. 

The left side of the speedometer shows the basic functions – high beam and neutral indicators.  The service indicator also does the job on the motorcycle which is a good feature for this segment. A small digital screen can be seen on the right side of the console, which shows the fuel gauge and the odometer. The bike also gets dedicated side turn indicators on the console. Most of the bikes in this segment get just one indicator on the instrument console. The quality around the console is top notch and I will say the same for the switchgear. The plastic used and the rubber palm grips which are quite comfortable and are made to last. In a cost conscious 110cc segment, TVS has given bar end weights to the Star City Plus which is commendable.  

Engine & Gearbox

The Star City Plus gets a 109.7cc single cylinder Eco-Thrust engine. This engine produces 8.3bhp at 7000rpm and maximum torque of 8.7Nm at 5000rpm. The power delivery of the bike is quite impressive. The engine that is a part of ‘eco-thrust’ family is fairly refined and feels much more linear in terms of the power delivery. Torque spread is quite flat and the bike feels quite peppy in the low and mid-range. There are hardly any vibrations when you ride it around 60kmph. It is only when you take it to the redline the engine generates vibrations which can be easily felt on the handlebar and foot pegs.  Expect the performance of the bike to drop slightly when you have a pillion; we were exceeding the bike’s load capacity most of the time, so the performance dropped drastically.

The engine is mated to a four-speed gearbox that has been configured on the taller side.  The gear shifts are not very slick especially when trying to move up, but the clutch feels very light. While the company has concentrated on churning out more power from this engine, it has also made sure the fuel efficiency part is improved which is claimed at an ARAI figure of 86kmpl. And this is why the bike gets two modes – economy and power.  Depending on the throttle input and the revs, it switches between economy and power. This is TVS’s patent technology that is being used since the Victor days. With economy mode, there is a high chance of reaching close to the claimed fuel-efficiency mark. Kick- starting the bike is quite easy with the kick barely completing the entire swing.  Overall the engine of the Star City Plus feels quite refined and with superb fuel efficiency, I think it is one of the best ones available in the market today.  

Ride & Handling

The Star City handles well because of its single tubular frame and stiff suspension - telescopic at the front and five-way adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers at the rear.  This bike is meant purely for commuting and not for going fast around the corners; interesting if you do. The bike manages to stick to its line with TVS’ homemade Dura grip tyres.  It runs on 17-inch alloy rims at the front and rear and moving around in a traffic-filled city is pretty easy on this bike as the ergonomics of the bike is upright and comfortable. 

TVS has loaded the Star City Plus with 130mm drum brake in the front and 110mm drum brake at the rear. While the front brake is quite effective, the rear one provides excellent bite which is more important. But a provision of a front disc brake variant would be a good idea. TVS says that improving the riding comfort has been one of their key aspects for the Star City Plus, and there is certainly noticeable improvement over the old Star City.

The overall ergonomics of the Star City Plus is upright, just like the other motorcycles in the segment. The wide handlebar provides easy manoeuvrability while riding in heavy city traffic. Also, because of the updated fuel tank, the knee recess is more angular which is quite comfortable for tall riders. The dual textured seat is decently comfortable and there were no complaints by the pillion. But there is room for improving the cushion. The mirrors provide good view of what’s behind and because of less vibrations, the mirrors are quite easy to operate.  

 

Verdict

We can always say that the TVS Star City Plus is a late entrant in the world of 110cc segment. But over the years TVS has been improving the quality of their products by a great extent, which gives it an opportunity to grow in this crowded segment. With good styling, good performance, practicality and very good handling, the Star City Plus checks all the required boxes.  At a price of Rs 41,500 (ex-showroom Delhi), it is also almost Rs 4,000 and Rs 4,300 cheaper than the Mahindra Centuro and the Honda Dream Neo respectively, which is a pretty big number for this segment. With a good service backup and reasonable cost of ownership, the TVS Star City Plus is not just the most affordable in the segment, but also value for money.  

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