TVS Radeon Review
To find out if the Radeon BS6 feels any different from the BS4 model, we spent some time with the Radeon BS6, riding it in the city and out on the highway.
The Radeon is TVS’ contender in the entry-level commuter segment, a fiercely competitive space with multiple products from brands like Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj. Despite that, the Radeon manages to stand out with a couple of likeable traits which we scrutinised elaborately in our long term review of its BS4 model.
Now, the Radeon has been updated to comply with the new BS6 emission norms and the revisions have majorly been limited to its engine. To find out if it feels any different from the previous model, we spent some time with the Radeon BS6, riding it in the city and out on the highway.
The styling of the Radeon continues to be a utilitarian and a no non-sense affair, with design lines similar to the Hero Splendor Plus. Although we have grown pretty accustomed to this design, the new special edition model you see here brings an added aesthetic flair to the table.
Firstly, the body panels sport a glossy purple paint which looks jazzy and is available only in the special edition trim. Other bits exclusive to this variant include metallic brake and clutch levers, round chrome-finished mirrors, fuel tank pad and textured seat. What’s further admirable is that the Radeon continues to be pretty impressive in terms of fitment of body panels and finishing of paint. The overall build quality too remains as solid and rugged as before.
The most important hardware change in the Radeon BS6 is the replacement of carburetor by fuel-injector. This has resulted in a negligible 0.2bhp drop in its power output which now stands at 8.2bhp. But the torque output from this 109cc mill has remained intact at 8.7Nm. These alterations have resulted in a weight gain of 4kg as the Radeon tips the scales at 116kg (drum) and 118kg (disc) now. The introduction of a front disc took place during the BS6 transition and it is available only in the special edition model.
Underpinning the Radeon is a single cradle tubular chassis. It rides on 18-inch alloy wheels which are suspended by telescopic forks up front and hydraulic dual shock absorbers with five-step preload adjustability at the rear. On the feature front, the motorcycle is pretty basic with things like halogen headlamp and tail lamp, and an analogue console. But you do get certain smart and useful bits such as thigh pads on the fuel tank, an eco indicator for better mileage, a provision for USB charger, a luggage hook and a tail carrier.
We are glad that TVS has excluded the annoyingly loud side stand alarm which the BS4 trim got. However, considering safety, a side stand engine inhibitor should have been offered, which is common in bikes these days.
Starting with ergonomics, swinging a leg over the Radeon is effortless due to its low seat height. Once astride, you are in a comfortable position with a neutral riding stance. The seat is also adequately cushy and is forgiving even on longer rides.
While the impact of BS6-bound revisions is a bit unpleasant on paper, there’s hardly any difference felt out in the real world. In fact, the engine feels smoother and more refined now while the throttle feels slightly more direct. We have always loved the peppy nature of this motor and it continues to be a positive attribute of the bike. The low-end acceleration of the Radeon is sprightly, with enough pull for easy overtakes in traffic. The profoundly light clutch and slick gearbox further strengthen its rideability, both of which felt improved over its BS4 counterpart. Also, for better or worse, the distinct bassy exhaust note of the motorcycle sounds a tad subdued now.
The vibrations are very well contained as they are close to none up to 60kmph of speed. Post that, you feel a slight tingling on the handlebar and footpegs. However, keep pushing it to 80kmph and the vibes surprisingly die down to a great extent. Although TVS has impressively managed to keep the NVH levels in control, the Radeon’s engine does feel slightly stressed on the highway and the need for a fifth gear is felt consistently. The overtakes too need a bit of planning.
Where the Radeon particularly amazes is on the handling front as it is extremely light on its feet. Thanks to its light weight and nimble handling, filtering it through traffic and changing directions is extremely easy and fun. And the narrow width of the handlebar makes it easy to squeeze through the tightest of gaps. Coming to the ride quality, the slightly stiff suspension setup means undulations aren’t completely bottomed out. Going over potholes, stones and rumblers at low speeds feel a bit jarring, but it glides away smoothly at higher speeds.
The braking hardware of the Radeon is something that needs substantial improvement. The drum variant which we tested offer very little bite and feel, which further fade after a few minutes of riding. It’s the same case for the front and rear both. However, seldom do the wheels lock up under braking, thanks to the SBT (synchronised braking tech). For better braking performance, the front disc model should suffice.
The TVS Radeon is a purposeful daily driver which has gotten even better in its BS6 form. The prices of the motorcycle are nearly similar to its rivals, starting at Rs 60,442 (drum) and going up to Rs 66,442 (disc special edition) (both prices are ex-showroom). At this price, if you’re on a lookout for a rugged and durable everyday commuter with a frugal and potent engine, nimble handling, utilitarian features, great comfort and decent ride quality, the Radeon convincingly ticks all the boxes and we recommend it with conviction. However, it could do slightly better with stronger brakes and more features like the side stand engine cut-off switch and silent starter.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
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