TVS Raider Review - Likes & Dislikes
Has TVS made a strong comeback into the 125cc segment with the sporty Raider?
After staying out of the 125cc segment for almost four years, TVS has made a comeback. This move from TVS doesn’t come as a surprise as motorcycle prices have skyrocketed over the past few years, and the 125cc segment still offers a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency while being relatively affordable. TVS’ comeback vehicle is the new Raider, and the Hosur-based two-wheeler giant is focusing on the premium end of the 125cc segment. The Raider will be offered in two variants, with the base drum brake variant priced at Rs 77,500 (ex-showroom). We got to spend some time with the new TVS Raider at the company’s test track and here’s what we liked and what we didn’t in the new TVS 125cc bike.
Things we liked
The TVS Raider is focused towards college students and young professionals, so the styling had to be sporty. And for the most part, the TVS designers have nailed it and the bike features a sharp LED headlight, reminiscent of the first-gen Apache RTR 200 4V. Even the fuel tank is muscular and sports sharp tank extensions. My favourite design element, though, is the centre panel with a cutout that gives a peek of the monoshock. Although the Raider eschews body graphics, the dual-tone finish makes it look sporty and attractive. The overall quality, as expected from a TVS product, is top notch; the panel gaps are tight, and the switchgear is definitely the best in the 125cc segment.
TVS has been on a roll when it comes to loading its products with features, and the TVS Apache RR 310 and the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V are shining examples of the same. The TVS Raider gets a fully digital negatively lit LCD display as standard. It also gets segment-first features such as real-time fuel efficiency, a top speed and average speed recorder, and a range and gear shift indicator. A USB charger is also offered as an option and it’s positioned below the handlebar. The TVS Raider is also the first 125cc bike on sale in India to get two ride modes. There’s also start/stop tech and an ISG (integrated starter generator).
The Raider is also powered by a new motor that features a 3-valve head. The 124.8cc air-cooled motor produces 11.38PS and 11.2Nm, the latter figure making it the torquiest bike in the 125cc space. TVS claims that the Raider has the best acceleration in its segment, and the performance of the bike supports that claim. It offers brisk acceleration and the motor feels quite peppy and lively. Throttle response is crisp and the bike feels vibration-free till 70kmph. The Raider in Eco mode limits the redline to 7000rpm in 5th gear (8000rpm in all other gears) and restricts the top speed too, but in return claims to offer three percent more fuel efficiency. And talking about efficiency, TVS claims 67kmpl in Eco mode coupled with a 10-litre fuel tank capacity.
At 123kg, the TVS Raider is 5kg heavier than the Honda SP 125, but that doesn’t seem apparent in the way the weight has been distributed. In fact, the steering is super quick and did catch us a bit off guard. However, once you get used to it, the Raider is a fun motorcycle to thrash around corners. Although we rode the bike at the test track, the lively steering should make the TVS Raider fun to hustle in traffic as well. The chassis reminds us of the Apache series bikes with respect to handling, and that’s high praise in our opinion.
Things we didn't like
You might be surprised to see styling here again as a negative, but allow us to explain. While the Raider is a handsome looking motorcycle for the most part, the rear design feels a bit odd. The lines of the tail section look like an afterthought, and even the LED taillight looks a bit underwhelming. Now, while the shape of the LED taillight is sharp, we aren’t too sure about the large LED DRLs. That said, style is always a personal choice, and maybe the youngsters would appreciate it more and we have to say that the headlight design does stand out.
The TVS Raider is available with two variants - front drum and front disc brake. We rode the disc brake variant on the first ride. The bite from the disc unit is a bit underwhelming, and there’s hardly any travel in the lever, which reduces the feel while braking. Also, considering it’s a 125cc bike, it just gets CBS instead of ABS.
With the new Raider, TVS has made a strong comeback into the 125cc segment. It offers a great combination of performance, features and value. The sporty styling should make it appealing to youngsters and as a ‘first motorcycle,’ the Raider ticks all the right boxes. While its real-world performance and fuel efficiency claims need to be verified, we think TVS has a winner on their hands. However, one has to take notice that this segment is dominated by 125cc commuters like the Honda Shine and the Hero Glamour. So can the TVS Raider put a dent in their sales? We will just have to wait and watch.