TVS Raider: First Ride Review
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Is this the best 125cc bike on sale in India?
The 125cc segment has witnessed a lot of action and new entries in the past couple of years. And there's good reason behind it. You see, prices for two-wheelers have almost risen by over 30 per cent in the same time, making them relatively inaccessible for entry-level-segment buyers. Over many years now, the de facto choice for the entry-level performance segment has been the 150cc space. However, prices of 150cc bikes have crossed the Rs 1 lakh barrier, and they don’t offer the value they used to.
Also, with fuel prices setting new records, running costs have also gone up, leading to the prominence of the 125cc segment. Up until now, the only Indian company missing from action in this segment was TVS. But no more; the Hosur-based two-wheeler giant has launched the Raider positioned as a premium 125cc offering targeting Gen Z riders. Can the new Raider help TVS in regaining lost ground in the 125cc space?
- Sporty styling by 125cc segment standards.
- Loaded with features like start/stop, ride modes, and a fully digital console.
- Build and switchgear quality among the best in the segment.
- Brakes don’t offer enough travel.
- Disc brake variant is too expensive compared to the drum variant.
- The flashy styling might not appeal to all.
- The most loaded instrument console in its segment.
- Only bike in the 125cc space to feature riding modes.
- Peppy performance and throaty exhaust note.
- The TVS Raider is squarely aimed at youngsters, with modern-day styling and a dual-tone finish.
- We are not fans of the LED DRLs, but the shape of the LED headlight reminds us of the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V.
- The Raider gets a muscular fuel tank with large, sporty-looking tank extensions.
- Our favourite design detail is the cutout in the centre panel that gives you a glimpse of the red monoshock springs.
- The tail of the Raider is disappointing. The form and size of the tail panel don’t flow with the overall design, and it looks like an afterthought.
- Even the split LED taillight doesn’t look particularly pretty and seems to have been inspired by the Revolt RV 400.
- What you will appreciate, though, is the fit and finish of the TVS raider. Also, the switchgear quality is the best in the segment.
- Being a sporty 125cc offering, the Raider doesn’t have an upright riding position.
- The handlebar is positioned a bit lower, and the slightly rear-set footpegs mean that you sit slightly slanted forward.
- The riding position is mildly sporty, and youngsters will appreciate it.
- You will also appreciate the amount of space on offer, and the shape of the tank helps you hug it snugly with your legs.
- The TVS Raider features a split seat, and the pillion seat is pretty flat.
- There’s loads of space for the pillion too, but the grab handle shape could have been better.
Technology & Features
- The negative LCD display has been loaded with information. You get details such as real-time fuel efficiency, range, top speed recorded, gear position indicator, gear shift indicator, and average speed.
- A USB charger is an option, and it’s positioned below the handlebar.
- TVS also has plans to introduce a third variant with a 5-inch TFT screen with smartphone connectivity, navigation, and voice command in the near future.
- The TVS Raider is the first 125cc bike in the segment to feature two ride modes and a start/stop technology.
- It also features ISG (integrated starter generator) for silent start.
Engine & Performance
- The TVS Raider is powered by a new 124.8cc motor that features a three-valve head.
- The single-cylinder motor is rated at 11.38PS and 11.2Nm, the latter figure making it the torquiest bike in the 125cc space.
- TVS claims that it’s the quickest-accelerating bike in its segment. We think that the Raider does feel peppy.
- It offers brisk acceleration with a claimed top speed of 99kmph.
- The cruising speed is around 75kmph, but the handlebar does get a bit buzzy at high speeds. That said, vibrations never reach annoying levels.
- The 5-speed gearbox works perfectly, and the clutch action is not too heavy as well.
- The Raider gets two riding modes: Eco and Power.
- The ‘Eco’ mode limits the redline (to 7,000rpm) and the top speed. TVS claims you get 3 per cent more fuel efficiency in this mode.
- The TVS Raider has a claimed fuel efficiency of 67kmpl. At 10 litres, the fuel tank is smaller than its rivals.
- We really enjoyed the Raider in the ‘Power’ mode and feel most owners will stick to this.
- However, start/stop tech is only available in the ‘Eco’ mode, which is a bit illogical in our opinion.
Ride & Handling
- At 123kg, the TVS Raider isn’t the lightest 125cc bike. However, the balance of the frame is such that you don’t feel its weight.
- It tips into corners rather enthusiastically, which can catch you by surprise.
- While we rode it on a test track, the quick steering should make the Raider a fun-to-ride bike in city traffic.
- We couldn’t judge the ride quality perfectly as the tarmac was butter smooth. That said, it should be good, given the way the suspension has been tuned.
- However, we will reserve our opinion till the road test.
- We rode the top-spec variant with the front disc brake and rear drum brake. While stopping power is adequate, the bite could be better. The lever travel is too less as well.
- The TVS Raider is offered in two variants: front drum brake and front disc brake.
- The front drum brake variant of the Raider is priced at Rs 77,500, while the disc brake variant carries a sticker price of Rs 85,469. Both prices are ex-showroom.
- As mentioned earlier, TVS also plans to introduce a third variant with a TFT screen and smartphone connectivity by the end of this year.
- With the TVS Raider, the Indian two-wheeler giant has made a comeback into the 125cc segment.
- The styling, features and performance will excite youngsters, and for someone looking at their first first motorcycle, the Raider does make good sense.
- The drum brake has been priced competitively, undercutting the Honda Shine SP. But the premium for the disc brake variant is too steep.
- Overall, we feel the Raider is one of the most well-rounded 125cc bikes on sale in India.
- So if you’re planning to buy a sporty 125cc bike, the TVS Raider is undoubtedly an option to reckon with.