TVS Star City Plus Review: The most affordable 110cc premium commuter
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The pros: New look is quite impressive, fairly comfortable, best-in-class mileage and lightweight Excellent initial power and smooth gear shifting.
The cons: Absence of trip meter and engine kill switch. Bike starts vibrating on high speeds, long run causes engine overheating.
The crux: It gets a refreshed appearance, new technology and features, Overall the bike is a good package for just Rs. 44,000 (ex, Delhi for electric start variant).
TVS recently updated the Star City and launched it as TVS Star City Plus. The company has introduced the bike with a tag line- "Style ka Naya Star", which reflects in its all new design. Apart from the cosmetic updates, this time, the company has also introduced lots of technical upgrades with the bike.
The bike shares most of its styling with Phoenix 125 and has been made available in two trims- Self Start and Kick Start. Although, the bike looks more premium now, it's the most affordable one in the respective segment with a starting ex-showroom price of Rs. 41,445 (Delhi). However, the self start version comes with a price tag of Rs. 44,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) and you have to pay Rs. 475 more for some mandatory accessories. The company has proposed the bike as an urban ride, so what better than the roads of Delhi for testing the bike.
Earlier, styling was not a crucial factor for commuters in the Indian market and manufacturers were only concentrated on the mileage and engine life. Now, the time has changed and competition level has reached new heights. Every design aspect has become crucial with styling playing a major part in it. Auto makers have started adding sporty elements in their commuters, which can attract both the rural as well as urban population.
That is why, TVS has proposed the Star City Plus as the new star of style with an all new design developed for urban commuting. The bike has been styled on the lines of Phoenix 125, which reflects in its appearance. Starting from the headlamp, it has got a very different unit from the previous model. It is quite common in shape, however looks impressive with the sporty bikini fairing and black aerodynamic visor, while the 3D metallic 'TVS' monogram above the headlamp gives a superior look to the bike. Clear blinkers gel well and the new sharp, edgy rear view mirrors look far better than the previous ones.
The new digital-analogue instrument console gives a class apart feel with an analogue speedometer and a rectangular LCD screen on right side. However, the matte finish material around the console could have been better. The well structured fuel tank is not that big, however, looks muscular with its wide front and narrow rear dimensions. It gets a dual tone seat using different fabric patterns for rider and pillion, attract the eyes for sure. The well sculpted side and rear panel have been fitted looking like a single unit, giving the side profile a nice touch. Side panels get two premium style elements- honeycomb texture grill and 3D metallic 'Star City+' emblem. The rear of the bike ends with a sporty seat cowl and a new tail lamp, an inspiration from previous generation Apache.
The all black theme has been carried to the engine, exhaust, frame, 5-spoke alloys, leg-guard and front suspensions, which is a common element in the segment now-a-days. The rear shock-absorbers are painted in black and grey combination. Design of the muffler is quite decent and it gets a chrome exhaust cover. Overall, we liked the way TVS improved its designing and add new style elements, now the product looks upmarket and premium.
Switch Gear and Ergonomics
The TVS Star City Plus has been designed as a daily commuter and the focus has been given to make it a utility oriented vehicle. The bike comes with a multi-functional, digital analogue dash, which gets an easy to read analogue speedometer and an LCD screen for fuel gauge and ODO. Other tell tale lights comprise the turn signal, high beam, neutral gear position and due service. There were two small green and red coloured lights on the instrument gauge for power and economy mode respectively. The green light glows when you are riding in economy mode and the bike is delivering good fuel efficiency, while the power light glows when you rev it hard. When you turn-on the ignition, its gauges reach to the top figures for a while and came to the initial position again. This function makes you feel like riding a premium motorcycle of a higher segment. However, we missed a trip-meter in the bike as it gets only digital ODO in its LCD screen.
Coming to the switch gear and handle grips of the TVS Start City Plus, they are identical to the one that you might have seen on the Phoenix apart from the engine kill switch, which is absent in the City Plus. The right switch box on the handle bar holds the electric start and headlamp switch, while the left one gets switches for low/high beam, turn indicators and horn. The bike also features an easy access choke lever, which is situated under the left switch box on the handlebar. Fabric of the handle grips is soft and tactile, which feels good on the hands. The company has also provided handle weights at the end of the handlebar, which really improves the control and stability of the handlebar. New angular rear view mirrors are big enough to give a perfect view of the surroundings.
Seating comfort is one of the most required features when we are talking about a daily commuter. The new TVS Star City Plus gets a little contoured seat, which covers some starting part of the fuel tank. Rider's side of the seat has been shaped quite comfortably and gives perfect support between the legs. However, the company needs to do a little work on the pillion side of the seat as the comfort is not comparable to the rider's side. The aluminium rear grab rail has been designed simply, which provides a better hold and grip. Positions of the seat, handlebar and foot pegs have been designed to provide an upright seating posture. All the three major contact points make a perfect right-angle triangle providing a comfortable riding posture.
Engine and performance
Talking about the heart of the TVS Star City Plus, it sports a new 110cc Ecothrust engine, which is powered by a carburettor type fuel system. The 4-speed gearbox works quite smooth and gear shifting does not need much effort. The engine is said to be fitted with a molybdenum coated piston to reduce the friction and the result can be felt in every smooth stroke during accelerating the bike. Low-end torque of the bike is refined and provides a punch to the bike for stop-and-go runs.
Power increases frequently till 65kmph, which is a satisfying speed for a commuter. After that, you need to put some effort to take the bike to its top speed over 90kmph. However, we advice to run the bike under 75kmph as it starts vibrating like other 100-110cc commuters at high speed. Continuous riding under 55-60kmph speed does not create any problem and you can use the bike for long runs at optimum speeds. However, constant running over higher rpms on a long run causes engine overheating and you have to give a rest to the bike.
Fuel economy is the most competitive feature in commuter segment and all the manufacturers are introducing different technologies to improve it on their machines. Most of the two-wheeler majors in India are working on a better ignition system and reduction in engine's internal friction. TVS has used both the techniques in the engine of Star City Plus. It gets a ‘molycoat’ piston, which works as a solid lubricant to reduce the internal friction of the engine. This feature results in lesser power loss in sliding friction during strokes. The company says that its advance ignition technology smartly manages the variables of riding condition to achieve optimum ignition curve resulting in a best-in-class mileage up to 86kmpl (under standard test conditions). However, the bike delivers around 65kmpl under normal conditions, which further increases under optimum conditions.
Ride and handling
Bolted on a single cradle tubular frame, the Star City Plus has overall dimensions of 1980mm x 750mm x 1080mm (L x W x H). With this compact size, zippy engine and just 109kg weight (105 for kick start variant), the bike provides a supple ride in any traffic condition. Its sleek design and optimum wheelbase of 1260mm makes possible to pass the bike from narrow passages between vehicles in the traffic and minimises the turning radius of the bike. Excellent initial power and smooth gear shifting reduces the ride fatigue on busy roads. Stability of the bike is superb, which increases the manoeuvrability of the bike and makes handling easier.
The Star City Plus comes fitted with telescopic forks at the front and 5-step adjustable hydraulic shock-absorbers at the rear. This combination of suspension system performs quite well on city roads. The bike has a large ground clearance of 172mm, which makes it compatible even for the most uneven roads, however, proper attention need to be taken on these terrains. The new Star gets the light and sporty 17 inch, 5-spoke alloys, which are standard for commuters. Front wheel comes covered with 2.75 x 17 inch TVS tyre, while the rear wheel gets specially designed button tread tyres, made with a high grip compound by the same company. The concept works better and the rear tyre provides excellent traction and grip even on the sharp corners.
Like many other offerings in the segment, Star City Plus gets 130mm front and 110mm rear internal expanding drum brakes. Braking system is quite satisfying for handling the bike on urban roads. However, an option of front disc brake would be better for those who prefer to ride at high speeds regularly. Overall experience of the bike was positive and we felt that the company has worked to improve the ride quality of the series.
According to the styling, technology and features, the new TVS Star City Plus competes with the premium 110cc commuters from Hero, Bajaj, Honda, Mahindra and Suzuki. It gets a refreshed appearance, which looks quite decent and attractive at the same time. Performance and features of the bike are superior to many other offerings in the segment. Giving a supple ride with lesser fatigue, it is the most affordable bike in its segment. Overall the bike is a good package for just Rs. 44,000 (ex, Delhi for electric start variant).