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“Adventurers” of the lost art of the commuter motorcycle

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There is so much news flooding our inboxes from the world of electric mobility, especially electric scooters, it’s easy to forget that the era of fossil fuels is still upon us. And in this space of conventional commuters, there hasn’t been a new bike that’s really gotten us all excited for a while.

After the relatively recent retirement of the StarCity 125 and Victor GLX, TVS Motor Company has been completely absent from the 125cc commuter segment. He has also attempted forays into the past, with motorcycles like the Flame and the Phoenix. The launch of the new Raider is therefore good news for the company and for its customers. Its positioning has also been altered to suit the increasingly complex buyer of the older suburban class.

Design

The Raider’s design is sporty and aggressive and even looks slightly larger than it actually is. It is only when you are seated astride the bike that you realize that it is actually quite compact and easy to reach your legs all the way to the ground and get a comfortable position for riding. In fact, TVS claims that they also designed it to take into account women and their ability to ride as comfortably as the average Indian man. To reaffirm its commitment to making the Raider a bike usable by women as well, the saddle height has been set at 780mm. The design of the Raider’s naked street bike is more striking due to its LED daytime running lights and the accents that have been given to the front hood, there is a sort of praying mantis look to the front design. Some of the other features of the Raider also make him appear taller than he is. One of them is the sculpted fuel tank and the wide seats which are also contoured, giving it a modern and shapely outlook. These split seats are also raised, so that the passenger would be seated in a sportier elevated position. In fact, speaking of stance, the Raider’s riding position was also designed to provide a sporty, engaged riding position instead of the upright stance we’ve seen with most other commuters and power commuters. To provide a better riding posture, TVS engineers also gave the handlebars an angle that provides a wide and straight grip.

The general ergonomics of the astride bike gives it a resolutely sporty and yet comfortable position. The reason why the TVS Raider stands out in its class would be its design. Much of the performance also helps it set a sort of benchmark, but we’ll get to that later. To give the design a more modern, sporty and macho flavor, TVS engineers added fuel tank fairings and a contrast color belly pan, in addition to other features on the side of the bike, including the two-tone muffler. . Other features above the Raider segment include the alloy footpegs and footrests. In addition to this, the electric lighting is fully LED, the rear lights included. Of course, the only thing I missed seeing given the overall use of LEDs is that the turn signals are LED as well. Instead, the turn signals are still regular bulbs. The overall build quality is very good. For example, the cast alloy parts, the machined parts, all look very well made and clean. The rear handrail, aluminum tipped muffler, most plastic castings, etc., appear to be well made. There are a few minor places where the build quality could have been better, the plastic quality could have been better in a few places.

Some switches and buttons don’t seem very sturdy. But in general, the overall quality of the bike is much better than the middle class power commuter bike in the market.

There are also other features like a considerable amount of storage under the seat that can be used. There is an optional USB charger slot right next to the instrument cluster.

There is a highly usable section just below the passenger seat for better grip while riding and the footrests have been positioned to support a sporty riding position for the rider. A half chain cover with a sealed chain means the average rider doesn’t have to worry about wear and tear during monsoons. One of the coolest features of the TVS Raider, given its 125cc stance, will be the inverted LCD instrument cluster.

This display is ideal for better visibility under the sun. The screen offers multiple information, including fuel consumption, gear position, two daily counters, distance to empty in reserve.

It also displays other interesting information such as the maximum and average speed, the built-in starter generator indicator that activates the automatic start-stop system, as well as a helmet reminder and a sidestand indicator.

Performance

The TVS Raider’s engine is a new 49-inch fuel injection gasoline engine. The engine is not a carry over from the Ntorq. This three-valve, fuel-injected, oil-cooled engine was specially developed for the Raider. It is a very refined engine, quite energetic for its category. The engine delivers 8.37 kW or approximately 11.4 hp at 7,500 rpm and maximum torque is 11.2 Nm at 6,000 rpm. I tested the TVS Raider on the company’s test track at its factory in Hosur. The nominal mileage of this engine is approximately 67 kmpl. So there are two aspects after riding it on the test track that I can’t say for sure. One is, of course, the mileage and the other is the quality of the suspension. The test ride was on their internal test track. The engine is oil cooled, but you won’t see an external oil cooling system because the engineers at TVS managed to pack the whole oil cooling system into the engine assembly very intelligently and it there is a fin assembly just behind the engine and clutch assembly where it is cooled and recycled. One of the other interesting features of the engine is the TVS Intelligo package which includes the integrating start generator which activates the start-stop system. So if you stop at the signal, the engine will automatically shut off and a quick spin of the throttle allows the engine to come back on without the sound of the starter. The TVS Raider also has two driving modes: Eco and Power. Another added feature of the Raider is the venturi throttle body. There is no change in the character of the throttle, but the refueling character has changed and this helps provide both driving modes. Eco and Power modes can change the character of the Raider a bit. The power mode offers about 0.4 seconds faster acceleration and in Eco mode you get a little more mileage, including activating the start and stop system. Both modes can be selected with a selector switch placed right next to the throttle and you can toggle between the two modes on the go. Testing the TVS Raider on the corporate track made me come out quite surprised at the level of refinement that emanates from this engine. It’s energetic, extremely manoeuvrable, lots of usable power in the right rev range. He doesn’t feel very tense even at high revs at full throttle. Its rated top speed is 99 km / h, although on the straights of the test track the digital speedometer read over 104 km / h. I am led to believe that there is a certain degree of error which is inevitable. TVS claims that the Raider picks up and accelerates faster than other competitors in this segment. Its acceleration from 0 to 60 km / h is claimed in 5.9 seconds. The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The quality of the gearbox change is good; smooth, crisp gear changes with almost no false neutrals. The engine also offers enough torque and power at low revs to be able to go around 35-40 km / h in top gear. Overall, the powertrain is a good combination and offers very sporty performance. By keeping it constantly at full throttle lap after lap on the track, the engine performs very well and there is no overheating problem. Infact TVS has patented several technological inputs in the engine, in particular for the cooling system. The exhaust note is also very nice, and sporty.

Final result

TVS has succeeded in understanding the dynamics and fine-tuning the balance of its bikes. The Raider chassis is a new single down tube frame which, while being compact, gives the bike excellent stiffness and keeps the 123kg bike in balance. The 30mm telescopic front forks and single shock suspension for the rear are the kind of combination that will deliver a comfortable ride. But it was good to see that the handling character was also helped in equal measure by the suspension.

I cannot comment on the road performance after driving it only on the track. Braking is provided by a 240 mm disc at the front and a 130 mm drum at the rear which is more than enough for the bike. There is a basic variant with only drum brakes at the front, priced at 77,500. But the best variant to choose would be the front disc at around 85,500. The Raider is great value for money at these prices.


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