TVS Raider first ride review

TVS new commuter, the Raider, is a feature loaded motorcycle that looks and performs like someone from the next segment.

Words By: Vishal Joshi
Photography By: TVS

Before telling you what the all new TVS Raider is all about, let me start with what it isn’t. Firstly, it isn’t one of those anaemic commuters that you see on our roads. And why would it be, since TVS’ why and wherefores to build the Raider is to meet today’s Gen Z. That’s the idea we were given by Mr. Aniruddha Haldar too, the Vice President (Marketing) – Commuters, Corporate Brand & Dealer Transformation from TVS Motor Company, who said “TVS Motor Company has long recognised Gen Z as a key consumer cohort. Some of the favourite brands of Gen Z come from our stable, like in EV – TVS iQUBE and the TVS Racing born TVS Apache series and TVS NTORQ 125. We will again seize their imagination with the TVS Raider and its Naked Street Styling, best-in-class acceleration with Ride Modes and mono-shock based ride-handling together with the TVS intelliGO and ETFi led mileage performance. I am sure our customers would appreciate the distinctive ride character of the TVS Raider; its one-of-a-kind animalistic headlight and the first-in-segment reverse LCD cluster. We also offer a SMARTXONNECTTM variant with Bluetooth Connectivity, Navigation and Voice Assist. In the words of Gen Z, TVS Raider is A Wicked Ride!”


And that is precisely why the Raider ties the right ribbon between a wooden commuter and a fun motorcycle. And I say this after riding the Raider at TVS’ test track in Bengaluru. So, let’s start with how it rode first….

Firstly, the riding position is nowhere close to the traditional commuter style, since the footpegs and the handle bar are set towards one’s wish to have it a tad sporty. But it does not mean that you won’t be comfortable on the Raider since the position is meant for long commutes too. A 125cc from TVS might sound similar but it isn’t what you think. It comes with a shade of extra power to count up to 11.38hp and a maximum torque of 11.2Nm. Twist the throttle and the crank will spin up to 7500rpm for that power and 6000rpm for that smooth torque. Speaking of smoothness, you will barely notice the starter sound in a peaceful setting, let alone in city traffic. The smart start-stop system shuts the engine off and brings it back to life once you blip the throttle up, but this is only active in one of the ride modes, which is Eco; the other mode being Power. And this is one notable point where you can feel the difference I was talking about earlier, about being in between a deadpan commuter and an energetic one. Yes! The skillful smooth engine will return the mileage of a commuter in Eco mode - at least that’s what TVS claims that the aforementioned system in the Eco mode bumps up the fuel efficiency by about 3% - and run like a sporty one, in Power mode. The smoothness was experienced on a test track that has two long straightaways; the first of which ends at a carousel with a constant radius going right and then a left hander that exits to the second straight. The refinement and smoothness will give one less thing to bother about on city roads to a regular commuter. But hey! That does not mean that one cannot have fun while zipping away in the traffic, leaving every (segment) competitor and commuter behind, and that too with that dramatic exhaust note. Clutch in the smooth 5 speed gearbox that shifts on the dot, and you are good to put around 107kmph (on speedo) to be the first in line at that next signal, everyday. Not that kinda rider? Fret not, the Raider will keep you happy at low rpms too and this might return a mileage of around 67kmpl, at least that’s what TVS promises. Have to wait until we get it on the road to test the real world numbers. Nevertheless, until then we can (finally) tell you how it feels to ride.

A new chassis, single-downtube frame, a monoshock at the back, a pair of TVS Remora tyres and svelte fork pipes add up to a ride that was smooth and soft. But that was on a track that barely had a bump, except a small depression across the width of the track that lay at the end of that carousel. There, the Raider did not trouble much while smoothly exiting the curve and taking the next left lightly and swiftly. After the second long straight that took us to the start of the track, the combination of disc brakes at the front and drum at the rear performed moderately well since the speeds at which it was braked were unjustified. Not only was it more for a motorcycle of this segment, but for city use too. So again, we’ll have to twiddle thumbs until we get to ride it in the city.

However, if there’s something that we do not have to bide our time for, it’s the way it looks. And the new DRLs have to be the point to chew the fat on, because of the shape and the mild emission of the light as well. The fuel tank also makes a new statement for a commuter of this kind, further, the Raider comes with a pair split seats that nobody would expect in this segment since it comes from TVS’ sporty DNA. However, the more you start going towards the rear, you’d expect the same athletic stamp there as well. But things get a bit functional. Remember TVS’ Victor? Well, the tail end and the grab rail might remind you of the Victor, but of course, except the tidied up LED brake lamp.

But that is compensated by even more first-in-segment features too, like there’s plenty of space under the seat for storage, an optional USB port that is placed right under the new negative-LCD that advises the rider on fuel economy, the current gear position indicator, two trip readings, distance to zero fuel and much more. And if you lay your hand on the top model post its launch, it will roll in with Bluetooth connectivity and a TFT display as well.

So, that's that then. TVS has not only managed to tie a knot in between both the ends of the motorcycling world at one, but come up with a motorcycle that not only the Gen Z could be convinced of, but the parent as well. How? You see, it offers an arch for the generation that has been raised by the internet and social media to experience the next since it rides better than a commuter. The Raider looks like someone who has arrived with a cloak from the next segment and comes with strong and competitive features. On the other hand, it could return a mileage like a commuter, it does not run like a hungry hound but comes with enough pace for city runs, it is backed with TVS’ reputable after sales service and mainly, all of this comes under a lakh which a parent wouldn’t mind spending since it offers a couple of less things to worry about.