TVS Phoenix 125 : Road Test
With rapid development in technology coupled with an increased awareness and enhanced buying power of the consumer, we are seeing the transitional shift in the lower end of the Indian motorcycle space, especially, the switch from the bare bone 100cc commuters to the more powerful and stylish 125cc motorcycles, making this a significant segment commercially for all two-wheeler manufacturers operating in the country. Having said this, the battle lines have been formally written with the likes of Hero MotoCorp, its erstwhile partner Honda via HMSI and Bajaj Auto being in the thick of things in this vital segment.
Others like Yamaha and Suzuki have flattered only to not keep the pace of development and intensity of promotion going relegating them to followers behind the above mentioned trio. But then what about the missing brand which was so very much in the thick of all commuter-oriented thought – TVS? So many times it came close but never really dominated the senses as it was capable of and here again for the umpteenth time it has thrown its hat into the proverbial ring where it intends its Phoenix to rise as the fabled bird and soar to success.
Will it or can it are questions to which the answers would be forthcoming some time later in 2013 but right now one has to understand the time lost to market for the firm which had so many early successes in the field starting with the 100cc AX100 then with the Samurai, the Victor and to a certain extent with the Fiero. I am not saying that its other offerings were not good but in this class of bike where you need to be consistently better than good and deliver strongly given the fact that money is made on volumes and not just on per unit sold (unless of course if you are Bajaj Auto and the back end is there to deliver any which way), TVS has loads of work to do to get within striking distance of its combined competition.
It managed to get going in the 125cc segment with the Victor 125 GLX but this didn’t help volumes. However its next model to grab sales here was the Flame in 2008 but the burnout caused by the techno-legal issue with Bajaj Auto doused its chances. Well, to give the Hosur bike maker its due, it is back to try and give its 125cc ambitions another go with the Phoenix and without any preconceived notions or any focus on its predecessors, we get to grips with what is, at first sight, a pretty strikingly turned out motorcycle.