TVS Raider 125 3,000km Long-term Review - 4 Likes & 3 Dislikes

  • Dec 24, 2022
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Here’s how the TVS Raider 125 performed in its initial journey with us having joined the ZigWheels garage

TVS Raider Long Term Review

Some bikes manage to leave a lasting impression the first time you ride it. One such rare motorcycle is the TVS Raider. I remember having an animated conversation with Vargehese Thomas (erstwhile TVS Motor VP for CorpCom) on how good this motorcycle is and TVS engineers have made a strong comeback in the 125cc space.

Fast forward to October 2022 and the TVS Raider 125 entered the ZigWheels garage and I had to have it as my new long-term motorcycle. As is the custom, I have named it ‘Bugsy’ as that’s what I fondly address a dear friend and of course owing to its eyes! While I haven’t been able to clock extensive miles on the bike, this is my initial impression of the TVS Raider 125. 

Likes

Fuel Efficiency

TVS Raider mileage

Being a 125cc commuter, fuel efficiency has to be one of the Raider 125’s strong points and it is. I have been consistently receiving around 52-54kmpl, which is a stark contrast to the 30-35kmpl that I was receiving on the Royal Enfield Hunter 350. This frugal nature not only meant that my wallet wasn’t getting lighter by the end of the month, but also fewer fuel stops while doing my Mumbai-Pune runs. In fact, a full fuel tank is lasting me over two weeks, which was never the case with any of the long-termers in the past.

Performance

TVS Raider performance

Now, one would imagine that this frugalness comes at the cost of performance and to a certain extent, you would be correct. But, that doesn’t mean the Raider 125 feels like a typical commuter. Yes, it does take some time to gather momentum, but you can actually cruise at speeds between 80kmph and 90kmph fuss-free. In fact, you can maintain speeds between 90kmph and 95kmph, but the engine vibes become omnipresent. 

Ride Quality

TVS Raider ride quality
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Comfort is a crucial factor for a commuter and the TVS Raider 125 doesn’t disappoint in this department too. Given how epic our so-called highways are, potholes and broken roads are your constant mates. The Raider 125 tackles all the bumps and undulations with confidence and one doesn’t have to slow down much and power through rough roads. The monoshock tuning is almost spot on and even on the crater-sized potholes or ramp-like speed breakers, the Raider 125’s ride quality never disappoints. 

Handling

TVS Raider handling

On any conventional commuter, handling is always compromised for comfort and that was the case even with the TVS Victor and the Star City Plus. However, the Raider 125 doesn’’t carry forward this legacy and one can experience more of the TVS Apache DNA with respect to handling. It’s a joy to ride the Raider on the flowing mountain twisties and it feels settled around fast bends as well. My only grouse is that the front end feels a bit too eager and you experience oversteer. More than cornering, a TVS Raider 125’s focus will be agility and one can flick it through the tightest of gaps with relative ease. The weight distribution and its inherent agility means commuting transforms into a joyful affair. 

Dislikes

Headlight

TVS Raider headlight

While I have named the bike after its bug-eyed headlight, sadly the headlight is also one of  its shortcomings. The LED unit offers good luminescence when it‘s pitch dark, but whenever there is another source of light, especially yellow light, it just fades out and this can be very concerning. This has been my grouse with many of the modern LED headlights as very few actually perform well in the real world. A quick fix for this will be to opt for auxiliary lights but it might affect the bike’s warranty. 

Rear brake

Raider rear brake

While the braking performance of the Raider 125 is adequate for its performance, the rear employs a drum brake and my issue with it is modulation. There is no initial bite and boom, next thing it bites harder than a Great White Shark, resulting in the rear wheel locking up easily. The approach road to my residence is in a pretty bad shape and is downhill and I have to use the front brake, because there have been multiple incidents where the rear has locked up easily and I had a few close calls. Also, I know it’s a commuter and costs would have gone up significantly by adding this, but a single-channel ABS should have been offered as an option. 

Engine kill switch

TVS Raider switchgear

The Raider gets an engine-kill type switch on the RHS switchgear, but it’s for switching between the ‘Power’ and ‘Eco’ ride modes. Yes, the ride modes will be useful for a lot of riders, but it could have been positioned near the console and this would have allowed the engine kill switch to exist. Turning the ignition off at a signal feels very old school and something that’s very out of place for such a modern motorcycle. I admit, it’s a small niggle, but a niggle nonetheless.

TVS Raider
TVS Raider
Rs. 95,219
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