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TVS Raider 125 Road Test Review: The Gen Z’s Heartthrob


TVS aims to change how the world perceives a 125cc commuter, but is it too brave an attempt?

The Urban Dictionary describes Gen Z as the first generation steeped in truly what we mean as a global culture. A generation that seeks individualism and strives to make the most of today.

When TVS introduced the Raider, not only did it step into the super-competitive 125cc premium commuter segment, but it also had the Gen Z on its radar. Will the Raider pay the price for TVS' bravado, or has it cracked the formula? 

Stands Apart In The General Crop Of Commuters 

The USP of a 125cc commuter has never been its styling; it possibly never could be. A buyer of this segment isn't looking for a well-chiseled naked that can woo crowds but a dapper roadster that can be easy on the pockets. This is probably why bike makers don't think much about the aesthetic appeal of a 125cc commuter. But just like the individualism-obsessed generation, the Raider seeks to stand apart. 

A glance at the Raider, and you'll find it difficult to tell if it indeed is a 125cc commuter. The bike definitely demands a second look, thanks to the distinctive LED DRL and the all-LED headlight to a well-sculpted fuel tank with knee recess and tank extensions. While its competitors rely on an overload of graphics (and dare I say, drab colours), the Raider proudly wears just the 3D TVS logo and Raider badges, exuding premium-ness. 

More Than Just An Eye Candy

Complementing the TVS Raider's youthful styling is its ergonomics. While the world expects a motorcycle of this segment to be just another mode of commute, the Raider strives for more.

For a bike whose primary purpose is to handle daily duties, this is one brilliant machine. The low and wide handlebar, coupled with the slightly rear-set footpegs, gives it a forward-set commanding riding position, promising an engaging ride.

But don't get me wrong. For all the sporty that it is, the ergonomics are commute-focused. The 780mm saddle height is the lowest amongst its competitors, so planting your feet firmly on the ground won't be a problem. The seat is roomy, and the flat pillion seat is equally enjoyable. 

Packs Some Serious Punch...If Needed

The TVS Raider 125's highlight has to be its engine. The 124.8cc single-cylinder three-valve engine may seem similar to the NTorq 125, but TVS assures us it's an all-new engine. It delivers 11.38PS at 7500rpm and 11.2Nm at 6000rpm, making it the most powerful and torquiest motorcycle among its competitors. 

As you thumb the new silent starter, the bike comes to life with a rumbly exhaust note, something you wouldn't expect from a bike of this segment. Slot it in the first gear, and as you move along, there's a certain urgency to the way the engine delivers power. Heck, with that raspy exhaust, you'll be tempted to push the engine further, and it complies...happily. 

 

TVS Raider

Hero Glamour BS6

Bajaj Pulsar NS125

0-60kmph

6.23s (Power)

6.61s (Eco)

7.10s

6.60s

0-80kmph

11.28s (Power)

11.99s (Eco)

13.94s

12.27s

0-100kmph

22.04s (Power)

-

25.85s

And if you don't want its segment-leading acceleration, you can always switch to the 'Eco' riding mode. Yes, the engineers at Hosur have thrown in riding modes for this commuter, and they work flawlessly. 

Fuel Efficiency

TVS Raider

Hero Glamour BS6

City 

71.94kmpl

64.10kmpl

Highway

65.44kmpl

69.49kmpl

The 'Eco' riding mode mellows down the throttle response a little, restricting the engine to 8,000rpm (1000 revs lower). In this mode, you can also cherish the idle-start/stop system, which kills the engine when idling for more than a few seconds, and all you need is a blip of the throttle to bring it back to life. 

Out on the highway, surprisingly, it doesn't feel like the engine is punching above its weight. Overtaking the juggernauts isn't taxing, and it can happily do 85kmph-90kmph all day long. It is only after that when you feel it's gasping a little. But let's not forget that it is a "humble" 125cc commuter.

A Hoot In The City And Beyond

Like Gen Z is seeking to push beyond its comfort zone, the TVS Raider also doesn't want to stay restricted to the city limits. At 123kg, the Raider is relatively light, and coupled with the skinny TVS Remora tyres, cutting past through traffic is all the more fun. 

What is not expected from a bike of this genre is to be a capable handler for weekend thrills, and the Raider surprises you with its handling capability, which might seem a bit daunting at first. It is very reactive to steering inputs, but once you get the hang of it, it is easy to corner, and it holds its line well. TVS has managed to ace the sportiness-to-comfort ratio with the suspension tune. The components allow you to attack corners with enough thirst while being equally adaptable upon encountering a mid-corner bump.

 

And that's commendable as it feels pretty easy nullifying speed humps, sharp ridges, and unbearable rumble strips. Yes, it is not as softly sprung as the Honda SP 125 or other traditional commuter rivals. But just like we experienced on the NTorq, the slightly firm suspension remains settled and doesn't wallow over broken roads, even with somebody riding pillion.

The chink in the Raider's armour, though, is its braking system. While the calibration of the combined braking system is just about right, the performance isn't upto the mark, and that's because the front brake lever barely has any travel. So, beyond a certain point, the lever won't budge, limiting the bike's braking force. 

Braking

TVS Raider 

Hero Glamour BS6

80-0kmph

41.94m

36.25m

60-0kmph

24.23m

19.70m

 

A Pleaser For The Feature-savvy Generation

A generation that grew up with social media and the wild world of the internet is hard to please. But boy, does the Raider do that, and how! The multi-colour LCD instrument console is bright and easy to read even under direct sunlight. It packs a plethora of information ranging from a gear indicator to average speed, top speed readouts, and even a fuel economy indicator. There's even a USB charger, a sheer necessity for the generation that's always on the go.

But Gen Z won't settle for a fancy LCD display, right? After all, it grew up surrounded by LED screens and bright TFT displays. Well, TVS is already working on a new variant that would get a TFT console with Bluetooth connectivity and turn-by-turn navigation. 

The Final Word

TVS Raider Drum

Rs 77,500

TVS Raider Disc

Rs 85,469

The TVS Raider is a fresh approach to how the world perceives the 125cc commuter segment. At Rs 77,500 for the drum variant, the pricing is justifiable, though the Rs 8,000 premium for the disc brake is slightly questionable.

The TVS Raider does what is expected from a bike of this genre and strives for more. It has character, and instead of simply complying with inputs, it takes pride in showing its potential, be it with its peppy engine or agility. The sporty nature of the commuter doesn't come at the cost of practicality, and with features like a USB charger and practical underseat storage, everyday life should become a tad simpler for you. It doesn't feel out of the league on the highway, considering it's a bike meant for the city.

Of course, it is not perfect. The braking, for one, needs improvement. However, it isn't a glaring downside and wouldn't hamper your experience with the bike. Guess TVS' endeavour -- to build a bike that's unique while doing what the world expects it to do perfectly -- has borne fruit.

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Rs. 73,400 Onwards
Ex-showroom, Delhi
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