TVS Ronin Road Test Review: A City-slicking Samurai

  • Sep 1, 2022
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TVS’s hot new motorcycle is unlike anything it has ever made, and we find out whether that’s a good or bad thing

TVS Ronin Road Test Review ZigWheels

A quick google search says Ronin is “a wandering samurai who had no lord or master”. And TVS’ latest offering is, in several ways, just that. It’s the Hosur-based bikemaker’s first attempt at creating something that does not only not comply with the company’s racing pedigree but also not one particular identity. Instead, it is an amalgamation of several qualities from cruiser, scrambler and neo-retro motorcycle genres. We got to swing a leg over this motorcycle in the real world, and see whether or not that was a clever move by TVS.

Ronin vs the urban jungle

TVS Ronin City Shot

This is where the TVS Ronin shines. This samurai is wary of its surroundings and takes advantage of them with absolute grace. What’s primarily responsible for this is the engine, and you can read what the company has done to the heart in our first ride review here. Tractability is phenomenal as the torquey nature of the engine lets you hold higher gears at slower speeds. I was able to go over all kinds of speed bumps, and even take slow U-turns, in the third gear. Slot it in this gear and you can putter around town effortlessly, at least until 52-53kmph, after which it gets a little vibey, imploring you to shift up.

Acceleration / Roll-on acceleration

Time In Seconds

0-60kmph

4.63s

0-80kmph

8.09s

0-100kmph

14.59s

30-70kmph

5.39s

40-80kmph

7.17s

What sweetens the deal is the Glide Through Traffic - TVS’ speak for low-rpm assist. It works on all gears and you can simply modulate the clutch without giving throttle inputs in slow-moving traffic. The fifth gear holds right from 30kmph, making it easier to do city rides without too many gear shifts. The shifts are precise and the clutch lever is light, aiding it in its city mannerisms. The longer stroke has definitely improved the bike’s roll-on acceleration, as it is quicker than the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V by almost 0.2 seconds. 

TVS Ronin Engine

 

TVS Ronin Mileage

City

42.9kmpl

Highway

40.77kmpl

The fuel efficiency figures are decent for a bike of this displacement. Coupled with the 14-litre tank, expect a real-world range of around 560-odd km on a tankful.

Ronin vs the highway

TVS Ronin side shot

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The Ronin does feel like it is ‘Ronin’ out of breath out on the highway. The same engine that felt at home in the city was stressed out when riding at a bit of pace. Most of the grunt is concentrated between 4000 and 6000rpm, especially on the third to fifth gears. Sure, there’s plenty of low-end grunt in the first two gears that helps in its city manners, but when the roads open up, the narrow powerband and the lack of top-end become a bottleneck in the bike’s cruising capabilities. 

It feels comfortable around 80kmph, where the vibes are minimal and the riding experience is relaxed. You can also cruise at 90kmph if you can tolerate a bit of vibes. This is where the tacho needle sits right at 6000rpm. However, there’s barely any discernible grunt post that range, and you’ll have to really wring the throttle to reach and sustain triple digit speeds. 

It’s a little disappointing as its sportier sibling, the Apache RTR 200 4V, could handle triple digit speeds much better. Another spoilsport is the vibrations. It becomes perceptible at around 5,500rpm, particularly on the left footpeg and the handlebar.

Ronin vs the laws of physics

TVS Ronin handling

You’d expect some inherent laziness from the relaxed rake angle, but that is magically nonexistent. The wide handlebar, with good leverage and the upright riding stance with light 160kg kerb weight, helps in snaking through the traffic effortlessly. While your body sits upright, your legs are set forward, so consequently you’d expect a heel-toe shifter. Sadly, it has a toe-only unit and moving your ankle below the lever feels a little cumbersome.

Braking

Distance In Metres

100-0kmph

56.28m

80-0kmph

34.05m

60-0kmph

17.29m

The suspension is pliant, and is well tuned to handle both low speed undulations and confidence-inspiring high speeds. It filters out most of the sharp bumps without transferring them to the rider. 

TVS Ronin Brakes

While the stopping performance is decent, we would’ve ideally liked a bit more feel and progression from the anchors. You might have to really grab the levers if you want to brake extremely hard, as post the strong initial bite there’s quite a lot of mushy sensation in the system. 

Grip from the block patterned TVS Remora rubber is good and is confidence inspiring while taking corners at higher speeds. This, along with the torquey nature of the engine, should keep you happy in the ghats.

Ronin vs modern day technology

TVS Ronin Instrument Cluster

TVS has equipped the Ronin to the gills with everything one would expect from a modern, ‘connected’ motorcycle. You’ve got the regular run-of-the-mill info on the single-pod offset LCD dash with smartphone connectivity (exclusive to the TD variant, which is what we have here). You can read more about the console here. That said, all the ‘smart’ info is crammed into the small digital inset which may take time to get used to. 

The Hosur-based company has also put in a lot of engineering behind the silent starter which works like a charm. Having said that, it is still a novelty feature that I personally would’ve done without. In my opinion, the engineering efforts could’ve gone into making the engine more refined or perhaps adding another gear instead. Overall fit and finish levels are lovely, just what you’d expect from a modern motorcycle. The switchgear feels solid, and all the body panels seem well-put together, and the wiring is hidden well. But one major grinch in our test bike was that the fuse for the headlight, console and horn kept blowing up even after replacing it with a spare one. 

Ronin vs aesthetics

TVS Ronin design

Design is subjective, and the Ronin is a bit of an oddball for me. It tries multiple things at once and ends up looking awkward. The fuel tank’s shape doesn’t feel coherent with the frame’s headstock, the side panels are way too boxy, and the fat rear fender is shockingly garish. I’d prefer a chopped rear fender with a tyre-hugger-integrated licence plate holder for a clean look. All said and done, the Ronin’s unique design will still grab eyeballs.

The final verdict

TVS Ronin Verdict

The TVS Ronin is a great, feature-rich motorcycle if your commutes are restricted to the city. But then, it does its job mechanically, and it feels like there’s no ‘soul’ to it. At Rs 1,68,750 (ex-showroom Delhi), the Ronin is still a bit on the expensive side if you’re looking for a city-only bike.

The Ronin doesn’t make you feel special like other TVS bikes such as the Apache RTR 160 4V, NTorq 125 or even the Radeon, and its identity crisis is quite evident. Though TVS started off with an interesting idea with the Ronin, the execution could’ve been better. There are other rivals in the segment but that’s a story for another time.

TVS Ronin Video Review

TVS Ronin
TVS Ronin
Rs. 1.49 Lakh
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