The Buddh International Circuit is undoubtedly the most inappropriate place to test a 125cc commuter motorcycle, like the TVS Raider. For the simple reason that the odds of any customer taking the Raider to the track are as low as India’s chances of winning the next football world cup. And, of course, the long and wide nature of the circuit makes even motorcycles that are twice as powerful as the Raider feel slow and sluggish.
But, then, the BIC also offers a safe environment that allows us to push every motorcycle to its limit, and the results, as you will see, can be astonishing. Now, let’s get to the topic at hand.
The Raider marked TVS’ re-entry into the 125cc commuter space, and the interesting thing is that it’s unlike all motorcycles the brand has previously had on sale in this class. In fact, with its sporty demeanour, the Raider even stands out from its competitors. The motorcycle feels so eager to turn that you’ll be taken by surprise. It does, however, hold a clean line, and the tyres offer enough grip to make it supremely enjoyable.
While the front suspension has a taut feel, the rear is set up on the softer side. While this setup should definitely work well on streets, on the track, a firmly sprung rear monoshock could have helped shave a few tenths of a second from its lap time. That said, the Raider took just 1 minute 24.809 seconds to go around the short loop.
Now, here’s a fun fact – the Raider is nearly 5 – 6 seconds faster than the Royal Enfield Twins, despite the latter flaunting a better power-to-weight ratio and a considerably higher torque rating. We also rode the Raider in both its riding modes – Eco and Power – and we must say that that there is a significant difference in the way it performs in both modes. With revs and the top speed restricted in the Eco mode, the Raider clocked a lap time of 1 minute 30.886 seconds.
Aside from the handling and performance, the Raider also impresses in terms of features, which include LED lighting, an extremely informative negative LCD, a USB charging port, under-seat storage, and a rear monoshock. And then, of course, there is the design, which brings a noticeable youthfulness to this class of motorcycles. The Raider, despite its puny motor, was indeed a surprise package on the track. Kudos to the TVS team for successfully injecting fun into the rather mundane 125cc class of motorcycles.
- TVS Raider 125 (Lap Time – 01:24.8)
|COMFORT & PRACTICALITY||10||8.5|
|RIDE & HANDLING||10||7.5|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||20||15.0|