So, the TVS Radeon is supposed to be the new warrior in the company’s 100-110cc lineup. The motorcycle doesn’t aim to establish new grounds especially with respect to the styling but then there are things which have been given a TVS touch as well. The switchgear for example looks and feels from the company’s relatively premium fleet and so on. But will it be enough to dethrone the segment leader, the Hero Splendor? For this, we enlisted the help of Sahil Bhambure, a Hero Splendor owner from the last 18 years.
Design of the TVS Radeon
Sahil felt quite at home with the motorcycle’s design. After all, he has been seeing it nearly everyday in the form of the Splendor. TVS designers deliberately designed the model so that it resembles the Hero best seller. However, I believe the Radeon is a clone of the Splendor as well as the Dream Yuga. The DRL is very vibrant as well. It also explains why the motorcycle also has a separate headlight switch. The rear portion is exactly the same as the Splendor’s. Even the tail pipe is a similar unit but credit has to be given here that it sounds sporty.
A look at the instrument console and you know where things aren’t similar to the other bikes mentioned here. It is a simple affair but reminds you of the 2004 Victor with its Eco and Power modes. There is also an irritating side stand buzzer. So, if you like me, prefer letting the engine run for sometime when cold then the only option is to put the bike on centre stand. Sahil and me both agreed that the brown seat is a nice touch and so are the tank grip pads (useless for extra taller riders like me).
Engine and transmission
The Duralife engine (only TVS can come up with such names) displaces 110cc and 8.4PS/8.7Nm and is paired to a 4-speed gearbox. The gearbox shift pattern is similar to that of the Splendor (all-up). This engine is as refined as say a Mahindra Centuro’s motor. Cold starts, a TVS bug bear seems to have been sorted with this engine. A second dab of the starter or two kicks is what it takes to bring this motor to life. The choke wasn’t touched.
The gearshift action is positive. However you cannot use your toe to upshift as the toe protector is inadequate. The immediate thing that you will notice is that this engine doesn’t like high revs and all the torque is available right from word go. This means you can upshift to third gear from as low as 20kmph. Fourth comes up in 30kmph. Sahil enjoyed the Splendor feel as his motorcycle also allows him to upshift as early as possible. This has a positive effect on the fuel efficiency. I recorded 57kmpl in the city and 63kmpl on the highway. The top speed recorded was 82kmph and the motorcycle takes a lot of time to reach that speed and sounds thrashy as well.
TVS Radeon ride and handling
The suspension felt a bit stiff but this must be due to the spindly tyres that the motorcycle ships with. The riding posture is commuter-ish with a straight seating arrangement. I quite liked the soft seat and even for longer durations there was no butt ache that accompanied. The handlebar makes it easy to filter through traffic and it is a good thing that the Radeon is diminutive as well. The mirrors too are useable enough.
Given the government’s new safety regulation norms, CBS is offered on the Radeon. When you use the rear brake, you can sense the front brake lever slightly getting depressed. CBS ensures that both the brakes are in action when only the rear one is used. The feel is wooden though given the speeds that you will usually carry on the Radeon, the drums are enough.
The most important question. Should you buy this over the Splendor?
Sahil says that it he were to replace his Splendor with a similar 110cc offering, he will still opt for another Hero. For him, the fact that the Radeon is more modern is lost. At Rs 52,620, ex-Mumbai, the TVS Radeon isn’t the most affordable 100-110cc bike but it still packs in a lot of vigor. I personally liked the Radeon over the Splendor and given that it is a much better handler too isn’t lost on me. However, I guess given the number of Radeons I am seeing in metros or even in rural places, there are more customers like Sahil than me.
Things we like about the TVS Radeon
Torquey engine, inoffensive styling, ease of riding
Things we don’t like about the TVS Radeon
More top end performance, lower price point
Images by Lijo Mathai