For the long haul

Kirti Patil
Saturday, 23 March 2019

The head-turner and workhorse from TVS stable, Radeon, is likely to create its space amongst the volume of sellers across smaller towns and rural areas

The race that TVS Radeon is up for reminds me of the all-Peruvian Dakar Rally which saw Hero finishing ahead among the two Indian Factory teams fighting out there in the unforgiving desert of Latin America. Notably, TVS made sure an Indian rider finish the rally after about 5000-km of gruelling biking mainly through sand dunes, fesh-fesh and gravel. The point I am trying to make is that there are only two bike-makers in India who have invested in practical R&D that goes into taking part in gruelling competitions such as Dakar Rally, and TVS is one of them.

So what makes this new offering from TVS in the 110cc segment different from what is available? Certainly, looks and stability, but looks can be deceptive. TVS may not even have included even a few nuts or bolts here or bearings there from the learnings of Dakar over the past few years, but the performance of Radeon gives a feeling that this commuter motorcycle is meant for the long haul.

The segment Radeon is competing in, calls for cost savings for customers. Since TVS has steadfastly refrained from going in for front disc brakes, which now has sort of become a norm, it makes the bike less expensive. 

Besides drum brakes, Radeon features include combined braking system, a stand indicator with a beeper, a USB charging port, LED DRLs etc. 

This comfortable and stable bike, which hopes to become a competitor to the largest selling bike in this segment — the Hero Splendor, has distinctive rubber tank grips, akin to Royal Enfield Classic, on its 10-litre tank. This adds to its retro look and makes it a head-turner. The alloy wheels too grab attention.  

Electric start has been made standard now for the air-cooled single cylinder 110cc engine that generates 8.3bhp and 8.7Nm, and has a mileage of 60kmpl.

Specs-wise Radeon competes with the Hero Splendor iSmart 110, Honda Livo, and Bajaj Discover 125, and though it offers a 5-year warranty on the pricing side, it is slightly high when compared to the Hero HF Deluxe Eco, Hero Splendor Plus and Bajaj Platina.

TVS already has three bikes in this commuter segment — Star City, Sport and Victor — and with this fourth one, the Hosur-based manufacturer hopes to ride into the untapped legion of customers in the 25-35 age-group. Even though Splendor largely rules this space, TVS has given Radeon a more premium look with the design and built giving it a classier exterior. These touches include the champagne gold finish on the engine casing, the chrome bezel surround for the headlamp, long brown seat, and a chrome silencer. 

The chrome and gold should appeal to its target user from the semi-urban region. The LED strip under the headlamp too adds to the overall look that serves the purpose of having headlights always-on. The paddle switchgear too is great for a bike in this segment — very comfortable and designed to last long. 

A quick drive to Lavasa did give us some clarity of the TVS’s Duralife engine, which is mated with 4-speed gearbox housed in a single downtube chassis. Electric starter too is easy on the thumb and the engine comes to life with a confident roar. 

With a peak torque early at 5,000rpm, Radeon is like a breeze to accelerate even on uphill. The engine is refined up to its sweet spot around 60-65kmph in fourth gear — beyond this the bike vibrates from the handle, foot-pegs, as well as from the seat. Essentially the bike is meant for city or in-town travel. Standard handlebar makes manoeuvring easy through narrow gaps.

The telescopic front and 5-step adjustable hydraulic twin shock absorbers at the rear ensures comfort even on broken roads which is good when one is riding with a pillion as the suspension setup is on the firmer side.

Nothing extraordinary but Radeon is a motorcycle that has the capability to be amongst the sellers of the segment across smaller towns and rural areas. The bike’s retro-inspired styling, refined engine and solid built are likely to appeal to buyers.

- Type: Air-cooled, 109.7cc single cylinder petrol
- Weight: 112kg
- Price: Rs 48,400 (ex-showroom)
- Fuel efficiency: 67.77kmpl (in city); 74.39kmpl (on highway)
- Performance: 0-60kmph in 7.1s

Pros: Side stand warning, power mode indicator, USB charging point
Cons: Takes time to get used to pedal shift gear lever

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