The TVS Radeon was one of the biggest surprise launches of 2018. TVS has set a benchmark when it comes to sending creative invites. The invitation for the TVS Apache RR310 launch, for example, was sent along with a pit board that is used in motorsports like MotoGP. Thus, the media fraternity, including yours truly, was curious to know what motorcycle has TVS lined up after the brand sent out invites along with a coffee mug. Was TVS planning to introduce a cafe racer, or were they going to unveil the production-spec version of the Zeppelin concept that was unveiled at the 2018 Auto Expo?
To everyone’s surprise, a new commuter, the Radeon came through the curtains at the launch. So why did TVS introduce another commuter bike when it already had the Star City+, Sport, and the Victor? Let us find out.
We could not help but notice the Radeon’s uncanny resemblance to the Hero MotoCorp’s best selling commuter, the Splendor. However, closer inspection reveals the hard work that TVS has put behind the motorcycle. For starters, the budget price tag has not resulted in a compromise in quality. The fit and finish are remarkable on the bike.
TVS has tagged the design as Unique Impact Resistant that is claimed to offer safety from scratches and breakage. The motorcycle is built around a Single cradle tubular frame.
Visually, the fascia gets a conventional halogen headlight that is accompanied by a LED DRL at the bottom. A chrome garnish surrounds the headlamp and gives the Radeon a premium look. On top of the headlight is a 3D TVS logo that also receives a chrome finish. The body coloured front fender is large enough to stop water and mud from splashing on the engine while riding in wet conditions.
The cockpit features a twin-pod instrument console that resembles a car’s dashboard. The left side of the instrument console features an analogue speedometer and odometer along with ‘Economy’ and ‘Power’ mode indicator. The right side displays a fuel gauge and side-stand warning indicator. All the telltale signs sit in between the two-pod display. A TVS emblem occupies the space above the telltale indicators.
An optional USB charger is available with the Radeon although there is no space to keep your device and you would have to opt for an aftermarket phone stand to use the charging feature on the motorcycle.
The typical commuter style handlebar gets a chrome finish too. The switchgear includes a pass button that is a neat addition and a feature that is not available on all products in the segment. Rest of the switches are standard. They include controls for high- and low-beam, blinkers, horn, and choke on the left side. The right side of the switchgear gets a controller for LED DRL and headlight and a self-starter button.
A fuel tank that comes with various elements such as chrome TVS logo and a filler cap to give it a premium look follows the cockpit. The fuel carrying capacity is at par with its rivals at 10-litre. The sides feature recesses along with rubber pads. The rubber pads look sturdy but the black colour had already begun to fade, and it is only a matter of time before it affects the visual appeal of that nicely done paint job. The side panels get the 3D Radeon emblems finished in chrome while the rear panels feature a DuraLife sticker.
The saddle, unlike other commuters, features a tan, brown colour with a ribbed pattern that adds a unique look to the Radeon. Pillion can use a handle on the side, or the grab rail at the rear to hold on to the motorcycle. A small luggage rack has been integrated into the rear grab rail although it cannot carry a massive amount of weight. More luggage solutions include a hook on the side that can be used to hang a bag.
The rear of the motorcycle is finished with conventional tail light along with clear screen blinkers and a rear fender. The Radeon rides on 18-inch alloy wheels with the convenience of tubeless tyres for easy puncture repairs.
The fit, finish, and the paint quality on the TVS Radeon is commendable. Some may say that the design feels slightly loud, but that is subjective. The Radeon grabbed quite some attention as I rode it in the city and that speaks a lot about the desirability factor of the new commuter from TVS.
The motorcycle is available in four colour options – Pearl White (bike in images), Metal Black, Golden Beige and Royal Purple. Our favourite is the Pearl White and Metal Black. What’s yours? Let us know through the comments.
Engine and Performance
Before we talk about the engine’s behaviour, let us get the mechanical specifications out of the way. The TVS Radeon uses a 109.7 cc, single cylinder 4 Stroke Duralife (remember the sticker on the rear panel) engine that makes 8.4 PS of maximum power at 7,000 rpm and 8.7 Nm of peak torque at 5,000 rpm. The motor is paired with a four-speed gearbox. The engine covers get a champagne gold finish with a TVS logo in red colour that adds a visual appeal to the overall package.
There is no tachometer to elaborate how does the engine behave at what RPM. Therefore, we would use speed as a reference in this case. The third gear demands the speedometer to tick above the 30 kph mark while the fourth can be used anywhere above 40 kph. The engine feels a little restless below the speeds mentioned above in the respective gears. The third can take to till 80 kph if you keep the throttle pinned while the top gear can clock up to 95 kph.
The engine feels stress-free till about 70 kph, after which some vibrations start to creep in from the footpegs. Rev further and the vibrations become more evident. The 40-60 kph range in top cog is the ideal cruising speed. Do you remember the ‘Economy’ and ‘Power’ indicators on the tachometers? The signs light up depending on the throttle position and are aimed to indicate when you are squeezing better fuel economy from the motor.
The braking department features a 130 mm drum at the front and a 110 mm unit at the rear. The TVS Radeon comes in a single variant, and a disc brake is not available, even as an option. The motorcycle benefits from Synchronised Braking Technology, which is TVS Motors’ nomenclature for the combi-braking system. The stopping power is at par with its rivals, and the motorcycle sheds speed at a decent pace. However, an optional disc brake would have been a great addition to what is a very appealing package.
Ride and Handling
We took the Radeon through a variety of conditions, ranging from bumper-to-bumper traffic to highway cruising, and the motorcycle did not disappoint. The 18-inch wheels and a well-cushioned seat offer comfortable ride quality. While the suspension setup would filter minor undulations without much fuss, it does feel slightly on the stiffer side. Shock absorption tasks are performed by oil damped conventional telescopic forks at the front and 5-step adjustable hydraulic unit at the rear.
An ideal seat height ensures easy reach to the ground. At 5 feet 9 inches tall, I could place both feet flat on the ground with ease. Handling department does not let down either. The motorcycle feels stable even at speeds of 80 kph on the highway. A short turning radius ensures easy filtering through vehicles in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Who should buy the TVS Radeon?
The Star City+, Sport and Victor have been around for years. Thus, instead of introducing another variant with new graphics, TVS opted to launch an all-new brand to attract the audience. The TVS Radeon is a perfect option for someone who is looking to buy his first motorcycle without burning a hole in the wallet. The Radeon retails for INR 48,990 (ex-showroom Delhi), which is very competitive for the features and the superior build quality.
Could this threaten the current 100-110 cc motorcycles? Probably not. However, it can improve TVS' image in the hinterlands of the Indian market where buyers are looking for their first motorcycle.
The slightly stiff suspension, lack of disc brake and the fading colour for the pad on the fuel tank are the only negatives that we can think of but they are not deal breakers, and you still get an excellent package in the form of TVS Radeon.