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Photos By Shubham Khade

Hero, as well as TVS, have pretty much been at the top of their respective games in the Indian two-wheeler industry for quite a while. Ever since TVS launched the Raider, it has caught the public fancy, and not to mention, we have come to love the motorcycle, too. It really has put its best foot forward, being a sensible and cost-effective commuter, while also being capable of fun with a striking design. Hero has also jumped on this 125cc premium sporty commuter bandwagon with the recent launch of the new Xtreme 125R. It only makes sense now to put the two motorcycles side by side and see how they measure up to each other.

Visually, both motorcycles have a sharp distinct styling, but while the Raider does carry hints of lines derived from other TVS motorcycles, the Xtreme is more radical. Featuring an aggressive headlamp, a sculpted fuel tank, large side shrouds and a sporty tail, it could easily pass off for a bigger and sportier bike. Both motorcycles also have LED headlamps and fully digital displays, although the Xtreme gets a simple LCD unit while the Raider gets a cool Bluetooth-compatible TFT unit. As far as switchgear quality and component feel are concerned, the Raider has a slight edge over the Xtreme. It also gets two riding modes, a start-stop system, a silent engine start, and a USB charging port, while the Xtreme does come with single-channel ABS.

Simple LCD unit from the Xtreme 160R
Striking TFT unit with connected features

Aside from good looks, both motorcycles sound pretty good, too, with a raspy and sporty exhaust note from the Xtreme, while the Raider emanates a more resonant, bass-heavy tune. Sure, not everything hinges on how good a motorcycle sounds, but that sure is an added joy. The Xtreme does have something that the Raider lacks, and that is the inclusion of a kickstart. Slowly disappearing in this age of the button-start, it does carry a hint of reassurance with it.

Getting to the important stuff, both motorcycles match up pretty evenly on paper, but on the road, the Raider feels quicker on acceleration, while the Xtreme manages to hold a higher top speed, right around 100 kph, more comfortably. The riding position is pretty relaxed on both motorcycles, as it should be on a premium commuter, but the differentiating factor would be the suspension setup. The Xtreme has a softer setup on both ends that iron out undulations on the road with ease, as long as we remember to slow down. The Raider, on the other hand, has a more well-rounded setup, allowing for sharp handling as well as comfort on bad roads.

A fairly engaging powerhouse
A lively and robust mill, this

Talking about handling, both motorcycles fare pretty well in that department. The Xtreme has wider tyres and a little bit more heft to its advantage, while the Raider feels really nimble, and at times almost has an impish temperament. Sharp, engaging and confident, I am inclined towards the Raider, but when it comes to braking, the Xtreme’s ABS-enabled braking system feels more reassuring. So far it seems like quite an even match. Considering the pricing, the difference between both motorcycles comes up to around ₹ 6500. Not that much of a deciding factor, if you ask me.

So what is my take? It all boils down to the feel of the motorcycle. If you want a fun motorcycle that looks good and has a commanding stance, the Hero Xtreme 125R is the way to go. On the other hand, if you enjoy an engaging ride with a handful of features, the TVS Raider 125 is the obvious choice.