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What is this?
TVS’ newest offering for the 125cc segment. This is the all-new Raider 125, a commuter motorcycle that comes with a healthy dose of the company’s racing DNA. So far, TVS hasn’t had a breakthrough in the 125cc class of motorcycles like it has in the other segments. It had the Flame 125, which was replaced by the Phoenix 125. Unfortunately for TVS, both motorcycles didn’t make their mark in the market for whatever reason that might be. That being said, the folks at TVS have really come prepared by leaving no stone unturned with the Raider 125.

Going back to the drawing board, TVS has studied the evolving two-wheeler market well and along with the success of its other models has created the Raider 125 from the ground up. Beginning with the riding posture itself, TVS has made sure to offer the ergonomic position for the body for maximum comfort even after long saddle time and still having that sporty stance that keeps the experience engaging. The suspension setup features a monoshock at the rear (a segment first) paired with a telescopic fork at the front. TVS has made improvements to the design to offer slightly more travel with nearly half the friction compared to the previous design.

Next is the motor, it is an all-new unit that is packed with new technology that I feel no other Indian two-wheeler manufacturer would consider implementing in a 125cc motorcycle. The 124.8cc 3-valve engine has been built for high power and pickup while being a durable one. For the internals, the motor features a moly-coated piston and rings, a stiffer crank with a bigger bearing and special heat-treated gears with pressure lubrication, reengineered clutch mechanism, a built-in internal oil cooler and some more, all contributing to make it a refined and durable engine. And that’s not all, the Raider 125 comes with two riding modes (yes, another segment first) and TVS’ intelliGO engine start-stop system too.

Whom is it for?
The Gen Z. From those who have just bagged their first job to those who have recently got married. And for that kind of buyer, a boring looking average performance commuter motorcycle isn’t going to make the cut. The Raider 125 strikes an imposing style that is nothing like other 125cc motorcycles out there. From the bug-faced or an Autobot looking front end (whatever appeals to you more), the LED lighting, reverse LCD instrumentation, alloy footrests and footpegs, engine belly, split-seat with an aluminium grab rail to the upswept muffler, it looks and feels all fresh, sporty and attractive.

Does it handle?
Nothing like what a 125cc motorcycle has been capable of doing so far. What I mean is, the Raider 125 turned out to be far better than what one would expect from a motorcycle of that class. From the moment you get on the saddle you immediately feel it is just right. From the position of the handlebar to the footpegs, the hands and feet reach and rest almost naturally. That said, it is nothing but fun around corners. The grip from the sticky Remora tyres really pegs you to lean into corners. The steering did feel a bit twitchy while cornering but since I was riding it on a closed circuit, I was carrying way more speed than what I would out in the real world. Can’t comment much on how the suspension reacts to bumps and potholes at this point as the ride was on smooth paved tarmac.

How fast is it?
With a motor that pumps out 11 bhp and 1.14 kgm, it’s good figures. TVS claims the Raider 125 is capable of accelerating faster and also achieving a higher top speed compared to the direct rivals. On that statement, what I can confirm is that the Raider 125 definitely feels quicker and eager to build speed every time the throttle is whacked open. The shifts from the 5-speed ‘box were slick and positive. While the claimed top speed is 99 kph, in power mode, I managed to clock a top speed of 103 kph, while hitting the rev limiter for each gear. In Eco mode, while the difference in power isn’t drastic, the engine management system limits the revs to 8000rpm for the first four gears and cuts power in the fifth gear on reaching the 98 kph mark. And all this while you might be assuming there definitely have to be vibrations that would be intrusive. Instead, I am glad to mention that I didn’t experience any kind of vibrations at the footpegs, seat or handlebar that was bothersome even when the instrumentation was breaching the 100 kph mark.

Is it fun?
Ohh, absolutely! The Raider 125 is the motorcycle for Gen Z and for anyone who wants to make their daily commute engaging, fun, performance-oriented and at the same time also comfortable when needed. TVS has got a strong contender right from the scooter segment to the quarter-litre performance segment. And with the Raider 125, it has managed to fill that void in the 125cc segment that had been vacant for the longest time. Full marks for this one!

TVS Raider 125

Displacement: 124.8cc, Single
Max power: 11 bhp@7500 rpm
Max torque: 1.14 kgm@6000 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed

Type: Single cradle

(F/R): 240-mm disc/130-mm drum

(F/R): 80/100 R17 / 100/90 R17

L/W/H (mm): NA
Wheelbase: 1326 mm
Ground clearance: 180 mm
Seat height: 780 mm
Kerb weight: 123 kg
Fuel capacity: 10 litres

PRICE: Rs 77,500 (ex-showroom, Delhi)