TVS Motor Co’s all-new 225cc motorcycle is a fresh perspective of an urban cruiser, which is equally good as a runabout in the city as it is when Ronin on the highway.
TVS Motor Company has been making a mark in the scooter segment in India with its Jupiter and NTorq becoming the talk of the town and drawing buyers towards their innovative, value-driven product approaches.
While the Jupiter notched the 5-million-units mark earlier this year in June, nine years after getting launched in September 2013, the sportier NTorq too breached the 1-million-unit sales milestone within 51 months of its market introduction.
The Chennai-based two-wheeler major has been setting high standards when it comes to innovation in these two products, like introducing an external fuel-filler outlet which has now become the norm in the scooter segment in India. The feature was first introduced on the Jupiter back in 2013.
On the motorcycle front too, the company has been at the forefront of innovation particularly with its Apache series, which has over the years evolved into a strong brand and is today also available in its flagship form – the RR310 – the motorcycle TVS developed with partner BMW Motorrad.
Looks take time to thrill
Keeping its spirit of innovation thriving, the company has recently entered into a brand-new motorcycle segment – the entry-level cruiser market – with its latest product, the TVS Ronin which is targeted at young riding aficionados.
The launch of the TVS Ronin also marks the leadership change at the company, which is being now led by Sudarshan Venu, who was elevated as the new managing director of TVS Motor Company in May 2022. The Ronin is his first new motorcycle launch with the focus clearly on young India.
The 225cc motorcycle takes a fresh approach at urban cruisers, with its unique styling that resembles a mix between a scrambler and a cruiser, and lends the Ronin a confident look that might, however, take some time to get used to. With its dual-tone, neo-retro paint elements for the top-end trim, a golden-finished front USD fork, muscular headlamp, an asymmetrically-placed instrument cluster, a sleek LED tail-lamp and wide tyres, the Ronin does end up looking more modern than what the broad rear fender tells at the first glance.
The motorcycle is extremely well-built with minimal rough edges, good finishing to all cycle parts and tactile feel to the switches that are also ergonomically placed. There are disc brakes at both ends of the diamond-cut alloy wheels with a dual-channel ABS in the top ‘TD’ variant, while the full-digital, Bluetooth-enabled instrument cluster is extremely legible under harsh sunlight and offers plentiful riding information. There are two riding modes to choose from – Rain and Urban – that alter the Ronin’s ABS sensitivity.
With its Scrambler traits, the Ronin’s seat is placed at a comfortable height to be accessible even to shorter riders and once astride, the rider has a good view ahead of the off-set monopod instrument cluster with the knees gripping the large tank to receive an encapsulating as well as secure feeling. However, the pillion area is a little short on width and long-distance rides do induce a sense of discomfort.
The Ronin is powered by a new 20.4hp, 225.9cc, single-cylinder, oil-cooled engine that is tuned to offer maximum torque at low engine revolutions, thereby elevating the riding experience within the city. The mill is extremely smooth and offers tractable performance right from the word go when it comes alive in a zero-noise fashion due to the application of an integrated-starter generator silent-start system.
The rider’s triangle is designed for a cruiser-style seating posture with forward-set foot pegs that immediately give the Ronin a long-distance tourer character. However, the gear ratios on the slick, five-speed gearbox are short, giving the motorcycle an extremely-high flexibility of being in the higher gear inside the city, but at the same time, robbing it off the performance in the higher revolution range.
Riding the Ronin within city limits is a breezy affair with ample low-end torque and power that makes zipping through traffic a breeze and also draws attention with its subtle, yet growly, exhaust note. However, at 160kg, the Ronin throws a hiccup or two when it comes to navigating through dense and congested traffic. It doesn’t help that the bike has the large turning radius as a result of a raked front fork.
The suspension setup in general is tuned for agile handling but it tends to relay the shocks derived from sharp bumps and potholes to the rider and pillion, making it important to slow down for rough patches. The motorcycle, however, is confident in its demeanour and offers a very well-balanced ride, handling and comfort characteristics.
The Ronin comes across as an extremely enjoyable motorcycle to ride on a day-to-day basis. However, at prices ranging between Rs 149,000 and Rs 169,000, it squarely targets products like the recently-launched Hunter 350 from Royal Enfield.
While it would be a tall order for TVS to decimate the segment king, the Ronin’s advantages of good fuel efficiency upwards of 30kpl from a stress-free engine that also generates less heat, reasonable levels of comfort and last but not the least, TVS’ widespread network of efficient service centres and historically better product reliability than competitors could augur well for this urban motorcycle that comes as a breath of fresh air and is quite appealing as a well-priced package for what it offers.
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