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More often than not, we motoring journalists like motorcycles that surprise is, in a good way of course. Over years of riding various types and forms of motorcycles, we tend to form an inherent yet secretive judgemental attitude that makes us almost decide on the character of the motorcycle by looking at the spec sheet.
There are several motorcycles that are the complete opposite of what their spec sheets would suggest, but all of these are premium and very powerful motorcycles. When the TVS Ronin was launched on the 6th of July, 2022, several conversations were overheard about how the motorcycle will be underpowered and this inherent 'motoring journalist' attitude seemed to be overflowing at the venue.
We can't speak for the others, but we sure can say that our first impressions were completely overturned by the TVS Ronin. It is one of those motorcycles that once again taught us not to judge a book by its cover and a motorcycle by its specifications.
What is it about the TVS Ronin that made us feel this way? What is the motorcycle like to ride? Is it a scrambler, a cruiser or a roadster? Is the engine any good? The answers to these questions and more are in here. Read on to know more.
Design & Style
At first sight, the biggest question to come into one's mind would be, is it a scrambler, a cruiser or a roadster? Well, according to TVS, the Ronin doesn't fit into any of those segments and is motorcycle that can be what you want it to be. As a result, there are certain design elements of each of the aforementioned segments that have all been fused together to create the TVS Ronin.
The pulled-back handlebar, the large fuel tank, the seat as well as the fenders are like the ones found on cruisers. The mid-set footpegs, the stubby exhaust and the circular headlamp are design elements typically found on roadsters. Finally, the tyres as well as the offset instrumentation are elements that are typically found on scramblers.
Up front is a circular LED headlamp with a unique T-shaped LED DRL. TVS claims the headlamp is the most powerful in its segment and has a throw that is longer than any other motorcycle in the category. We couldn't ride the motorcycle at night and hence we cannot verify the same. However, judging by the amount of light thrown at reflective signboard even during the day, we can say that it is pretty powerful.
The Showa Big-Piston upside-down fork is finished in a shade of gold and this makes it look very attractive. However, this is only available in the mid and top-spec variants. The base variant gets a black paint job instead.
The front mudguard is made of metal, which is a huge step up in quality when compared to the plastic mudguards that have become commonplace in the market. Instrumentation is handled by a single-pod digital unit that is offset, which is once again pretty unique.
The fuel tank is large and voluptuous and can hold a brilliant 14 litres of petrol in it. This should easily lead to a range in excess of 400 kilometres. The paint finish on the TVS Ronin is great, and this is especially seen on the fuel tank. The base variant is only available in single-tone colours and the decals and pinstriping on the fuel tank is missing on the base SS variant.
We were riding the top-spec TD variant and this one is available in a dual-tone paint scheme. We must admit, it does look striking in this shade of grey. Under the fuel tank is a plastic panel that doesn't really perform a function, but it does look great. The side panels feature the Ronin badging and is made of plastic.
The TVS Ronin features quite an impressive seat. One look at the seat tells you that it is very comfortable indeed. More on this, in the riding impressions section. It is a rather simple affair at the rear with the TVS Ronin. There is a wide mudguard/fender, which is once again made of metal. It does feature LED lighting at the rear too.
To sum up, the TVS Ronin sports a design language that will either impress you at first sight or will impress you at a later stage. It is a design that grows on you and you will eventually find yourself liking it if you didn't already like it.
TVS Ronin Features
The TVS Ronin is not a premium motorcycle. It is an entry-level motorcycle that is well-equipped. As a result, you do get quite a few features that are impressive. First up is the LCD instrumentation.
It is a circular unit that is not very large in size. The outer bezel comprises several tell-tale lights for various functions. Inside it is a pretty small LCD screen that packs in quite a lot of information. You do get the usual stuff like the speedometer, odometer, tachometer, trip meters, fuel gauge, etc. Along with this, you also get instantaneous fuel efficiency, distance-to-empty readout, and even turn-by-turn navigation.
It can be paired with your smartphone via Bluetooth and this allows for many more functions. TVS has a proprietary app that gives users a lowdown on the motorcycle and its vital stats. You can also receive/reject calls and control your music through the Ronin's instrument cluster. The LCD also displays the ABS modes - Rain & Urban.
The TVS Ronin is also equipped with three-step adjustable brake and clutch levers. This allows the rider to customise the lever position for a more comfortable and confident ride. Although, this feature is only available on the top-spec variant.
TVS Ronin Engine Performance & Riding Impressions
The most impressive bit of the TVS Ronin is its engine and the way it has been engineered. It is a 225.9cc air & oil-cooled single-cylinder engine based on the engine found in the Apache RTR 200 4V. However, the engineers at TVS Have made quite a few changes to it.
It is no longer tuned for the racetrack and is therefore not highly strung. In fact, TVS Has concentrated on low and mid-range tractability and that there is the strong point of the TVS Ronin. First off, the bore and stroke now stand at 66mm. This makes it a squared engine which allows for an equal balance of power and torque.
TVS also claims to have worked on the oil-cooling system, which allows the engine to run more efficiently. With the increase in capacity, one would expect the power output to also increase. However, this hasn't happened in the case of the TVS Ronin.
It pushes out 20.12bhp at 7,750rpm and has apeak torque output of 19.93Nm at 3,750rpm. As aforementioned, the figures by themselves don't seem all too impressive. However, once you are astride the motorcycle, things change rather quickly.
The first thought that comes to mind when you get onto the saddle is, just how comfortable it is. At 795mm, the saddle height is just right and the footpegs are mid-set, which makes it that much more comfortable. Adding to the comfort levels is the pulled-back handlebar. It certainly is a unique riding position, but a very relaxing one.
Thumb the starter button and you are greeted by silence for the first second. This is because TVS has used a very quiet integrated starter motor and the next second, you are greeted by a bassy rumble. Slow it into first gear and slowly engage the clutch, and you will find that the TVS Ronin is pretty easy to get going.
It does come with TVS' proprietary GTT (Glide Through Technology) that prevent low speed stalling and is a boon in stop-and-go traffic. Blip the throttle a couple of times, and the exhaust note does put a smile on your face. TVS claims to have worked specifically on getting the exhaust note just right by redesigning the air box, cam dampening, and the exhaust system.
Twist the throttle and the engine is quick to rev all the way till 8,000rpm. Riding on the scenic back roads of Goa in the rain was an absolute pleasure and before we knew it, we were already at 100km/h. However, the engine does feel a little stressed at triple digit speeds. It is very comfortable around the 90km/h mark though.
A while after trying to rev the engine to the redline in every gear, I decided to try the low-end grunt and started shifting up as early as 4,500rpm. This is where the TVS Ronin shines bright. The peak torque comes in really early at 3,750rpm and this makes it so easy to just ride on that wave of torque.
Even though you start shifting earlier in the rev range, you don't really miss out on performance and the maximum power output coming in at 7,750rpm is just a twist of the throttle away. This makes the TVS Ronin a fun-to-ride motorcycle especially if you can keep it in between 3,750rpm and 7,750rpm.
We did try riding with a pillion as well and the TVS Ronin pulls hard even then. The grunt at around 2,000rpm is decent, but it quickly then gets to 3,750rpm and the fun ride begins right there. TVS seems to have created a brilliant engine and we can't wait to ride the Ronin more in day-to-day conditions.
Suspension duties are handled by a Showa Big-Piston upside-down fork up front and a monoshock at the rear. The USD fork does its duty very well. You do tend to feel the potholes and bumps a little. However, it isn't harsh in any way. The slightly rigid front suspension also means the motorcycle handles well and it can take a corner or two. It certainly isn't the kind of motorcycle you would want to take to a racetrack.
However, it comes into its own on the highway and even on the curvy roads in Goa where we rode it. It really is an easy-going motorcycle and can take anything you throw at it. Braking is handled by a 300mm disc up front and a 240mm disc at the rear. We were riding the top-spec variant and we, therefore, had dual-channel ABS at our disposal.
You get two ABS modes - Rain & Urban, and we were able to put both to the test. Our ride in Goa was awash with the heavy Goan monsoon and it just wouldn't stop pouring. As a result, we did expect some slipping and sliding. However, we didn't find any of that, and that brings us to the tyres.
We did some emergency braking maneuvers, and we did expect a lot of pulsation from the brake levers when ABS kicked in. However, these pulsations were only felt from the rear brake pedal. The front tyre held really well.
These are brand-new tyres specifically developed for the TVS Ronin. They are based on the same TVS Eurogrip Remora compound that we have come to love over time. TVS Eurogrip Remora tyres are brilliant and so is this new dual-purpose tyre. It looks nice and grip levels are excellent. It only steps out when you push it to the extreme and this made us quite happy.
TVS Motor Company and its engineers certainly know how to make a brilliant motorcycle, and the TVS Ronin is just proof of the same. We certainly are looking forward to more saddle time on the TVS Ronin.
TVS Ronin Variants & Colour Options
For the first time ever, TVS Motor Company has adopted a variants classification in which the colour of the motorcycle varies according to the variant you pick. As a result, the three different variants on sale can be made out just by looking at the motorcycle.
TVS Ronin SS:
Priced at Rs 1.49 lakh, ex-showroom, the SS is the base variant of the TVS Ronin. You only get two single-tone colour options with this variant - Magma Red and Lightning Black. The upside-down fork up front is finished in black as well and this variant doesn't get any sort of connectivity features. You have to make do with single-channel ABS and the adjustable levers are missing as well.
TVS Ronin DS:
Priced at Rs 1.58 lakh, ex-showroom, the DS variant sits right in the middle of the TVS Ronin's variants lineup. You do get a golden finish for the fork up front and the motorcycle is available in Delta Blue and Stargaze Black colour options. This variant gets red pinstripe stickers on the alloy wheels.
TVS Ronin TD:
Priced at Rs 1.69 lakh, the TD variant is the top-spec TVS Ronin. It gets dual-channel ABS and adjustable levers. This variant is available in Galactic Grey which is a mix of Grey and Black or Dawn Orange, which is a mix of Orange and Black.
#Unscripted & #NewWayOfLife were the hashtags used for the launch of the TVS Ronin. This was because, the Ronin, according to TVS doesn't fit into a particular segment of motorcycles but is completely different and 'can be what you want it to be.' This statement was something that we refused to believe, until we rode the motorcycle.
If you want to rev the engine, it is happy to do so. If you want to shift early and ride the wave of torque, it will gladly do so. You want to ride hard or ride in comfort, ride in the city or on the highway or on a particularly beautiful set of curvy roads like we did, the choice then, it seems, is left to the rider. The unscripted Ronin meanwhile, is more than capable of doing everything you ask it you, with grace.