17th Jan 2019 7:00 am
A humble workhorse enters our long-term garage.
The Radeon is TVS’ latest stab at unseating the kings of the commuter market. And with this motorcycle, the company is trying to offer a rugged motorcycle – a workhorse, if you’d like. Ruman, who enjoys his machines mellow, immediately picked up the keys when the Radeon arrived – but, as circumstances would have it, he’s only ridden it a couple of times so far and I found myself riding it for about half a month now. So here’s what I’ve discovered, so far.
PING AND POP: The Radeon stays true to TVS heritage with a nice-sounding exhaust note.
People notice the Radeon. I’m sure this is mostly down to the strange sight of a fully kitted-out rider on a basic commuter, but the Radeon shares some responsibility too. The black grip-pads on the side of the tank and the brown seat are to thank for that. I’ve heard more than a few Royal Enfield comparisons from fellow road-users, and most come with a smile, so the design does seem to be working in the bike’s favour. And yes, while I do feel a bit like a bear on a bicycle when perched on the tiny 112kg Radeon, the ergonomics do deserve praise. There’s proper space for me and the seat is long enough to comfortably carry another similarly large pillion behind. I’ve ridden plenty of bigger bikes that feel more cramped than this one.
CLASSY DIALS: Very basic information on display, but the layout is quite nice to look at.
The Radeon is about as basic as they come. The bike has drum brakes on either end, and a 4-speed, ‘all-up’ transmission with a heel-toe shifter; but I like the effort that has gone into making the basic clocks look interesting. Having a ‘side-stand down’ alert is also nice, but the issue with this one is that the warning beep rings loudly, even when the bike is in neutral. This means you can’t start the engine and let it warm-up in the morning — unless you sit on the motorcycle and lift the stand.
I’m also going to crib about the brakes. While TVS’ new combined braking system (CBS) works well, I do miss the reassuring bite of a disc brake up front. It’s not a deal-breaker, though, since the Radeon is not quick and I rarely find myself above 70kph. The Ntorq is undeniably faster, but I’m sure the Radeon is a lot more efficient. I’ll leave it to Ruman to figure out by just how much.
DRUM ROLL: Combined brake system works well, but drum brakes are weak, as expected.
You can feel the Radeon’s utility intentions coming through in the rather firm suspension setup – it gets more comfortable with a pillion (or maybe a sack of potatoes) on the back. The gearing is really short, too, and I find myself in top gear in a matter of seconds. Again: good for hauling heavy loads, but not great for hustling around at high speeds.
ANNOYING CHIME: Side-stand-down warning makes a loud chiming sound even when the bike is in neutral.
I’ve not disliked my time with the Radeon, but I think I’m about ready to return it to Ruman now, in exchange for my beloved Ntorq. More on the yellow scoot next month.