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TVS Motor Company is generally not a brand that springs up surprises, except when it comes to Auto Expo. Zeppelin, Akula, Draken and so on; we have seen a fair few scintillating prototypes from TVS. Yet, when it comes to the products for the market, one more or less knows what TVS is up to. This time though, they had a mighty big surprise for us and they named that surprise quite phenomenally too- TVS Ronin.
When we got the invite for the media ride, we were surprised to see the location TVS went with. In Goa, the monsoon is in full swing this time of the year, and it really was in full swing, more on that later. So when we landed in Goa, we were full of anticipation and TVS did not disappoint as they rolled the Ronin on the stage- the brand’s first modern-retro motorcycle.
Right from first glance, we knew that it was both modern and retro. A good thing here is that the 200-250cc does not have anything quite like the Ronin. Ronin means a wandering Samurai with no master. It is meant for wandering and there is no master in the segment and so, the name works out just right. We got to spend a decent amount of time with the motorcycle and here are our first impressions.
Seen here is the xBhp Speed of Thought Helmet by Axor, our trusted crown for all our rides.
In terms of looks, TVS has got nearly everything right. Classic lines, brown single-piece seat, and substantial fenders. The underpinnings are quite modern though. The TVS Ronin is loaded with tech. The round headlamp is a homage to the motorcycles of the old but the lighting is all-LED. The T-shaped pilot lamp looks absolutely brilliant.
The tank breaks the retro lines a bit but it tapers well as it comes down to the seat. The golden finish on the chunky USD forks looks nice but the standout bit for us was the offset speedometer. It looks like a million bucks and it might be a personal opinion, but it is one we will stand by. Now, round mirrors or bar-ends would suit the Ronin more but functionally, the rear-view mirrors are just fine.
This is the point where we’d also like to discuss the variants. There are quite a few to speak of. Starting with the SS, it gets single-tone colour and single-channel ABS. Then we have the DS with dual-tone colours and single-channel ABS. Finally, there’s TD, triple tone colour with dual-channel ABS and this is the one we rode. So in essence, you have 6 variants to choose from based on colourways and either single or dual-channel ABS. Phew.
Overall, the TVS Ronin is a handsome-looking motorcycle and will surely grab more than a few eyeballs, especially the colour that we got to ride. The fit-and-finish was top-notch in typical TVS fashion but we did notice some condensation in the speedo due to the incessant rains. That is one area where the Ronin can use some work.
With that out of the way, let us get down to business- performance. The Ronin is powered by a 225.9cc single-cylinder, oil-cooled engine. It makes 20.4 PS of power and 19.93 Nm of torque. More importantly for the kind of motorcycle it is, the peak torque arrives at a nice and low 3,750 rpm. The Ronin gets fuel injection and the power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a 5-speed transmission with the added safety and convenience of a slipper clutch.
In all honesty, the engine on the Ronin is a gem. At idle, it has a pronounced thrum that gets feistier at higher revs. It is not a racket but it makes its presence felt. It is smooth throughout the rev range, the fueling is nice and tidy, and the gearbox is slick. It goes off the line with no drama, the acceleration noteworthy but gentle.
We loved the tractability and here the fueling, the gear ratios, and the abundance of torque throughout the range play a significant part. Goa has some really good roads and even though it rained throughout, we had a lot of fun during our time with the Ronin. In terms of just the engine, long distances will be a breeze on the Ronin. Add to that a 14-litre tank and you’re looking at a mighty decent range too. We did not get to check the fuel efficiency but considering how relaxed the engine is, we expect a good return and therefore, a very good range.
In the city, the soft clutch action and TVS Motor Company’s GTT (Glide Through Technology) will come in handy too. We enjoyed it to the fullest on open roads and there is no reason to believe that it would do any less in the city. So top marks here and though one would have liked a bit more power, and that could have been done, it would have taken away the relaxed character of the engine. So no gripes in the engine department at all.
In terms of ergonomics, the TVS Ronin is bang-on again. Ever so slightly forward footpegs, comfortably placed handlebars and a roomy and plush seat; that is all you need for a riding triangle that is meant to munch miles. It is not cruiser-ish to the extent that it takes away the sense of engagement, but still very comfortable. The seat height is 795mm so the Ronin is comfortably accessible to a wide variety of riders. This also makes it easier for the riders to navigate tight turns and the tight turning radius also helps in this regard.
Handling is where we would have liked some more time and better conditions to speak about more. As mentioned, we did not have a moment of dry weather throughout our time but we still did our bit to gather as much as we could. Despite the intent of the Ronin, TVS has opted for a well-balanced rake and a rather short wheelbase. While it did nothing to hurt its straight-line stability, it definitely enhanced how the Ronin feels when shown some corners.
We did not push too hard in the beginning but we could tell that Ronin felt very neutral in terms of handling. It does what you ask it to do without any fuss. It is not twitchy like some sportbikes but it is not lethargic either. The geometry has worked in the favour of the motorcycle. Tyres are also a factor in Ronin’s handling. Despite the block tread pattern, the grip on the road was confidence-inspiring. The only riding we got to do was in the wet and the performance was satisfactory. In the dry, it should be even better.
The suspension system also does a good job of making the ride quite plush and comfortable but without being too soggy. It remains composed under hard braking and acceleration and remains predictable throughout. Also, the Ronin weighs 160 kg (kerb) in the trim we rode it. TVS has done a great job in keeping the weight under check and even more so, the torquey engine dissipates the weight in a jiffy as soon as you are on the move.
We did engage in some mild offroading and the Ronin did alright there, it is not meant for that. Still, it is good to know that it can keep up even when the conditions are not ideal. The crash guard and the bash plate add more to the peace of mind when the roads are less than ideal. All of that is further aided by the 181mm ground clearance.
Brakes deserve a special mention. Not because of the feel and the power, but the ABS. The brakes are adequately powerful and the feel at the lever is pretty good too. But it is the ABS that inspired a whole lot of confidence, even in the appalling weather that was bestowed unto us. So, Ronin gets two ABS modes- Urban and Rain. In the Rain mode, the intervention is more eager but seamless nonetheless. We did test the Urban mode too and the difference, though small, is palpable.
While a wonderful motorcycle to ride, the one department where TVS Ronin scores the most is the feature-set. Here’s a list: Distance to empty, Gear shift assist, side-stand engine cutoff, dual trip meters, service due indicator, low battery voltage indicator, integrated starter generator, display illumination adjustment, ride assistance (indicator usage, low fuel alert, side stand warning via Bluetooth), voice assistance, and a digital cluster. The TD variant gets even more with adjustable levers, SmartXonnect, turn-by-turn navigation, estimated time of arrival, incoming call alert/receive, a custom window for notifications, and ride analysis on the TVS Connect App.
On the whole, TVS Ronin is a tidy package. It starts from INR 1,49,000/- (Ex-Showroom) and goes up to INR 1,68,750/- for the variant we rode. Steep? Not really. Because in addition to being a wonderful motorcycle in nearly all aspects, the features you get are what set the Ronin apart and more than justify the price tag.