The well-built TVS Phoenix will make a capable 125cc companion for daily commuting, writes Rishad Cooper
With the Phoenix, TVS has restarted its campaign to make a mark in the burgeoning 125cc motorcycle segment. The Phoenix is a commuter motorcycle with safely conservative, yet attractive styling. This new TVS uses well-designed, six-spoke alloy wheels, while its engine, exhaust system and several other parts sport an all-black look. There’s a broad fairing, which houses the headlight and integrated LED pilot lamps.
The digital instruments boast an amber-backlit display, with a fuel-gauge, low battery warning, trip meter and a service due reminder, all tucked away beneath its tinted wind deflector. The speedometer isn’t quite exciting though. TVS’ latest motorcycle does however use top-notch palm grips, and smooth to touch and operate switchgear. Although a choke lever is handy, this could have been smarter looking, in keeping with the otherwise neat layout. A hazard warning switch is standard on the Phoenix, marking a first for this class of motorcycle. The well-padded seat gets a dual-texture fabric, flowing smoothly from the Phoenix’s rounded, ample tank with comfortable knee indents, all the way to the alloy grab bar and flush-fitted tail-light.
Attention to detail
The Phoenix feels well built, with good overall quality, attention to detail and nice fit and finish.
It is powered by a new, 124.5cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled and four-stroke engine TVS has christened ‘Ecothrust’. The new engine uses a CV carburettor as isn’t yet common in this segment, and deploys a paper type air-filter element. Its moly-coated piston deploys chrome-plated rings, and reciprocates within an aluminium alloy cylinder.
The Phoenix makes 10.9bhp of maximum power at 8000rpm, and 1.1kgm of torque at 6000rpm. TVS’ latest commuter bike is aptly tuned for good low- and mid-range power delivery, as we found out after several hours astride the Phoenix. The new engine feels refined and smooth at all times, and runs vibe-free through its broad power spread, with adequate throttle response.
The Phoenix uses a precise, four-speed, all-up shifting gearbox, operated via a heel-and-toe lever. The clutch feels pleasantly light, as required in urban Indian riding conditions. Final drive is transferred via a fully-enclosed drive-chain, which doesn’t look as tidy as an exposed chain, but does on the other hand ace with its superior reliability in tough Indian conditions. The Phoenix packs adequate punch for a 125, accelerating from 0-60kph in 7.3 seconds during testing by us, and going on to achieve a true top-speed of 96kph flat-out in top gear, with the third gear good for precisely 80kph.
TVS’ latest 125cc deploys a single downtube, tubular steel frame, with telescopic fork front suspension, and a pair of adjustable, ‘series spring’, long-stroke, shock absorbers at the rear, consisting of multi-rated spring coils set one above the other, with a separator in between. The Phoenix uses a steel-fabricated, rectangular section swingarm.
The upright riding position proved good for a commuter bike, astride a long, well-cushioned seat, but we must reserve judgment on the Phoenix’s ride quality for a full road test, as we only rode the motorcycle on TVS’ smooth test track at Hosur. Having said that, the Phoenix did feel fairly well sprung. Handling is at par for a 125, light with neutral steering and planted cornering manners always at hand.
The Phoenix comes with the option of a 240mm, petal-type front disc brake, and 130mm drum rear brake. These do a stellar job of providing ample stopping power, the bike coming to a halt with confidence and holding its line well even during emergency braking. Likewise, straight-line stability is fair, the Phoenix offering a wide-for-its-class, 90/90 x 17-inch, rear tyre, with grip levels that are fair for a commuter bike. Expect the Phoenix to deliver fuel efficiency at par for a 125cc commuter bike.
TVS’ new Phoenix ticks all the appropriate boxes, doing a silently efficient job across parameters. This may not make a perfect choice of a 125cc bike for someone looking for a sporty, pulse-quickening steed, but that isn’t what the Phoenix was made to achieve.
The sensibly-priced Phoenix does make up for the other 125cc offerings that TVS failed to make an impression with. It’s hard to beat as a well-built, comfortable and light handling motorcycle that will make a capable 125cc companion for daily commuting in India.