Review Motoring

TVS Star City Plus: an off-beat city commuter

Commuter motorcycles are undoubtedly the workhorses of the Indian two-wheeler market. Not that long ago, they were no-frills, bare-bones machines fed by carburettors. When I walked up to the TVS Star City Plus, I was greeted by a fuel-injected motorcycle complete with an LED headlight and a USB charger! The ₹ 8.5 lakh Ducati Scrambler that I rode around the same time had neither of those two features as standard. To find out whether the riding experience had evolved as much as the brochure, I eagerly jumped aboard.

The Star City’s motor does not necessarily conform to that template. It sits at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to power and torque figures, even by this segment’s standards. In the real world, it actually feels reasonably adequate — no asthmatic wheezing when you demand prompt acceleration.

It is a 110cc commuter, so do not expect it to set dragstrips on fire, but you are not going to be a liability on the roads, even on highways. And more importantly, it feels quite engaging to ride, aided by a precise and satisfying 4-speed gearbox (the Bajaj Platina remains the only bike in this segment to get five cogs).

This has somewhat come at the compromise of refinement. While many of TVS’ other engines set segment benchmarks for vibration levels, the Star City does not quite live up to those standards, with its motor feeling a little gruff. This is especially pronounced when you rev it out, but is present to a certain degree at most times while riding. Fuelling also has room for improvement, as the snatchy off-on throttle response from the fuel-injection system is not as satisfying as the natural, smooth feeling the carburetted commuters used to provide.

The non-conformism of the Star City extends to the chassis department as well, in the form of 17-inch wheels compared to the industry standard 18-inchers. Despite this, it rides rather well on its relatively soft suspension set-up, doing a decent job of flattening out our roads. As this is a commuter, it is not expected to be a corner carver. So high-speed handling is quite numb and unnerving on its skinny tyres. This behaviour is on par with other motorcycles in this segment. On the upside, it does feel nimble and agile when flitting through city traffic, and the commuter-typical clutch feels as light as the bike does.

And despite the fancy features mentioned above, the Star City still misses out on some fundamentals — the basic instrumentation lacks even a trip meter. A side-stand indicator would also have been nice.

In summation, the Star City breaks format in the 110cc commuter class by delivering a fairly entertaining riding experience, but sacrifices (to some extent) segment hallmarks like engine refinement. At ₹ 72,255 for this Disc variant, it is priced on par with rivals from Hero, and offers a different, but more engaging riding experience.

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 6:46:15 pm |