Modern cruiser styling
The Zeppelin features an aggressive, power cruiser-like deign, with a chunky, vertically-oriented LED headlamp, a gold 41mm USD fork that appears to be borrowed from the RR 310 and a flat handlebar. Facing the rider is a compact dial with an analogue rev counter and digital readouts. Switchgear is borrowed from the RR 310. The rear of the motorcycle is reminiscent of the Bajaj Dominar 400 – slightly raked and blacked-out; however the pillion seat on the TVS appears to be lower and more accessible.
TVS regularly shows off concepts that reveal its future direction and the new Zeppelin concept is the company’s take on a performance cruiser. It is powered by an all-new 220cc single-cylinder engine that puts out 20hp at 8,500rpm and 18.5Nm of torque at 7,000rpm, and is paired to a five-speed gearbox. Additionally, the Zeppelin concept uses a patented Integrated Starter Generator system. This is a similar concept to what is seen on Maruti’s SHVS mild hybrid system, but sized down for a two-wheeler. TVS takes it a step further with an e-boost function that brings in added performance from a 1,200W regenerative assist motor, powered by a 48V Li-ion battery, when needed. The Zeppelin concept has a claimed top speed of 130kph.
TVS claims an aggressive, yet comfortable riding position with a feet-forward stance and a two-part seat. The cruiser has a wheelbase of 1,490mm, a kerb weight of 168kg, and gets a 300mm front disc and 240mm rear disc with dual-channel ABS. It rides on tubeless Pirelli tyres sized 110/70 R17 at the front and 140/70 R15 at the rear. The wheels the concept uses are tubeless spoked alloys, which are an expensive feature usually on seen on top-spec adventure bikes. The concept bike also has a huge 20-litre fuel tank.
The performance cruiser concept gets a unique belt drive function that promises silent and low-maintenance running. If this makes it to production, the TVS Zeppelin will be the first domestically developed, affordable cruiser to have it. Other interesting features include a smart access key that TVS calls the ‘Bio-key’, an HD action camera and an infotainment unit with cloud connectivity. The Zeppelin also has all-LED lighting.
Can we expect a production bike?
So what do we think? The Zeppelin concept looks promising enough to become a production reality within the next two years. However, we believe it could be quite different from the bike you see here, depending on how TVS aims to position the bike. To us, it makes sense to offer the production version as a premium player in the space currently occupied by the Bajaj Avenger 220. If so, the production bike may not offer some of the more advanced hybrid features from the concept, or the USD fork, tubeless-tyre supporting spoked wheels, the RR 310 switchgear or the belt drive for that matter. What we may see is the new fully-digital, Bluetooth-enabled display from the Ntorq 125 to add to the premium feel. Further, we are given to believe that TVS is working hard to keep the ISG technology on the production bike. Now, this could quite possibly happen as such systems run off the main battery and are relatively easy and cost effective to incorporate compared to more complex hybrid systems. If that's the case, this could be the first mild hybrid bike to go on sale in our market.
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