The Phoenix is a serious shot from the Hosur based TVS Motor Company, aiming at nailing a bulls-eye in the keenly contested and key 125cc motorcycle segment. There are several strong players in the Indian 125 space, and the South Indian bike maker has been forced to work really hard to penetrate this space, with only moderate success to date. TVS’s previous Flame 125 model was never a big hit with us, and more importantly, never did make any significant dent in the Indian market. Better late than never though, now still makes a good time for the Phoenix to make good and set TVS’s sales charts afire. The Phoenix offers some first-in-class features, a refined engine and it sits astride innovative suspension. All of which still doesn’t answer the question everyone is waiting to hear.
Does the Phoenix have enough grit to cement TVS’s feet firmly in the 125cc segment, and offer you a good 125 motorcycle, one that is able to rise above its many able rivals?
The Phoenix makes a comfortable commuter bike, astride which travelling around the city becomes a breeze. Its upright riding position feels comfortable for a commuter bike, adding to which is its long, well-cushioned seat. The new TVS 125 uses a single downtube, tube steel frame assisted by a rectangular section swingarm. It deploys telescopic fork front suspension, and a pair of novel shock absorbers at rear called ‘series spring’, consisting of multi-rated springs coiled one over another, split by a separator.
Handling is just as good as any 125cc motorcycle in India, the handlebar and footrests being well positioned, promoting a light feel and neutral steering. Stable cornering manners are always at hand on the Phoenix, a bike that proved to be nimble and agile to manage in heavy traffic. Ride quality on the Phoenix is plush, the new suspension working well to soak in all undulations and potholes Indian roads frequently offer.
Straight line-stability proved fair, the Phoenix offering a wide-for-its-class, 90/90 x 17inch, rear tyre, with fair grip on offer for a commuter bike, whether riding in dry or wet conditions. The Phoenix is available with a 240mm, petal-type front disc, and 130mm drum rear brake, these doing a good job while providing ample stopping power. The Phoenix stops with confidence, holding its line well even during emergency braking. We managed to stop the bike in 17.33 metres from 60kph during brake testing.
TVS’s commuter motorcycles have always proved fuel efficient in the past, and the same is true for the Phoenix 125. The Phoenix 125 acquits itself at the fuel efficiency stakes, returning us a respectable 56.8kpl in real world city riding conditions, this reducing to 54.4kpl when riding out on the open highway.