Apr 7, 2008

11 125 cc TVS Flame CCV-Ti Test Ride/Review..!!

Test Ride of the 125 CC TVS FLame (with mono spark plug) Taken..!!

It has been a long wait for many prospective motorcycle buyers.. TVS had shown the first pics of the 125 cc Flame in September 2007, and since then everyone has been going ga-ga over its "sexy" styling which TVS wants to term as "Delta Edge" styling. Expectations has risen sky high from this particular motorcycle from TVS due to the incorporation of the new CCV-Ti (Controlled Combustion Variable Timing Intelligent) engine which employs 3 Valves.

The Flame was supposed to be launched in January 2008 but thanks to the controversy regarding its second spark plug (against Bajaj Auto's DTSi Tech.) , the launch was delayed for around 3 months.

125 cc TVS Flame Test Ride

125 cc TVS FLame Test Ride


After the court decided to put a stay order on the twin spark plug Flame, TVS Engineers quickly went back to the design boards to remove the offending second spark plug and make the necessary mods for the engine to work with a single spark plug.

The TVS Flame had finally arrived in Gurgaon Showrooms a few days back. So how is the new TVS Flame..?? Does it really live up to the hype that it has generated so far..??


After the test ride I'll say that, "I actually expected more from the TVS Flame.."



(+) Light Clutch
(+) Positive Gear box
(+) Responsive Engine
(+) Lockable Storage Box on tank

(-) Engine Vibrations
(-) Paint Quality on Tank
(-) Fit and Finish on a few parts
(-) Lack of Disc Brakes
(-) Slightly Over priced

Sometimes too many expectations do tend to raise the bar a bit high. Also being the latest entrant in the 125 cc category, the Flame will definitely be compared to all the other current 125 cc bikes. Maybe I was expecting too much from the 125 cc TVS Flame.


Styling: (Love at First Sight..!!)

Probably the best thing about the Flame is its Styling. It's Big (for a 125 cc) and it's handsome. The 1320 mm long wheelbase of the Flame is the longest in the 125 cc category. The embedded turn indicators is the first among Indian bikes and along with the the dual tone paint scheme and all black engine, alloy wheels & chain cover, makes the Flame a Hot looking bike.


Finishing & Build Quality: (Disappointed at a closer look..)

Around a decade back I had come across this term called "Orange Peel Finish" in auto magazines (probably in "Indian Auto" or "Auto India"). This "Orange Peel Finish" could be seen on surfaces when the paint quality isn't up to the mark and therefore the refections from such surfaces would be like the pattern of an "Orange Peel". This jargon has virtually disappeared from the present Indian Auto Magazines thanks to the lustrous paint job seen on present bikes.

But after a long time, I was surprised and disappointed to see the "Orange Peel Finish" on the paint job found on the Tank of the TVS Flame. Most of the Flame is covered in plastic and the paint quality on the plastic panels is quite ok. But the Black Paint on the metal surface of the tank was disappointing.

The fit and finish of the embedded turn indicators on the tank shrouds of the Flame doesn't measure up to the high level of build quality seen on the 2008 Yamaha Gladiator Type SS*.

[*I am surprised that April 2008 Issue of Bike India states the build quality of the Gladiator SS as one of the negative points]

Digital Speedometer Display of the TVS FLame

Also the finish/quality of plastics used for the Speedometer could have been better on the TVS Flame.



Riding Position: (Neither Commuter nor Sporty)

TVS FLame Riding Position

As can be seen from the photo posted above, the front foot pegs of the Flame is set in a typically commuter friendly forward position. But at the same time, to compliment the forward set front foot pegs the handlebars doesn't quite come to you. I had to lean a bit forward to access the handlebars. This particular "foot peg-seat-handlebar" setup translates into a confused riding position (Deja Vu of the riding position of the 2006 Apache 150..??)

Autocar India was right to point out that riding position of the Flame isn't that comfortable.


Engine and Transmission: (Can Real Beauty be skin deep..??)

The Clutch of the Flame is light and the (all 4 gears up) gearbox is slick and positive which is a joy to use. The low speed torque is quite good on the Flame and the bike picks up briskly from stand still. The engine responds quite well to the throttle inputs. The low speed response at top gear (4'th) is probably not as brisk, but the engine of the Flame doesn't struggle and sputter and does its job quite well.

125 cc TVS Flame Engine

Plugged hole of the 2'nd spark plug



But the big disappointment from the CCV-Ti engine of the Flame was the Vibrations which kick in pretty early in the rev range and rise further as the revs build up. The vibrations gets transmitted to the legs, handlebar and to your crotch area.

Even the Apache RTR 160 has engine vibrations which enthusiasts looking for a agile fast bike like the Apache RTR might overlook, but on a commuter oriented bike like the Flame the customer would rate engine smoothness higher.




[Disclaimer: The Test Vehicle provided to me did have engine vibrations. Since I haven't ridden any other Flame, I cannot tell for sure if other TVS Flame bikes suffer from the same harsh vibrations. It is advised to personally take the test ride the bike]





Handling & Braking: (Everything OK on this front..)

Nothing here to find fault with the Handling of the Flame, the bike feels quite planted and handles well. At present only the front drum brake versions are being sold and the brakes does it job well but disc brakes will surely be missed on the Flame as its competitor, the Yamaha Gladiator offers the Front Disc brakes as Standard.

On inquiry the dealer said that they expect the Front Disc Brake version to appear in about 1-2 months time and with a probable price increase of about Rs. 2,500-3,500.




Color Options: (Yellow is missing)

At present only two color options are available on the Flame:


  • Red with Black Base


  • Silver with Black Base


The Yellow with Black combination shown at the Auto Expo was sadly missing.


Price: (Slightly Over Priced)

The current TVS Flame (with 4 gears, Drum Brakes and electric start) has a Delhi Ex-Showroom Price of Rs.46,400 which makes it about Rs. 2,000 expensive than the Yamaha Gladiator Type SS and almost around Rs. 6,000 over the Bajaj XCD DTS-Si.


    Yamaha Gladiator Type SS: (with Electric Start, 5 Gears and Front Disc Brakes as standard) Rs. 44,800 Delhi Ex-Showroom.

    Bajaj XCD: (with front Drum Brakes, Electric Start and 4 Gears): Rs. 41,000 (Ex-Showroom Delhi)




Fuel Efficiency: Now this is one aspect of the Flame which I obvioulsy cannot comment on. But TVS does claim that the Flame would deliver 112 Kmpl (obviously under standard test conditions). But in real life, the Flame can be expected to return a figure similar to other 125 cc bikes. i.e. around the usuak 55-60 Kmpl mark for a 125 cc bike.



Verdict: (There are better options..)

I actually expected a smoother engine, a Front Disc brake and a lower price tag.

Till that happens (according to me), the Yamaha Gladiator Type SS/RS will retain the crown of being the most Sporty 125 cc bike and the Bajaj XCD the Best Value for money 125cc bike in India.




Front Storage box: (Unique Feature)

There is a lockable front storage box/compartment on the TVS Flame. The box can be opened /locked by the ignition key itself. Flame owners will find this feature quite handy and useful. It can easily store the registration and insurance papers of the bike.



The box/compartment easily accommodated the full size DSG leather gloves that I was wearing. But the build quality of the cover of the lockable box did feel a bit flimsy.





Technical Specifications of the TVS Flame:


  • Engine (CC): 124.8 CC, 4 Stroke with CCV-Ti

  • Max Power: 10.5 bhp @ 7500 rpm

  • Max Torque: 10 Nm @ 6000 rpm

  • Gear Box: 4 Speed

  • Bore X Stroke: 54.5 X 53.5

  • Carburettor Type: VM Type- Ucal


Wheels/Tyres

  • Wheels Type: Mag alloys

  • Front Tyre: 2.75 X 18

  • Rear Tyre: 3.00 X 18


  • Brake - Front: 130 mm drum [Disc optional]

  • Brake - Rear: 130 mm drum



Dimensions

  • Wheelbase: 1320 mm

  • Overall Height: 1070 mm

  • Overall Length: 2030 mm

  • Overall Width: 760 mm

  • Ground Clearance: 165 mm

  • Kerb Weight: 123 Kg

  • Fuel Tank: 7.5 litre

  • Fuel Reserve: 2.0 litre



Electricals

  • Headlamp: 12V 35/35 W Halogen

  • Tail Lamp: 12V 21W/5W

  • Turn Indicators: 12V 16 W

  • Battery: 12V- 5 Ah

  • Ignition System: IDI System






Disclaimer:

This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.




11 Comments:

sourabh agrawal said...

Hello payeng,
I experienced that same paint issue of the tank which just disappointed me.Inspite of such high price tag they r not providing the quality.Even the plastics used didn't looked to me of good quality.But flame never seems to me a big 150cc bike it's just the tank and headlight which is bit bulky other than that every thing like a regular 125 cc.I think i will add "LOTS" more to ur line "I actually expected more from the TVS Flame..".

Sajal Chakraborty said...

I guess the riding experience should be different on a non-test machine of the Flame!!!!

And if the bike really has the issues that you pointed out, then TVS should really act fast!!

Anonymous said...

Thansk for the review...it a good review...can u post review on HONDA AVIATOR...just recently launched...i know you are not a great fan of HONDA & HH...but still you can post a fair review...

Anil Kumar said...

Its shocking that all the TVS motorcycles{sporty ones}have engine vibes.I guess TVS needs to work on the Apache to compete against the likes of the Pulsar and the Flame to compete against the Gladiator or the Discover135.

GAGAN said...

am starting to enjoy anonymous comments!!:)

road-yo said...

I think the drum braked version accentuates the thin tyres & brings down visual appeal.

Anoop said...

I am an ametuer biker, 5.8" and slim. which is the best 125 cc bike for me?
Should i be waiting for XCD sprint?

Anonymous said...

XCD Sprit is too short as XCD...wait is useless

Payeng said...

@Anoop..

at 5'8 ft you will easily fit into almost all bikes..

Anonymous said...

Hey Payeng,
what about me...I m 5'6".

BTW...ur reviews are excellent...
Keep it up...

Anonymous said...

if any one WANNA GO FOR FLAME.....please forget it ....i have..the new flame 125cc with dic brakes...n it is really..useless...i was atracter to its style.....other than the style..there is nothing good in my point of view...the worst part is when ...i touch..49 km per hour...it starts vibratin as if am goin in 100.....

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