TVS first 125cc scooter brings many segment-firsts to the table
This is the year of 125cc scooters going by the unveils at the 2018 Auto Expo. The TVS NTorq is one of the firsts of the slew of incoming tech-laden and unconventionally styled scooters. And the competition is going to be hotter with the Suzuki Burgman Street, Aprilia SR 125, and the low-priced Hero Maestro 125 and Duet 125 coming our way. And of course there is the Honda Grazia launched last year. How does the TVS NTorq stack up? We think it makes quite an impression.
We are glad TVS has moved away from its conventional design language and given the NTorq somewhat edgy lines instead of smooth curves. Overall, it’s a busy design with lots of cuts, creases and sharp edges, which makes the 125cc scooter look larger than it is. The design also masks the long wheelbase it comes with. The large apron-mounted headlamp gets a bowtie DRL lamp that’s reminiscent of the Chevrolet badge. Flanking it are two small faux air scoops.
Even at the rear there are two large faux extractors flanking the inverted LED triangular tail lamp, which has an illuminated ‘T’ that looks really sporty. Carrying forward the sportiness are the handlebar-mounted turn indicators. Interestingly, the rear turn indicators are mounted on the mud guard instead of the bodywork, which gives the indicators a floating appearance.
The NTorq has got a longer underseat storage space than its peers that has a total storage volume of 22-litres. It wont hold your full-sized full face helmet though regular-sized helmets should be fine. But it loses out on fuel tank capacity, with just 5-litres on offer.
Fit and finish are top notch, with the plastics exuding premiumness all around. Switchgear, though, could have been a tad larger in size, especially the engine on-off switch (another segment-first) and high-low beam switch.
It gets a large LCD instrument console which displays comprehensive data like speed, fuel level, engine temperature, clock and a display that reads off relevant information. It also gets three tripmeters, one of which starts once the low fuel warning light comes up, and gives you an indication of how much distance you have travelled once you’ve hit reserve.
The best addition has to be Bluetooth. It allows you to pair your phone to the scooter to enable it to display caller ID and SMS alerts. You can also download an app which along with storing all necessary vehicle data, displays navigation as well. For this TVS has collaborated with Mapmyindia. How this works is: with the destination fed into the app and maps running in the background, the display screen on the NTorq shows directions in the form of arrows and distance. This means you do not have to take your phone out to look at directions.
You have two rider modes, with Street mode being the default. Switch to Sport mode and the screen displays a lap timer, 0-60kmph time and data like best and most recently recorded lap time, top speed and acceleration time. It also saves this data on the app under your profile.
Overall, TVS has got it right in not just the design and features department but also in the little touches around the NTorq that make it feel like a premium scooter -- things like the aluminium machined fuel filler cap, badges and the beautifully cast aluminium pillion footpegs that shut with a satisfying click.
Engine and performance:
TVS has equipped the NTorq with an all-new 124.79cc air-cooled single cylinder motor. This new motor comes with a 3-valve cylinder head for better engine efficiency. It makes 9.4PS at 7500rpm and 10.5Nm of torque at 5500rpm, among the highest in the class, and is mated to a CVT transmission. The motor is a refined unit. It has quite a bit of induction noise, though not as much as an Aprilia SR 150.
Turn on the ignition and you get a greeting on the screen along with a helmet logo which TVS says is a reminder to the rider to wear a helmet. Give the light throttle a wring and the scooter accelerates forward in a brisk manner. Initial acceleration, though peppy, does not feel as strong as other 125cc scooters owing to the 12-inch wheels over the 10-inch rear ones on the competition. Given the fact that it weighs 116kg which is more than the Grazia and Access 125 the NTorq accelerates quickly. The motor has good mid-range however and it is felt in the way the scooter accelerates post 20kmph all the way to 60kmph. Post this, the acceleration tends to taper down.
We saw an indicated top speed of 94kmph on the speedometer over the 600-metre-long straight at TVS’ Hosur test track. The screen also displayed a 0-60kmph time of 7.2 seconds. Both are indicative figures and we will be doing a VBox test once we get out hands on the scooter for a longer duration. The motor felt unstressed even at top speeds and responded well to hard throttle inputs.
Ride and handling:
Despite being a compact scooter, the NTorq comes with a wide and comfortable seat that is good enough for two. Seat cushioning, like other TVS scooters, is on the softer side, which might be a pain during longer commutes. We did spend an hour on the saddle though and it felt comfortable. The compromise is in the smaller floorboard space. The sporty design means you have the front apron and seat intrude in the floorboard space, so yes, it will be difficult to place a medium size briefcase there. Vertical space, however, is good and the handlebar does not foul with your legs while turning as it does on the Honda Grazia.
We got to ride the NTorq on TVS’ factory track that consists of a long straight and bowl. Like other scooters in its class, the NTorq comes with telescopic front forks though the rear gets a single gas-charged shock absorber. Wheelbase at 1285mm is the largest in class and 25mm and 20mm longer than the Honda Grazia and Suzuki Access 125. This translates to exceptional high speed stability. The NTorq has excellent high speed manners and feels comfortable even close to its top speed. It has a lightweight and reactive front end which is prone to diving into corners. It is something that will catch you off guard at first but once you get used to it, the trait should make it easy to dart through traffic.
The front forks feature a moderately stiffer setup. In contrast, the rear gets a softer setup. In corners, this makes the rear wallow quite a bit and given the high angle of lean the scooter can achieve, had us scraping the side of the bodywork often. It is a tradeoff, for better ride quality. The rear glides through surface undulations and makes sure none of it travels up your spine. Overall, the NTorq is stable at high speeds, stable in corners and yet comes blessed with good ride comfort.
It gets 12-inch TVS Remora tubeless tyres at both ends. They provide good grip in the dry and even with our cornering antics and under hard braking, worked without drama or tyre squeal. Braking comes courtesy of a 220mm disc up front and a 130mm drum brake at the back. The front disc gives a progressive bite that is not as strong or sharp as the ones on the Aprilia SR 150 but get the job done. TVS says they have kept the brakes progressive going by customer feedback. The rear brakes have a strong bite and help the scooter shed speed at a rapid pace. There is minimal suspension dive under hard braking and the scooter does not step out of line either.
TVS has managed to get a good balance between ride and handling so as to attract both the young and mature crowd.
TVS has managed to get a lot of things right on the NTorq 125. It looks sporty and is laden with tech, some of which you can use on a daily basis. It gets a refined and peppy motor that should be a hoot to ride where it matters: in traffic. At 116kg, it is light and easy to flick around and manoeuver. It gets a good ride and stable handling.
It does miss out on LED headlamps but that’s the only negative we can think of. At Rs 58,750 (ex-Delhi), the NTorq is Rs 4,000 more affordable than the disc-brake equipped Honda Grazia and offers a lot more in terms of features. It strikes a fine balance between sportiness and everyday usability. Among the current crop of 125cc scooters, the TVS NTorq 125 is definitely worth a Dekho.