tvs ronin: 15 observations after a showroom visit

The Ronin is a great bike which is far from a Royal Enfield imitator.

BHPian rtr_drd recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I had a test ride of the Ronin for a few kms. I rode the base model. Came away impressed indeed. Many things felt really nice on the bike.

  • The key has a nice weight and the wavebite pattern is supposedly more secure, though I’m sure the lockpicking lawyer has many Indian subscribers.  Honda’s marketing spiel for the CB300F made me realize this bike also needed the keyhole on the tank so that it’s “always within your reach” rather than having to stretch for it across the handlebar.
  • Anyway, the bike fires up with a light push of the ignition button. And unlike the Suzukis, the button is not jutting out, it’s normally positioned with a soft action. I’m guessing Suzuki designed theirs that way to avoid accidental ignitions by giving some amount of play before contact happens. Have to be be aware of this on the TVS, but points for ease of operation.
  • The weight of the bike makes itself known while moving around the parking area, but it’s nothing to complain about. It’s easy enough to manage.
  • The bike looks compact but it didn’t feel like the bike was small for me. Rather, it felt just right. I’m guessing this is because of the relaxed ergos. The footpeg is a bit forward set which results in a chair-like seating position. The seat felt soft and grippy enough.
  • It’s a very comfortable seating position except for one sore point. I just couldn’t settle into a nice position for faster riding because I couldn’t hug the tank with my legs. The knees fouled against the flared out part. Wish they’d shaped the tank a bit better to accommodate taller riders too. Maybe sitting slightly further back would help with the issue? I don’t know. But atleast the tank is narrow enough at the crotch area so it doesn’t feel like you’re in a spread-eagle position like on the REs.
  • The bike shoots off nicely and felt like there’s enough juice all across the rev range till around 7 or 8k rpm (couldn’t find the space to rev further). It felt like it can pick up from almost anywhere and is happy to rev up. But it’s not giddy power, not hooligan enough.
  • That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Just that, on paper, 20nm torque from a low 3750 RPM sounds like the bike means business. I guess it’s just the expectations vs reality problem.
  • But it does undeniably have a strong pick up. And while I wouldn’t call this bike luggable, it can pick up from as low as 2000 RPM in 4th gear. Very convenient. Not sure if it’s got the low-rpm assist like the RTR though. The clutch pull is not Honda light, but still very easy. I also didn’t feel vibes even at 8K rpm. Then again, it could be that I was too involved in the ride to notice them, if any.
  • Anyway, all said, the engine felt really nice and agreeable though i wanted more from it. I think I’d probably grow to love it if I gave the bike a chance. The exhaust note was also quite nice on the move. None of the dug-dug imitation business, just a cool growl.
  • The instrument pod did not feel awkwardly placed at all, it felt natural and I was comfortable using it within no time. The round shape makes for a good layout that doesn’t compromise on the visibility of the important bits, the speed and tachometer. I didn’t fiddle around with any settings though, so I don’t know how easy or difficult the controls are to use.
  • The brake master cylinder looked small. Not sure if it looked that way because the handlebar is thicker than usual or if it’s actually a smaller unit. The front brake had a progressive bite, though it does bite sharp enough if you grab a handful. It’s not the best braking I’ve experienced but felt nice enough and close enough to my Suzuki GS150R. No issues for me.
  • The rear brake, though TVS claims that they’ve made the pedal feel more progressive, is still easy to lock up. (Not that I mind it or anything though)
  • The suspension could be plusher but it felt nice! It felt neither too stiff nor too soft. It’s soft enough that going over smaller potholes sitting down was not a bother and felt like it kept the tires stuck to the ground nicely even over bumpy roads.
  • The bike feels planted and feels a bit hesitant to change lines at first, but agrees just as soon. It’s probably the extra bit of rake and the weighted axle doing this. I mean it’s not as flickable as the RTR, but flickability is not an issue at all. It’s just a bit slower, which is not a bad thing. I couldn’t try any corners but I’m sure it’ll tip in nice enough and hold lines well. The thinner tyres also help with the good handling, I suppose. Overall, the handling is a pleasure.

Great bike! Far from an RE imitator. It’s a fairly nimble bike that responds to revving up or chilled out cruising. I probably would’ve taken one home today if only it had more horses.

Keyword: TVS Ronin: 15 observations after a showroom visit

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