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TVS Phoenix 125: Road Test

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TVS Phoenix125

History of evolution:

TVS was at one time leading the 125 cc class years ago, with the HighEndTorque Victor GLX125 and LowEndTorque champion Victor Edge125.

Then TVS inFLAMEd and the FLAME lit up the horizon, with THREE valves.

Somewhere this flame ebbed, so TVS decided to dubble the fire in it in the form of TWO spark plugs!

This inFLAMEd Bajaj who believed that doubling the spark was a Bajaj monopoly.

So Bajaj decided to do court-giri !

Courtship happened.

This courtship became talk of the town.

What happened in the Courtship is not very clear, but the FLAME got burned to ASHES !

Then like the legendary bird, FLAME rose from ASHES and emerged as the PHOENiX !

About TVS, one thing MUST be said: unlike its erstwhile partner SuZuki, TVS is not short on nomenclature.

While SuZuki just can’t seem to get the names right, TVS is spot-0n when it comes to names: What else can you name a bike which rises from the ashes?

PHOENiX of course!

Just google “Phoenix mythology” and see what you get!

 

What drives phoenix?

 

What drives it is a 124.53 cc engine having a bore X stroke of 57mm X 48.8 mm running at a Compression Ratio of 9.4 (to 0ne) fed by a UCAL UCD 25 carburetor. This engine produces 8.1 kw (=11 PS=10.86 bhp) at 8000 rpm and develops a torque of 10.8 Nm at 6000 rpm. The EngineLifeFactor=ELF of this bike is 1.33 which is pretty good, as compared to KTM Duke 200 ELF=0.877 or Honda CBR150 which is even less=0.866! The highest ELF among all bikes in this hole world is Bullet500, which is=2.307! In all other Bullet models it is 2.24 which still is higher than all other bikes in Hindustan.

TVS has made a slight error here. While the OWNERs Manual shows 8.1 kw==11 bhp, the website http://www.tvsphoenix.com/#  (at 08:30 am on Saturday 3.August.2013) shows 8.1 kw ==11 PS! Fact is: 8.1 kw is actually equal to 10.86 bhp, not PS!

The difference is miniscule, just 0.14 bhp, but it is a difference nonetheless! Writing one thing in the 0wners Manual and something else in the website is just NOT DONE!

It may be noted that 1 kw=1.3599 PS=1.3413 bhp, and 1PS=0.9863225 bhp.

The short-stroke engine which idles at 1400 rpm has a stroke/bore ratio of 48.8/57==0.856~~0.86, which is less than 1, and by Archimedes Law (Mechanical Advantage X Velocity Ratio=1Always) is not too good for LET as engines go.

Short stroke engines (just take a look at the stroke/bore ratio of the Honda CBR150) are more for HET than LET, and rev higher (and are lighter per bhp=better power to weight ratio). Yet LET characteristics (not of the engine, but at the tire-X-road interface) can be engineered (by playing with gear ratios and/or sprocket ratios), which is what was done in FLAME, which if I remember correctly was more by sprocketing, while the Phoenix tire-X-road interface seems to be engineered by gear rati0s.

Phoenix first gear is high and short. Second gear is also quite short. Third is longer. Fourth is longest (has to be), yet goes only thus far and no farther! Hence the excellent LET at tire/road interface!

On a wheelbase of 1265 mm, the bike rides on 17inch tires, the front tire being 2.75 inch wide and rear tire 90/90, which is almost same width as 3.oo. Starting is by kick as well as self, powered by a 12v-5Ah battery. Stopping is by 130 mm drum at rear, while for front wheel stopping you have a choice between 130 mm drum or a 240 mm petal disc – with a cost difference (the one I have is with the petal disc front brake). Ground clearance is mentioned as 165 mm and kerb weight (with tool kit and 90% of fuel in tank) is 114 kg for the drum brake version and 116 kg for the disc version. Headlight power is 35w which is almost standard for 97.8% bikes in this hole cunt ree!

Transmission is by a heel-toe shifter (thank god – I hate toe-only shifters – they spoil shoe polish) thru four gears in an all-up pattern (like Hero 100 cc bikes).

Ride Quality

0n the road: Press the self button and the engine fires – choke not required – even early morning in rainy season. Press heel, and the bike takes off. The first gear feels very short, so Kwik Lee (Like Bruce Lee) shift to second, which is also quite short, so shift to third before you hit 25. Before forty you should already be in 4th (top) gear otherwise you are revving (and consuming petrol) more than necessary. Stay at 40, it pulls easily – single or dubble – no trubble!

For an engine with a stroke/bore rati0 less than 1 (0.86 exactly), this bike – at road/tire interface – manifests excellent LET due to short gearing. The bike keeps demanding a fifth, which alas, does not exist! Never the mind! This is not KTM Duke, nor is it pretending to be!

This is a no-nonsense comfortable city bike with occasional weekends thrown it. Even dubble seat! 0r rather specially dubble seat! Even if your dubble is a bubble female sitting sideways!

I was kwite=quite impressed with the comfort level of the Phoenix. And after being reminded by Avinash Gudimetla, I checked the suspension again. And guess what I found? Each rear shock absorber has two different separate springs! Bajaj bikes also have two different separate springs in each rear shocker. But the arrangement of the two springs is different. While Bajaj has two different coils –one inside the other having same travel but different coefficient of restitution – Phoenix also has two different coils having different travel and different coefficient of restitution – 0ne after another! While the Bajaj arrangement is called “Pari-Passu”, the Phoenix arrangement is called “Tandem!

 

I took some measurements. In Phoenix, the total combined spring length of both springs (0ne after another) is 21cm. The upper spring coiled length is 14.5cm and is 8mm thick, while the lower spring coiled length is 6.5cm and is 6mm thick. That is what is making the Phoenix ride so comfortable!

 

While there were some incriminations and inFLAMEmations between Bajaj and TVS over the Twin-Sparks of the extinguished FLAME, this time TVS has gone Beyo0O0onD Bajaj by going TANDEM instead of PARi-PASSU !

While Bajaj calls its Pari-Passu Spring-in-Spring arrangement as SnS, I call the Phoenix arrangement as SaS! That is: Spring-after-Spring!

Road holding and handling are in keeping with the overall geometry which is: Handlebar width is 74cm=29inch; 30mm Twin-Forks; 17inch tires; 1265mm wheelbase, out of which 670mm is the rectangular (52mm vertically and 27mm horizontally) section rear swing-arm (with a 2mm wall thickness), which is pretty solid and flex free. General seating geometry is excellent! For night riding the 35watt headlight does duty, which is as good as any other 35 watt headlight.

While the switchgear quality is excellent and almost standard, curious thing is: the EngineKillSwitch which is at RH grip does the job of activating hazard lights – which is: all the four orange blinkers flashing simultaneously – as happens in cars! The blinkering is fine and very useful for safety in dark tunnels, but one is used to the EngineKillSwitch being there, and very often I used to swatch that switch to kill the engine, which wouldn’t die, and then seeing the blinkering I would remember that it is not the EngineKillSwitch! My fault! I can’t remember! I am 67 years old! At my age, this is Law of Nature!

Another thing that does NOT jell with me is the digital displays. All digitals in almost all bikes today are LCD=Liquid Crystal Display, which at my age=67, I cannot read without +1.25 chashma (=glasses) which I do NOT need for driving. That is a conflicting paradox for which the bike is not responsible. It is me. I am an old man. My eyes are weak. That’s the way the cookie crumbles! For me, as it will for everybody, for the time comes – as it must – for everybody! To me the speed0 of this bike is painful. It is impossible for my 67 year old eyes to pinpoint the ever flickering speed0, which is el-pain0! Surprisingly, my co-tester Devjeet (age 27=forty years younger than me), 6/6 eyesight & NO chashma, also says the speed0 is el-pain0!

On the pure mechanical, geometrical, physical and comfort level, the bike is a pleasure to drive. Need I say more?

PERFORMANCE:

I had planned to do the braking and pickup measurements on Monday.26.Aug.2013, but it rained, and you cannot lock wheels and skid on wet road. Next day it did not rain. So I got Risky Mind-ke (actually his name is Rishi Mandke, but I call him Risky Mind-ke bkoz his mind is very Risky and he keeps doing wheelies and stoppies – on any and every bike anywhere and everywhere – as you can see here!

The road where I did these tests is sloping. So Risky did THREE runs in one direction upwards and THREE in exactly opposite direction downwards. Add them up and divide by SiX, so the advantage / disadvantage of the slope cancels out. Six runs – three each way for pickup, and similar three each way for braking.

Thus Risky Mindke returned a figure of FiVE SECONDS for acceleration Zer0 to sixty.

Braking distance – locking both brakes and skidding to a stop – was 9.6 meters.

Mine is a pretty dangerous and crude method of doing this test. But I am just replicating an accident situation, which is the most realistic, useful and practical replication of reality which is what readers want. I do not have expensive equipments to instrumentally do these tests, but I have a daredevil named Risky Mind-ke who is willing to risk his neck! So WhoTF needs expensive ekvipment=equipment?

The top speed I did on this bike was satisfactory & good enuff to keep up with the traffic. I cannot tell you exactly how much was the top speed, because the speed0 indicator flickers so much, is in such small print and so faint that I cannot see.  The bike can go faster, but I cannot. It is still raining. The roads are still wet. And I am no hero to try speeding on wet roads. Satisfactory is good enough for me. Maybe after the rain stops, I will ask Risky Mind-ke to do it.

                      Mileage

I did the fuel consumption test (bottle test) on the Phoenix exactly on the same road, load & traffic conditions under which I do all fuel tests. The figures I got were as follows. Fuel used is ordinary unleaded green petrol. Single rider was me, weight 51 kg. Height 174 cm=5.86 feet.

 

 

S.No

Test conditions of TVS Phoenix125

Distance Covered (km)

Fuel Consumed (litres)

Fuel average (kmpL)

1

Speed max up to 50 kmpH but generally @ 40 kmpH. 27 gear changes to 3rd, 8 to 2nd and twice to 1st. 1 full stop, self start & go.     33 brakings.

6.9

0.120

57.5

2

Mostly in top gear. Thrice to third. Five brakings to slow down. Speed 35-40. Max 50.

4.0

0.060

66.7

3

Mostly steady 40. Four brakings & Gear changings to 3rd for speed breakers.

3.4

0.050

68.0

4

Speed 45 to 55. Ten gear changings to 3rd for speed breakers.

5.6

0.090

62.2

5

Overall Fuel Average

19.9

0.32

62.2

 

This is as expected. This test was done in city traffic. As you can see, LET is so good that coming down to 1st gear happened only twice in 19.9 km. Even to go over speed breakers, one needs to come down only 0ne gear to 3rd, and back again to 4th (=top gear) after crossing the speed breaker. That’s pretty relaxed driving.

That is the Distinctive Competence of the Phoenix.

ConKLooZion: Phoenix is a very well rounded package. Basically it is a city bike especially for dubble seat. At Rs.53,454/- ex showroom, this bike is soLLid vaLLue for muNNeee!

 

 

Team bikeguru:

bikeguru Dilip Bam: www.facebook.com/bikegurudilipbam

Devjeet Saha: www.facebook.com/sahadevjeet

Hrishikesh Mandke: www.facebook.com/hrishikesh.mandke

Photo Credits: www.djclicks.com 

 

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