TVS Phoenix 125 ArmChaiRoadTest

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Motorcycle: TVS Phoenix 125 ArmChaiRoadTest  by  bikeguru.

For the past dozen years and more, when TVS had a slew of 4-stroke 125 cc bikes rolling across the cunt ree, to the last two most recent launches: Kluch-less Jive which didn’t  jive, and the  WeGo skootre which Goes gr8, every TVS bike came to me for test, but not the Phoenix.

The name Phoenix, as you might have read elsewhere – or googled it – comes from the name of a mythical bird that died and was burned to ash, but somehow reformed itself again into bird and came back to life. The catch-line being: The Phoenix has arisen from the ashes! Tragically for me, the Phoenix is still in the ashes. Maybe I am a phoney and for me the Phoenix has NOT arisen. It is still dead. What am I to do? Die Another Day? Or take a SKYFALL? Either way, James Bond always wins. So Lemme try the 007 way. It is a question of balls, particularly eyeballs! Narrow corporate perceptions! So be it!

I did talk to my old friend in TVS who deals with these things. He gave me some corp0 crapp0 which sounded like Bipasha Basu’s sexy dance “nahi-doongi-nahi-doongi” in Jodi-Breakers. I got the gist. For me, The Phoenix was not going to rise from the ashes. At least not in a hurry!

So what is the Phoenix all about? And why the name Phoenix?

Why not MatriX? 0r AsteriX? 0r CacophoniX? 0r 0beliX? 0r DogmatiX?

Bkoz it iz 125 cc!

The immediate predecessor of TVS Phoenix in the 125 cc class was TVS FLAME, lonch’d in May 2008=4.6 years ago. I have it with me. It is probably the 3valve-single plug model called Flame SR125, though SR125 is not written anywhere in the 0wners Manual I got with the bike, nor on the bike itself. It had some innovative features like a small lockable dicky built into the fuel tank right under your nose. Side panels on the fuel tank jutting out front, like has become the norm these days in bikes like CBF Stunner and TVS’s own RTRs. The Flame SR125 has 18-inch rear tyre and choice between 17” or 18” for front. Devil horns type rear grab rail. Technically also there were innovations: Three valves: two inlet and one exhaust. Pretty good Low End Torque. The SR125 morphed into DS125 – the DS standing for Dual Spark. Everything in the engine: power, rpm, torque, bore, stroke of the DS125 remained same as SR125.

Somehow the FLAME didn’t spread much, never set fire to the sales charts. Yet there was fire elsewhere: In the courts of all places! Sometime after my test report of the 3-valve, single plug Flame, TVS lonch’d the twin-plug DS125 version. It seems Bajaj sued TVS for using Bajaj’s claimed patented DTSi technology. Technical kheencha – taani happened. Legal kheencha – taani also happened. They said Bajaj has two valves, while TVS has three, so it is different, and therefore patent law does not apply. Anyway it seems the case is now resolved or gone into cold storage. It doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

While the earliest (@ 10 years ago) 125 cc models from TVS like Victor125 and Edge125 had fairly successful runs, yet the Flame125 burned out and the name lay in ashes. So now with the PHOENiX TVS hopes this Phoenix125 offering will RiSE FROM THE ASHES OF THE FLAME.

So what is the Phoenix like? I visited the TVS official website and looked for the Phoenix125 page. There is no data there at 16:43 pm on Sunday 18.Nov.2012 – no official specifications, only riding impressions of staffers from three hard copy magazines, who rode the bike on the TVS track in Hosur.

So to get data I went to the TVS dealer showroom and picked up the snazzy fold-out brochure of the Phoenix125. There are exactly one dozen media hypes in the foldout as given below:

1>Dual tone graphics: As if viewers are color blind and cannot see the two tones!

2>RotO Petal disc brakes: Rot0? 0h really? As if it could be rect0 or squar0!

3>Pilot Lamps: Big deal! Bullet has had it since before I was born 66 years ago!

4>Petal tail lamp: Any shape would be equally effective, but say petal and hype it!

5>ECOthrust Engine: Is the thrust on ECOnomy or ECOlogy.  Shooting two arrows? HYPE!

6>Compound padded seat: I found it simple, not compound.

7>Air cavity footpegs: All cavities have air, inklooding our asshole. What did you expect? Gold?

8>Series spring suspension: Bajaj had them pari-passu, so TVS has them in tandem. Avoid court.

9>Fully digital speed0: 0h No! Analog is the new NEW. Digital is passe’!

10>Soft touch switchgear: Hard Lee matters said Bruce Lee!

11>Soft textured grips: Aha! I got you tight now!

12>Hazard lights: something to announce your presence in the tunnels!

Having crawled thru the media hype, let us see what is REALLY on offer.

Firstly, the engine dimensions, that is Bore X Stroke is totally different from Flame. While Flame bore X stroke was 54.5 X 53.5 mm giving a swept volume of 124.80623 cc, the bore X stroke of Phoenix is 57 X 48.8 mm, giving a swept volume of 124.52571 cc, which is a difference of 0.2%, that is one-fifth of one percent or a difference of 0ne in 500, which is very very less, and statistically insignificant.

What is significant for Low End Torque (LET) however, is the stroke/bore ratio. In the Flame, stroke/bore ratio 53.5/54.5==0.98, which is less than 1. LONG STROKE gives BETTER Low End Torque, but this kicks in if the stroke/bore ratio is greater than 1, which in this case (Flame) is 0.98, which is less than 1. In the Phoenix, the stroke/bore ratio is 48.8/57==0.86, which is much lesser than Flame. Therefore as per Archimedes Law, which is “Mechanical Advantage X Velocity Ratio==1” (always), the Phoenix should not have good LET.

An engine in which stroke is less than bore is called short stroke engine. Such short stroke engines need higher rpm to deliver peak power. While the old Flame delivered peak power of 7.7 kw at 7500 rpm, the Phoenix delivers peak power of 8.1 kw==11 PS at 8000 rpm. Funny thing is, while both: the website as well as the 4.6 year old hard copy 0wners Manual of Flame, mention power as 7.7 kw, the 4.6 year old hard copy manual says 7.7 kw is 10.3 bhp, while the today (18.Nov.12) website mentions 7.7 kw as 10.5 bhp. This cannot be. So I did some analysis, and found that what the 4.6 year old hard copy manual mentions is correct, while the today website is wrong, not in the figure 10.5 (actually it is 10.47 rounded off to 10.5), but in the units. The units in the website need to be changed from bhp to PS. Point to note is that 0.73536kw=1.0 PS as per German DIN system, and 0.74556kw=1.0 bhp as per British FPS system.

Readers may kindly note that bhp is the British (FPS) system which today is used ONLY in USA. Even the British have stopped using their own FPS system and converted to the German DIN system. Even India adopted the DIN system on 1.April.1957, and today it is iLLEGAL to use FPS units.

As per the 4.6 year old hard copy manual, old Flame produced 10 Nm of Torque at 6250 rpm, while as per the website the same bike produces same 10 Nm of torque at 6000 rpm. Since website data must be more recent than 4.6 years, and since it can be updated (hard copy cannot be) I take website as more correct. As per hard copy brochure the Phoenix produces 10.8 Nm of Torque at 6000 rpm (there is no official TVS data on the website – only reports by 0tt0mags – Ha!).

Operating at a Compression Ratio (CR) of 9.4 and producing peak power at 8000 rpm, gives it an ELF=Engine Life Factor of 1.33, which is lower than Karizma (1.6) and Bullet (2.24), but is OK and similar to other current bikes.

Knowing the conservative philosophy of TVS, delivering the claimed 67 kmpL mileage would be TVS’s prime focus, and the gear ratios & sprocket ratios, the Phoenix should make for a zero-to-sixty of @ 6+ seconds and a top speed of close to 90, though a three dimensional ROAD TEST could vary the above figures slightly.

Transmission is 4-speed. Suspension is telescopic front forks and twin hydraulic shox rear. There is an innovation here: In the rear shox there are TWO different separate springs, probably with different ratings, arranged in tandem. TVS likes to call it series, which is “ek-ke-baad-ek” or “ek-se-pehle-ek, both mean the same thing, which is in tandem. If they were ek ke andar ek, like in Bajaj, they would be pari-passu, and if they were pari-passu, there might again be court-giri again. Avoid courtships.

Bajaj was the first to introduce two different springs (of different ratings) in rear shox on Bajaj bikes sometime ago. Bajaj named it ‘SnS’ – for Spring-in-Spring, and they were (and are) inside each other Pari-Passu, not in tandem like in Phoenix. The effect is 97.6% same, be it tandem or pari-passu.

Stopping power is by either both front and rear 130 mm drum brakes, or 240 mm disc front and 130 mm disc rear==the price difference is 2K. 17-inch tyres both front and rear are pretty nominal: 2.75” width front and 90/90 width rear. I see no logic here: 2.75 and 90/90 are almost identical: same cost, same performance. But TVS makes its own tyres. Different figures (2.75 & 90/90) impress the kids. Good for media hype.

Fuel tank is of 12 Liters inklooding 2 liters of reserve. Battery is 12V5Ah which is adequate. Headlight is 35 watt which is standard.

Built on a wheelbase of 1265 mm with a claimed ground kleerance of 165 mm, this bike stays with the general geometry of this class of bikes.

So, will the Phoenix turn the fortunes of TVS? It depends on what TVS does to promote it. 125 is NOT the performance segment. 125 is also NOT the economy (100 cc) segment. 125 is the in-between segment. It is the aspirational segment. It is people saying “Mai-hu-na”!

While this is an ArmchaiROAD TEST of the Phoenix, the best write-up and THE BEST photos of this bike are given by Xbhp at http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/first-impressions/24179-tvs-phoenix-125-evolved-commuter.html The bike isn’t even here – I mean NOT ARRiVED in Pune yet, how can I photo it? But Sunny Gajjar has. Gr8 photos!

The FLAME did not set fire to the sales charts of TVS. What will the Phoenix do? Will it rise from the Ashes? It might, depending upon HOW TVS promotes it and how much it lives up to the 67 kmpL claim.

Let us wait and watch.

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