TVS Ronin: A Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 owner’s take

TVS deliberately did not design a motorcycle that had proportions similar to the Royal Enfield Bullet / Classic 350 and the Honda CB 350 / RS.

BHPian neil.jericho recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I dropped into a nearby TVS showroom to check out the Ronin. There were 3 bikes on display. Some thoughts

  • The bike is definitely small. You cannot get around its diminutive proportions. My theory is that TVS deliberately did not design a motorcycle that had proportions similar to the Royal Enfield Bullet / Classic 350 and the Honda CB 350 / RS. Had they done so, customers would have compared the products side by side and said, “Why does the TVS only get a 225 cc engine?”. The battle would have been lost then and there. So, maybe TVS is on to something with this 8 / 10 sized motorcycle. I just wish it was a 9/10 sized motorcycle.
  • The styling of the final product is a designer’s nightmare within a nightmare within a nightmare. If I had to guess, the following is what actually happened
  • Product manager to design team : Guys, I want you to come up with 5 options for every design element. So, give me 5 headlight designs. 5 tank designs. 5 exhaust designs. 5 paint schemes. We have to show different options to the higher ups.
  • Final decision maker in TVS to the Product manager : I will take Headlight #1, Instrumentation Pod #3, Tank #2, Exhaust #5 etc.
  • Product manager to the baffled design team : You heard the boss, put it all together and give us the final design!
  • There is zero cohesion in the design. Its like me loading my plate with 10 dishes from 10 different cuisines from 10 different parts of the world and expecting to get a lip smacking meal. I think most people are being kind to TVS on the design front.
  • I found the display to be just too busy. Just because you can display all that information, doesn’t mean that you should. That offset display unit is disproportionate in size and sticks out like a sore thumb, both literally and figuratively. Speaking of sore thumbs, that humongous chain guard feels like it came off a BMW GS1200.
  • For all of Mr Sumbly’s fancy marketing talk about the bike appealing to everyone and it being all about exciting unscripted stories, TVS has chosen the most boring colours for the motorcycle. These are paint schemes that will only appeal to mature enthusiasts. TVS knows what they are doing. The people who will actually buy the Ronin will not look anything like the people featured in TVS’s commercials.
  • Considering this audience and the size / proportions of the seats, I dont think too many people will be comfortably doing 2 up touring.
  • The build quality looks to be pretty good.
  • The bike is as much a scrambler, as I am an astro-physicist. P.S – I’m not an astro-physicist.
  • Once you sit on the bike, you understand that the detailed technical breakdown from the launch, was not fluff. This feels like a well engineered product from a company that is renowned for being an engineering company. The ergonomics are good. You can tell that TVS has spent a lot of time in making this a motorcycle that is going to be comfortable for long rides.
  • Car enthusiasts talk about a car shrinking around you when you drive it. I’ve never understood it. In the showroom, when you sit on the pint sized Ronin, it suddenly feels like a normal sized motorcycle. So, its the opposite of the car shrinking around you sensation. Neither makes sense but I cant explain it any other way. In the real world, when you are commuting to work and are stuck at Silk Board junction where you are side by side with normal sized people on normal sized motorcycles, you will probably feel silly being seated on the smaller Ronin.

TVS seems to have put a lot of effort into the product but it does appear as though siloed teams have worked on the product, the positioning and the launch event. It is all disjointed. You don’t find this confusion with a Meteor, for example.

I really don’t know how this lifestyle motorcycle fits into TVS’s overall philosophy. I really don’t know what this motorcycle is trying to be. I think I have a fair idea of what it is, though. A test ride should help clear things up. The good thing for TVS is that people are genuinely interested to know more about the product. How many of them will convert to actual sales? That remains to be seen.

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