TVS isn’t exactly new to the gearless scooter segment, with Scooty and its variants, the Pep, pep+ and the streak all stand testimony to the companies experience in this field, with almost endless waiting periods for the current market leader, the Honda Activa, it was inevitable that TVS would come up with a rival against the Japanese giant.
We take a close look at the machine and wonder if this two – wheeler has what it takes to grab the hearts of prospective scooter buyers. The Wego was first launched along with the Jive back in November 25, 2009, TVS claimed to have spent a whopping 50 crore developing this machine which is designed and marketed to be family friendly unlike the Scooty which was for the Ladies. Priced slightly higher than the competition by about 1000Rs, the Wego has plenty of features worth mentioning along with the good looks.
Looks and Features: The styling is best described in one word ‘Edgy’, it features muscles and curves all around its metal body with sharp looking indicators just like on the Scooty streak and the white color that seems to have been lifted straight from the RTR 180, its far from the conservative design language of the Activa and the Duro. On closer inspection of the Wego, TVS’s trademark attention to detail in the design can be seen, take for example the air vent below the seat, while most designers would be happy to go ahead and put two holes there, TVS has given the Wego a cool looking transformers-logo-style air vent, complete with a plastic mesh.
The tail lamps, they may seem ordinary but the three inverted-U shaped optical tubes is almost identical to the tubes used on BMW cars to light up their brake lights and corona rings.
The very well done stitching on the rear seat and the design of the rear grab rail both speak volumes about the effort that has been put into the creation of this scooter, even under the seat there were no wires, imperfections or mechanical bits visible, the key too followed the same tradition with a new fob design that makes it look like it was of a car. The 12” inch silver alloy wheels with its unique design also helps to set this bike apart from the crowd.
Overall, the Wego definitely looks more stylish than the Activa but might not go down as a good looking machine with everyone out there, particularly the older crowd; it seems to suit a younger buyer with its energetic lines. Looks aside, on the features front, the bike does have quite a lot to offer, firstly it features an all metal body which is different to the Scooty’s which features a fibre shell, the metal ensures longer life, stability due to the added weight, and durability in the event of bumps and dents, there have also been two patented features on the Wego, one is the EZ Stand, this is a spring operated stand with a long kick lever, its designed and positioned in a way that makes it amazingly easy to put the bike onto the centre stand, on testing it we found that it takes less effort, to place the bike on the main stand, than lifting a bag of rice provided the kick lever was firmly pushed to the ground,another patent has been applied for TVS’s Body Balance Technology, more about this in the Handling section, this technology is a mix of components that enable the rider to have maximum steering ability and maneuverability in traffic or at cruising speeds. The Wego also features 12 inch alloy wheels for both front and back which is fitted with newly designed TVS Tyres. The scooter features twin telescopic front shock absorbers and a gas filled rear spring.
There isn’t any disc brake option for the bike and it features drum units for both front and rear. Another interesting feature is the integrated front storage compartment, this compartment isn’t an add – on accessory that seems to have been bolted into place like on the Activa, it is part of the standard package, the fuel lid is positioned right behind the seat and can be opened by inserting a key on the left rear side of the bike, turning the key to the right opens the fuel lid and the key can be turned to the left to open the seat.
Other features include a hook beside the ignition key slot for hanging bags or groceries weighing less than 3 Kg’s, an optional under seat 12V socket for mobile charging and an illuminated key ring.
Engine Performance and Drivability: The engine on the Wego is an all new, all aluminum unit designed with two key principles in mind, low noise and less friction. On paper, it is a 109cc engine that produces 8.1 Bhp of power. The same basic engine was also featured on the Jive, TVS’s ‘no tension bike’. On the test bike I was given the battery was disconnected since it had just arrived from the factory. So the only option was to kick start it. I put it into the main stand and kept kicking it, on the third kick, the lever went all the way down without any resistance and got me worried for a second, it’s only when I touched the seat that I felt that the engine was on, this wasn’t a noisy place at the centre of town, it was a showroom on the side of a deserted highway at noon, and still the silence of the engine really made an Impression As I got on the highway, accelerating at full throttle, I remember a smile being put on my face by the scooter as I went on with the journey, there was an eerie silence about the engine, it literally felt like the Wego was running on butter instead of petrol, the engine was that smooth and quiet, yet, TVS doesn’t mention this remarkable characteristic in any of the ads of the Wego, the company seems to be following a policy of ‘Promise less, Deliver more’. Riding without a pillion, I felt that the scooter had a decent level of pickup and acceleration; it was really hard to compare it to my friends Honda Activa I rode later that day simply because of the lack of engine noise.
In an Activa, on hard acceleration, the engine purrs audibly and the acceleration can really be felt and due to the lack of the rev counter, the engine noise can help in judging how fast the bike is accelerating in relation to the speed, but on the Wego due to the suppressed sound, all there is, is the feeling of gliding along, slowly getting faster and faster. Hence, in terms of a real world comparison of the two scooters, the Activa felt slightly faster, this might be due to psychological factors or because of the fact that TVS has tuned its scooter for better mileage than the rest. In the cities too, the engine feels stress free and ready to move at every twist of the throttle, with the ambient noises in city areas, it felt like driving an electric scooter around. Overall, in the engine and performance department, the Wego was impressive, not for its power, but for its amazing refinement, I honestly have yet to come across a bike or a scooter that has an engine that feels so pure and so smooth. With almost zero noise, there’s no doubt that it’s a job well done by TVS.
Ride, Handling and Ergonomics: The initial part of the test session covered deserted highways which had a glass like smoothness to them, needless to say, the bike felt rock solid on these roads, it was without a doubt, nimble and sporty, requiring nothing more than a slight twist of the hip to lean the bike, the bike did have great lean angles but the centre stand was always eager to touch the ground when turning to the left.
At cruising speed, the Wego can take turns like a bee and is quite fun to ride too, but our Indian roads in general are far from glass-smooth so I found a path of bumpy inner roads to give the suspension a good work out.12” wheels are standard at both the front and rear and also, the front end sports dual telescopic arms and the rear houses a single gas filled shock absorber, though the rear suspension took every bump and pothole with smiles, the front suspension was quick to transmit some of the bumps onto the handlebars, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience having my hands shaking like it was on a tractor engine while going through some rough patches. But, the rear felt really comfortable, the seat, though it seems flat, is actually curved well once a rider sits on it and is also soft, this added to the ride quality of the scooter and made up for the hard front end. To be honest, with the 12” wheels, I had expected a little more. But things started to get into the right perspective once I started using the brakes really well, the Wego, on hard braking, felt just like a two wheeler should feel, planted and secure.
The front end dives in well and gives a great amount of feedback about the level of grip on the tires; this was more bike – like and did not feel awkward even when the front brakes were tried on a patch of mud. It feels predictable and safe on braking despite the use of drum brakes. The 12” wheels also added to the feedback of the whole setup. Rubber quality, to say the least was good and it definitely felt a lot better than the ones used on the Scooty but not quite up to Activa standards. Speaking of the Wego’s braking in comparison to the current market leader, Activa, its almost entirely different, the Activa features a bottom link, spring loaded hydraulic damper at the front, on the road this meant that the front of the bike actually rises up on applying the brakes, which can feel odd and also unpredictableon muddy roads, this issue is non-existent on the Wego since it uses the bike-like telescopic Suspension System. In the city though, TVS’s ‘body balance tech’ made its presence felt, with the least amount of effort required to flick the bike in and out of traffic, and roads. this technology, in my opinion consists of the 12″ wheels, telescopic suspension in front, the comparatively higher ground clearance and a well implemented front – rear weight distribution. The good brakes on the scooter also lent a bit of confidence for taking it around at above average speeds. Overall, in the handling department, the bike felt refreshing; it was sporty, nimble, predictable and confidence inspiring, at the cost of being slightly bumpy on bad roads. Not bad at all.
The Verdict: The Wego is definitely an impressive machine; it’s got some really appealing looks especially in that White color, sporty handling, good ride comfort, lots of storage space, mileage, and best of all, refinement. This scooter, without a doubt goes into my books as the quietest two wheeler I have ever ridden. Looking at the scooter segment from a business point of view, the Activa led the market due to its very conservative and simple looks which appealed to everyone from youngsters to adults, the Wego, though has a more energetic styling, one that the younger buyers would love and the older customers may loathe. On the whole it’s a welcome addition to the 110cc scooter segment. With the level of refinement and class that TVS has managed to cram into this little scooter, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Wego took a big bite into the pie, the Activa had all to itself.
- Arun Thampi