TVS Fiero FX – An 8 Year Ownership Review by Pradeep

I was 21 and had graduated from college. My mom had decided that it was time I got a present for making it this far. I was to get “Hold your breath” A motorcycle of my choice! Was I lucky? Did I truly deserve this? You and I will never know the true answers to those questions. All that stands in the end are my TVS Fiero FX and me!

As an afterthought, I would like to answer those questions with one word – Fate! Little did my folks know that I had actually seen an ad for a TVS Fiero FX in the newspapers a few days ago. Little did they know the fact that I had cut out the advert and kept it safely in my drawer. And now you will know that I still have the ad with me. (Here’s the scan of the print ad).

All I could blurt out as an answer to their generosity was “I would like a TVS Fiero FX.” The very same day, plans were made to source this dream machine from a dealer. A visit was planned, inquiries were made and a booking was carried out. My motorcycle was to reach the store in two days and I was to come pick it up. In those couple of days, you can only imagine how less I slept and how much I spoke.

Reality Check

I was handed the keys to my motorcycle on the 25th of May in 2004. It has been nearly eight years since this bike got me by the um… bhp. I have ridden it within the state I live in (MH) and hope to take it for extended visits to other parts of the country in the future. What happened after the day I got my first bike is a blur. That first kick was followed by many more. The kms racked up incredibly fast as I took my bike to work, to play, to treks, to parties. In short, everywhere I went, I went with my bike. (That’s me with my machine).

Go Fiero Go!

According to another ad, it has covered a Bombay-Bangalore road trip in 12 hours flat. It is also a 4-time National Motocross Champion. I could go on about accomplishments like the fact that a few men astride Fiero FXs set a record by riding on 4 of the world’s highest motorable passes in just 24 hours. This bike has made history. (You can see it in the scanned image here).

Time For Tech Specs

A lot of Fieros are still being used on dirt tracks today even though production of this screamer has stopped sadly. The tech on this bike is mindblowing! It had an ES option, but I chose to avoid that because I think motorcycles need to be started by foot – not hand! Besides having a superb engine with a great chassis, it has many parts manufactured by reputed automotive brands.

Pricol makes few of the engine components as well as the instrument cluster and fuel tank float. The front disc brake kit is all thanks to TVS’ tie-up with Girling; It’s one of the few bikes in India to have a disc brake on the left. A Ucal Mikuni BS26 carburettor governs the air/fuel intake; it’s one of India’s first CV carbs. Ucal Mikuni also manufactures the SAI (Secondary Air Induction) on the motorcycle.

Gabriel shock absorbers (oil damped) are on duty at the back. A Champion spark plug came fitted as stock. Headlamp illumination is provided all thanks to a Philips halogen bulb, which is safely enclosed in housing by Fiem. The horn is courtesy of Minda. The airbox features a double polyurethane foam filter element that is encased in a wire mesh, just like in the Husqvarnas. And I got all this for just half a lakh Rupees! That’s not a typo!

To Give You A Few Figures

  • The TVS Fiero FX’s air-cooled, 4-stroke, dual-valve, SOHC engine has a 4-speed constant mesh gearbox combined with a wet multiplate clutch.
  • The torque of 11.3nm kicks in @ 6000rpm.
  • The 147.5cc motor churns out 12bhp @ 7500rpm.
  • It is approx 126kg in weight when dry, which translates to good power-to-weight-ratio. The chassis is a tubular double cradle.
  • The tank holds 13 litres with 2 in reserve.
  • Its ignition system is digital CDI – AC and the rest runs on a 12V 2.5Ah battery.

I could keep drilling your head with the tech specs and brand names, but the ride quality and “feel” is what really gets you. Well, at least it got me. And I’m super-happy that I got one.

Handling

I believe a picture says a 1000 words. Thus, this video should speak for itself.

Care

All I do to maintain my bike is that I power-wash it once a month, change the oil and oil filter once every 2 months (I graduated to Castrol Power 1 from Activ) and well, that’s about it. I keep an eye on the oil level and spark plug to determine engine health. I personally clean the air filter and spark plug prong. Get the engine head area decarbed occasionally and the bike feels like new.

Set the valve gaps and adjust the timing chain and you’re good to go. Tune and clean the carb and you’re sure to ride hassle-free. An occasional dose of engine oil additives like Iftex Bardahl will keep your block rev-happy. Coat the contacts of the battery with petroleum jelly to extend their life. I have changed the chain and sprocket set and battery just once in all of the bike’s life.

Ditto for the clutch plates. I have gone through only 4 spark plugs. I have changed the tyres for better performance. If you notice, it’s not an expensive bike to maintain. I have managed to keep away from major bills during the occasional fall because I have retained the crash guard. Most basic tinkering can be carried out with help of the complementary toolkit TVS provides.

I have personally removed the rear wheel with just the TVS toolkit when I got a puncture kms away from a tyre shop. With the addition of a few more tools, you can carry out some “service center” maintenance work yourself. If it’s too hot while working outside, a pint helps. But please don’t ride drunk!

Criticism

And now, for the cons! What did you think? This is the world’s most perfect motorcyc le? As any true motorcyclist will know – each bike has its own temperament. One has to learn to work with his machine’s limitations. The TVS Fiero FX is notorious for not making much of a noise. That’s true.

It’s exhaust note is very silent for a motorcycle, which can be frustrating to purists who believe in making a racket. The tyres… Damn! The lesser said the better. But you know what? I have to put it out there. The stock Fiero tyres suck! Big time! The pickup is all right for a 4-stroke. It will not let you win all traffic signal drags. But it will not leave you in the dust either.

The bike tends to lose power on elevated twisties, such as the roads of Lonavla. It’s top end is 100kms/hr as per the manual. Me and other owners have repeatedly proved this incorrect. It can be taken faster; however, sudden braking may cause the rear to slide a bit. Moreover, newer bikes are more speed friendly because in the TVS Fiero FX the emphasis was on torque.

And also the new bikes are well, new! The seat is strictly okay for quick rides but it is not made for long hauls although I have taken mine to Pune, Lonavla, Daman, etc without any major cause for complain. Of course, and since now that production has ceased, parts take longer to find than usual and service centers are few and far between. Rather than rely on mechanics, you need to become one yourself.

Customization / Modifications

(This is what my bike looks like now)

And that’s the reason you’ll see mine being tricked out occasionally. Currently, my machine has slightly longer and stiffer front fork travel. I have fitted on a lighter motocross mudguard; the fork gaiters help from keeping mud and rain off the exposed tubes. The rear shocks have been reconditioned and are stiffer, which make for a ride with a lot of feedback.

A new louder horn has been added to warn zombie pedestrians. I am using a bigger front sprocket for better top end and lesser stress on the engine. It’s a simple and inexpensive mod anyone can go in for. By the way, my bike returned a mileage of ~60kmpl when it was new. The figure now stands at ~40kmpl. Not too bad, I think.

The TVS Fiero FX has a formidable midrange due to its motocross pedigree. In fact, the 3rd gear has one of the best ratios I have experienced. Not that the rest of the gears are bad. The overall gearbox is smooth and gives the rider a positive engagement with no false neutrals whatsoever. I opted for a MRF 3.00 × 18 Moto C upfront and a Ceat Secura Sport 3.00 × 18 Vertigo for the rear.

They do kill the mileage a bit but that’s better than killing myself. Plus, their button design helps me with my occasional off-roading bursts. I am currently using a wider handle bar of the FZ 16 with after-market softer handgrips. The headlight is stock as I feel it is really great for illumination. As I mentioned earlier, the FX has a 35/35W Philips halogen that does a great job.

The bike also has a helpful headlight “Pass” switch that can be used for overtaking or warning oncoming vehicles. Fieros are naturally very mod-friendly and a lot of owners have pepped up their engines. I have not carried out any major work as I hope to keep learning what’s really required to know and Only then take any chances.

The mirrors, turn indicators, skirt guard, bar-end weights, exhaust heat shield and chain cover have been removed to make the kerb weight lesser. Also missing is the instrument cluster because I don’t care to be told how much fuel I have left or how fast I am going or how many kms my engine has done and at what rpm I should change gears optimally.

It’s all in the head! Do what you feel and feel what you do. That’s the reason I got a motorcycle. That is also the same reason why I got a TVS Fiero FX. My “Predator” as I affectionately call it. To express myself. (That’s a well-used motorcycle)

Ratings Chart

  • Power: 8/10
  • Mileage: 6/10
  • Looks: 8.5/10
  • Maintenance: 9/10
  • Fun: 10/10

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Ride it like you stole it! But buy your own helmet.

– Pradeep “PradO” Miranda.

P.S. A big thanks to my life partner for clicking the pix. @ all – Comments and compliments welcome.

Regards,
Pradeep Miranda

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