TVS NTorq 125 Review by Syed Shiraz
Before I begin this TVS Ntorq 125 review, I must tell you that, growing up, I always hated scooters. I am talking about the ’80s and early ’90s here, which means I am mostly referring to the Vespa clones, such as the Chetak, Super, and Priya. From their miniature wheels to the further dynamically flawed engine placement (side-mounted), I disliked everything about them. I could tolerate the Lambrettas though, as they were not only dynamically sorted comparatively (bigger wheels; engine placed centrally, in line with the chassis, etc.), the pillion comfort was better too, thanks again to the correct placement of the engine, which allowed space for the foot-boards to be extended all the way back making for comfortable footrests for the pillion. There has never been a more comfortable scooter for the pillion. No, the Blaze wasn’t a patch on the Lamby in this aspect.
But, irrespective of the make, there was one thing that put me off universally about scooters: the riding position. It’s ladylike, and I thought that no self-respecting man with even moderate testosterone levels would ever want to ride one. Of course, the Vespas and Lambrettas were conceived in an era where skirts dominated all others forms of women apparel, but heck, even the twist-grip gear engagement of the scoots felt effeminate to me. I still remember looking doubtfully at my elder cousin (who I had talked about in my Bonneville review) who’d turned up at our place, gleefully, to show us his new Kinetic Honda DX. I didn’t disown him as he also had a KB 100. Point is, except for a Kinetic Honda here, and a Lambretta there, both my paternal and maternal families were motorcycle-people primarily. Therefore, I always found myself around Jawas, Yezdis, Enfields, RDs, RTZs, and RXs as well.
With that kind of unintentional conditioning, it was absolutely natural for me to dislike all kinds of stock scooters. Honestly, that is why you never saw a scooter review on BikeAdvice until now. I mean, I didn’t tell a manufacturer that “hey, I review motorcycles only“; in fact, I’ll review anything that has wheels and a motor (I’ll review bicycles too, happily) because that’s what my job really is. It’s just that I didn’t call a manufacturer proactively and asked for a scooter. So this time when TVS called and asked whether I would like to review the NTorq, I immediately replied in the affirmative. Will this scoot have enough to dissolve my long-harboured prejudice? Let’s find out.
TVS NTorq 125 Review: Design, Ergos, Features, and Build Quality
Despite my unreasonable bias, a scooter has to be a step-through to begin with, and the NTorq makes the cut (pun intended, of course) successfully too, obviously. And it’s this feature that has endeared the most to scooter fans the world over as it provides multiple benefits. For example, although it hasn’t started raining much here in New Delhi, I know that as and when it does, the scooter riders will have drier socks than us motorcycle folks’. The footboard protects your feet from splashes and muck, while the front section also keeps the elements at bay to a certain extent, which helps in all kinds of weather.
But you already know that, of course. What you are interested to know is whether the NTorq’s footboard provides more legroom than Indigo Airlines, at least. And whether you can carry more stuff on the NTorq than the luggage carried by some Indian families as hand baggage. Let me address the latter first. There are two hooks rated for 3 kg each, whereas the underseat storage capacity is a claimed 22 liters. Now I am someone who is habitual of carrying my backpack on my back (that’s why it’s called a backpack, right?), but I have seen many (almost all) men and women in my office parking lot keeping their big backpacks on their scooters’ footboards. I am not comfortable with the idea, so I didn’t try it, but I don’t think they will face any constraint on the NTorq as well.
I did use the underseat storage more than a couple of times though, and it is indeed quite accommodating. It didn’t take a friend’s full-face SOL helmet, but it did take the full-face helmet Suzuki Motorcycles India had sent last year as part of its “Helmet For Life” road safety campaign. Please note that the seat still did compress the helmet a bit. So I do not know how, on their website, TVS managed to fit in what looks like quite a big full-face helmet in the underseat compartment. Anyway, I’ll share a picture of how the helmet sent by Suzuki compares in size with other helmets for you to get a better idea. Of course, if you’re someone who wears an open-face helmet, you have nothing to worry. You shouldn’t be saving a face with a head like that anyway.
But, I really do not mind if it doesn’t take a full-size full-face helmet. I am content that it successfully handled the unforeseen. Allow me to explain. It has happened more than once that my mother has called me to pick up a few things on the way home, and I couldn’t comply because my backpack was full. Here, scooters win, and the NTorq wasn’t an exception. Guess what, that day I wasn’t even carrying my backpack, and I could still get all that mom ordered. See, the NTorq strengthens familial bonds too. You would also appreciate that TVS have been considerate enough to provide an LED light in the underseat compartment, and a 12V USB socket as well.
Coming to the legroom, while the footboard might not “appear” that spacious, my 5’9″ younger brother had no complaints whatsoever. He also confirmed that the handlebar at full lock did not touch his knee, or any part of his body. At a shade over five feet, my observations were no different. I reckon that riders as short as 4’10”, and those as tall as 6’0″, and everyone in between, would be comfortable on this scooter.
The low seat height of 770 mm is a boon for short riders, but without making taller riders feel awkward or uncomfortable. In fact, my sibling also corroborated that the NTorq’s seat is supremely comfortable. I mean, the last time I found a saddle to be this comfortable on a two-wheeler was when I was on the Suzuki V-Strom 650. I think this is another factor why scooters sell so much. Motorcycles, especially at a similar price, do not come with as comfortable saddles. The Radeon does come close, however, and it’s almost ten thousand rupees cheaper…
My 5’4″ pillion also had all the nice things to say about the seat comfort. She said that not only is seat height conducive to swing a leg over easily, once mounted it is quite comfortable and you don’t have to play footsie to find the pegs. She said that they are placed perfectly ensuring no stretch in the calves or around the ankles. Perfect! She also said that though it looks like the saddle slopes forward, its texture doesn’t allow involuntary sliding, which keeps the pillion secured in her place rather than letting her slide and touch the rider from behind sending him mixed signals. Good for her, bad for him. But I guess it’s good for both in the long run.
Talking about the saddle, there’s beautiful red stitching done by TVS on it, which looks elegant and lends a certain premiumness to it. In fact, the whole scoot is very well put together and neither could I find any loose ends in build quality, nor anything rattled, squeaked, or squirmed during the test. Also, if you’re wondering how I find the “looks” of the NTorq then let me tell you that it is indeed one of the finest looking scooters on sale right now. It’s sharp without being intrusive, while the curves are used in just the right amount too without making it appear pointless (all puns intended). It should get along with every member of your family.
All those nuances in design also ensure that despite being the heaviest in its segment, the NTorq doesn’t look heavy or gaudy! The icing on the cake is that it doesn’t look demure or petite either; it has enough flash and road presence to keep even the most superficial of you happy.
But the real party piece is the NTorq’s LCD screen. First of all, I absolutely love the shape of it. It’s a big rectangular unit, and someday I hope to see an even bigger, but coloured, version of it in the RR 310. Like all premium TVS motorcycles, this one is fully loaded too, and though I would request you to read all about it on the company’s website, there’s just one thing that is definitely worthy of a mention here: Bluetooth connectivity. TVS call it Smart Connect and spell it as SmartXonnect. I don’t know why though.
I know that now there are a few competitors who have come out with their own versions, but not only were TVS the first to bring this feature to the masses, their system, I hear, is still better than the ones that came later. Also, the last time I saw something similar was on the 25-lakh-rupee Ducati XDiavel S and that was not at all this darn comprehensive. Take a look at the short clip below if you do not believe me.
It’s another matter altogether that I don’t want such gizmos on my performance motorcycles anyway, but that’s a topic for some other day. In short, the phone-addict that you have become, TVS have kept that in mind and so their NTorq allows you to sync your phone to it via an app. You may then put the phone in your pocket, and the scoot’s screen will show you whether you have an incoming call/text. You may then decide whether it is important for you to stop to take that call. No, you cannot make or take a call like in a car via Bluetooth.
Also, if you’re someone who trusts Google Maps than your own sense of direction, then you won’t need to invest in an aftermarket handlebar-mount for your phone anymore as you can set the GPS coordinates on your phone, keep it in your pocket, and the NTorq’s Navigation Assist feature will guide you as you can see in the picture below.
The all-digital display is otherwise quite comprehensive too. Other than the speed display, it has fuel and engine temperature gauges on the right and left, respectively, a clock, odometer, two trip meters (A & B), high speed recorder, 0-60 km/h timer, lap timer, low fuel text warning complemented by the ‘F’ trip meter, plus the low fuel light alongside. I mean, it’s more persistent than your mother here, and you will have to head to the nearest fuel station immediately without any procrastination. Also, you may never notice it, but there is a sensor below the low fuel light icon that is responsible for adjusting the brightness of the screen! The chaps at TVS have left no stone unturned with this one!
Also, those of you who’d borrow the NTorq from your elder brother/father or if your girlfriend/wife keeps checking your phone, be mindful of the fact that the NTorq app also shows the last-parked location. You’ve been warned.
TVS NTorq 125 Review: Performance, Ride & Handling, and Fuel Efficiency
Turn the key on, and before thumbing the starter you notice that there is an engine kill switch. An engine kill switch on a scooter! I can think of at least one, one-lakh-rupee motorcycle that doesn’t come with this “luxury”.
And I can rap a list of motorcycle-names that do not come with a hi-beam pass function switch. Yes, the NTorq comes with that too.
Anyway, you push the former to switch the ignition on, press the brake, and thumb the starter. The NTorq comes to life with a deep burble that, forget other scooters, most single cylinder motorcycles will give a swingarm or two for it! It’s that good. Again, the Radeon has a similar voice, which is understood as it’s in their genes now.
You let go off the brake while simultaneously rolling the throttle on, and WHOA! The front wheel comes up a couple of feet off the ground; your legs are still dangling because you didn’t expect such a violent surge of power, and you back off to bring the front wheel down. You manage not to crash, somehow, and bring it to a halt at the side of the road to regain your composure. You’re shocked. You get off the scooter, putting it on its side stand, and start walking to inspect something that you were doubtful about from the beginning; something that’s on the right hand side of the scooter, near the rear wheel. You were right. That darn red fan is a turbocharger!
Of course, nothing of that sort happened. Were you really expecting that from a 125 cc CVT? I really like you, if you were. Okay, their heavily modded rally NTorq is something that I would love to ride someday, but you would be a dreamer to expect power wheelies from a street-going 125 cc four-stroke scooter.
But, the stock NTorq doesn’t disappoint either. Among its immediate competition, which comprises the 125 cc scooters from Honda and Suzuki, it’s the NTorq that produces the most power—9.4 PS at 7,500 rpm. The Honda motor puts out 8.6 PS at 6,500 rpm whereas the Suzuki’s peak power output is a shade better at 8.7 PS which arrives 500 rpm later in comparison. Now, you can already see that the TVS is peaky in comparison, and it’s a similar story with the torque numbers. Moreover, like I had mentioned earlier, the NTorq is the heaviest of the lot, and not just by a kilo or two!
However, strangely enough, it never feels sluggish! It’s not a fire-breather, but it certainly does justice to its name. It takes off without any hesitation and feels torquey, rather than bhpey, if you know what I mean, at almost all times, especially in the midrange, which is just fantastic! I think I did upset a lot of 125-150 cc bikes on my daily 40 km (to and fro) commute. If you’re interested in watching how this one accelerates, then take a look at the video below. I have also thrown in the top speed video as a bonus.
You might have also noticed that the scooter remains rock solid stable at high speeds, which is something I just wasn’t expecting! I checked the other specifications right now and saw that it has the longest wheelbase among its aforementioned competition. Also, unlike them, which have a 10-inch rear wheel, it employs 12-inchers at both ends. Dynamically, I reckon this might be the best out there. I haven’t tested the Aprilia SR125 yet, but since it costs around 10 thousand rupees more, it won’t anyway be in the list of the majority of buyers in this segment.
The NTorq is stable not only in a straight line, but corners too! This scooter really eggs you to have fun, and the only limiting factor is that you do not have anything to hold on to between your legs. Still, it doesn’t scoff at you under quick directional changes, and you end up indulging in some tomfoolery more frequently than you would have imagined. Thankfully, you emerge unscathed every time as the tyres grip nicely, and the brakes are PHENOMENAL! Look at the clip below:
Most importantly though, despite being the heaviest, it just doesn’t feel heavy at all! In every TVS motorcycle review, I have reiterated that irrespective of the bikes’ weight, they feel light where it really matters: slow speed maneuvers, including pulling/pushing them out manually in parking lots. So if you’re someone like me with zilch muscle power, don’t worry about being able to handle the NTorq, as it’d be a cinch for all. The ride quality is pretty sorted too, and I cannot remember a single instance where the suspension crashed or put me in an uncomfortable situation.
What else? The horn? It’s loud. The headlight? Its throw and spread, both at low and high beams, suffice. And those LED DRLs will remind you of the Chevrolet logo if you have a more than a passing interest in cars.
That word, cars, just reminded me to tell you that the NTorq also comes with a parking brake. Therefore, parking on an incline/decline won’t be an issue. However, irrespective of the surface, I recommend engaging it as a precautionary measure every time you park the scooter on its side stand.
The fuel efficiency? Nothing great, but it seems the masses do not mind it that much in twist-&-go machines! I got 31.6 km/l in city traffic, and please also do take into account the acceleration and top speed runs. I think I can stick my neck out and say that you should be able to extract somewhere around 35-37 km/l with a careful right hand.
It has a five-liter fuel tank, so you do the math of how frequently you’ll be needing a tankfull (depending on how long your daily commute is).
TVS NTorq 125 Review: Verdict
At INR 59,995 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the NTorq is the second most affordable 125 cc scooter, while the Suzuki Access 125 remains the least expensive (INR 58,350 ex-showroom, Delhi, for the disc variant without CBS). In fact, let me also tell you that until now, upon being asked “which scooter?”, this has been my straightforward answer: “Ride the TVS NTorq and Suzuki Access, and buy the one you like more.” There is one family that got both. Two immediate neighbours got one each as well. Again, this was before I reviewed the NTorq, and I haven’t even accessed the Access yet. However, all four buyers/riders are happy.
Now that I have ridden the NTorq, what would my answer be for the same question? Simply put, TVS have not put a foot wrong ever since they launched the Apache RTR 200 4v a few years ago. Every two-wheeler of this company since then has either been the best in its segment or at least as good as the best, including the 200 4v! The NTorq, ladies and gentlemen, carries that trend forward and, yes, I am saying that without even having tested its main competitors yet. It’s that good! But that’s me talking as a reviewer. And as a reviewer, until I review the Access 125, no matter how good the NTorq is, I will still have to continue to ask people to ride both and buy the one they like more.
But, as an enthusiast, as a motorcycle person, what would I suggest to a fellow motorcyclist if he has to get a scooter as his second ride or, maybe, as his only ride if for some reason he cannot / does not want to ride geared motorcycles anymore? Well, I would ask him to ride the NTorq and both the Aprilias, and then decide which one he likes more.
However, if I were to buy one for myself, I wouldn’t even ride the SRs, and just buy the NTorq. Because, for once, there is something in this segment that appeals as much to the heart (styling, performance, features, etc.) as much it does to the brain (you get a lot of scooter for every rupee spent). Heck, it’s the one that changed the way I used to look at scooters. Mods and Rockers might just finally get along.