Shootout – TVS Phoenix vs Discover 125 ST
Bajaj Discover 125 ST Price – Rs. 65,750/-, TVS Phoenix 125 Price – Rs. 60,550/-
This year has seen many launches in the entry-level motorcycle segment from most of the 2-wheeler manufacturers in India. While Bajaj Auto has taken the game forward with its feature rich Discover 125 ST motorcycle, TVS hasn’t remained behind and has launched its Phoenix 125cc bike. Both the TVS Phoenix and Bajaj Discover 125 ST are among the best commuter segment bike available today, offering exactly what a buyer wants – comfort and mileage. But which one is the better 125 cc motorcycle?
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Styling – The TVS Phoenix and Bajaj Discover 125 ST both look good to the eyes of a commuter, while the Phoenix retains the shape and size of a commuter, it’s the electrify graphics and the Apache derived headlamp and side panels which add flair to the design. The Discover 125 ST on the other hand has a very substantial appearance. While the side profile looks good with a chiseled muscular tank, monoshock, Y-shaped alloy wheels, the front looks sporty with a swooped back headlamp and fairly big windscreen. But it’s the rear which looks odd with three types of mudguard when considering the overall design. Both motorcycles have their share of hit and miss.
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Ergonomics – Both these bikes have upright seating positions, but you sit very low on the Phoenix, a boon for short riders. The Discover 125 ST feels like you are riding a more substantial motorcycle with a taller seating position and a tank chiseled for your knees. The Phoenix has seat cushioning which is not that great which gave us pain in the derriere when we did intercity 50 kms trip. The Discover on the other hand felt extremely comfortable even for longer trips (different rider’s different opinion here). The Discover 125 ST has a wider RVM and thus has great rear view despite rider wearing a jacket, while the Phoenix managed to give adequate vision of what is behind.
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Instrument Cluster and Switch Gear – Both bikes offer very good consoles but lack a tachometer. The Discover 125 ST’s cluster is easy to read but the trip meter and odometer is analogue. The TVS Phoenix gets an all digital cluster but the fonts are small making it difficult to read. The Phoenix gets a service due and low battery indicator too. Neither of these bikes get an engine kill switch but the Phoenix gets segment first hazard lights. Quality levels on the Phoenix are slightly better than the Discover.
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Performance – Both these machines are powered by 125 cc engines, but this is where the similarities end. The Discover 125 ST is powered by a 4-valve, DTS-i engine which produces an output of 12.8 BHP at 9000 RPM and 10.78 Nm of torque at 7000 RPM. The Phoenix makes do with a basic 2-valve motor which produces 11 BHP at 8000 RPM and 10.78 Nm of torque at 6000 RPM. While the Phoenix is almost vibe free, the Discover tends to vibrate as it reaches speeds excess of 85 km/hr.
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On paper, the TVS Phoenix makes power and torque earlier in the rev-range and is 6 kgs lighter as well. The Phoenix has an edge when it comes to instant low down torque; both have excellent mid range capabilities, but as revs build up, the Discover 125 ST shoots ahead and stays ahead with a top speed of 110 km/hr, while the Phoenix manages a healthy 90 km/hr. The Discover feels relaxed at highway speeds because of its 5-speed gearbox. The Phoenix also stays relaxed thanks to clever gear ratios despite the 4-speed gearbox, but a 5-speed could have made things better.
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Riding Dynamics – When it comes to braking, both Phoenix and Discover have 130 mm drum brakes at the rear and petal discs at the front but the Discover comes with 200 mm rotor, while the Phoenix comes with 240 mm rotor. Braking performance is great on both bikes, confidence inspiring but it’s the Phoenix which slightly edges out the Discover when it comes to bite from the front brake. Dynamics of both these bikes are good considering the segment which demands ride quality over handling. Mind you, both these bikes have great ride quality as well. Both are poised in every circumstance when ridden enthusiastically. Finally, both these machines are equally matched when it comes to dynamics as well. The Discover has a wider headlight spread of the two. Both have ample ground clearance and don’t scrape despite pillion on board.
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Verdict – It’s extremely difficult to choose between these bikes as these both are evenly matched on dynamics and come in the same price bracket. While the TVS Phoenix offers a smooth engine with excellent NVH levels, the Discover offers more mileage and better performance. Thus the Discover with more km/hr and km/l numbers and numerous goodies on offer wins the VFM proposition and hence emerges out on top in this 125 cc shootout.
Further Reading –