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Simple design yet high on utility

autos Updated: Sep 01, 2010 19:45 IST
Nikhil Bhatia

The Indian commuter motorcycle segment is abuzz with a new series of motorcycles. Models such as the Bajaj Discover 94.3 cc DTS-Si, TVS Jive, Honda CB Twister and Yamaha YBR 110 have rolled in recently. Now, TVS wants to make a mark in India’s hinterland with its rugged and versatile Max4R.

Looks
The Max is plainly styled with spoke wheels, a chrome-finish front mudguard and circular headlight. The black finish on the engine and chain guard is its most modern element. Instrumentation comprises a large speedometer calibrated up to 140 kph flanked by a neutral beacon and turn indicators. A big omission is a fuel gauge. The switchgear, which includes a pass-light flasher, looks a shade tacky and operates with a hard feel. The Max’s palm grips are comfortable and its levers are nicely positioned. The bike does well to provide good rear vision from its handlebar-mounted round mirrors.

The voluminous 16-litre fuel tank comes with a hinged chrome fuel filler lid and offers adequate thigh support. The graphics on the tank and side panels help liven up the bike’s drab side profile. Rubberised brake and gearshift pedals are a nice touch and provide good grip, even in the wet.

Build
A highlight to the Max is a detachable rear seat, which makes space for a flat luggage compartment. TVS has also provided metal guards on either side of the seat which serve as buffers. Another user-friendly touch is the bike’s main-stand that requires minimal effort to haul even when the Max is fully loaded. Build quality feels tough and rugged, necessary for a bike that is built to spend a large chunk of its life on poorly paved, close to non-existent roads.

Engine
The Max4R uses a four-stroke, air-cooled 109.7 cc engine. However, TVS has improved on this motor with a larger oil-flow pump. The Max also gets a heavy duty clutch, while overall gearing is altered to benefit low-end performance. Peak power is 8.4 bhp at 7500 rpm, while the engine develops a max torque of 0.85 kgm at 5500 rpm. The Max comes with a four-speed gearbox that shifts in an all-down pattern via a conventional heel-and-toe shifter.Engine refinement is good, with vibrations perceptible only at high engine speeds. Low-end grunt is admirable, and the Max will chug along in top gear from speeds as low as 25 kph. The bike runs out of steam at 60 kph. The clutch is light to operate.

The Max’s riding saddle is wide and well padded, with the riding posture friendly and upright. Riding over uneven patches is decent although handling felt about on par with rivals. However, the bike’s tyres lose traction easily during emergency stops. TVS claims an impressive 60 kpl from a Max but we are yet to verify this.

Verdict
Priced at Rs 37,590 (ex-showroom, Indore), the Max4R is set to compete with Hero Honda’s CD Dawn. The Max is unlikely to set your pulse racing, but it’s targeted at riders who use motorcycles as load-luggers. The Max4R has a trick seat, sturdy rear suspension and tough build, and will soon become common on roads.

TVS MAX4r
Price: Rs 37,590 (ex-showroom, Indore)
Fuel tank: 16 litres
Kerb weight: 118 kg
Displacement: 109.7 cc
Power: 8.4 bhp at 7500 rpm
Torque: 0.85 kgm at 5500 rpm
Gearbox: 4-speed, 4-down

-Autocar India