Forgotten TVS Bikes: From Shogun to Shaolin, From AX100 to Centra and Jive!

Forgotten TVS bikes story: Image of a TVS AX100R in a vintage television

Established in 1978, TVS has collaborated with Suzuki to introduce successful models like the Suzuki Supra, Samurai, Shogun, and Shaolin. After parting ways with Suzuki in 2001, TVS Motor Company continued to innovate and expand its product line, producing various motorcycles, scooters, and sports bikes that cater to the diverse needs of Indian consumers. Today, TVS Motor Company offers a wide range of motorcycles, including the Gixxer 150, Gixxer SF 150, Gixxer 250, Gixxer SF 250, V-Strom 250, and the Apache RTR series, which has been a popular choice among Indian consumers for its performance and affordability

Ind-Suzuki AX100

Forgotten TVS Bikes: From Shogun to Shaolin, From AX100 to Centra and Jive!

The Ind-Suzuki AX100, introduced in India during the early 1980s, was the first 100 cc motorcycle to enter the Indian market. It marked the beginning of the collaboration between India’s TVS (Then Sundaram Clayton) and Japan’s Suzuki. This motorcycle quickly became renowned for its robust engine, reliability, and fuel efficiency, catering well to the Indian market’s demands for durable and economical transportation. Its 100cc engine offered commendable performance for the era – it had a top speed of 85 kmph! That was more than enough for the 1980s, as roads were not great, and 60 kmph itself was considered a high speed on most of India’s roads.

The Ind-Suzuki AX100 set a strong foundation for future collaborations between TVS and Suzuki, though it was eventually phased out as the market evolved and new models took its place.

TVS AX100 and AX100R

The TVS AX100, launched in the late 1980s, became a popular choice for its reliability and fuel efficiency, catering to the needs of daily commuters in India. Following its success, TVS introduced the AX100R, featuring design and aerodynamic improvements to enhance its appeal. Both models were celebrated for their performance and affordability in the commuter segment. However, as the market evolved with stricter emission norms and consumer preferences shifted towards more advanced models, these motorcycles were eventually discontinued

TVS Suzuki Supra

Forgotten TVS Bikes: From Shogun to Shaolin, From AX100 to Centra and Jive!

The TVS Supra was introduced as part of TVS’s lineup in the early 1990s, targeting the performance segment of the Indian motorcycle market. Known for its agility and power, the TVS Supra featured a 100cc engine that delivered commendable performance for its time. This sportier AX100R generated 9.2 bhp from its 98.2 cc engine and a maximum torque of 9.6 Nm. This, however, was not enough to beat the top performance motorcyle of the era, the Yamaha RX100, which produced 10.8 bhp and 10.39 Nm of torque from its 98cc engine. The Supra was designed to offer a sportier alternative within the commuter segment, focusing on riders seeking more than just economical transportation. Despite its innovative approach, the Supra was eventually discontinued as TVS evolved its product range to meet changing market demands and regulatory standards.

TVS Suzuki Shogun

Forgotten TVS Bikes: From Shogun to Shaolin, From AX100 to Centra and Jive!

The Suzuki Shogun was launched in India in 1993, and for a while was considered superior to the Yamaha RX100 and the Kawasaki KB100. It came with a 108cc, 2-stroke engine that produced 14 bhp – clearly more than the Yamaha RX100 – and 11.4 Nm of torque. It had a headlamp fairing (cowl) that was new for its times and snazzy graphics and an all-black engine.

It was celebrated for its acceleration and top speed (105 kmph), carving a niche among performance enthusiasts. The bike could have done a lot better if it had an additional gear to extract an even higher top speed, but TVS avoided that due to prices going up. The Shogun received positive market reception due to its sporty design and great performance. However, it was eventually discontinued in the early 2000s, largely due to stricter emission norms and the shift towards more environmentally friendly 4-stroke engines.

TVS Suzuki Samurai

Forgotten TVS Bikes: From Shogun to Shaolin, From AX100 to Centra and Jive!

The Suzuki Samurai motorcycle was launched in India in 1996. The Samurai became a popular choice among youngsters and adults alike. With a powerful 98.2cc, 2-stroke engine delivering 7.8 bhp and 9.8 Nm of torque, the Samurai offered decent performance capabilities. Its fuel efficiency of around 50 kilometers per liter made it attractive to cost-conscious consumers. The Samurai featured typical telescopic oil-damped front suspension, hydraulic shock absorbers with swing arm rear suspension, and drum brakes at both ends. Despite being discontinued, the Samurai continued to have a strong presence in the second-hand market for another decade. The motorcycle has all but disappeared from the streets now.

TVS Suzuki Fiero

Forgotten TVS Bikes: From Shogun to Shaolin, From AX100 to Centra and Jive!
Fiero FX retro bike

It was marketed as “India’s first 150cc 4-stroke performance motorcycle” and was one of only two 150cc motorcycles available in the country at the time, the other the popular Bajaj Pulsar 150. The Fiero was powered by a 147.5cc, 4-stroke engine that produced 11.8 bhp of power and 10.5 Nm of torque, with a top speed of 105 kmph. The Fiero was known for its smooth engine and good off-road capabilities, which made it popular in dirt bike and other off-road racing events. However, the Fiero’s conservative styling and upright riding position made it less appealing to sport bike enthusiasts. Despite its mixed reception, the Fiero was successful in the Indian market, with sales crossing the 50,000 mark in 2002. The Fiero was eventually discontinued and replaced by the TVS Apache.

Later the company introduced the Fiero F2 and the Fiero FX. The F2 produced a little more power – 12 bhp and the FX was a retro-styled model designed to compete against the Pulsar 150.

TVS Suzuki Shaolin

138 cc, 11.5 Bhp of maximum power and 12.3 Nm of peak torque. Not as powerful as the Shogun, of course, but still an enthusiast motorcycle. Even the graphics were reminiscent of the Shogun. But unlike the Shogun, the Shaolin offered 5 gears, which gave it a high top speed for its times, and decent mileage on the highway.

TVS Centra

Forgotten TVS Bikes: From Shogun to Shaolin, From AX100 to Centra and Jive!

The TVS Centra motorcycle was powered by a four-stroke 99.8cc engine, generating a maximum power of 7.5 bhp and 7.5 Nm of torque. Launched in 2004, the Centra featured the new VT-i (Variable Timing-intelligent) engine technology, offering sophisticated valve timing. Despite its technological advancements, the Centra did not achieve top sales numbers.

TVS Jive

The unique thing about the Jive was its automatic clutch. There was no clutch lever to depress and the clutch was applied automatically, similar to today’s AMT transmissions in cars. Another forgotten bike, its 109.7cc engine produced a maximum power of 8 Bhp and 8 Nm of torque.

Other unremarkable motorcycles followed, such as the Victor GL, the Phoenix and the Max.

It was after these that TVS came back with a bang, with the Apache series of motorcycles. Currently, TVS has motorcycles in multiple segments – commuter motorcycles, such as TVS Sport and Radeon performance motorcycles such as the Apache RTR310 developed in collaboration with BMW, and a popular scooter, the TVS NTorque. The company has also entered the electric two wheeler market with the TVS iQube electric scooter.