TVS Scooty has seen a long run in the Indian market and has been a successful product for the Chennai based two-wheeler manufacturer, much of the last 2 decades. My aunt owned one from the very first batch and I enjoyed stealing it from her to ride it. It served her rather well although she wasn’t fond of it as much as I was of ‘riding motorized two-wheelers’ at the time.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t of legal riding age yet but I had good balance. On the vacant roads of a sleepy neighbourhood situated in a South Indian temple-town of Udupi, I loved pottering around on it whenever I visited. From what I can remember, it didn’t give her too much trouble and she sold it off eventually. Well then enough reminiscing, TVS Motor Company is back with a new ‘Scooty’ – the new Scooty Zest 110 and I’ll cut to the chase and tell you all about it.
Stylish and well proportioned came to my mind immediately when I first saw this scooter in-person. The front apron along with the beak is a reminder of the Scooty legacy. However, the styling has matured a little over time and now it seems to have come of age. It is contemporary and has a great mix of sharp styling which blends naturally with its neat flowing lines. The front fascia is well styled and is probably the only feminine element on the scooter while the rest of it looks a bit sporty.
The styling cues continue towards the rear with its neatly designed side panels and indicators that seem to exhibit a boomerang motif. The tail lamp is a high-intensity LED unit which is very visible in the day. The engine is all black but has a stainless steel muffler guard for longevity. The underseat storage is excellent and the 19 liters of storage space will easily gobble a helmet and other small items at the same time. It has a bag hook below the handle bar and another below the seat. It has bottle holders to hold 2 bottles of water varying in sizes, but you can utilize the space to store anything that can fit in there!
The floorboard is textured and has been widened which allows you to place your feet comfortably. It features an alloy grab-rail along with leaf-shaped mirrors and a parking brake (locks up the rear). The switch gears are of good quality and horn and starter button do stand out given their bright colors. The instrument cluster is done up in white but remains easy to read under the sun. It features a speedometer, odometer and a fuel gauge along with the econometer.
TVS has struck a chord with their manufacturing and a look at the scooter’s plastics leaves a good impression on you. They have very good fit and finish; although on a closer look, some areas for refinement certainly exist. But, overall it seems like TVS has gotten its act together and the plastic is of good quality. Some areas do feel a bit premium as well. The wide seat with its white stitching certainly gives off that upmarket feel in particular. The two-tone paint scheme is well executed and adds to the quality of the product.
Scooty Zest Engine Performance
New Scooty Zest has been equipped with the 109.7cc four stroke, air cooled, petrol engine which makes 8 PS of power at 7,500 rpm and 8.7 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. Press the brake, thumb the starter button and the engine quickly wakes to life. It’s smooth, feels refined with a quiet performance. Twist your wrist and it takes off with a brisk acceleration. Right off the idle, its acceleration remains linear and progressive all the way to its top speed. The gradual acceleration tapers off after the 90 kmph mark. The top speed is healthy and the acceleration is good even when you ride two up. This is partly due to its weight of only 98 kgs!
The engine on the Zest is shared with Wego and Jupiter. But it does differ from its siblings owing to a different air filter box for optimized airflow to the engine along with the revised gear ratios in the CVTi transmission. These help improve its mid-range performance although it pulls cleanly from the bottom end as well. It has a tank capacity of 5 litres and been rated to deliver 62 kmpl. It will return good fuel efficiency if ridden carefully. But frankly, if I owned it, I would most certainly have a hard time not going wide-open-throttle every time with it!
In terms of outright performance, TVS claims 0 to 60 kmph in less than 12 seconds. In the day-to-day riding conditions in the city, the engine will undoubtedly shine! It is smooth and with the Wego and Jupiter it has been proven to be a reliable motor. The only time it felt stressed was when I climbed up the steepest of the gradients with a heavy pillion on board but that is only natural although it didn’t disappoint me. It also comes with a side stand warning and the sound goes off if the vehicle is started when the side stand is put down.
I’ll just sum it up before I explain any further. The ride quality is indeed impressive! The TVS test track consists of the tarmac section, oscillation tests amongst others. On the tarmac section with its long straight and a very long right hander, the scooter remained planted. Banked over, it will do very good lean angles and you would end up scraping the main stand before you hit the limits of tyre traction. In the hands of an enthusiastic rider this will be a fast scoot, no doubt about that. It is fast and stable on the straights and excellent through the corners.
Photo Credit: Sunil Gupta
Photo Credit: Sandeep Goswami
That’s all very good but it’s not a real world test for this scooter. But, how do you gauge how the scooter will perform on the bumpy and potholed road ridden country that we live in? Well TVS had that bit covered! It shined when I tested it on the oscillation and articulation test track, pothole testing and rumble strips as well as on the rocky surface lined up in other areas of their testing facility. The well engineered wide seat absorbed it all providing good riding comfort. The riding position was spot on and remained comfortable for the duration of the test. The scooter has been designed to ensure that the pitching of your neck is reduced and it works!
Photo Credit: Sunil Gupta
The ride quality on gravel stones was bumpy at low speeds but at around 30 kmph it was much sorted. Infact the damping was excellent and the telescopic front suspension and hydraulic monoshock paired to the single sided swingarm at the rear were perfectly setup and worked exactly like how a good suspension must work! It put minimal strain on my spine and withheld forward and rear pitching of my neck as much as possible. These areas of the track including the gradient test zones showcased scooter’s ability to perform on our roads and the Zest passed it all with flying colors. It has ample ground clearance to get over the worst of speedbreakers barring a few if you ride two-up (they had a speedbreaker test track as well).
Photo Credit: Sunil Gupta
Let’s take a look at the tyres now because the scooter is unusually setup. They are tubeless and the front tyre is 100mm and wider than the rear tyre which has a width of 90mm. The logic being scooters are rear weight biased which worsens when you have a pillion. Under hard braking there isn’t much weight transfer to the front. The wider front tyre provides a larger contact patch with the tarmac. This helps in braking quickly and maintaining traction at the front. The anti-skid pattern of the tyres also helps in preventing it from giving away underneath you easily.
You may ask why it doesn’t affect the handling dynamics. That is because of the good leverage provided by the wide handlebar that allows you to make the most of the steep rake and short trail. In layman terms, the wider tyre at the front doesn’t make the steering heavier because of the sharp steering geometry of the scooter which negates that ‘heaviness’, rendering a quicker turning ability. This is nothing but a clever way of designing a solution to a problem and it works wonderfully.
Photo Credit: Sunil Gupta
That’s not all as parking the scooter is also made easy thanks to their patented main stand which makes it easy to park. At one point I sat pillion with another rider to understand if the seating was comfortable or not for a pillion rider. I didn’t feel cramped nor did I feel uncomfortable. However, those purchasing this scooter are most likely to ride it instead of being a pillion rider.
The rear brake gets a bigger drum at 130mm while the front gets a 110mm. The logic takes us back again to the rear weight bias of a scooter and therefore the Zest gains positively from such a setup. While testing it, I put it through its paces by braking hard independently and together. The front wouldn’t lock very easily and inspires confidence. The rear brake has ample bite and despite a tendency to lock with a single rider on board it would quickly slow the scooter down. To sum it up, the scooter has very good braking performance.
Zest is priced at ex-showroom New Delhi price of Rs. 42,300. This makes it more affordable than some of its rivals and also cheaper than its own siblings; Wego and Jupiter. TVS also offers a 2 year or 36,000 km warranty whichever comes earlier. This can also be further extended by 3 years or upto 60,000 kms, whichever is earlier. Therefore, the new TVS Zest is a solid product and continues its legacy in the Indian context. The pricing is excellent and overall the scooter offers very good value for your money!
It surely can be! While TVS maintains that the Zest, Wego and Jupiter have their own target audience, which may be correct to some point, I do feel that it is a little bit of marketing fluff. Particularly because Zest in this case fits the bill everywhere! This ‘Scooty’ has grown beyond its young feminine audience and is reaching out. It has many merits and hence one must let the youth, irrespective of gender ride it!
Photo Credit: Sunil Gupta
One of the things to keep in mind is that TVS has dedicated 20 years into building a scooter for the masses. They created a brand, nourished it, watched it grow and mature into a product that has been widely accepted. The ‘Scooty’ is not just another ‘product’ or a ‘two-wheeler’ in the industry but infact it is a household name in our country. Sometimes, it is even a generic call sign in common parlance for any two-wheeler with a floorboard that calls itself a scooter.
Credit due must be given because this is wherein its strength lies. In India, people sometimes tend to refer to any ‘scooter’ as a Scooty and in that TVS Motor Company has been truly successful for pioneering a scooter market in the country. As any product there are scope for improvements but that is irrelevant today! For anyone considering this scooter, please don’t simply believe ‘TVS marketing’ that ‘screams girl power’. Without a doubt it’s an excellent choice for the young independent woman. However, the new Zest is a ‘Scooty’ that is fun to ride yet a practical choice for even the men out there!