Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin: Moto Gymkhana | Tech Reddy

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin: Moto Gymkhana

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For those who don’t know the car world, let me assure you, it is not that complicated or difficult to follow. It is a time trial game where riders compete to drive through technical courses defined by cones, testing individual riding skills, and controlling their motorcycle. Originating in Japan about 50 years ago, the sport of moto gymkhana is slowly, but steadily, spreading throughout the world.

Royal Enfield VS TVS Ronin

Generally, all it takes is an empty parking lot, a few marker cones, a motorcycle, and a decently skilled rider. Of course, it helps to have a motorcycle that is well-balanced and able to drive confidently. And how can one check how powerful a motorcycle is? By testing it, of course.

That’s exactly what we did with the Royal Enfield Hunter and TVS Ronin, as Janak and I went head-to-head on the course. The course design was fairly straightforward, featuring a slalom, tight circles on the road, straight passes, and figure eights. We also had to include a 100-meter dash, and a slow race to win the race. Time penalties were also imposed for putting a foot down, dropping a cone, or stopping a vehicle.

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To decide who should ride what, I suggested that it would only be fair to toss a coin, and the winner would be given the choice. Janak won, and chose to ride the Ronin, leaving me to ride the Hunter. One might think that Janak’s choice is the smartest, given the smooth short-geared engine, but I knew that in the end, the winner would be decided by the machine, but by skill (a break to get a big result).

The Hunter is certainly a beautiful vehicle, living up to the standards of Royal Enfield. The roadster setup, along with the comfortable riding triangle, makes for a pretty decent ride. The 349cc air-cooled engine shared with the Classic and Meteor is peppy, and has loads of low-end torque. And while the suspension may be on the firm side, it feels well sorted.

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin

Ronin on the other hand seems confused, perhaps with an identity crisis on its hands, but it has an original appeal to it. The 225cc engine is more advanced and can deliver less power to the rear wheel. The ergonomics of the ride are slightly relaxed, and it has the added benefit of a light slip/clutch assist that gives the bike that wheelie-pleasure.

As far as specs go, both Hunter and Ronin are decently compatible, with a few exceptions here and there. Both motorcycles excel within urban limits, and have engines that provide ample amounts of low-end performance. Going by what was just explained, both should do well on the course, so let’s get down to business (loosely translated to fun).

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin

After I finished the course design, I realized that the outline is similar to that of the ogre mug, and now this image is all that comes to mind. One starts at the Ogre’s chin and proceeds to weave its teeth through the Floss area. Then comes the Animal Warts, where one has to make a very tight turn at each cone to test the turning radius, before shooting the right way through the next set of concentrated turns, in what I call the Windmill. The rider then proceeds to the Cross-eyed Stare, which is a figure eight, twice around before returning for a single swivel around the Windmill. The next part is where one gets a feel for the vehicle’s acceleration and braking performance, before entering the Slingshot. From this point, one can brake the throttle to cross the finish line.

I was the first to hit the cracks on the course hoping to time the perfect shot, lest it be too easy for my more experienced partner. I shot off the start line and did a neat job weaving through the Floss area, into the left turn. The hunter seemed invested and confident, so I pushed it harder. A quick jump on a precise pass just proves how confident this machine is.

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin
The beat time, 01:30.09, was good

I have to say, the turning radius of the Hunter is amazing, due to the many tight circles on the field, followed by the Crosseed Star. One can get a good feel of the motorcycle and its capabilities, up to a point. Hunter breezed through the entire course and I ended up with a decent time of 01:30.09.

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin

Janak went next, had a promising start and was able to break through the Floss area, but with a bit of over-zealous enthusiasm, he leaned the bike too enthusiastically towards the Beast Superintendents. In an attempt to keep the bike upright, he put his foot down, until he was able to stop the bike. A five second penalty for each person means you now lose 10 seconds.

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin
When the clock stops at 01:48.38 and despair hit

My maths teacher in high school used to say, ‘he is gifted yes, but Keshav’s careless mistakes will be his undoing’. I’m glad I only read my math, and didn’t continue my ride. The Ronin appeared to be in a bit of trouble, due to the wide angle of the fork in the front. Learning from his mistakes, Janak completed the course in a smooth manner. Despite an obvious attempt to make up for lost time, he completed the course with a total time of 01:48.38. It was as if he knew he would get a chance to release soon.

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin

Next was the 100 meter dash, and I saw a glint of mischief in Janak’s eyes as he revved his engine into first gear and as we took off, I could see exactly why. The Ronin with its shorter gearing seems more interesting than the Hunter in terms of acceleration. We crossed the finish line with almost a bike length difference between us. The scores were now level and Janak was back to his pride, eager for the next challenge.

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin

Now, the tie-breaker was a 9 meter slow race on a winding road and putting a foot down or stopping the vehicle would result in an immediate win for the other team. We were both equally determined to beat the other (for bragging rights, of course) and the other could feel the intensity of the pressure. A quick road check to see if they both had a proper shot, and we were set for the final show.

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin
The real test was to keep a straight face at all times

At Kaizad’s signal, we both set off, gracefully applying the brakes and adjusting the clutch with just enough of a flicking motion to keep us from falling. Time seemed to stand still as the bikes crawled along the winding path, each of us keeping a quick eye on the other’s progress in case one got ahead of the other. Luck was on my side, as Janak lost his balance not too far from the finish line, while I was in glory.

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin
In such battles, it is inevitable to win some and lose some

And just like that, the Hunter and I stood in triumph as my poor partner on the Ronin silently bowed. It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to improving my skills, considering that the whole idea behind it is to help you develop your riding skills.

Royal Enfield Hunter VS TVS Ronin

Taking the two motorcycles that we have competed in this competition, I am amazed at the individual skills of both of them. While the Ronin may look a little out of place, it tends to grow on you with a smooth engine from TVS. The Hunter itself is sure to live up to Royal Enfield’s new legacy of refined motorcycles. These two motorcycles fall into the same price bracket and are very good products, each with their own power and character. Looking at both of these lights, it all comes down to personal preference as you can’t go wrong choosing one over the other.


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