20150521

Driven #30: TVS Jupiter Special Edition


Gearless scooter buyers in India are a happier lot these days. Never in the past have they been spoilt for choices as they do right now. The TVS Jupiter is one of the better choices available right now. Having showered a spate of “Scooter of the Year” awards on the Jupiter, critics would vouch for that. And with 500,000 units sold in just 18 months from launch, the public seem to be in agreement too. To celebrate Jupiter’s successful first anniversary and its status as the most-awarded scooter in India, TVS launched a ‘Special Edition’ earlier this year with some cosmetic add-ons, leaving the mechanicals unchanged.


We rode the Jupiter Special Edition extensively over the past weekend and came back impressed. Read on, to know why.

TO LOOK AT:

The Jupiter has been on sale since 2013 and this 'Special Edition’ is just a dressed-up version to make it look, err, special. Fact is those enhancements, though just a few, can't be missed.


For starters, the Special Edition wears an exclusive 'Stallion Brown' shade that looks different from every other scooter on sale in the country. It has a metallic brownish tinge to it and, believe us, the photographs just don't do justice to the hue. It looks far more appealing in person. Next up are the ‘premium’ beige panels. Premium they might be to look at but these panels are going to be a pain to maintain in the harsh and dusty conditions that our roads are famous for. There is also this 'Dura Cool' seat which, TVS claims, retains lesser heat compared to the regular seats by as much as 10 degrees. To top it all, there is a glossy 'Special Edition' emblem that sits proudly in the front apron.


In its regular form, the Jupiter is a stylish urban scooter that's designed to appeal to a wide audience. Be it mature middle-aged men or college-going youth, urban hipsters or rural folks, the Jupiter's styling would offend none. Of course, it won't turn heads either as the styling can at best be termed neutral. 


Viewed up front, the Jupiter looks sharp with the bold trapezoidal headlight taking pride of place at the top. It comes integrated with twin pilot lamps while the indicators are housed in the broad front apron. A central air intake finished in a contrasting black shade sits in between. Walk around and the edgy body panels adorned with the three-dimensional ‘Jupiter’ hologram impresses. Thankfully, the Jupiter is devoid of gaudy body graphics that, more often than not, end up spoiling the looks. TVS’ own Wego is a victim of that trend now. At the rear, the sleek rectangular taillight is accompanied by clear indicator lenses that curve up on either sides like wings. Right above is the fuel-filler lid finished in glossy black.

Adding a touch of sportiness to the overall package are the black five-spoke alloy wheels shod with tubeless TVS tires. The exposed engine parts and the exhaust canister get the nice ‘blacked-out’ treatment too while the rear grab-rail sticks out like a sore thumb in grey. The seat, with its contrasting white stitch pattern, looks great as well.

TO SIT ON:

Get astride the Jupiter and the first thing that strikes you would be its comfortable seat. It is wide, soft and has no qualms accommodating derriere of various sizes. At one point of time during the test, with two hefty adults on board, the Jupiter's seat was still comfortable and accommodating. TVS has got it spot on here.


While the nicely-designed and well-bolstered seat lets you get into a comfort zone, the familiar controls and instruments make life easier for your hands and eyes. The bold analogue instrument cluster has a white-on-black theme with chequered pattern in the sides. The large circular speedometer houses an age-old analogue odometer which frankly looks out of place in this otherwise well thought-out scooter. Apart from tell-tale lights for indicators, high beam and low fuel warning on top, there is a separate fuel level indicator to the right and lights for 'Eco' and 'Power' mode to the left. The switches are made of good quality and appear durable to last the distance. The absence of a storage compartment in front has liberated much-needed space in the footwell where the Jupiter scores over some rival scooters we know.


This being a Special Edition, TVS should have gone all out in making it stand out. That’s where we feel they have missed a trick or two. A digital odo and trip meter, if not a digital instrument console, would have been a nice feature to have. So would a warning chime when the side stand is deployed.

Nevertheless, we are smitten by the Jupiter’s high level of attention to details. The switches, for instance, have a dimpled texture in places where our thumbs come into contact and there is a neat 'pass' function integrated in the switch that lets us toggle between high and low beam. The rear brake has a locking mechanism that would prove handy with kids around and the external fuel-filler allows the rider to refuel without having to step out. The two hooks provided for hanging knick-knacks can be tucked away flush with the body when not in use and the underside of the seat has straps to hold documents in place. Heck, you can even opt for a charging point that would be retro-fitted by the dealer in the under-seat storage compartment. Definitely, lot of thoughts have gone into designing this!


The 17-liter under-seat storage compartment is good enough to stow away a full-faced helmet, albeit with a bit of effort. All it takes to deploy the center stand is a gentle push, with TVS’ patented ‘EaZy’ stand coming to the rescue here. That would make the women folk happier.

ON THE ROAD:

The Jupiter is powered by a 109.7cc, 4-stroke, single cylinder, air-cooled engine that churns out 7.8 horsepower and 8 Nm of torque. It continues with no change in the Special Edition too. This is the same engine that powers the Wego and Scooty Zest, two other popular TVS scooters in the market.


Though TVS claims a different tune in the Jupiter, it is still the same peppy unit that we  experienced before. Throttle response from standstill is adequate and the Jupiter gathers momentum at a brisk pace without letting us feel wanting. The midrange is especially good and the Jupiter zooms past slow-moving two-wheeler traffic comfortably. While doing so, the engine gets into Power Mode invariably with the orange light glowing in the console. Trying to stay in Economy Mode with the green light on significantly reduces pulling power. The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) coupled with the engine gave us seamless shifts all through our drive and we couldn't help but smile at the overall levels of refinement on offer. Honda is a tad better in this aspect though.


TVS claims a 0 to 60 km/h acceleration time of 7.2 seconds and, going by its performance, the Jupiter should have no trouble attaining it. During its time with us, we pushed the Jupiter to 80 km/h on more than one occasion at which point the engine started showing signs of strain.


While the Jupiter proves that it is no slouch to the Japanese competition in terms of engine performance, it beats them fair and square when it comes to the suspension hardware. Telescopic forks up front and gas-charged rear suspension endows the Jupiter with superb ride quality that is far better than the popular Activa and Dio. Handling is good too with the TVS tubeless tires shod on 12-inch alloys providing adequate traction when cornering and braking. There is none of the nervousness that you might associate with scooters of years gone by. Though the Jupiter maintains composure under hard braking, both the front and rear brake levers feel spongy and respond only when pressed hard.


Again, TVS could have provided a front disc brake in this Special Edition but have chosen not to. For an otherwise feature-loaded scooter with contemporary hardware, front and rear drum brakes is a blip in the radar.

We rode the Jupiter for a little over 200 kilometers, coaxing and cajoling it in some stretches but also pushing it to the limits at times. Overall, it returned a little more than 48 km/l which should keep most owners happy. For its part, the Jupiter urges us to turn the ignition off when idling by flashing the orange light in the console after some 20 odd seconds, which is nice.

SPECIFICATIONS:


| Engine Type: 4-stroke, Air cooled, OHC |
| No of Cylinders: 1 |
| Displacement: 110 cc |
| Maximum Power: 7.8 bhp @ 7500 rpm |
| Maximum Torque: 8 Nm @ 5500 rpm |
| Transmission Type: Primary CVT & Secondary Gear Box |
| Tires: 90/90 R12, Tubeless |
| Brakes: 130 mm Drum (Front & Rear) |



WE VOTE FOR:

* Clean design and styling
* Good overall build quality
* Contemporary specs and features
* Balanced ride and handling

WE VOTE AGAINST:

* Absence of disc brake option
* Steady increase in price since launch

VERDICT:

After spending considerable time with the Jupiter, it is not hard to understand the reasons behind its success. It is a complete all-rounder that looks pleasing to the eyes, has enough grunt to zip along crowded city roads, offers a lot more than most other scooters in its segment, rides and handles admirably well and is backed by a competent after-sales network. We aren't surprised then that it has become the fastest scooter in the country to cross 500,000 units sales milestone.

If you are in the market looking to buy a 110 cc gearless scooter, there aren't better choices than the Jupiter available right now. If only TVS had sweetened this Special Edition with more exclusive features, the INR 2000 premium over the regular Jupiter variants would have been justified.

Photography: Bharath Rengaraj | Editing: Bharath Rengaraj & Aravind Ramesh

6 comments:

  1. Great photos, crisp editing, keep up the good work guys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the complement. Keep comments like these coming as it pushes us to try harder.

      Delete
  2. Very neatly written & well descibed article. I own a Jupiter too, so can vouch for the same. Great photos too...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Keep reading our blog. And congrats on the good choice you made. The Jupiter is amongst the best in the market right now.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, we're glad you liked the review. Please keep reading Anything On Wheels and help us reach out further!

      Delete