It is said that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. That being the case, it is important that we don’t allow financial circumstance or challenging terrain to limit our capability to explore and wander. Fortunately, everyone can now afford to go on an adventure with the TVS Max Semi trail.
From the Indian manufacturing giant TVS, the Semi Trail is backed by more than a century of technical know-how. Rest assured that you won’t get yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere. Unless, of course, you run out of gas. Yet, even that is a remote possibility. With a claimed fuel mileage of 51 kilometers to a liter, it will take more than 700 kilometers to deplete one full tank. At current pump prices, P500 will get you from Manila to the northern-most tip of Luzon…albeit in a more leisurely pace. At the heart of the Semi Trail is a 124.53-cubic centimeter air-cooled, single cylinder engine that churns out 8.1 kilowatts at (10.8 horsepower) at 8,000 revolutions per minute and 10.8 Newton-meters at 5,500 rpm. Global tourer, it is not, but it will get you from point A to point B even if there is no pavement in between. Ewan and Charley would approve.
The Semi Trail is also an ideal daily commuter for both urban and rural area dwellers. The relatively short 1,265-millimeter wheelbase offers easy handling while the 19-inch front and 16-inch rear wheel combination provide stability both on road and off-road. It also gives the bike a commanding presence. The knobby IRC tires have adequate grip on dry tarmac and they even have better traction in the dirt. Ride quality is plush, with a long-travel fork in front and a five-way adjustable dual shocks in the rear. I found the second to the softest setting suitable for a 190-pound rider like me. The muscular tank is only for aesthetic appeal, but it also makes it easier for your thighs to get a grip when traversing rough terrain.
It is such a joy to operate the Semi Trail’s four-speed manual transmission. Clutch-pull is light and the gears are precise. I do, however, prefer an additional gear as vibration on the grips and on the seat becomes noticeable around 80 kilometers per hour. The first gear felt a little too short but it has plenty of grunt for tackling steep inclines. It is also worth taking note of the shifting pattern as Neutral is found under the first gear and not in between first and second gear. Be particularly mindful when using engine brake. Speaking of brakes, the Semi Trail has a double-piston hydraulic disc in front and a conventional drum in the rear.
With a price tag of P49,900, it is probably the most affordable off-road capable motorcycle in the local market. Because of the low suggested retail price, TVS kept things basic. You get an analog speedometer with odometer (no trip meter), fuel gauge and a Neutral gear indicator. However, this bike has one trick up its sleeve… or more like under the seat. Like most TVS models, the Semi Trail is fitted with a 12-volt socket. Just pop the seat open if you need to charge an electronic gadget.
Okay, so not everyone likes to go riding into the wilderness. Though, we have to admit, it won’t be difficult to justify a garage space for an affordable go-anywhere bike. With the current road conditions that we have in this country, everyday is an adventure.