May 7, 2007

TVS Apache RTR 160: Riding Impression

TVS Apache RTR 160I've managed to get quite busy again, so when I finally had the time to take a look at the blog again, I realised that I had completely forgotten to not put up the TVS Apache RTR 160 riding impression. By now, I think most of you already know all of the tech specs of the machine, and I'd be very surprised if you all hadn't already pored through the mags. The question is, is it really that good?

Engine/Gearbox/Performance
The motor is still heavily based on the Apache 150's (which in turn, I'm told, is based on the Fiero motor). However, vibration has been reduced, and power/torque have both gone up. Even conceding that the speedometer, now digital, incorporates a optimistic seven per cent error, seeing 120+ kph on the speedo is ridiculous easy. Anyone could do this with one arm tied behind their back. Just make sure that it's the left arm that's tied, not the other one.

The motor doesn't actually feel that powerful, though. It feels roughly as powerful as the 150, no more. However, it's when you ride it next to another machine that the difference become more obvious. Until that point, all you'll notice is that the speedo tends behave like a new MBA – all big numbers in bold text. I happened to ride it 'versus' a CBZ X-Treme and blow me down if it didn't cream the Hero Honda. The CBZ X-Tremehad no answer, at any speed, to the way the 160 builds velocity. Again, sensation-wise, I'd pick the CBZ X-Treme as the one with more 'feel.' But bring a lap timer or a stopwatch into this brawl and the 160 will absolutely kill any current Indian 150. The TVS chaps on hand were quite confident too, adding that a Pulsar 180 would find the 160 a fair handful to deal with.

As has become normal of TVS gearboxes, you won't notice it, which is exactly how it should be. I'm told that there was a bit of debate about whether the gear ratios (identical to the Apache 150) needed to be longer or shorter, but there was no consensus on that front... Personally, I thought the gears, especially third and fourth ran out a bit too early. I have a feeling ridden at a track like Sri'dur or Coim'tore, there will be some corners where leaned over gearshifts will spoil some fun. But that's nitpicking.

Chassis/Ride/Handling/Braking
The chassis is also evolved from the old one, with the most major change being the lengthening of the swingarm. TVS's 160 now is a 1300mm wheelbase, which is still quite bit shorter than its competition. However, I found no instability in the package beyond a mild, short-lived weave when leaned over fully going through a really bumpy corner. The extra wheelbase has not dulled the 160's ability to eagerly attack apexes or change direction as quickly as most women change their minds (no reference to The Wife, just a often used general analogy). The 160, in short, is still a lovely, lovely handler. And now it feels a heck of a lot better with the (finally) rearset footpegs and the low and narrow clip-ons.

The new brakes are great too. The wave or petal discs look rather cool and at first glance, I thought 260mm rotors were overkill. I'm happy to report that I was mistaken. The brakes are very strong in feel and still friendly enough at low speed. Stoppies should be ridiculously easy and my only crib is a lack of feel from the lever about midway through a hard braking maneuver. Again, I'm nitpicking to make this review feel authoritative.

Features/Miscellaneous
Since I've already told you most of the dynamics of bike, I'll now focus purely on the features. You have seen most of the stuff I am talking about, so feel free to skip a couple of paras ahead if you're short on time/attention span. There are a lot of detail changes that add up to make the 160 look really, really stylish. There are aluminum footpegs all round (rubber tops for the rider), a very neat, clean subframe to mount the pegs on, red coloured pinstriping on the wheels, a neat engine cowl, the lovely racing stripe (tail to tip, and on tacho face), the superbly done speedo console (clock, two trips, odo, speedo, fuel gauge), lots of idiot lights (usual plus service indicator, battery status and fuel level), and finally, the neat clip-ons. They mount with an allen bolt under a nice looking plastic cover. The mounting holes are actually elongated, so you can move the clip-ons into two positions, obviously, one of the two positions is sportier – and that's one I liked more. I've thought the 150 seat was made of rocks earlier, but as I type this, I don't even remember the 160's seat, so that must have been fixed too.

Verdict
It's kind of presumptuous to have a fledgling blog offer a verdict on a bike, but then again, it sounds better than 'Net, Net' or 'Summary.' I quite liked the Apache 160. The extra displacement certainly pulls its weight and I for one won't be questioning the 'morality' of a 160cc motorcycle fighting 150s. It simply does not matter to me. I'd be even happier if TVS had made a 180 for the same price. In one sense, they have, right? The 160s output numbers are similar to the first generation Pulsar 180, are they not? And while I'm building this castle, why not a 200? You get the drift.

The price is expected to be more than 150, and TVS will officially announce it soon (the commercial launch is scheduled for May 2007). I think it's going to be at the top-end of the 150cc segment, or about Rs 60,000-ish ex-showroom.

What I don't like is that TVS, despite getting more aggressive on the product package front, refuse to fully let go of their conservative traits. So the 150 will continue to take up showroom space until the smart ones among you turn a total blind eye to it. India's so large, there will always be suckers...

So, between the new Unicorn, CBZ X-Treme, P150 and the new 160, what would I pick? I'm not entirely sure since I haven't ridden the bikes back to back so far, but I have a feeling the Apache RTR 160 will smack a lot of butt and the competition is going to see a lot more of that slightly silly white and red tail lamp than they would really like to.

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19 comments:

Anonymous said...

to the author considering the fact that i am just 5.6 in height and weigh just 60 kilos which would be a better bike out of the 4 150cc bikes including the 160 what i really mean is the height factor bec the shorter it is the control of the bike become much better for me bajaj has never intrested me honda is mainly for a tall rider and the hh ex looks mainly like a donkey. even though the tvs has been in the racing forefront for many years along with yamaha the brand does not click with me i have used a moddified rx 100 with 5 gears and disc brake with large pistons and was always a yamaha fanbut sadly the yamaha company screwed itself in india. your scincerely
madmax

rearset said...

Wow. 5'6" and 60 kg, dude you are so lucky! I was proud to be nearly 6 feet in school and even prouder of being a proper 69 kg (I think) too. I was my right weight back then... until I discovered that smaller, lighter riders always fare better on motorcycles. Then I wanted to be 4'11", 43 kgs. Hell, in the ideal world, I'd probably be a rhesus monkey minus the red rearend... But enough about who I'm not.

Of the four bikes, I have a feeling you'd be happiest on the RTR 160. But if the VS brand isn't your cup of T, I think you'll be happiest on a well, take your pick. You don't seem to like any of the alternatives... heh heh

Anonymous said...

man trust me the rx 100 was like a 1000 screaming horses for me and i totally loved that bike but my dad completly hated it so the first chance he got he sold it when i was out of town now he does not want to here about 2 strokes well less about that what i really meant is tvs a company with really good quality? unlike bajaj which is filled with cheap crap bec when i use a bike i usually keep it for a long time and i use a bike very roughly like riding on stairs,pavements, dirtroads heh heh sorry not a guy with riding ethics.you can say a hannibal lector on 2 wheels heh.butjokes apart the tvs bike quality of the productand reliability. your scincerely
madmax
short guys want to be tall
tall guys want to short
this is life

Sashi said...

hey do u have any pics of the left side of the bike which shows the gear shifter and the other details.
in all mags only the right side is shown.can u post it if u have one.

thanks

Sashi

rohan rao said...

hey rearset is it true that the new rtr is giong to launch in june end i came to know thru the live chat available in tvs motor website.so can u really tell me when the bike will be launched as i want 2 buy this bike.

rearset said...

Yes, so far, the plan is to launch in June. There has been a minor, procedural delay in TVS' Indonesian venture which may delay the RTR slightly, though...

rohan rao said...

hi rearset,
can u post some pics of new tvs apache rtr 160 in balck colour.plz i want 2 see it.and can u tell me the exact date of the launch of new rtr 160.plzzzzzzz rearset i want to but this bike as early as possible.plz help me.

rearset said...

@rohan
Sorry dude, I don't have either...

rohan rao said...

hey rearset hope uwould remembre me.do u have any news about the launch of the new apache rtr 160.if u have then plz reply me.if u dont then tell me the probable date of it's launch.aa i think ur the only relable source in the web to tell me.
ok byeeeeeeee.
i will wait for ur reply.

rohan rao said...

hey rearset i had posted 2-3 comments on ur blog but u didn't reply me.i hope this time u will reply me.did u got any info about the launch of tvs apache rtr 160.plz tell me weather u got or not.i will wait for ur replly.

Anonymous said...

MrAmitKumarNain
Guys i bought a f2 in 2003 may , i hv dn 1 lakh 18000 kms till date on it , no problem i ever had except font chain sprocket getting loose due to burnouts , wheelies ,hard accerelation over and over again. hw i ride u vl knw frm i have get my tyres changed every 10,000 kms . and i take jst where ever two wheels can go sometime jst one wheel. so my experience says TVS QUALITY , DESIGN , ENGG. , CUSTOMER SUPPORT , PRODUCT QUALITY IS INFINTELY BETTER THAN HERO HONDAS AND BAJAJS IF RIDE HARD , else anything will do for you , So i have booked a RTR 160 even thogh i ws thinkin abt P200 but then those broken front shockers in bajaj scares the shit out of me and that gear box bajaj fits seems as if it was from a 100ton truck . FOR ANYONE I WILL SUGGEST RTR 160 *****

Ashwyn said...

Hey anonymous how come you booked a 160 RTR its not available in showrooms even.

Lavkesh said...

I will take your review with a truckload of salt... especially when you claim and I am quoting you "120+ kph on the speedo is RIDICULOUSLY easy". Who are you kidding... its a 160cc 15 bhp machine.

rearset said...

@Lavkesh
Take as much salt as you need. The quote is exactly correct. doing 120+ kph on the speedo is ridiculously easy. That may not mean 120 actual kph for speedos always have error. But getting to that number is not difficult.

Oh and make sure it's iodised... 8-D

Bajwa said...

62990 on the road in Pune

Anonymous said...

Hey rearset, i was just wondering why do people keep saying that the Apache is for shorter riders, I have seen the specs of all the 150 and '+' bikes and the saddle height is almost the same, its always in the range of 790 to 805 mm, in fact many people say that honda is taller but the unicorn is also 790 mm, which is the same as Apache RTR. Is the apache actually smaller (so the specs are all wrong) or its just a perception ...?
which bike(non cruisers) in india has the lowest saddle height ...?

MrAmitKumarNain said...

well ashwin . the dealer and i both knew about it and so i booked it but nw it stands cancelled cause by the the time deivery came i already knew about RTRFi .And for those guys saying 120+kmph on speedo i have driven my F2 over and over again to 125Kmph using air drags from other vehicles . Trust try using it and you can even smoke a P200 or karizma in city traffic and watch them scan ur bike at next redlight. but word of caution judge the road ahead before lining up and do not froget to lean behind the fairing with elbows pressed against ur rims. And hey once when i ws comin from jaipur to delhi enroute a downhill track i took THE FIERO F2 TO 140Kmph by speedo and there is no salte in it people . Now the only worry i have with riding at such speed more so wth the RPM/s is blown silencers due to high back pressures. Well i have got used to it now. I hope TVS rsolves the silencer issue if it really RTR goes to 12500rpms.People join the Rip The Road Cult

gouranga said...

it is a excellent performed bike for youth generations

Anonymous said...

hey wazz the top speed of this bike.....