Jul 6, 2007

TVS Apache RTR 160: Real Deal

TVS Apache RTR 160I rode the TVS Apache RTR 160 again today. And once more, I am amazed at what TVS have managed to do with the old Apache. And amazed at what more they could have done, but haven't. I mooched a bike off a dealer and managed to take it out for a solo spin. A 25 km solo spin.

Once more, the Apache makes an eye-opening amount of power with remarkable ease. The engine is very refined, there aren't any vibes, and the smoooth gearbox is one of the best in the market today without any doubt (Yamaha still makes the best of the lot, I think). Compared to my first riding impression (link below) which was in a more sterile environment, this time I was out in the real world. Where you and I are expected to get our kicks/commute. And I did. Get my kicks that is. While initially you don't notice the performance itself, there's no getting away from the strong convex power curve.

The Apache can blow up a typhoon in no time at all (by 150cc standards, that is). How do you find this out? You have to look for subtle clues. Like managing to overtake cars going at a fair clip without any undue effort on your part. Like seeing 76 kph where you expect the speedo to read about 30 kph less. Like seeing a hapless, smaller rider on a CBZ X-Treme struggle very hard to keep up and fail. Like finding out that a last-gen Pulsar 180 will get embarrassed almost too easily. Like a Pulsar 200 won't be able to disappear on the 160 (Well-ridden Shoguns used to do this to RD350s also – they can't get past, but RDs would find it very hard to get rid of the irritating Shogun). Like thinking you just past 100 kph, and it took a while, and looking down and seen 123 kph on the digital speedo.

Handling's great too. The bike feels taut, pegs are quite seriously rearset, the seat is lower than most of the competition and the bike feels compact and ready to rock. Which is does. Enter a corner hard (in the wet), and the confidence, the agility is marvellous. I thought the CBZ X-Treme was the best 150-class handler there is. Well, ascending to the top spot, ladies and gentlemen is the RTR. Good job! Oh and I could write thousands of words about the disc brake on the front axle. Superb. Superb. Superb.

I no longer care whether it has flaws (like tankbags don't fit the tank all that well and tend to slide forward into the handle, or the lack of space for a pillion to sit comfortably). I have to have one around to ride for a while at least. And I working on that now. That it looks smashing is a bonus, as is the fact that it probably returns 50 kpl when ridden gently. I also happen to love the fact that it wheelies without provocation, loves to be thrashed and in the wet, is able to find a stunning amount of traction.

Is that review over the top? Perhaps. The only flaw in the Apache RTR's tall fort walls is that when you get off, you're thrilled. But. But you wonder what would have happened if TVS had let just a bit of the vibes leak into the pegs and bars at speed to enhance the sensation of velocity. I have a feeling that we would have appreciated it even more. And I hate the white tail lamp with the red reflector. I cannot help but think that a clear or red outer lens would have looked a heck of a lot classier.

Did I mention that the Apache will probably kill a CBZ X-Treme? It's more powerful (1 bhp), makes more torque (3 Nm) and happens to weigh a not insignificant 5-odd kgs less as well. It is also about Rs 1,000 cheaper than the CBZ X-Treme in Bombay.

Related posts

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you sir for this wonderful review, I have been waiting to buy this bike for a long time now...could you share with us how you manage to wheelie on a 160cc bike?

Madhukar said...

Oouch... this post hurts my X-tremist ego.

Mk

Rahul said...

Guru tomar lekha ta pode mone holo je bike ta byapok hobe. Ekhon amiyo prochur excited. Monday te test bike paabo! Tomake janabo kemon laaglo. Aacha, TVS video te oi bhadro mohila ki biker saathe free? Janiyo amake.

Translation from Bengali: Dude after reading your review, I feel the Apache is smashing. Will test ride it come Monday! (trust me thats it folks!)

santoosh venkatram said...

123 is hmmm impressive....lets see how it makes a mark !!

Treasure Trove said...

123 ? That would be impressive . What is the response of the digital readout ? Does it have a 0.5s delay like the Pulsars ?

Anonymous said...

awesome. this is what i've been waiting for. something to fill the hole left by my pulsar 180.

Navendu said...

Great review. Now don't tempt me to do something crazy with the money I'm saving ;-)

Have ridden the Apache150 in free flowing twisties back to back (after Fiero, CBZ and Unicorn) and found it to handle great. How is the RTR's handling as compared to the Apache150?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
rearset said...

@nav
It feels a lot more stable and a lot more committed than the 150 in corners.

road-yo said...

Dude, the 3rd para .... the picture couldn't be clearer. These are exactly the things that I look for. Great writing!

Lavkesh said...

From a Vibrator to a smooth 'no' vibe engine, to seeing 120 kph "very" easily on the speedo, to the best handling 150cc in the market, to be feeling 30 kph less at 76 kmph.... is there more to this than what meets the eye?
Did TVS suddenly got a magic wand or has the bike come straight from the gods.... I for one is not convenienced. Over to you...

Hitanshu said...

"Like finding out that a last-gen Pulsar 180 will get embarrassed almost too easily."

More of a rider issue here. Or your excitement :D

Met a RTR dude at the gurgaon expressways recently at night- 4 lanes of blissful tarmac, and with him a bit ahead of me at the delhi police checkpost, managed to get ahead by 75-80 kph and stayed that way till 90 kph (he went on to top 110 easily, but at midnight 80-90 kph is all i'll do between trucks and endless callcenter cabs).

Rest, I agree - superb bike from a looker perspective - seen a red one up close, very nice, but frankly, CBZX seems to have a better stance - rtr/apache both seem puny in comparison.

Supreeth Kini said...

Someone seems to have asked my question already, but I could not find the answer. Could you pls throw some light on the wheelie :-)

Anonymous said...

Rearset, I always used to trust your comments on bikes but not on RTR. I test rided RTR three times and I could feel some difference in motor in all the three bikes, one was OK two were nothing better than vibrating stuff. I have done this on Xtreme, probably about dozen of them every motor feels refined and responsive.
According to my xperience RTR is still alive with basic issues which plagued earlier A150s.
Xtreme is much better package overall.

Hell Mate said...

Hi All,
I am planning to buy THE RTR.. I have a pulsar that has been nicknamed( and rightly so) Tractor by friends. I just took a test drive of the Beast. I love the way she looks, the feel of the RTR is alos amazing. The only worry i have is with the milage. anybody using her from say 5 to 6 months.. can you please tel me about what is the avarage i can expect out of it????

Thanks in advance.