Nov 17, 2007

TVS Apache RTR 160: The water under the bridge

TVS Apache RTR 160Yes, yes, I know I haven't written on motorcycles for a while. Well here goes.

Let me tell you about my love-hate relationship with my TVS Apache RTR 160. I've put nearly a thousand kilometres on it since I got me grubby paws on it and here's the story.

Vibes
I've said before the RTR vibrates less than before, and that is true. However, a two hour highway stint with speeds in excess of 90 kph will give you the famous tingling fingers sensation and a bit of a numb hand. 70-85 kph is best for long distance work, for the engine runs smoother. The sweet spot, I think, expands a bit if you turn up the fuel a bit and run it slightly richer than the factory setting. This will, obviously, impact the economy a bit.

Comfort
Lke I've said before, I like the sportbike crouch and am very comfortable in that position for a fairly long time, so the bike suits me just fine. However, I am convinced that this won't be the case for all riders. The riding position is pretty committed, so if you're thinking RTR, think it through. Pillions are comfortable at intermediate speeds, but higher speeds will send vibes up the pillion pegs

Niggles
My particular machine isn't in the best of health, actually. It seems that someone dropped it (all of the usual suspects say: not me). Apart from a minor scratch on the fairing and still missing left side mirror though, there is no damage. However. Today I found that the left side L-clip inside the fairing wasn't attached at all – no bolt securing it to anything.

Also, there is something funny about the handling at speed with a pillion. The Wife and I cannot ride corners at more than about 80 kph because the machine begins to weave gently.

Clearance
Two up, ground clearance is a real issue. Forget hard cornering, you can get the center stand grounding out without trying. Which sucks. Also, when you're storm water drain filtering through a traffic jam, the RTR grounds out completely on two-three inch high manhole covers – so you have to ride around them. Don't ask how I know.

Engine
I love the engine. It's a bit rough sounding for a TVS motor, but heck, it goes. Open the throttle and the rest is easy. The speedo, a bit optimistic in my opinion, regularly shows in excess on 118 kph with single rider, and about 112 kph with The Wife on board.

Handling
The thing is quick to change direction, that I will admit. But it cannot handle a flick-flack kind of situation. When you have two direction changes in sequence, the RTR sorts of loses the plot on the second change and will either run a bit wide, or flop in too sharply. Nothing alarming, but despite trying to refine my inputs, complete control over the second direction change proves elusive.

Braking
The brakes are superb, though I still think they don't return as much feedback as they should. But try this, try braking hard over a bumpy stretch while you try to persuade the RTR to make a tiny direction change. You will notice that the RTR can brake, but you can feel the chassis begin to wind up like a spring. This feel very uncomfortable, although this has, so far, produced no ill effects.

Service
Haven't had one yet, but am quite cross because there doesn't seem to be a TVS service shop (to buy a replacement left mirror) on my commute. And I pass three Hero Honda places and two Honda places that I can recall without consulting the net.

Related links

3 comments:

Kokan said...

a lot of things that u have written abt the rtr is true....my bikes finsihed 2 services....and there has been some issues with the bike.
1)the economy has come down from the fasinating 57 to 45-50
2)my center stand hits the ground every time i take a hump.
3)the acceleration cable broke(must be just mine)
4)can't take corners above 80 with a pillion(guess tats common)
other than these miner glitches the bikes great.just love the bike!!

Prasanna said...

I HATE THE RTR. HATE, HATE, HATE IT.

SO MUCH PROMISE RUINED SO BADLY - maybe just maybe with the engine for an exception.

I have 180 (v2) and was expecting the RTR to at least perform as decently as it did.
But nope. The handlebars SUCK. and that is an understatement.

The vibes are okay - even wake u up sometimes. but the damn gearshift - fouls with the sidestand. HOW ON EARTH COULD anyone fuck it up so badly?

I just think its way too much hype about a bad bike.

IMO the Pulsar 200 is the most under-rated bike in the country. Damn shame!

Anonymous said...

"I just think its way too much hype about a bad bike."

Whatever