It’s been more than a decade that homegrown bike maker TVS launched the Apache in the market. In years that followed different variants of the bike became quite popular with riders who wanted sporty characteristics from their motorcycles. There were many firsts too like the Apache 180 which became India’s first bike with ABS. Now the company has launched the new Apache RTR 160, a first major update on the 160 in a very long time. It is born out of the RTR 165, a motorcycle that has won the Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship a whopping 6 times. TVS says it is the most powerful bike in its segment something that will appeal to the racing enthusiasts. The company’s test track at Hosur was where we tested this new Apache for its capabilities.
The good thing TVS has done with this new Apache is that it now looks a lot more similar to its bigger and more powerful sibling, the Apache RTR 200. The forward leaning design, the LED headlamps and the sleek tail lamps all remind of the 200 cc variant. The instrument cluster is all digital another first for the RTR 160 and once again similar to the 200. It gives a lot of information including gear shift indicator and a lap timer. But there are some things exclusive to this one as well, like the alloy wheel design, conventional handlebars as well as the single seat. There are disc brakes on both the wheels though there’s an option of drum brakes on the carbureted version of the bike. Overall the fit and finish is quite impressive and this one looks high on quality. The motorcycle boasts of a compact race design with chequered flag decals on the tank, a fitting homage to its winning streak on the race track.
TVS says the 4-valve, oil-cooled engine offers best-in-class performance. The good thing is that this 160 is available in both Carburetor and EFI variants, with the latter christened as TVS RTR 160 Fi 4V. The motorcycle gets a 159.7 cc, single-cylinder engine that churns out 16.8 PS @8000 rpm for the fuel injected variant and slightly lower 16.5 PS @8000 rpm for the carbureted version. Both variants have a similar torque figure of 14.8 Nm @ 6500 rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed gear box that is slick and offers precise shifts. According to TVS the bike has the best power to weight ratio in the segment (despite being 10 kgs heavier than its predecessor) again something that bikers looking for sporty characteristics will appreciate. The smooth ride you expect from the EFi variant is there. It certainly feels more refined that the carbureted variant that still might be the first choice for some enthusiasts. The oil cooled engine will surely come in handy while negotiating traffic in the hot summers. Some performance figures too are impressive. The bike reaches a top speed of 114 kmph on the fuel injected version while carbureted version tops out at 113 kmph. But where the latter beats the former is in acceleration starting from stationary. It does a 0-60 kmph in 4.73 seconds while the EFI does the same in 4.8 seconds. Mileage figures have not been officially disclosed by TVS but the capacity of fuel tank stands at 12 litres.
Ride & Handling
The seat height on the Apache RTR 160 has gone up by a few mms and now stands at 800mm. This augurs well for taller riders who might have been in some discomfort on the bike earlier. 17 inch TVS tyres offer good grip and that too aids in a confident ride. The thighs fit nicely under the tank and foot pegs are placed just right to give the rider a comfortable position which would enable a trouble free long ride. TVS patented double-cradle split synchro stiff frame design also helps in high-speed stability and impressive handling on and off the track. And then you come to ride quality and here is where the new mono-shock suspension plays an important part. The ride is stiff enough to take on the challenges of a track and you can take to the corners with ease. How the ride will be in the real world with a pillion is something that remains to be seen.
The Apache RTR 160 pretty much looks like and offers a lot of what the Apache RTR 200 offers. And all this is a price that is significantly less and may we add appealing. It starts from Rs. 81,490 (ex-showroom) for Carburetor/drum brake variant and goes up to Rs. 89,990 for the EFI variant. And after the ride that price feels absolutely justified. But remember this is without ABS which for now is not even an option on the bike. The bike has potential to take the success story of the 14 year Apache brand in the best possible way and despite some strong competition in this very popular segment, the bike may just come out on tops.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars