TVS Motor Company is marking the 35th anniversary of TVS Racing and has assured us that TVS Racing is not a separate entity, but is actively a part of research and development of TVS motorcycles, that is the Apache series. We’ve seen this series grow so much over the years and it is delightful to see TVS Racing’s expertise being brought to mass market motorcycles so that more riders can get a taste of TVS’ 35-year-old racing pedigree. While TVS Apache motorcycles have always been associated with racing, now though, TVS has gone even more aggressive with putting TVS Racing on the centre stage. We saw it in the TVS Apache 310 RR, the most powerful TVS ever, and also in the 125cc scooter TVS Ntorq 125 which gets design inspiration from TVS Racing.
And now, TVS has pulled out an old file and revamped it – the 2018 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V. Is it just a new paint job with new decals? Most certainly not. While the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and Apache 310 RR are at their prime advancement, the Apache RTR 160 had been ageing and very much needed a thorough upgrade. After all, the RTR 160 is what started it all for the series.
We were invited to test ride the new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V at TVS’ test track at Hosur, Bengaluru. And might I say the excitement to try it out was up there. The first thing that struck in my mind, and it would to you as well, is that it actually looks more powerful than before and more substantial a motorcycle.
The design comes from the bigger TVS Apache RTR 200 4V with a similarly designed fuel tank, exhaust and a sharper than before tail that adds to its sporty appeal. I reckon the ones who aren’t interested in top speed figures and performance but love the way the RTR 200 looks can actually go for this one instead. Well, because it isn’t exactly low on either of those.
The new extension to the name, i.e. ‘4V’, comes from the new four-valve engine platform. Like its older sibling RTR 200 4V, the new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V also has four valves for its engine, which is the same 159.7cc single-cylinder, but now thanks to two additional valves produce a boosted power of 16.6 hp in the FI version and 16.3 hp at 8000 rpm in the carburetted variant. The peak torque figure stands at 14.8 Nm.
An interesting fact to talk about is that the new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V finds its roots in the six-time Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship winner the RTR 165. And the end result is the most powerful 160cc motorcycle on the market. To put things in perspective, the competition Honda X-Blade makes 13.9 hp and the other Bajaj Pulsar 160 NS puts out 15.3 hp.
The other improvement on the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is that the engine is now oil-cooled. Speaking of which, the new RTR 160 has ‘RAM air ducts’ up front as well. Now, these ducts won’t exactly provide the RAM air boost to the engine but will better channel air towards it in order to keep it cooler.
TVS has maintained that it wants the new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V to instill the racer in young riders, to inspire them to perhaps take up motorsports, which is still not a very popular sport in the country. In addition to the changes to the engine, the other big change is the rear suspension setup. Instead the previous dual-shocks, the new now has a Showa mono-shock that helps it deliver better for performance riding, for taking tight corners without feeling like a ride on jello.
Another important aspect that assists in TVS Apache RTR 160 4V’s quest to becoming a race machine is the new Synchro-stiff frame, that has been designed to take the harshness of performance riding. I only rode the new RTR 160 on smooth tarmac on a test track, and I am convinced that the tyres are grippy and instil confidence on corners. But how it rides in the real world will be a little different, with the potholes and the bad roads.
The 2018 TVS Apache RTR 160 has also improved on electronics – a halogen and LED AHO upfront, LED tail lamps and of course, the addition of the new fully digital instrument cluster. It features all the necessary bits like speedo, tacho, service reminder, gear shift indicator, along with a lap timer, top speed recorder and a best-time recorder.
We got to ride both the versions of the new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V – the carburetter version and the FI variant. There is, in fact, a very minutely tiny difference in power in the two, but dishing out a little more money can get you better fuel efficiency with dual discs. But then, the carburetter version is also available with dual discs. As logic dictates, always opt for the safer version, which discs at both ends. And TVS has improved the petal discs for a crisper bite anyways.
The 2018 TVS Apache RTR 160 is definitely better to look at, it sounds better and quieter than before and feels smoother to ride than before. It truly is a major upgrade inside and out. With the way it looks, younger riders would perhaps be more inclined towards it, but having said that it also offers a comfortable riding position, which can allow daily office commutes but in a lot more exciting way.
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