In the Indian entry-level performance-oriented motorcycle segment, two machines have ruled over the last decade—Bajaj Pulsar and TVS Apache. And of the two, it’s the latter that has developed a fan-following that few brands can boast of—one of the reasons has been the envious performance and exceptional ride and handling across the entire range of Apache motorcycles, from 160cc to 310cc.
Over the last 10 years, even though the Apache brand grew from 160cc to 180cc to 200cc and finally 310cc, the stepping stone to the Apache brand—the RTR 160—itself didn’t see any major improvements, or changes. Last week, TVS Motor gave it a major update, not just in design but also in engineering. We ride it extensively on the test track of the TVS Motor Company manufacturing plant in Hosur near Bangalore.
What is Apache RTR 160 4V?
The new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is born of the six-time Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship (INMRC) winning motorcycle—Group B RTR 165. It gets a four-valve, oil-cooled engine. It’s claimed to be the most powerful 160cc motorcycle in India, creating a new benchmark in the segment.
What is the design like?
The Apache RTR 160 4V looks a lot like the more expensive Apache RTR 200. The TVS R&D team members whom we met said that its design has been “refined on the racetrack.” In other words, it has been sculpted to be dynamic through the corners while the sharp edges make it imposing on the circuit. The chequered flag decals pay homage to the company’s winning streak on the track. No doubt, on public roads, the Apache RTR 160 4V will stand out prominently.
What are its major design elements?
* At the front, it’s got the hyper-aggressive naked headlamp that has LED DRLs which look, if you please, like snake fangs.
* The alphanumeric speedometer has race diagnostic features like lap timer, 0-60kph timer, top speed recorder, etc.
* The aerodynamic engine cowl has a razor-like design.
* The racing double-barrel exhaust looks quite good.
Which engine powers it?
It’s available in both carburettor and electronic fuel injection (EFI) variants, with the latter christened as Apache RTR 160 Fi 4V. It’s powered by the 159.7cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke, four-valve, oil-cooled engine. The EFI variant churns out 16.6bhp of maximum power (at 8,000rpm) and the carburettor variant produces 16.3bhp. Both variants produce a similar torque of 14.8Nm (at 6,500rpm). The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
What are its performance figures?
As far as claimed performance is concerned, the EFI variant has a top speed of 114kph, while the carburettor variant can touch 113kph. Similarly, the EFI variant goes from 0-60kph in 4.8 seconds, while the carburettor version is slightly quicker initially—0-60 kph in 4.73 seconds. TVS Motor didn’t share its fuel-efficiency figures.
How does it ride?
For its size, it’s quite fast. It goes from 0-60kph in the blink of an eye and easily crosses 90kph. However, once it touches three-figure speeds, the acceleration noticeably slows down. Once of the best things about the Apache RTR 160 4V is its ride and handling ability, including cornering—on a good tarmac, the tyres provide an amazing grip. You can opt for race-spec Pirelli tyres for additional track-focused performance.
There are two major reasons for its good ride and handling ability. One, the company’s patented double-cradle split synchro stiff chassis that gives optimised vehicle layout, thereby increasing the stability by up to 25%. Two, its rear monoshock suspension that has been developed and precision-tuned in cooperation with Showa of Japan, the manufacturer of high-performance automotive suspension systems.
Lastly, its exhaust produces a signature low frequency sound—once you are revving, the sound is such that it pushes you to rev harder.
Strangely enough, ABS is not offered even as an option.
How much is it priced?
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is priced Rs 81,490 (carburettor) and Rs 89,990 (EFI), ex-showroom, Delhi. Its direct competitors are Honda CB Hornet 160R (prices start at Rs 82,359) and Honda X Blade (priced Rs 78,500), which, too, are competent motorcycles but with lower power and torque figures—we haven’t tested any of these, including the Apache RTR 160 4V, for fuel-efficiency. Buy the Apache RTR 160 4V if your idea of motorcycling is enjoying an almost perfect riding performance.