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TVS Apache RTR 160 4V - Track Test Review

TVS Apache RTR 160 4V - Track Test Review

Snapshot: So how is the new motorcycle different from the old? We were invited to get our first-hand experience on the same at the company owned track in Hosur.

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Well, the 150cc – 160cc motorcycle segment may not sound very exciting to the rest of the world but here in India, this segment is in high demand. It comprises of a class of motorcycles that will give you a taste of performance without burning a hole in your pocket. Nowadays you can find a variety of options present in the Indian 160cc motorcycle segment, and with time the competition is only getting stronger. In the pond of 160cc’ only a few have what it takes to be class leading, not talking just about selling numbers but as an overall competent product that won’t let down.

Recently we went to test the new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V which the company says has been built with racing DNA. Apaches have always known to have a different sinister appeal from rest of the motorcycles in the segment. They have always known to be potent on the race track and the motorcycles with great overall riding dynamics, and that can be said directly related to the racing history the brand has and how these inputs have been integrated in the road motorcycles for good.  

So how is the new motorcycle different from the old? We were invited to get our first-hand experience on the same at the company owned track in Hosur.

Looks:

The new generation bike has been updated from head to toe; in fact, this is for the first time that the bike has gone through a full revamp. It now looks similar to its bigger 200cc brother that was launched quite some time back.

Its design lines look sharper now, the body feels more compact and certainly more attractive.  The headlamp houses LED daytime running lamps which comes down as snake fangs, looking extremely wicked especially in the dark. The long and extended fuel tank looks well designed and comprises of fake fins on its either sides with the checkered flag design. The middle white stripe on the tank gives a sporty appeal, while the TVS logo looks premium and perfectly positioned.

The split seat setup like on the Apache RTR 200 has been given a miss and is now a single seat which looks nicely designed and gels well with the shape of the tank. Coming to the rear, the inverted goggle shaped tail lights look modern and neat.

The full digital instrument panel on the bike comes straight from the RTR 200 and is perhaps one of the best clusters which offer all the necessary information. The carburetted version gets amber backlight on the panel while the fuel injected version comes with white backlight which is one of the minor differences in both the bikes.

Engine and performance:

One of the major upgrades done to the motorcycle is in its engine which now comes with 4-valve technology. It’s the same 159.7cc single cylinder, 4-stroke, oil cooled engine which now puts more power and torque in form of 16.27bhp at 8,000rpm for the carburetted version, and slightly higher 16.57bhp at 8,000rpm for the fuel injected version. Peak torque rating is the same at 14.8 Nm at 6,500rpm. It comes mated to a smooth shifting 5-speed transmission.

The company claims that the bike boasts best in class power-to-weight ratio now. Both bikes, carburetted and fuel injected ones are almost the same in terms of 0-60kmph sprint times as they take near about 4.7 to 4.8 seconds.

Improvement in overall power is clearly visible from as low as 2,000rpm; and also the refinement levels have gone up significantly. What’s also new is the sound from the twin-barrel exhaust that feels slicker now with little less bass. On-off throttle response has improved and is similar in both the versions. But what’s different is the way power is delivered. Fuel-injected version is more sensitive and fulsome. Also, I found it comfortable, precise and easy to play with compared to the carburetted version; maybe that’s because I’ve got my senses fixed on a fuel-injected motorcycle which is my daily commute. But it was rather clear that the same allowed me to carry similar corner speeds with more confidence and throttle ease.

Ride and Handling:

The first thing that comes to mind as soon as you saddle the motorcycle is how comfortable it is. The single-seat is designed to hold riders even bigger than me and is extremely well padded for daily city riding, I assume highway tours would be no different. Riding position as always feels natural and sporty at the same time, but with the use of single piece handle-bar (instead of clip-ons like the old model), it might not feel sporty enough.  

Engineers have worked on the frame, and this split cradle chassis as the company says ‘Race Derived’. And well I really don’t disagree. The new bike is track born, and it gets its racing DNA from the proven 165cc GP Proto bike, which is a champion in the world of racing.

It packs front telescopic forks and a single mono shock at the rear which makes a huge difference when it comes to ride and feel. The rear is precision tuned for rebound and compression damping which is engineered in cooperation with SHOWA; that’s one of the reasons why the new bike comes out as a huge improvement in terms of ride and feel.

This TVS track comprises of a big sweeping right-hander (which is not my stronger leaning side), but still, the bike felt at ease and gave me time to adjust my style. There is enough room to move around the bike which allows the rider to feel free and makes it quite a friendly machine to handle. It leans in without much effort and provides enough feedback from both the ends that keep the rider alert about what it’s doing. But on the other hand, what might restrict a rider from leaning in too hard is the lower placed double-barrel exhaust that scrapes almost every time when you are pushing hard. Talking about the brakes, it packs Roto-petal disc brakes at both the ends. Braking is decent on either end, but simply not the best and can certainly use slightly more bite as well as progression.

Verdict:

This track experience on the new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V was confidence inspiring and that’s majorly because the bike has improved in all aspects, be it in terms of design or performance. It was already one of the best bikes in its category, and now the package gets even sweeter with the introduction of the reworked frame, suspension, and engine. As an overall proposition it has been priced quite sensibly and on the lower side compared to its competition and at the same time delivers promising performance figures which are said to be the best in class. Pricing starts at Rs 80,990 (Ex-Showroom, Delhi) which simply makes it the jack of all trades and master of few.  

Photography: Mohd. Nasir

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