Apache RTR 160 priced at Rs 89,990; bike is back, but in a new avatar
TVS has finally given the Apache RTR 160 the overhaul it deserves. Its styling is clearly inspired by its elder sibling the RTR 200. What’s new is the different alloy design, fresh centre body panel, the one-piece seat unit, and conventional handlebars. There’s also an all-digital instrument console from its elder sibling
The RTR 160 has been a stepping stone into the TVS Apache family, and despite its importance, the bike received just one facelift in its decade-long innings. But, now, TVS has finally given the Apache RTR 160 the overhaul it deserves. Its styling is clearly inspired by its elder sibling the RTR 200. What’s new is the different alloy design, fresh centre body panel, the one-piece seat unit, and conventional handlebars. There’s also an all-digital instrument console from its elder sibling. The fuel-injected version of the RTR 160 gets a gear-position indicator and a lap timer, both of which are missing on the carburettor variant. Switchgear has also been carried forward and the quality is impressive. The fit and finish levels are on par with the latest offerings from TVS, with tight-fitted panels and most of the wiring being wrapped up and covered neatly.
TVS is offering the new motorcycle with two new engine options carburettor and fuel injection. Both run an oil cooler and 4-valve technology, while most of the competition still employs a Digital console detailed, easy to read. Single-piece saddle is spacious. 7-step adjustable monoshock is new. 2-valve head. As I started riding, the first thing I noticed was the smoothness of the motor. TVS engines aren’t really renowned for refinement but the new 160cc engine is about to change that perception. While the fuel-injected variant offered better throttle response and felt a tad bit more refined, it’s the carb variant I prefer, owing to its slightly sharper feel, not to mention better value. With my hefty weight, I managed to clock 117kph on the main straight, while much thinner (and fitter) riders managed to clock a top whack of 125kph not bad for a 160cc engine! However, TVS engineers have focused their efforts on the low-end grunt.
The fifth gear is pretty tall as well, which means gathering speed post 100kph needs patience. While the five-speed gearbox offers crisp shifts, the sweet spot for the engine is between 85-95kph. TVS claims that the new RTR benefits from its racing experience, but the bike also has renewed street focus. Replacing the previous clip-on is a new flat and wide handlebar that results in an upright and relaxed riding position. The foot pegs remain slightly rear-set, so the riding position still has a likable, but manageable, level of sportiness. However, the big change in the handling experience comes down to the new double-cradle split-frame chassis the RTR 160 borrows from its older sibling. The bike turns into corners with enthusiasm and holds its line through the corner without any of the edgy nervousness of its predecessor. There’s no doubt that this is among the best handlers in the segment. The front brake is not very sharp and one has to squeeze the lever hard for the brakes to dig in; we also encountered significant brake fade on a couple of the bikes. The lack of ABS, even as an option, is disappointing, considering TVS was the first Indian manufacturer to offer the safety system as far back as 2011.
The sum effect of all the updates is that the new Apache RTR 160 is a much more likable and mature motorcycle. Its appealing styling, punchy motor and enjoyable riding dynamics make it a complete package. Having three different variants has also allowed TVS to offer a lower entry price point, but it’s still not the most affordable bike among its peers. Nevertheless, judging from our initial impressions, the RTR 160 has the potential to become another popular offering from TVS.
(By Arun Mohan Nadar, DNA)