As the TVS Apache series gets a facelift, we ride the RTR 180 to see if there are any surprises under the skin
The TVS Apache series has been quite popular in the sub-250-cc performance motorcycle segment. The last time the Apache received a notable design upgrade was in 2009 and three years is long time in the Indian motorcycle market.
The company, therefore, went back to the drawing board and tweaked the Apache’s design to come out with a sharper looking motorcycle. The new design has been adopted by the entire Apache range, which includes the RTR 160, RTR 180 and the RTR 180 ABS.
To start with, the RTR has a new head cowl that gives the bike an aggressive look. It also gets all-time running LED pilot lamps that were the highlight of their teaser campaign and they look stunning. The other most prominent change is the elongation of the tank shrouds. The tank shrouds are just pieces of plastic clinging on to the tank shell and are supposed to give the bike a sporty look as we know it, but, according to TVS, they also improve performance and aerodynamics, which helps in reducing engine heat! Looking at the design, we were baffled: why this otherwise proportionate bike has these sabre teeth when the ones on the earlier model were so much better. Other than those, however, the chiselled, sharper lines of the bodywork, with carbon-fibre finished plastic inserts in a few places look good. The bike also gets new switches that are very ergonomic, decals hailing from the Hyper Edge variant, all metal rear foot-pegs and a better looking seat cover.
Under the new body, however, there are hardly any changes. The RTR 160 is powered by the same 159.7-cc, four-stroke engine producing 15.4 PS of power and 13.1 Nm of torque while the RTR 180’s 177.4-cc engine churns out 17.3 PS of power and 15.5 Nm of torque.
The bike is still plagued by high-frequency vibrations from the seat, handlebar and foot-pegs and, owing to its stiffer suspension, it does not offer a very comfortable ride. However, handling still remains a strong point in case of the Apache.
The colours available in the new series include dual-tone colours for the RTR 160 (green, red, yellow or grey with black base) and single-tone (yellow, grey, white or black) for the RTR 180 while the RTR 180 ABS comes in either white or black. The prices of the 2012 series Apache are Rs 75,493 for the RTR 160, Rs 82,554 for the RTR 180 and Rs 94,447 for the RTR 180 ABS.
The 2012 series Apache hasn’t met the expectations of upgrades in performance, but the new look has given the heave-ho to the dated looking design and will help the bikes hold their own in this heavily fought segment.
Photography: Sanjay Raikar