“Life is good, but it can be better.” That is probably what drove TVS to refresh the Apache RTR 160 4V and we attempt to see how they have got on
Story: Joshua Varghese
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V’s BS6 update may seem minimal but there are some crucial changes under the skin. The new Apache looks identical to the model it replaces from every other angle except the front where things have taken a drastic turn thanks to a new LED headlamp. Other aesthetic updates include refreshed graphics, a new key, and a dual-tone seat.
The first of the non-aesthetic updates is the way the motorcycle starts. TVS have significantly reduced the start-up noise and the motorcycle now comes to life at the press of a button without any reluctance whatsoever. The Apache’s impressive levels of refinement are evident during idle and form an integral part of the motorcycle’s riding manners as well.
Once I let out the light-action clutch and began shifting through the slick five-speed gearbox, I was struck by how there were not enough “O”s in smooth to describe the improved ride dynamics. The Apache responds to rider input the same way we respond to free WiFi; immediately and with great enthusiasm. A welcome lack of vibrations through a major part of the rev-range further sweetens the experience. The rider triangle is comfortable, as is the pillion’s perch but after a longish ride I felt that they should have gone for a wider rider’s seat and better padding.
As part of the BS6 treatment, the motorcycle’s 159.7-cc, air-cooled, four-valve, SOHC engine has now been equipped with a small oil-cooler. In this new state of tune, the Apache produces 17.63 hp at 9,250 rpm and a peak torque of 14.73 Nm at 7,250 rpm; that is almost one hp more than the BS4 model with the same amount of torque.
The five-speed box shifts smoothly and has well-spaced ratios that supplement relaxed city riding. Shift into top gear and the Apache will pull away easily from 40 km/h, using as little as 3,000 rpm, banking on its healthy low- and mid-range. The highlight in that environment was the “Glide Through Traffic” feature. Some electronic wizardry has been worked on the fuelling that enabled me to coast through traffic using just the clutch and the gears with zero throttle input on my part. Up to 17 km/h (in third gear), the motorcycle will handle the fuelling by itself. Quite handy.
The motorcycle’s highway manners are satisfactory until about 80-85 km/h (fifth gear, approximately 7,000 rpm), beyondwhich some buzz creeps in. Although triple-digit cruising is certainly possible at reasonable comfort, it is not the Apache’s sweet spot. This may be a problem on particularly straight roads when you are in a hurry but what if you have twists and turns ahead?
Adorning stickers that speak of almost four decades of racing, this TVS is as at home in the corners as peanut butter is on toast. Reaction to steering input is immediate, throttle input is precise, weight distribution is on point, and the TVS Remora tyres provide all the grip one may need, even on wet roads. All of the above make for a few lively runs (it is difficult to stop at one). Braking is handled by discs at either end with the safety of ABS covering only the front wheel. Which brings me to the only grouse I have with this motorcycle: calling a single-channel system “Supermoto ABS”, a term I feel should be reserved for a dual-channel system that allows the rider to temporarily disable ABS at the rear wheel.
All-round usability, good ride quality, and a sporty character make the new Apache the best motorcycle I have ridden in this segment. At Rs 1.12 lakh (ex-showroom), the Apache has been priced reasonably and in the same ballpark as its rivals as well (Bajaj Pulsar NS160 – Rs 1.12 lakh and Hero Xtreme 160R – Rs 1.11 lakh). In short, this is the motorcycle to beat in this segment and it would be interesting to see if it retains these stellar values in the long term as well.
Leave a Reply