TVS combine race-derived performance with the exclusivity that comes with a limited number.
TVS has been a dominant name in Indian motor sport for a long time now. The manufacturer has a works team in almost every form of motorcycle racing in the country and its racing innovations have steadily trickled into its motorcycles for the road over the years. Fifteen years to be precise. To celebrate this achievement, TVS have added one more jewel to the Apache range. The Apache RTR 165 RP is their best attempt yet at bridging the gap between their racing pedigree and their road motorcycles.
The RTR 165 RP is the first model from TVS’ new “Race Performance” range and it stands apart from all of its brethren with its unmistakable exterior. Although it shares bodywork with the RTR 160 4V, the RP gets its own unique paint scheme with “limited edition” stickers, a special seat-cover, and red wheels. With this one-off blend of colours and stickers, this motorcycle is visually as close as it gets to nine-time national championship winner K Jagan’s GP 165R race machine. Only 200 motorcycles were made available to customers and they were all booked by the time I rode the RP seen in the pictures here. Even so, it is well worth my time and yours to learn a little more about this motorcycle.
The instrument cluster remains unchanged from the RTR 160 4V’s. The all-digital console continues to display the essential information prominently while retaining features such as the lap timer and recorded top speed, etc. Although the RP looks like a racing steed, TVS have ensured that it is nowhere near as committed. The rider triangle is identical to the 160 4V’s. A wide handlebar, an upright seating position, and reasonably placed foot-pegs offer a riding position that users of the RTR 160 4V swear by. To further sweeten the deal, the manufacturer has thrown in adjustable brake and clutch levers as well. A good move, if I may say so, because it is a novelty in this segment. However, it does rattle a fair bit on our roads.
The 165 RP draws power from an engine that is most similar to Jagan’s race motorcycle. This 164.9-cc, air-cooled, four-valve, single-cylinder engine is a performance-oriented version of the RTR 160 4V’s unit. It develops 19.2 hp at 10,000 rpm and a peak torque of 14.2 Nm at 8,750 rpm. That is 1.65 hp more at 750 rpm higher than the engine it is based on and the torque has dipped by 0.53 Nm but it peaks 1,500 rpm later. Furthermore, TVS claim that they have reworked the cylinder-head. Apparently, it has a 35 per cent higher flow through the intake port, twin-electrode spark-plug, and valves that are 15 per cent bigger. They also said that they have used a high lift and duration cam and high-compression piston to keep it similar to the race engine.
All that is impressive to read on paper but what impressed me most was how it translated into performance on bitumen. When riding through the city at a reasonable speed, the RP was as civilized as its mild-mannered sibling and just as comfortable, too, because it is not one of those stiffly sprung racetrack-only kind of motorcycles. A big plus for everyday use then. In stock form, the shift light urges one to upshift at 7,000 rpm but with a safe, closed road or track at your disposal, it can be ignored. The RP revs past 10,000 rpm with an indicated red-line around the 11,000-rpm mark and the biggest spread of power lies on the exciting side of 7,000 rpm. With an improved top-end power band at my disposal, I headed to the same place where I had tested the latest RTR 160 4V and the difference was evident. In comparison, the RP breathes more freely and is eager to be pushed hard through the gears. TVS have complemented that nature with capable suspension componentry, namely, race-tuned Showa units. I am happy to report that the set-up supports spirited corner-carving and soaks up bumps with ease; the holy formula for a one-motorcycle garage.
The TVS Apache RTR 165 RP is priced at… I mean, was priced at Rs 1.45 lakh (ex-showroom) because you cannot buy a brand-new machine anymore. As for competition, there is nothing that competes directly with this motorcycle because no one else has made a street version of a racing motorcycle in this segment yet. If you ever get a chance to ride one of these motorcycles, you will understand why I am sad that this one is sold out, but there is a silver lining. This is only the first of the RP series and we have all the reason in the world to look forward to and be excited about more motorcycles from this stable.
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