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Road Grip:


Rs. 90,135 (Ex-Showroom)


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Mar 27, 2012 06:48 PM 78881 Views




Road Grip:


I'm Dinesh, a 30-year-old editor employed in the medical transcription industry. I am a thorough-bred auto enthusiast whose joy knows no bounds as the Indian Motorcycling Industry prepares to scale new heights and enter a whole new realm with the power bikes steaming in. Having owned three bikes – Hero Honda Splendor, Bajaj Pulsar 180, and now the Apache RTR 160, I just want to share an honest user review of my latest bike. It has been more than two months since I have purchased my RTR and first free service is done. As we go through each and every section of the review, we will also try and pit it against some of the bikes it is competing with currently in the market.


Gone are the days when ordinary looking bikes used to roam the streets. As far as looks are concerned, though the Apache is quite old, it still looks fresh. May be one of the reasons for this is the engineers at TVS planned well ahead of time when they launched this model a few years back. We have seen pulsar getting quite a few makeovers and the launch of FZ from Yamaha, but Apache seems to be in a league of its own. The air scoops that were added in the year of 2008 are well designed and the racing stripes on the bike and red ring rims enhance the overall look of the bike. Now, even the 160 comes with black clip-ons, which in turn adds stealth looks to the bike. Overall, I feel the Apache looks as fresh as it did when it was launched a few years ago; no wonder the engineers do not want to meddle with its design yet.


This was an important factor for me, as I was looking for a bike that wouldn't give me any wrist pain or a backache after riding a reasonable distance. This is where the weight comes into picture. The Apache weighs just 136 kgs with a power to weight ratio of 129.6, which makes it light and nimble. After using a P-180 for nearly six years, this bike feels really light weight and there is hardly any wrist pain or back pain after riding this bike. Mind you, much of it depends on the posture you decide to take. If you ride in a racing posture, you are bound to develop backaches. One needs to position himself nicely on the seat and maintain a relaxed upright posture in order avoid both back and wrist pain. The shock absorbers are not as soft as those in the P-180, though both are gas-filled. I feel the shocks are purposely made a bit stiff to go with the racing concept of the Apache. The clip-ons and the switches are well placed. The seating for the pillion is better when compared to FZ, but not as spacious as the P-180. Also, the Apache is meant strictly for city riding. It will not come in handy for highways.


I had taken a test ride of the Apache 180 and was totally bowled over by the ride quality. Nothing much changes with the 160. I have heard many complaints about vibrations. When it comes to 180, it is totally vibration-free unless you are bent upon breaking the land speed record. With the 160, vibrations last until the first service, i.e., at regular speeds of 40-60. This is mainly due to the harsh firing/beating. The mechanics do advise to bear with it until the first service. After the first service, the firing is reduced and the ride is much smoother. I would not say as smooth as the 180, but it is not all that shaky until speeds up to 60. Also one needs to make sure he rides in the right speed in the right gear. The Apache has very short gear ratios and the faster we shift to the top gear, the sooner we rid ourselves of the vibrations.


The front petal disc does its job pretty well. The rear drum is a safe bet because I was told by my dealer friend that the rear disc is having problems in the long-term both in terms of quality and functionality. Another major let down is the tendency of the tyres to skid. The moment you hit a watery patchy on the road, it is better to slow down because the bike will skid with even mild-to-moderate braking, let alone harsh braking. Rumour has it that the introduction of ABS came in the wake of this issue. If you notice in the ABS video, the bike goes for a complete 360 degree spin with the ABS off.


The high power to weight ratio of 111.76 does its part in this section. The pick-up and throttle response is almost instant. It is so quick that it will almost throw the pillion overboard if one is not bracing himself/herself. With the shorter gear ratios, shifting to the top gear is lightning quick and one surely misses a sixth gear. I hope TVS people read this. There have been several instances where I have reached the fifth gear in almost no time and kept searching for the sixth. This issue was mentioned in an Apache 180 review and I would say same is the case with the 160.


"Kitna deti hai, " one must admit that every Indian has this question at the back of his/her mind whether he/she is buying a motorcycle or scooter or a car. The sales executive at the dealership was very frank when he said that it would give around 45km/L. I thought 45 was a reasonable figure bearing in mind the fact that I do not travel much on a daily basis. The reason I decided against the Apache 180 was because its mileage figures read somewhere around 35-40. The FZ delivers a similar mileage as well, which is a major drawback for it. I haven't done a foolproof test, but I think I am getting a mileage a little over 45, which is a good sign. I am sure it will increase slightly after the second and third services.


This was the main reason that killed my confidence in Bajaj. I had problems with the electricals starting from the second year of purchasing my Pulsar and there was no true response from any dealer I approached. In fact the mechanics could not make out whether the horns were out or whether the horn switch was out. The self-start would not work properly and the fuel gauge stopped functioning.

Coming to TVS, though the dealer is a good friend of mine, I took time to watch how they dealt with regular customers and I was pretty satisfied. Though I cannot comment on the quality of electricals and their service until significant amount of time has lapsed, I can assure you that their approach is much better.

However, this might not be the case with all dealerships. I believe I am fortunate to have such a good dealer in close proximity to our residence. The spares almost cost about the same for both Bajaj and TVS bikes, but are a bit more expensive when it comes to Yamaha.


At around 76k on-road in Hyderabad, I think it is a bit pricey, but when one does look around, every other bike in this segment either shares the same price tag or may be a grand or two more than this. The P-150 is around a grand dearer. FZ16 costs around 3K more. All in all, I feel you wouldn't have wasted your money just in case you opt for the Apache.

That's it from me for now guys. Ride safe, always wear a helmet, put the headlight on low beam while riding in the city limits, and please do not use your cell phone while riding. God bless.

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TVS Apache RTR 160