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Performance motorcycling is a segment in the Indian motoring scene that has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade. The segment continues to grow even today, and manufacturers are bringing in newer and more capable motorcycles. However, in order to get to the more powerful motorcycles, one always has to climb up the ladder of performance.
The first step on this ladder is generally occupied by motorcycles in the 160cc to 200cc bracket. This is where motorcycles like the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V come in. It looks great, handles well and has a decent amount of power to keep the rider happy.
TVS launched the new Apache RTR 160 4V fairly recently. But its roots can be traced to the very first Apache that was launched back in 2005. The first TVS Apache was powered by a 147.5cc, 13.5bhp engine. These figures were considered powerful during that time and kept enthusiasts happy.
Soon, the performance motorcycle market grew and more powerful options have been launched in the market over the years. TVS has also launched more powerful motorcycles in the Apache range. The entry-level performance motorcycle market though still requires a peppy motorcycle with engine capacity in the range of around 160cc.
The Apache RTR 160 4V is the weapon wielded by TVS in this segment. We rode the motorcycle in the urban jungle and on the highway to find out what it is all about.
Design & Style
In terms of design and styling, the motorcycle has remained almost unchanged since its debut as the BS6 emissions norms compliant model in 2019. Up front is an LED headlamp with boomerang-shaped LED position lights. These position lights along with the low beam of the headlamp acts as the daytime running light and are always turned on.
When the high beam is activated, the upper and lower parts of the headlamp are turned on simultaneously. The design and style of the TVS Apache RR 160 is characterised by sharp lines and edges all over the motorcycle. When viewed from the side profile, one's attention is drawn to the voluptuous fuel tank.
The designers have incorporated several stylin elements into the fuel tank alone. It gets elongated fuel tank extensions, faux vents near the rider's knees and racing flag graphics to the sides. The fuel filler cap is offset and running across the length of the fuel tank are racing stripes in white.
The 2021 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V rides on 6-spoke alloy wheels which when combined with the petal discs ooze style and add to the design element of the motorcycle. TVS has equipped the motorcycle with a double-barrel exhaust system, and this further adds to the design aspect. The rear-end is a simple affair with an LED tail lamp at the top and a tyre hugger at the bottom.
The Racing Red colour option is the one that sells the most and was also the one we got to ride. The contrasting panels at the sides combined with the Racing Red paint and the white and black graphics makes the motorcycle look perfect for its intended audience.
Being an entry-level performance motorcycle, the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V can't be expected to have all the bells and whistles. However, TVS has equipped it with some important features. It gets Race Tuned Fuel Injection (RT-FI) that allows for enhanced power delivery and great throttle response, making the engine feel very peppy indeed.
The motorcycle is also equipped with single-channel ABS that is claimed to have been developed and tested at the racetrack. An LCD screen handles instrumentation duties. It displays the tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge, gear position, time, etc. Along with these features, it also features a 0-60km/h timer and a top speed clocker that records the top speed clocked by the motorcycle. More on this later.
Engine and Performance
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is powered by a BS6 emissions norms compliant, air and oil-cooled, 159.7cc engine. It has a maximum power output of 17.38bhp at 9,250rpm and a peak torque output of 14.73Nm at 7,250rpm. A 5-speed gearbox drives the rear wheel.
As aforementioned, the motorcycle comes with a Race Tuned Fuel Injection system that allows for better throttle response. According to the company, the engine has been derived from its championship-winning 160cc Pro Stock race bikes. The claimed top-speed is 114km/h but we did manage to take it up to 123km/h (indicated).
Also, the motorcycle is quick off the line thanks to its 147 kilogram kerb weight. We managed to do the 0-60km/h dash in 4.3 seconds, clocked on the motorcycle's instrument cluster. Upon thumbing the ‘one-touch' starter button, the rider is greeted by a shallow bassy rumble. The double barrel exhaust system certainly makes the engine sound good, however, one can figure out that it is a low capacity engine through the sound.
On the move, the engine feels smooth, but sounds rough until around 4,500rpm. The sweet spot really is above the 4,500rpm mark. This is where the rough engine noise goes away and all the rider hears is a grunty engine with a bassy sound. In the city, the engine feels peppy and going through the gears is fun.
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V has you covered while riding through slow-moving or stop and go traffic. The motorcycle comes with Glide Through Technology (GTT). It is a first-in-segment feature that doesn't really require the throttle to be twisted when the motorcycle needs to be moved. All it needs is for the clutch lever to be released smoothly. The engine rpm automatically increases and the bike gets going.
It can do up to 7km/h in first gear, 12km/h in second gear and 17km/h in third gear, all without using the throttle. This is a boon in slow-moving traffic. Out on the highway, the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V comes with decent cruising capabilities.
In the fifth gear, it does 70km/h at just above 6,000rpm while 80km/h comes up at around 7,000rpm. It can do 100km/h at around 8,000rpm and is capable of staying there for prolonged periods of time. However, at triple digit speeds, one must always exercise caution while trying to overtake as there isn't a lot of power left to push harder.
While it is very impressive in the mid to high range of the rev-band, it does leave you wanting for more in the lower part of the rev-band. The low end is best reserved for commuting.
Ride and Handling
The ride and handling bit is actually where the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V shines bright. Since the very first Apache 150's debut in 2005, these machines have always been known for their handling prowess. The new Apache RTR 160 4V builds on this legacy.
The low kerb weight figures combined with the well-engineered chassis and suspension make it a delight to ride. Of course it isn't a track-focused motorcycle, but it can still handle corners with aplomb. Suspension duties are handled by a telescopic fork up front and a monoshock at the rear from Showa.
The suspension has been tuned to be stiff enough while cornering and yet supple enough to absorb bumps, which is quite a feat. It takes potholes in its stride and keeps the rider as well as the pillion very comfortable. When shown a corner, it is stable and steady. The upright riding position allows for great comfort during long commutes.
The motorcycle also responds very well to quick direction changes, which is a boon when one needs to get somewhere quickly in the cityscape. It can however, be a little unsettling when a bump turns up in the middle of a tight corner. Yet another area where the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V excels is braking.
This is one aspect where this motorcycle leaves its competition far behind. The motorcycle we rode was the top-spec disc brake version which comes with disc brakes at the front and rear. Up front is a 270mm petal disc and at the rear is a 200mm petal disc.
The front brake lever does feel spongy, yet it offers good bite and powerful stopping capabilities while the rear brake lever feels perfect. Braking is great in any circumstance and gives the rider immense confidence. The motorcycle is equipped with a single-channel ABS unit and this ensures that the front-end never slips.
However, the rear-end can still fishtail under emergency braking. For enthusiasts, this system is more fun as the rear end can be cut loose whenever needed. The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V rides on 17-inch 6-spoke alloy wheels shod with TVS Remora tyres. These tyres offer brilliant levels of grip on tarmac and concrete.
They aren't really made for the dirt, yet can handle anything Indian roads throw at it. TVS also sells a drum brake-equipped variant with the same braking setup for the front end. Only the disc brake at the rear is replaced by a 130mm drum brake. We haven't ridden it, but we can tell that it will have reduced braking capabilities.
Variants, Colours & Pricing
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is retailed in three colour options - Knight Black, Metallic Blue, and Racing Red. Prices are the same for all three colours. The entry-level performance motorcycle is available in two variants.
The Drum Brake variant which comes with a 130mm drum brake at the rear is priced at Rs 1,06,215. The Disc Brake variant with a 200mm petal disc at the rear is priced at Rs 1,09,265, all prices are ex-showroom, Bangalore.
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is the perfect motorcycle for those who are just beginning to climb the performance motorcycling ladder. This is the motorcycle that will give beginners their first 0-60km/h time to boast about in college, with proof to back it.
This is the motorcycle that will teach that young one who just passed the driving test, how to corner, and if the rider messes up mid-corner, it wouldn't take a lot of skill to correct it. It is just, easy performance at your fingertips, coming in at a low price point. The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is the most powerful motorcycle in its segment and buying it won't burn a hole in your pocket.