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The TVS Apache RTR 160 has been at the forefront of entry-level performance motorcycling in India for a long time now. It was first launched back in 2008 as a replacement to the Apache 150 which by then had already gained a cult following.
The Apache 160 did a brilliant job. Its buyers loved the bike and it sold in large numbers too. After several updates to the 2-valve model, TVS then launched the RTR 160 4V in 2018, which of course is a 4-valve model with better performance.
It also came with updated styling and design elements based on the bigger Apache 200 4V. The motorcycle appealed to the younger buyers who wanted more performance in a stylish package. Now, TVS has launched the BS-VI variant of the Apache 160 4V.
It is cleaner and greener, quite obviously. But does it perform better? How does it ride? What changes have been made? Well we rode the new motorcycle at TVS Motor Company's test track located at its Hosur plant with these questions in mind.
Design & Styling
As far as overall appearance is concerned, the BS-VI Apache is very similar to the BS-IV motorcycle. The devil is in the details, and a keen eye would immediately notice the new LED headlamp.
TVS has equipped the new Apache RTR 160 BS-VI with a new LED headlamp and LED DRLs as well. The boomerang-shaped LED position lights along with the low beam of the headlamp act as the daytime running light.
When the high beam is summoned, both the lower and upper parts of the headlamp work in sync. Right above the headlamp is a digital instrument console. When viewed from the side profile too, the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V BS-VI looks great.
It rides on 6-spoke alloy wheels, and this combined with the petal disc brakes add to the styling of the motorcycle. Yet another element that makes the bike look good is the double-barrel exhaust system.
At the rear is the same LED tail lamp and bulb-lit indicator set up that was found on the BS-IV motorcycle as well. Yet another element that makes the BS-VI Apache look sporty is the paint scheme and the graphics on offer.
The motorcycle is available in three colours - Racing Red, Metallic Blue and Knight Black. We rode the Racing Red colour, which also happens to be the best-selling one of the three. It comes with a racing flag graphic on the sides of the fuel tank and a racing stripe on top of the tank. The offset fuel filler cap too adds to the styling. It is a good-looking motorcycle overall that is styled perfectly for its target audience.
Engine & Performance
The engine is where the BS6 Apache RTR 160 4V has seen a few big changes. The new motorcycle is still powered by the same 159.7cc, air and oil-cooled engine as the outgoing model. But, it now comes with several changes that have made it BS-VI emissions norms compliant.
First up is the new fuel injection system. TVS calls it RTFI (Race-Tuned Fuel Injection). It is basically a fuel-injection system that has been fine-tuned on the race-track with the help of TVS Racing's professional riders.
It enables the engine to be greener, thanks to more controlled fueling and at the same time, it also allows the rider to have fun thanks to the throttle response. Other changes include a new Asymmetric Nano Friks piston and a reworked cylinder to allow for cleaner combustion.
TVS' engineers have moved the catalytic convertor higher up the exhaust system. It is now located on the downpipe/header, closer to the exhaust valves in order to help with BS-VI compliance. In terms of numbers, there is a slight drop.
It now produces a maximum power output of 15.79bhp at 8,250RPM and a peak torque output of 14.12Nm at 7,250RPM. That is a drop of 0.77bhp and 0.68Nm when compared to the outgoing model. Well, the drop is negligible and can simply be brushed off when one is astride the motorcycle.
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V BS-VI is actually quicker than the outgoing model. Thanks to the crisp throttle response provided by the new RTFI system, it is more engaging to ride as well. TVS claims a top speed of 114km/h but we managed to do an indicated speed of 118km/h on the motorcycle. 100km/h comes in at just above 8,000RPM.
The BS6 Apache 160 4V also has a few other tricks up its sleeve. TVS has quipped the motorcycle with GTT (Glide Through Technology). In essence, it is a trick in the new FI system that detects the release of the clutch and increases the engine idle speed automatically to prevent it from stalling.
This is without a doubt going to be a boon for those who have roads with congestion and terrible traffic as a part of their everyday commute. It keeps the motorcycle going at a steady speed without any input on the throttle.
In order to test the system, I let it idle in second gear. The BS-VI Apache 160 4V kept rolling at a constant speed of 10km/h at an idle speed of 2,000RPM. I then shifted into third and let go of the clutch lever without any input on the throttle.
After a couple of small jerks, the speed increased to 16km/h and it once again settled at 2,000RPM. I then shifted up to fourth and repeated the same process, and the bike complied and this time the speed was 20km/h with engine speed at 2,000RPM.
"Very Impressive", I thought to myself and rolled on the throttle. This is when I started wishing for a little more low end torque, but to be honest, that was wishful thinking. The engine is near perfect for the kind of buyers it is targeted at.
The ones wanting more power and torque can always opt for the bigger Apache RTR 200 4V BS-VI. Click here to read the review of the BS-VI Apache 200.
Ride & Handling
The ride and handling section is one where the Apache series has always excelled. TVS claims the motorcycle is inspired by the RTR 165 GP race motorcycle which has won 7 Indian National Motorcycle Championships, and that is true to an extent.
However, the Apache RTR 160 4V BS-VI is not a thoroughbred race motorcycle. It is made to give the average college-going kid or the average young buyer a pleasant yet thrilling ride experience out in the real world while still being safe and sane. This, it does perfectly.
The front-end felt too light on the racetrack, which suggests that it will be perfect to flick around through traffic and crowded streets. We haven't ridden it out on the roads, but judging by the way it handled the undulations out on the track, we can say that it can handle bad roads pretty well.
The motorcycle rides on a conventional telescopic suspension up front and a race-tuned monoshock at the rear from Showa. It is equipped with a 270mm petal disc up front and a 130mm petal disc at the rear. The brakes have sufficient feedback and offers adequate braking.
It also comes with supermoto ABS, which is in essence a single-channel ABS system. The BS-VI Apache 160 4V rides on superb ‘Remora' tyres from TVS Tyres. They are basically a larger version of the tyres on the TVS NTorq and anyone who has ridden that scooter can testify about how lovely these tyres are.
TVS is also offering a drum-brake variant which comes with a slimmer tyre and a drum brake at the rear. We haven't ridden it and hence cannot comment on its braking, but it will surely have a significantly lesser braking prowess.
One of the most important new features being offered on the TVS Apache RTR is the LED headlamp with LED DRLs. It also comes with the new Race-Tuned Fuel-Injection system, Glide Through Technology, Supermoto ABS, LCD instrumentation, etc.
The LCD instrument console is capable of recording the fastest 0-60km/h time and the highest top-speed achieved on the motorcycle.
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is a fairly new motorcycle and didn't really require an upgrade. If it were not for the upcoming BS-VI regulations, the motorcycle would have remained untouched maybe until 2021 or the end of 2020.
Well, since TVS had to roll out the BS-VI update, the company has decided to do it the proper way. It not only gets a cleaner engine, but also a few new features and a slight redesign. The engine is smooth and throttle response is better.
Though the output figures suggest a slight drop in performance compared to the outgoing model, we couldn't really feel it out on the track and that makes it a winner for us.