It’s been a hectic few months for TVS Motor Company with a slew of launches since December 2017, starting with the roll-out of its first supersport premium motorcycle – the Apache RR 310. The company subsequently launched two new variants of the Apache RTR 200 4V as well as its first 125 cc scooter – the NTORQ 125. Maintaining the ‘launch’ momentum, the Indian two-wheeler manufacturer recently rolled out its newest model in the naked premium motorcycle segment, the Apache RTR 160 4V. We bring you a first ride report.
Ever since the launch of the Apache RTR series, the company has focused on building motorcycles that are performance-oriented combined with practical usability. TVS Racing has invested a considerable amount of time in the development of the Apache RTR 160 4V, with regards to the engine, suspension, braking and even some level of styling. TVS has launched the Apache RTR 160 4V motorcycle in three variants – carburettor & front disc; carburettor with front & rear discs and electronic fuel injection (EFI) with front & rear discs. The EFI variant of the motorcycle is called Apache RTR 160 Fi 4V.
We had an opportunity to ride the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V at the company’s test track in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, and bring you a lowdown on all the features of this new Apache RTR entry-level premium motorcycle.
The new TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is born of the company’s six-time Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship (INMRC) winning motorcycle, the Group B RTR 165. Design-wise, this motorcycle is also based on the Draken Concept that was showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo. This results in the Apache RTR 160 4V having an identical design language to that of the first Apache RTR motorcycle to feature the Draken Concept-based design cue, the 200 4V.
The Apache RTR 160 4V features a forward- biased design, with all the design elements identical from the front mudguard, headlight unit, fuel tank and side shields. The differentiation in design is seen in the form of six-spoke alloy wheels, grey front suspension legs, single handle bar, single seat, silver colour side shields and newly-designed panelling around the rear seat. It would be difficult to differentiate the RTR 160 4V from its eldest sibling at a glance, but that works more in favour of the motorcycle as the overall design is a strong one to begin with.
The best part about all these similarities is that the build quality along with the components found on the Apache RTR 160 4V remains top-notch. The quality of switches as well as other plastics across the body of the motorcycle is on the upper side. The switch gear is also ergonomically-placed like that of the overall design related to seating. This motorcycle, while having a design that is focused on the front, still provides a good seating position that is balanced for different types of riding conditions. The single seat along with the single bar handle seems to be the reasons for the less aggressive seating position, which is apt for riders and pillions of pretty much all sizes. The strong build quality and rigid frame also removes vibrations in the motorcycle across engine speeds, ensuring a comfortable and less stressful ride even on the track.
In continuation to the Draken design language, the motorcycle features twin pipe and twin barrel design, which is a bit of a disappointment, since it doesn’t provide the growl its 200 cc sibling does. In addition, the exhaust note dies down further to a more shrill tone as the motorcycle is put through higher engine revs. Additionally, the silver colouring on the side panels, which differentiate it from the 200 due to their all-black scheme, does not gel with the overall look of the Apache RTR 160 4V. It is too much of a contrast to the overall colour theme of the motorcycle. However, these are the only negatives we could pick out in this otherwise well-built machine.
The Apache RTR 160 4 V is powered by a newly-developed 159.7 cc, single-cylinder, four-valve, single overhead cam, oil-cooled combustion chamber (O3C) engine, in both carburettor and EFI iterations. The engine delivers a maximum power of about 16.3 hp for the carburettor variant and about 16.6 hp for the EFI version, both at 8,000 rpm. Both engines develop a peak torque of 14.8 Nm at 6,500 rpm.
With these power output figures, TVS claims the Apache RTR 160 4V is the most powerful 160 cc motorcycle in the country. This fact, combined with power-to-weight ratios of 0.0843 kW/kg and 0.0849 kW/kg for the EFI and carburettor versions, respectively, help the motorcycle reach claimed top speeds of 114 km/h and 113 km/h. It is pertinent to mention that these figures are not just claims, but are achievable by the Apache RTR 160 4V, as we came close to achieving these speeds during our ride.
The cooling system of the motorcycle’s engine consists of an oil cooler, with additional ram air assist. The motorcycle features an additional air duct enclosed in the fuel tank panel, which guides the air towards the low-friction cylinder head, resulting in improved engine cooling. This leads to refined performance of the engine with a high level of durability. The company’s patented O3C technology together with the ram air assist reduces the engine heat map by 10° C. On our relatively-short ride of the Apache RTR 160 4V, heating was not at all in the picture, which effectively means the cooling system was working as engineered.
The EFI unit in the motorcycle is a closed-loop system from Bosch, which is controlled by a 16-bit microprocessor. The system consists of a manifold absolute pressure sensor (TMAP), temperature sensor, throttle position sensor and oxygen sensor. The high-pressure, twin-spray fuel injector supplies fuel just behind the valves for better atomisation, leading to higher combustion efficiency. This twin-spray fuel injector, coupled with the position of the fuel supply ensures faster engine response and minimal emissions.
The engine is mated to a five-speed transmission, which offers precise shifting up and down the gears, enhancing the riding experience. The gears slot into place precisely even while riding hard, but with a clunk that sometimes sounds like something is amiss. The transmission, after numerous hot laps on the test track, continued to perform to the best of its capacity without breaking a sweat. The wet multi-plate clutch is also light enough, and smoothly slots into gears when ridden in a more docile manner. This gearbox and clutch combination leads one to believe that the motorcycle would be easy to use in stop-and-go city traffic conditions.
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
The RTR 160 4V features the company’s patented Double Cradle Split Synchro Stiff frame, which is very similar to the one found on its elder 200 cc sibling. This frame remains identical except for minor tweaks, and offers 58 % more lateral stiffness and 22 % extra torsional stiffness than the previous generation RTR 160. It must be noted that like the previous iteration, as well as like the Apache RTR 200 4V, this motorcycle also offers a very mature and planted ride. This gives the rider the ability to change from one direction to another easily and precisely, while entering corners at high speeds. These characteristics not only translate into good track performance, but also prove to be safe while commuting in cities replete with obstructions.
The suspension set-up on the motorcycle consists of telescopic forks upfront, with a monoshock at the rear. The rear monoshock suspension with a monotube floating piston shock absorber has been developed in collaboration with SHOWA, Japan, in addition to being engineered and precision-tuned with inputs provided by the TVS Racing riders. The rear suspension has been tuned for compression and rebound damping to achieve desirable response, in addition to track balance. While the suspension is firm enough to carry into corners on a track at decent speeds without any hassles, the set-up is not so aggressive that it can attack every corner at its peak speeds.
This level of tune provides enough damping and compression to soak up small bumps and cruise over light potholes without any problem. Therefore, the suspension on the motorcycle seems to have been tuned optimally to provide a balance between track performance and daily road usage. This overall suspension set-up of the Apache RTR 160 4V is similar to that of its older siblings, in the sense that they are well balanced to offer comfort for everyday use, along with firmness to take to the track on weekends. However, since our ride was limited to the track and a few other pathways inside the factory, a true performance on various city roads can be commented on after a full review.
SAFETY & ELECTRONICS
The Apache RTR 160 4V is available with roto petal disc brakes front and rear in both the carburettor and EFI variants, with the front featuring a 270 mm disc. The rear disc is of 200 mm, while the rear drum brake carburettor version comes with a 130 mm drum. All three variants come with 17-inch alloy wheels at both ends, with 90/90 49P tubeless tyres on the front wheel. While the rear disc variant is equipped with 130/70 M/C 62P tubeless tyres, the rear drum version is offered with 110/80 57P tubeless tyres. The tyres on the motorcycles we rode were from TVS Tyres.
It must be noted that the brakes on the dual disc variants (which were what we rode) provides tremendous stopping power that could be put down with ease. In addition, the tyres seemed to be engineered precisely towards enhancing the riding performance of the motorcycle, offering excellent levels of grip. Therefore, the combination of these brakes and tyres resulted in confident riding, with braking being pushed late into corners, followed by carrying higher speeds than expected around the corners.
The Apache RTR 160 4V comes equipped with the same full digital speedometer console that is offered in the 200 4V. It indicates information such as engine speed, vehicle speed, trips, fuel level, time, service reminder, low battery, 0-60 km/h time taken, highest speed and lap timer. It has the generic warning lights for low fuel level, ABS, engine high beam and indicators, along with buttons on either ends to change modes and reset those modes. Also present is the gear shift indicator at the top right of the console that throws a bright red light when the rev limit is being reached. This digital meter has worked well on the Apache RTR 200 4V, and continues to do so for its younger sibling.
TVS has launched the Apache RTR 160 4V, with the base carburettor and front disc version being priced at Rs 81,490, ex-showroom Delhi. The dual disc versions of the carburettor and EFI models have been priced at Rs 84,490 and Rs 89,990 respectively. We experienced from the ride that the Apache RTR 160 4V is a conglomeration of technology and engineering that has been packaged into a well-built product. It comes across as a motorcycle that would be good for daily city commute during the week, followed by a visit to the race track over the weekend. The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V has this inherent characteristic of being a dual-purpose machine that has been further enhanced with the expertise brought in from TVS Racing and the INMRC-winning Group B RTR 165.
TEXT: Naveen Arul
PHOTO: Naveen Arul & TVS