Let’s get one thing straight out of the way. The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is all-new when compared to the decade old RTR 160. However, it doesn’t actually qualify to be called all-new because it’s based on the Apache RTR 200 4V which was the 2017 Indian Motorcycle of the Year. When you have the package that is almost perfect, why mend it, right? But it isn’t so easy when you have to honour 36 years of racing legacy. Every R&D head at TVS Motor Company has had a contribution to motorsport, giving them enough cred. And they have proved it time and again not just with the recently launched RR 310 but even with NTorq. And that is why they have given the RTR 160 4V an extra boost of steroids over its already competent elder sibling! Does that make it the best 160cc entry-level streetfighter in the market? Let’s find out.
As aforementioned, it derives a lot of elements from the RTR 200 4V including the double cradle frame and the engine’s four valve head. To differentiate between the two, TVS has gotten rid of the split seat, lending the 160 a new rear panel. To accommodate the changes, the sub-frame has been slightly modified. However, it weighs the same as on the RTR 200 4V and the weight distribution hasn’t been altered too. All other panels have been carried over with the addition of new TVS Racing decal on the front mudguard while the Apache badge has been moved to the center panel. The tank is flanked by TVS’ logo as already seen on the RR 310. The instrument cluster has been carried over as well but the carbureted variants get amber backlight (white on FI) and no gear indicator.
The air- cooled engine is a bored down unit of the 200’s and retains the oil cooler as well. TVS claims class leading figures at 16.56bhp for the FI variant and 16.28bhp for the carbureted variant. The torque figure remains unchanged at 14.8Nm for both. All this adds up to a top speed of 114kmph for the FI variant and 113kmph for the carb variant. The FI variant is slower to 60kmph by 0.07 second at 4.8sec though, while the gap widens to almost a second by the time it hits 100kmph in 16.6 seconds.
One of the biggest USPs of the RTR 160 has to be its suspension. The front telescopic forks and the rear monoshock are specifically developed in collaboration with Showa and are even manufactured by the renowned Japanese brand. In terms of rubber, you get TVS Remora tyres with the same dimensions as on the RTR 200 4V, which means, switching to stickier Pirelli Angel Citys shouldn’t be a problem at the dealership although TVS isn’t offering them as an option. The base variant gets a thinner rubber at the rear with higher profile though.
Does it actually feel that powerful?
Absolutely, yes. The magic trick here is the higher compression ratio (10.15:1). The engine delivers power in a linear manner mostly, with a subtle wave coming in at 6000 around rpm when the engine wakes up and gargles all the way to 9000rpm. Post that, mild vibrations start creeping in the footpegs, but nothing alarming as you accelerate the engine to its limiter at 11,200rpm. In fact, so refined is the motor that you’ll end up thanking the shifter light! The RTR 200 is tuned for low and mid-range grunt while on the 160, the chunk of power lies between 6000 to 10000rpm. It’s a rev happy machine and will keep the likes of KTM fanatics happy. The carbureted variant feels marginally quicker while the fuel injected derivative caters to the “Kitna deti hai?” breed of people.
The 5-speed ‘box is smooth and shifts are precise. There were a few dead shifts once in a while, but we were pushing the bike to its limits at TVS’ test track, which won’t be the case on a regular day. The first gear is short while the third gear is perfect for city as well as highway jaunts as it pulls from 30kmph to 90kmph, without any hiccups.
Fast, but agile?
The RTR 200 4V has proven to be one of the best bikes in its segment when it comes to handling and the 160 too ranks among the best out there. The front suspension is not adjustable while the rear monoshock is 7-step adjustable for preload. The carbureted variant was set at level three while the FI was set firmer at six clicks. I weigh almost 85kg and the carb was too soft for me, leading to a bouncy rear while cornering. However, the FI setup was just perfect and the 160 managed to hold its line brilliantly. Naturally, that made it difficult to filter the undulations of the road and even the smallest of bumps were noticeable. The stock setup though is ideal for daily commute and even touring. Like most of the recently launched TVS products, the RTR 160 4V is excellent in this department and stays true to TVS’ racing legacy. It is agile but may not be the sharpest of the lot; however, we will have to ride it back to back with its competitors for the final judgment.
The seat is slightly taller than its adversaries and the rider’s triangle is definitely the most aggressive of the lot. The tank shrouds are perfect to lock your knees while the handlebar is comfortable for both, upright and crouched down riding positions. Thus, the RTR 160 will keep you happy everywhere, be it on track or on road.
The best out there?
We cannot comment just yet, but it is definitely among the best out there. The brakes are wooden and lack outright stopping power but apart from that, the RTR 160 definitely sets a new benchmark for its segment. It comes with a gem of an engine, has excellent levels of fit and finish, gets top class features and handles beautifully. Although we rode it only at TVS’ test track, we are sure the bike can hold its own even on regular roads. TVS is offering it with three variants to choose from, starting with the carbureted, front disc at Rs 81,490 while the rear disc variant is expensive by just Rs 3,000. The FI variant is offered with front and rear disc and is priced at Rs 89,990 (all prices, ex-showroom Delhi). TVS Motor Company has hit the bull’s eye once again and they have now completed a hat trick! The current Apache line-up is very much capable of doing what the Pulsar did for Bajaj Auto. Or raise the benchmark even higher.