TVS Apache RTR 160 FI Vs Yamaha FZ16 – A Small Comparo by Amit

by Kannan on April 2, 2010

As u all know that there was already a discussion on the same topic that generated quite a lot of heat, i have decided to give my unbiased review on the same. Lets start over quickly with some of the key points.

Styling and Design: About styling and design being subjective and all, there is for once a clear winner here. The Yamaha FZ16’s very existence began with the styling package so there’s no surprise that it trumps the rather well-proportioned, but diminutive TVS Apache RTR-FI.

From the sculpted tank (cover) to the fat tyres, the FZ drips style that begs for some serious attention.

The RTR-FI for its part, is hardly what you would call plain jane. The bold middle stripe, extroverted tank extensions and compact package looks good. But thing is, they’ve been in the market for a while and familiarity breeds, well, less points. In fit and finish terms, the Yamaha is ahead as well. TVS has never been remiss on this front and I have to say, the RTR-FI is no exception. But, the Japanese bike is noticeably better.
Styling and Design Score: Yamaha FZ 16-1 TVS Apache RTR FI-0

Engine and Performance: Let’s get refinement out of the way first. The Yamaha is, by miles the more refined engine. The RTR-FI is astonishingly throaty, but the Yamaha is quietly gruff as well. But it’s in the vibration department that the Yamaha creams the TVS. But on the performance front, there is no contest as Yamaha always intended for the FZ 16 to be a torquey street bike and it shows. Get to 7,500rpm and the game’s up. There isn’t much power left. Cruise the torque and the FZ is remarkably quick through traffic and will hold a nice 80kph cruise down the highway. You could sit for aeon’s on the throttle and get a much higher top speed in theory, but it’s a waste of time. The TVS, though, aims for glory. The motor is as gung ho as a horny rooster in a fecund hen house and it wastes no time letting you know this. From idle, the motor urges you to keep revving ever harder. And it rewards you with, first, loads of torque and then with a head rush of small cube horsepower. 15.5PS is a lot to ask from such a small motor, but the TVS is genuinely fast. Essentially, while comparable on price and displacement, these two motorcycles are night and day in feel. The Yamaha is competent, calm and classy. The TVS is urgent, powerful and sassy. Pick the character that you like more, and you’ll be happy.  Check out the specs. You will notice that the RTR-FI is half-second quicker to 60, nearly 3.50 seconds quicker to 100, 0.9 seconds quicker over the quarter mile, 7kph quicker at the top. And, ridden steadily, It also returns nearly 13kpl more than the Yamaha.

Dynamics: Having calmly given up the engine points to the TVS, the Yamaha claws back into contention on the dynamics front. Wearing the fattest tyres on any Indian motorcycle at the moment and that too tubeless radials, the FZ has superb handling abilities. Yamaha have chosen to nanny you with peg feelers the size of your ballpoint pen. But remove them and you get a machine that is happy to lean over till hard stuff decks out. It isn’t a particularly agile motorcycle, but it is responsive, stable, confident and at ease. Superwide handlebars offer you leverage to change your lines and the Yamaha feels great to corner. Until those silly-long pegfeelers grind down. The Apache, on the other hand, is an ex-racebike. It’s nimble to the point of twitchy, stable but will scare you a bit in bumpy corners. Has relatively good cornering clearance, but will encourage you to consume all of it. And has a stiff suspension tune that makes no bones about favouring handling over comfort. On the ride quality front, I’d say the Yamaha was ahead, but only marginally. Neither machine here flatters the comfort-end of the equation. Backing the Yamaha off from the pre-load collar, does, however, add a smidgen of suppleness. That said, in almost every situation, you will find that Yamaha just a little more composed. On the braking front, the RTR-FI produces quicker stops. But it is the Yamaha that returns more feel. That the Yamaha’s tyres are grippier is clear in riding. Again, the dichotomy is rooted in their character. The Yamaha can, but would you really go apex hunting on it? The RTR definitely can.
Dynamics Score: Yamaha FZ 16-1 TVS Apache RTR FI-1

Features: I’m now genuinely scared of writing long passages on this front. You see, features are supposed to be the frills, the garnish, the accompaniments. But somehow, Indian motorcyclists tend to regards them as the end-all and be-all of purchasing. For what its worth, the RTR has an analog tacho, the FZ has a fully digital setup. The latter can be a bit hard to read in the sun. Everything else is, roughly, the same.
Features Score: Yamaha FZ 16-1 TVS Apache RTR FI-1

Price: Ooh, that’s close. The RTR-FI (Rs 76600 on-road MumbaI) is actually just Rs 1687 more than the FZ (Rs 74913 on-road Mumbai). So, which will it be. Just to explain. The RTR-FI’s price is boosted by two things, the fuel injection and the rear disc brake. In all other aspects, it’s the same motorcycle as the regular carb version RTR. Of course, there’s a half bhp power gain. The FZ’s price, again, about Rs 6,000 more than the peer 150s, is at a premium. Yamaha have traditionally claimed premium pricing and say the price is high thanks to the higher spec – tubeless radials, digital meters etc.

Price Score: Yamaha FZ 16-0 TVS Apache RTR FI-1

Verdict: As Ive tried to bring out through the test, the motorcycles vary widely in character and feel. In my mind, there’s only a very minor overlap between the two. As in, you will either like the FZ or the RTR-FI, but the chances of you being stuck between the two is unlikely. If you are in that spot, my guess is you haven’t gone for a test ride yet. Do that at the earliest. Personally, while I’d love to pick the RTR-FI over the FZ, I find that I cannot. Having ridden both extensively on the road as well as the track, I find the FZ may (always) be slower than the urgent TVS, but it has a calm, sorted feel that makes the RTR-FI feel, a bit crude. Personally, I’d take the Yamaha. But, again, if out and out performance is what turns you on, blind-eye the Yamaha and pick the Apache.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Vineeth April 2, 2010 at 6:33 am

A decent and unbiased review! As a fz owner, I do support you. I have ridden the apache 160 carb version and feel it has great pickup and power.
Another thing is that the fz offers the best riding comfort ( to the rider only ) in the 150cc category. The low weight and good stability and centre of gravity makes it a 0-chance-for-accidents bike.
One of the major disadvantage of the fz is that its grossly underpowered. With a few tuning tweaks, and performance upgrades, you can get a real performance bike.

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madhu April 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

Wow Nice Review by Amit and thanks for the awesome Pictures

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Raj Basumatary April 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

Hey thats a very good comparison. Raj

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fas April 2, 2010 at 11:46 am

The first pic looks really nice. I would always pick up an Apache for the sheer power and fun to drive machine that it is.

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Anand April 2, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Excellent work there. Brings many smiles while reading through…. Nice job :)

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vinodraj April 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm

only for performance rtr wins……..

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TerrorBiker April 5, 2010 at 3:02 am

Great comparison review there…

Being an FZ owner myself, I couldn’t agree with you more on all the points.

But, you haven’t mentioned about durability of engines…

I think the verdict would be Yamaha 1 and TVS 0, considering FZ will always be ridden with calm composure and Apache with racing mood (revving hard).

And, you also have left out about customer service… I find Yamaha to be lousy in this aspect…
Yamaha 0 TVS 1

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Ranjith April 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm

unbiased review.
Its true tht both these bikes score equal but they meet diff. requirements.
If you know what you need off a bike,you know which one to get.

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Karthik April 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Apache beats FZ only in its Initial pickup & mileage……
But thr always only one world leader named “YAMAHA”, nothing gonna come close to it.

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anjan July 13, 2010 at 10:40 am

ok amit …you have mentioned dynamics, handling ,refinment, comfot, and even quickness of the machchines , but still u hav to mention clearly that when both the bikes are at a traffic signal toghether waiting for green lights,.. which bike will win the race in initial pick up ??.. !!!!

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Harish July 15, 2010 at 9:35 am

Anjan,

FZ has a better pickup than any other bikes. It revs great and the power delivery is too good for 160. I myself have taken down so many bikes on a drag race that to i am an 82 kg guy. If i could have been lighter i could flash past anybody.

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DAN October 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm

i wanted to kno wat are the things i cud to tweak the performance of my FZ..

where wud i get that info..?

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Jagan October 24, 2010 at 9:51 pm
dipesh view January 23, 2011 at 12:56 am

Hi all i am owner of Apache RTR160 Fi. Its 8 months and 2400 km old. Both bikes are good in there own way. i initially like FZ but after test ride and lot of research and thinking i bought FI model i like it first from distance but when i sat on FZ it was completely different there was a big mountain between my stomach and handlebar ( yes i called it mountain its patrol tank i didn’t like its tank design ) i felt its not practical. And FZ16 feels really naked cause i feel am sitting on bike which use in circus for stunting and now i saw boys who ride FZ do stunt only like they bought it for 50k No respect for bike and RTR owner behave decently but enjoy on highway. FZ is practical in city limits with its great torque and mid range power but on high way after speed of 90 km/h it let down its owner who crave for top whack I look top to bottom to owner of FZ cause according to me they are rich who buy 150cc bike in 75k with 35 km/L mileage that to for solo rider. I use to admire RTR from its launch but always doubt about its reliability and vibration but year by year it get upgraded nicely when it launched with petal type dist brakes it appeal me lot. from age 18y i use to admire Hero honda Karizma in yellow ( had ride as pillion on my cousin bike) gave me mind blowing adrenaline rush. later Yamaha R15 came and its technology like Fuel injection and Rear disk brakes made me crazy but soon its price tag set me back. Then i came to know about Apache RTR160 Efi a high end model from TVS which was awarded as Bike of the year 2008 and many biker magazines appreciate its performance so i did extensive research from Tvs company profile to its racing history.
i was looking for bike with top speed of 120 kmp/h. I finally buy efi model cause money which it ask for is really worth. Its about 8000 K costlier then normal carburator vergion. here 5k is for ECU and 3k for Rear disk brakes. well i felt I got everything i was looking for. I like each and every part of my bike its in sporty yellow colour i am totally satiesfied by its looks and desing
performance= well many have praise this machine for its pure performance no need to say much here. i choose EFI cause one can be sure 100% abt its reliability i dont have any idea same with carburetor version i choose efi cause i dont wanted to take any risk like refinement issue or vibration problem and yes efi is really lot different then normal ( personal opinion ) I did top whack of 117 km/h when bike was 800 km old then did 125 km/h this bike can reach at 110 very easily and one can be really comfortable without any vibration even at 125 km/h i didnt felt any vibration. braking is fantastic u can be sure ur the king on road with such power and stopping ability.. front and rear dist brake really do there job nicely. infact i enjoy its braking i practice 60 to 0 and 100 to 0 in night to improve my skill so it can help me in crisis situation. I did 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds. many claim like 4.5 or like that but this is what i got honestly. May be i was not hard on my bike. don’t just go by looks think about after sales service also and everything like practical use and all that. RTR is here since long time and proven machine so i invested in upgraded and flagship version from the house of TVS which is Apache RTR 160-EFI.

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Kuldip Kalushe January 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Hhahahahhaaa……The one person who was really happy to see this article……..Well its me…..It was me (along with many others) who pointed out hell lot of flaws in ur judgement…….

ok…This is for those who still say fz is da winner. Just answer followin question:

what apart from looks does the fz have when compared to the fi ???????

is it performance (0-60)??? Answer is…….No (by a considerable good margin)

(fz is tagged as a king of streets; on which road does it overtake fi to call itself a king ?????)

is it the top speed ????? Again the answer is..No ( again a very good margin)

or is it fuel economy????? Huh??? Omg the answer is….Again…No

(does fz even have a fuel economy comparable to a 150 cc carb variants????)

now,

fz’s engine is smooth, but how far is fi’s engine in this department ( plz dont tell abt carb variant)……..19-20 ka difference….

fit and finish of fz is mind blowing…I accept it…..But show me a defect in fi in the fit and finish department…..U wont find any…..(1 or 2 flaws are the manufacturing defects which are there in every bike……I have seen by my eyes the panel gaps in r15…Currently the costliest bike made in india)

fz and fi are at par in the handling department…..

so, how is fz better than fi ???????

just because it has yamaha????????? But then yamaha is a bigger flop in india than tvs……What say????????

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himanshu April 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm

superlike man.. absolutely right…
peolple just buy yammy coz they say 2 saal k baad bhi sahi rahegi…
can’t jst undrstnd them…
and the author said no difference in digitals… some1 plz read out the manuals to this scholar…

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ravi February 12, 2011 at 1:52 am

exactly kuldip…..wheneva there z a cmparo btween fz and rtr ….dese guys start tellin dat itz a yamaha bike …n yes yamaha n blah blah blah….
cmon man …..cmpare the bikes based on features,performance ,mileage,n so on…..not on just brands…
n where were the yamaha guys when it was launching CRUX,LIBERO,GLADIATOR, n…
so on
personally i do lyk fz n rtr both….n m cnfused between which on to buy…

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Atul June 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

I own FZ and its otstandig bike and the only thing i can say “the bike wich for classes not for masses”

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