Hi friends! Good to meet you all once again in a review of my Apache RTR 160 RD Fashion.
Note: There are few points which are deliberately repeated. It is just to make sure that scanners don’t miss them. Readers, please forgive.
Thats a million dollar question for which I still don’t have a clear answer. Probably some of them are.
I like the way TVS positions its products. Though the management team is not young as Mr. Rajiv Bajaj, they are one of the best niche marketers I know. The entire product line-up right from XL super to series RTR focus on certain niche markets.
TVS has also tried launching many innovative products. Its electric scooters, Hybrid auto-rickshaws, clutch-less motorcycle, twin spark motorcycle and a modern steel body scooter are attempts to stand out from the crowd and voyage into lesser known areas.
TVS is the only Indian automaker with no Joint Venture with other foreign bike maker and they’ve also managed to be better if not the best. Adding to my like towards the company, we’ve owned TVS brand of bikes right from TVS Champ to Centra which makes TVS the first choice for me always.
I still remember an old friend of mine in my school days who had a TVS Max 100R. When we asked him to upgrade his bike to a Pulsar, he always replied “Machi! TVS is going to introduce a bike called Apache. I’m sure it will beat the feat of Pulsar.
I’m waiting for Apache’s launch.” In Tamil, Apache means ‘Grandfather’. So, we used to make fun saying, “What would the old man do to a Boy (Pulsar)?” And Yes, Apache proved it; if there would be a product that could beat the feat of Pulsar, it will be an RTR.
The inspiration also came from my dad’s TVS Centra. This was in the year 2004 when he wanted a 100cc bike with very a frugal engine. We shortlisted CT100 & Centra, both of which promised 101 kmpl. My eyes were fully on the Sandriff Grey CT100 but my dad’s was on the later. And yes. Of course. My dad won.
Then the Hulk came home (Thats how I call this green monster). It not only looked green but behaved green by returning 95 kmpl despite being heavy. Even after 6.5 years now, it still is in perfect condition returning 70+ kmpl. So, TVS Apache was my first choice and the other was Hero Honda Hunk. I deliberately avoided all other bikes for some reasons.
- Pulsar : Very very common in my city. I wanted to be unique.
- CBZ : I personally don’t like the looks of the CBZ Extreme.
- Unicorn : I never liked Honda bikes. Poor service here, pricy and no thrill to ride.
- FZ : Simple. I can’t afford.
- GS150R : More like Honda. Poor service here and no thrill to ride.
Though Hunk was on my list, Apache had a lot of gizmos to pull me towards it starting from the semi digital console, split grab rails, clip-on handle bars, LED tail lamp, Tank scoops, Rear Disc to Engine fairing.
When I booked my RTR, the sales guy said, “No waiting period! You can take your bike now”. For the very first time, perfection hurt me. I missed the lovely feeling of waiting for the first bike. The beast came home on 19th July, 2010 and our love started there on. Its now 11 months old and we have crossed 22000 kms together. My love towards the beast is still sky high. Uufff. That’s a fast journey.
Like Lok-pal bill, everyone knows Apache too. So, there is nothing new much to tell about. As we all know, Apache RTR 160 has a single cylinder 159.7cc over-square engine mated to a 5 speed gearbox which develops 15.2 Bhp and 13.1Nm torque. Boring right? Okay. Lets get rid of this tech crap and get into more practical things.
If you see closely the looks of Apache and Centra, you could see few similarities (more like you and your sibling). There are few styling cues carried over to the Apache from Centra like the folds in the head lamp, bulky tank, tail lamp, etc.
“The Centra is a hen; Apache is a cheetah!”. This is so evident when you see the top view of the Apache series RTR. I don’t think you’ll have a second opinion because Apache RTR is one of the very few bikes that look good from all sides. You can’t expect a Sexy look like FZ or meaner look like the 2012 R15 but its surely a looker.
The clear lens – red combination in the tail lamp, split grab rails, removable tail fenders, engine cover, removable foot-peg rubber are few unique design elements that add to the sportiness of the bike. The adjustable clip-on handle bars covered by the RTR emblem are also in perfect harmony with the design of the bike and look better than any bike in its segment (after all, that is what we see most of the times).
And in the open chain part, I’m totally against Manish Sharma. An open chain will add a lot of sportiness to a bike. I’m really glad that the latest Apache RTRs have an open chain unlike the older ones. Yes. It needs maintenance but its just that it expects from you for the look it offers.
The colour of my beast makes it unique in the streets. When its raining and other bikers are running for shelter, we (me and my ride) make statements. A bit of rain droplets and dark tarmac make my beast look sexier. We don’t want anyone miss the show and so we don’t run fast.
The instrument cluster of Apache RTR is definitely one of the best looking clusters available. The racing stripes on the tachometer shows the extent of design perfection. The best thing about this cluster is that it stores your top speed and 0-60 drag time apart from the standard stuffs like 2 trip meters, speedometer, odometer, clock, fuel level indicator, tachometer, low fuel warning, service due reminder, etc.
It is so cool that you show off to your friends how fast you are. You may end up caught by police who’ll check the recorded top speed and fine you for what you did the other day. He.! [It happened to one of my friends].
Not to mention, Apache is the best performance bike you could get in the 150cc segment. While the R15 is a pure track tool and the rest being street machines, Apache is a perfect blend of both. What you get is a sporty riding position and styling that will give you confidence to drive, corner, control & brake at high speeds.
Even a stock RTR can perform superbly on a race track. If I could clock a top speed of 122 kmph and 0-60 kmph in just 5 seconds, what would an experienced racer do with this machine? When I put my butt on the saddle, my beast says, “Lets go have some fun!” High speed cruises are not so comfortable like Karizma but the feel is totally awesome.
At high speeds, the silencer note is like a sonic boom which makes me feel like ripping through the clouds at Mach 2. On the downside, the over square engine is a tad lazy in the mid range. So, if I were to challenge a Pulsar from a signal, I plunge first, then loose out to the Pulsar and then again acquire my territory. And if there is a pillion, I simply keep quiet. If you want to be the king, maintain above 5K rpm.
Up front, there is telescopic suspension and at the back, the Apache hosts a Gas charged suspension which TVS calls MIG [Monotube Inverted Gas reservoir – old wine in new bottle]. The throw is little less than Hondas and so the set-up is a bit on the stiffer side which helps to take on the rough roads with ease. Even with your heavy friend at the back, it gives high confidence to corner.
TVS bikes have always been priced right in between those of Honda and Bajaj. Apache RTR 160 comes at a price tag of 71K for the Basic variant with 2K extra if you want a rear disc. Guess what makes the Yellow unique? You gotta pay an extra thousand for it. (Prices are OTR Coimbatore –July 2011 for RTR Hyper-Edge).
Apache RTR, like any other bike, needs maintenance for best performance. What you get out of the machine will depend on how well you maintain it. If you treat it like a donkey, It’ll kick you for sure. The regular maintenance to be carried out are:
- Engine oil change – depends on the type of oil you use
- Spark plug – once in 10,000 kms
- Disc pad – once in 15,000 kms (depends on usage)
- Chain lubrication – once in 500 kms (only sprays; never use crease)
My RTR is 11 months old and has crossed 22000 kms and during these days, I have spent only for fuel, engine oil (10 times), fork oil change (once), spark plug change (once) and disc pad change (once). And I think this is a normal maintenance which every other bike would require.
Most of them say that the chain sprocket of the RTRs is vulnerable to replacement often. But if you maintain it by checking the slack and lubrication every 500kms, there won’t be a problem. My bike still runs on the factory fit sprocket. If you say there is a problem in your bike, it means you did not take care of it. Remember: Be it good or bad, its always the rider and not the ride.
Apart from the regular maintenance, even if I were to replace a part, it won’t make a dent in my wallet since the spare price is low and the availability is really good unlike Japanese counterparts where the availability itself is a?
Service And Spares
Well I don’t think the manufacturer is responsible for service. It purely depends on the dealer. In my locality, there are many dealers for TVS bikes: IndoShell, KRS, ONA and SJB. Out of the four, IndoShell is the oldest and the service they offer is the best I would say. So, the choice of the dealer decides the quality of service (Holds good only for Hero Honda, Bajaj and TVS who have multiple dealers in one place).
Apaches are not so technically complex (excluding EFi) and so you can even take it to any local mechanic for service. So, the manufacturers are responsible for what? You guessed it right. Spares. The quality, price, availability of spares are never an issue with respect to TVS in South India (Sorry. I’m not sure about North) coz they manufacture most of the spares by themselves. You can cook your own food cheaper than the cook right?
There is no common definition for “Quality”. Thats why we all have different girl friends. According to me, a bike which does not disturb you often is a quality bike. So the quality is not how it is manufactured but how well it is maintained. I’m a 75 Kg marketer and not a racer. I do all the routine maintenances as per schedule and so I never felt any quality issues in my bike.
As said earlier, Apache comes with TVS tyres that don’t bite the tarmac like the MRFs. But its not too bad either. It offers enough grip at all weather conditions. But if you are a racer, then please change them before you break your knees.
- Swamy Vevekananda said “Show me your friends; I’ll tell about you”
- Saran says “Show me your bike’s mileage; I’ll tell about you”
- Mileage of the bike depends purely on the maintenance. The first 2K kms is when you train your horse and it runs for the life time the same way. I’ve driven my bike with care till 2K kms by not over revving the engine which helped me get good fuel average.
- During my PG, our college Director used to say “If you get compliments, be happy. But if you get complaints, be happier. Perfection is always criticized!”. Though I’ve been criticized for the mileages I post, I’m not stopping myself from doing that. Please refer to the mileage of my bike with respect to different speed ranges under mixed driving conditions below. I’m proud to say, my machine never let me down in this department.
- 50-65 56
- 65-70 54
- 70-80 50
I sometimes feel bad when I under utilize the power of this beast just for the sake of saving some penny. “Then why the hell did I buy her?” So, if you really don’t want to spend much, please buy a small commuter. Don’t buy a bike like this and say bad about the bike (only for those who do). Going out on a walk with a horse is stupid. So, better buy a dog.
Handling And Ride Quality
Apache RTR is known for its nimble handling which really is a boon to zip through traffic. Though the bike is small and cramped for a tall rider, its advantage can be relished at high speeds where the riding position will reduce the drag. The petal disc brakes on the RTR are one of the best and offers high level of confidence while hard braking. Just change the tyres and you can challenge any bike in terms of braking.
If you have been reading this review right from the beginning, you’ll realize that TVS has managed to make the Apache RTR either the best of the bunch or be above average on all parameters. But the only factor where the Apache loses is its Ride quality. Yes. The ride quality is little below average (I mean a little).
The bike vibrates at speeds of 60-70 kmph (only). But, in a way, I like that. Coz ‘you need something to feel the speed’ right? (Thats one probable reason I don’t like Honda and Suzuki. They are plain and never give you any feeling – pure personal opinion; no offense). There have been a lot of efforts from TVS to reduce vibrations in the bike and they have succeeded a bit.
The latest offerings RTR180 and RTR160 Hyper Edge are less vibrating than the older ones. The engine of the RTR also ages in a different way. It gets more and more refined as it gets older. Now my bike (crossed 20K kms) is smoother than any brand new RTRs. The vibes don’t create heart attack but if you have had an attack earlier, you are in danger! This machine will kill you with its performance! lolz
Things I love
- Good looks
- Good performance
- Decent fuel economy
- Perfect pricing
- Unique colours
- Unique silencer note
Things to watch out
- Needs nursing
- Ride quality
- Increasing sales and variants means, you don’t look unique
- Check tyre pressure
- Lubricate drive chain
- Maintain fuel above reserve always
- Follow recommended service intervals
- Once in a while, take it to hill stations. Don’t worry about mileage. Just ride as hard as you can. After you come back home, make your regular service done and change engine oil. The engine will be smooth and the silencer note will be unique.
Apache series RTR is an effort by TVS to close the gap between commuters and racing machines and their expertise from TVS racing helped them create a marvel like this. With every new variant, TVS is bettering the Apache series and there is still a long way to go. I have seen a lot of people who have confusions for choosing their bike.
They take the help of others and go by the majority. Apache is not for those; It is a bike is for those who really fell in love with it and treat it like a gem. And for those of you ask me about Apache, I say, “It is the best I ever possessed. A true companion!”
Deepak: Thanks for the opportunity!
Readers: Ride it like you own it! Wear helmet. Obey traffic rules as much as possible. Last but not least, please leave your comments below.