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

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.