Hey everyone! I’m Roanit Fernandes from Hyderabad. I’m currently doing my 3rd year in Mechanical Engineering. Studying the subjects of the Mechanical discipline made me more enthusiastic and eager to learn the intricacies of engines and the automobile.
Excitement would immediately show in my body as I learnt these subjects since they helped me understand something I’m passionate about – My Bike, The Apache RTR 180. I have begun to see a lot of things in the engineering point of view and this review would contain more science to aid my review.
So I guess I’ll start off with the question why the Apache? Come to think of it, one doesn’t have a Hugh choice with a limited budget and the want for the best. So I’ll tell you why not a Bajaj Pulsar, 1st thing is, you’ll never find these machines durable. I’m not saying that they aren’t good but you’ll find low quality parts aboard a Pulsar so as to make it more affordable to the masses.
Don’t get me wrong, I love pulsars and I think their amazing but I would want something that lasted for a long time without giving me a lot of problems. Coming to a Yamaha product, an R15 would be way off my budget and a Faser/Fz/Fzs would be burning a hole in my pocket cause of its fuel consumption, Fz’s are too common anyways.
A Suzuki wouldn’t have done well with me as there was only the GS 150 R which I wasn’t too fond off. A Honda product is always exciting but the unicorn wouldn’t satisfy me. Hero Honda (as it was formerly known as) had the Karizma as the top of the line bike but that still didn’t do it for me. Then came the Apache, a TVS product which was quite hyped about.
Before my Apache RTR 180 I owned an exceptionally good moped – the Honda Dio. I loved that bike for its amazing handling and its smooth Honda engine. That bike has never given up on me but sooner or later I grew out of the stage of mopeds and decided to fuel my soul with a motorcycle which has always been a dream.
Many thanks to bikeadvice.in which really assisted me in filtering out the bikes in the market and gave me a clear view on what I had to look for in a bike. Remember, choosing a bike is not always easy, but in my case I was assisted well. Since bike advice has done a lot for me I would like to give something back in the form of a review which I hope would help readers.
I have been wanting to review my TVS Apache RTR 180 for a long time but waited till 5,000kms (just reached 5000 a couple of days before) were done to give an apt review. It has been 9 months till date (the 1st of October) that I have been a proud owner of an Apache RTR 180.
I was very fortunate to get my bike delivered to me on the 1st day of the 1st month of the year 2011. It served as a very good omen for the start of a brand new year and what better than to start a beautiful relationship with man and machine. To tell you the truth, this bike helped me cope with a lot of frustration, for instance, during my Mid-terms, when I’m frustrated and stressed out, I take a break and go for a small 15 minute ride.
Even this short ride gets me so refreshed and when I open my books again it’s like I’m re-energized and (Boom) the next day I write a terrific paper. I’m here to tell you something hoping that it would assist you in the purchase of an Apache RTR 180. I will tell you a lot of points that I feel one needs to know from an owner to go ahead to answer the big query– to buy or not to buy!?
The 1st thing I would like to say is that I give my bike for service frequently, on or way prior to the date specified by the team at TVS service. They do a brilliant job with cleaning the bike and giving it back its life. You wouldn’t want your piston grinding against the cylinder because of the lack of oil would you?
The reason I’m saying this is because I want to stress about the importance of servicing your bike. I have friends with such wonderful bikes like R 15’s, Pulsar’s, Unicorn’s, Avenger’s and many others, they take their bikes for granted and don’t service it regularly which make small things like clutch play and braking so much of a strain which infact is never supposed to be that way.
Since there are a lot of enthusiasts on this site I would expect that none of you treat your bike this way. Servicing it regularly cuts emissions to the atmosphere significantly and doubles your engines life. Coming to the main aspects of the bike, as RTR suggests it responds even to the slightest throttle at the handlebar and what I love most about the bike is the attention to detail the TVS designers have put in.
You can tell that they have put in a lot of work into bike to look the way it is with every detail so well defined, I mean who would have ever thought a bike would look so good in white?. This paved the way for other manufacturers to include their products in white. I shall now talk about the points which interest me, forgive me if I go a little off track.
This is probably one of the things I’m most proud of. I love the way the discs are shaped (roto petal type) their beautiful to look at as well as serves its purpose brilliantly. The design is such that it really aids in stopping the bike faster than you can say Homo neanderthalensisJ. I’m exaggerating a little too much but you get my point.
Razor sharp breaking-as said on the Apache website, is guaranteed. It also doesn’t wear out the brake pads as much and too much of heat isn’t created because of the minimum yet very effective surface contact between the disc and the pads. 60 – 0 kmph can be achieved in a matter of seconds. The brakes of the apache have to be used wisely, because as with the throttle, the brakes are very responsive too. Out of the numerous Indian bikes I’ve ridden I’ll put all money on my bike in the braking segment.
The Handle Bars
Beautifully angled to meet the demands of the racer in you. Wonderful clutch play (well that depends majorly on how often service it), and I personally love the way the switches are placed (i.e. at a very good reach for the rider) their also quite big enough so you can’t miss them and they have a good tactile feel once you press them.
The handle bars are clipped on rather than being a rod attached which majorly helps in the straight line motion of the bike, the distance of the handlebars from the rider, the wheel base and the position of the center of gravity also contribute. Hence everyone can expect close to perfect stability on the Apache.
The Headlamps (rated at 35 Watts)
I always found headlights fascinating, particularly on my Apache. I love the way the lights is so perfectly made to reflect onto the road. I would say that the illumination is quite satisfactory. The only grudge I have against TVS is that the headlamps don’t run on the battery unlike some bikes of Bajaj and Yamaha which gives light even when the engine is turned off.
The headlights of the RTR 180 are halogen lamps (like in most vehicles) meaning a tungsten filament is surrounded by halogen gas. Using halogen gas like iodine or bromide etc. Increases the life of the tungsten filament and hence the headlamp by re-depositing the metal back onto the filament. The electricity supplied by a small electric generator mounted on the engine heats the tungsten filament to a very high temperature which makes it glow.
The Tail Lights
The Apache has quite a few L.E.D.’s (rated at 0.5 Watt) which really does the job smarty and efficiently. They are fantastic to look at for all those losers who challenge you for a race and are left behind.
One of section of the bike I’m not too happy to write about. TVS tires are made from a hard compound rubber which unlike MRF tires doesn’t cling to the road that effectively. It isn’t bad on a normal day but you will see its effects on a rainy day. Well it’s not such a Hugh thing to complain about. It does its job pretty ok by these tires are not the best in the market.
The upside is that these kinds of tires last longer than the soft compound tires – MRF tires (because of the hard compound rubber used the tire doesn’t wear away easily and the tire threads are retained for a longer time). But given a choice I would definitely choose MRF tires for a safer ride. The nice part of the tires on the Apache 180 is that the TVS tires are tubeless.
Meaning these tires are safer than tires with tubes when it comes to punctures (of course every bike these days are coming out with tubeless tires right out of the factory). During the possibility of a nail or other small penetrations on the tire, the air leakage is very slow and most of the time not at all, as the rubber makes a kind of seal around the penetrating object and in most cases of a puncture the tire doesn’t have to be removed from the rim.
The Posture of the Rider
People have this false idea that if their taller than 5′ 9″an Apache is not for them. To tell you the truth I was once like most of you but then I took a test drive and proved myself wrong, and I’m 5’11”. The position of the rider is inclined which encourages you to keep your back straight. I like my back being straight while I’m riding rather than having the handlebars close to me (as in the case of a Pulsar) which makes me hunch and curve my back. With the Apache you have to get a little used to it but when u do, it feels good to be that way.
The suspension basically is to maximize friction between the tires and the road surface. The Apache serves this purpose well. Friction between the tires and the road affects the bikes ability to maneuver, brake and accelerate, so maneuverability on the Apache is amazing.
The coil springs operating along with MIG compressed gas and it “Bullies bumps and potholes into submission” as said on the main website. The more you compress the shocks on your bike with the special tool given, the stiffer will be your ride.
The tank of the bike is elegantly sculptured (sleeker design) which gives it a lower drag coefficient thereby increasing the aerodynamics affect. The air scoops add to the elegance and also in directing air which prevents drag. The rubber added to the fuel inlet prevents water from entering which in turn causes bad fuel mixtures which causes the bike to jerk while riding. The tank is very curvy and gives a very muscular look when seen from the top. I’ve added a picture just to show you all how the tank along with the air scoops gives that masculine look to the bike.
Attention to detail
The Digital Speedometer
The L.C.D. on the digital Speedo has three screens, the rider can shift between
- The standard Odometer with two trips.
- The high speed indicator screen, which records the top speed. (This is safest approach according to me to record the top speed; of course this can’t be done on all the bikes).
- 0-60 kmph timer, which lets you time your personal best, again this approach is the safest according to me. To use this you have to be on the third screen of the digital meter and then rip away to record.
Best part of the digital meter for me is that it shows the time which is so useful while riding.
The team at TVS did a tremendously good job in the paint work meaning the quality of paint is top notch, it shines and speckles when light is shown upon it. I have never coated my bike with Teflon and it still seems to shine like it’s from the show room once cleaned (even after 8 months).
I have the white model and there’s always this great feeling inside me when I see that white shine. In all the pictures I’ve included I’ve tried to capture the best of the bike which is typically the paint job (Weather is one of the main enemies of your paint, try as much to protect your baby from it). The golden paint added to the shocks and the front forks look impeccable on the white body.
Another well-defined detail, the Aluminium foot pegs give a very distinct look and they retract back to their position because of spring action when disturbed. They seem quite modern and the rubber surrounding the top also gives a refreshing look and a very cushiony feel for your feet.
The silencer is pretty standard in looks but here I’d like to point out the RTR written across the chrome plate on the silencer. I personally feel that it’s a classy addition. The exhaust note is another point to rave about.
Detailed to perfection, I always have liked the innovative designs of the graphics on all of the models of Apaches till date. The silver RTR graphics on the side air scoops compliments the shiny white so superbly. The fluid racing stripes, as they call them, on the tank makes me feel powerful when I’m riding my bike on the road; it looks like the spine of the bike to me. It’s a good touch to a masterpiece.
Brake and Clutch Levers
Forged from aluminium metal. Gives a very sporty, distinct and modern look. The rear brake and gear shifter also have a stylish look.
The RTR 180 Logo on the Clip on
It’s shaped like a shield, which reminds us of the rich racing breed the Apache is from. TVS has done a great job in the promotions of its flagship model by holding the Apache Pro Performance (APP) shows all over India. These shows not only give the Hugh masses tons of entertainment but also establish the bike amongst youth. The shield on the clip on handlebars gives a sense of completion to the bike.
The Backlit L.C.D.
Amazing addition which without doubt lets everyone knows the difference between RTR 160 and the RTR 180. The blue glow gives me a certain reassuring comfort. I generally go for rides in the night, most of the times alone; the blue radiance calms me even in the darkest of nights.
The Rear-View Mirrors
I think every bike should carry off the mirrors with style like the Apache. This makes the rider want to have the mirrors on his bike as opposed to the normal boxy mirrors which many of the riders take off as it ruins the looks of the bike. They look brilliant from the back as they extend out quite a bit and look like horns. Do use your rear-view mirrors for your safety on roads but you can take them of when in a race.
The way you treat your bike during the run in period directly affects your fuel consumption. The run in is a very crucial part of any stock bike or vehicle for that matter. To be really frank I get about 46-48 kmpl shifting before I reach 4000 rpm on each gear and staying below 50kmph. When my adrenaline is really pumping and I let loose that racing DNA inside of me I manage to get around 42 -45.
I’m very content with my bikes efficiency and it doesn’t put a toll on my wallet either. There’s this article on bikeadvice.in on run in periods called “Bike Run-In/Break-In Period Do’s and Don’ts” which is very informative and should be referred to when you buy a new bike. Oh and another thing, the team at TVS adjusts your idling rpm to 1400rpm but u can change it to about 1100rpm, it doesn’t affect anything rather it reduces the fuel in the fuel air mixture during idling to give u a slightly better fuel economy.
Cornering with the bike is simply a joy. The tires being farther apart from each other (larger Wheel base) unlike in the RTR 160 helps in the stability while taking a turn. The aim of increasing the wheel base is to give you the freedom to bend quite a bit during cornering giving the rider quite a lot of confidence to make that sharp turn.
A few weak points I’ve noticed over the many months my bike has been with me.
- When the brakes are not in use I found that there is slight contact between the brake pads and the disc which hinders the free movement of the wheel there by directly influencing the fuel economy of the bike and the efficiency of the engine. For every service I went to I’ve complained about this. The problem was taken care of but in a few days of riding I encountered the problem coming back to haunt me.
- The fuel gauge frequently shows false readings. I have only to rely on my experience with my bike to tell myself when a fuel recharge is needed.
- Between the 2nd and 3rd gears, my bike falls into false neutrals. When I’m generally riding on the 2nd or 3rd gear I’m accelerating and out of nowhere I find the engine reving faster and I find myself in a false neutral. This can get out of hand for a beginner and is very frustrating.
- Vibrations have always been an issue with an Apache in the mid and high ranges of RPM. I personally feel really bad because I believe I’m straining my engine when I feel the vibrations. Upshifting earlier so that I’m riding on a lower rpm helps me get rid of the problem. But when you’re in a race you have no other alternative because good and bad are the two sides of the same coin.
- A decrease of its pick up is noticeable if there is a pillion on board because of its torque- 15.5 Nm. Everything is fine with just the rider but with a pillion on board you will notice a difference in the pickup.
These are some random tips I’ve made a note of and I wish to share them with you.
Regularly inflate your tires: Well-inflated tires have less contact with the road, they come upon less friction and the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to move your bike.
What to wear?: Wear nylon jackets/pants if you’re racing. Nylon is a lightweight material. It also offers fair enough protection against abrasions if you skid and fall.
Air Filters?: I would definitely suggest air filters (K&N) for any bike. Go for air filters rather than changing your silencer if you’re crazy about loud noises. Let’s be frank, we all want to let everyone know we’re coming right! I’d always advise air filters to a silencer change. The reason is the tiniest of dust particles are filtered away when air passes through an air filter, air also becomes a lot more turbulent which means that fuel is distributed more homogenously in the fuel air mixture guaranteeing maximum combustion of the fuel. Thus with a filter you can expect cleaner, denser air with high flow enters the combustion chamber increasing efficiency of your bike giving you a boost in torque, horsepower and mileage. Wait for a year to install a filter on your brand new bike because it will void the warrantee if installed in the warrantee period i.e. 1st year.
This and that: I wash my bike regularly because
- The white gets dirty a little more often than other colors and
- Because the bike is meant to stay beautiful. Remember a beautiful look plus raw power equals ENVY.
The Chain: The chain is one of the most important part of your bike which transmits power. Take care of it by lubricating it along with the sprocket. Remember moving parts of a bike require the utmost care. I use cheap but effective lubricating oil which I apply every week on my chain which is one of the things which keeps my bike running well.
Safety first: Wearing a helmet should be something you want to do, not forced to. As in Hyderabad I’ve noticed that 80% of the riders don’t wear their helmets. Choose a helmet which goes with your bike and the one you would want to wear. The helmet has to be a part of you and your bike for you to want to wear it.
Conclusion: Apart from the people, I also found that dogs love my bike (they can’t stop pissing on my tires –they do that to mark their territory ha-haJ).
Question to myself: Can I truly say that my RTR 180 does justice to my passion for riding?
Answer: Most definitely YES.
Question to myself: If money was no bar at the time I was searching for a bike would I choose another bike.
Answer: That depends on my thought process at that stage, but now as I look back, I have no regrets and I’m completely happy and satisfied with my decision.
Let the Losers Worry About Losing. (Anyone wanting a little more info about the bike, I’d love to help. Leave your comments for me to get in contact with you).