TVS Apache RTR 1604V – First Impression

159.7CC 16.6 BHP 14.8NM

It has been 35 years since TVS has been participating (and winning consistently) in the Indian motorsports activities. There is a reason why automobile manufacturers participate in motorsports apart from brand building, and that is to incorporate their learning from the intense competition into their production vehicles and to make them faster and better in every aspect.  The learning cycle of the manufacturers participating in the motorsports will always be faster (pun intended) than those who stay away from it because they have no option but to keep innovating and to make their machines better than their competition. Testimony to the above is the TVS Apache RTR 1604V, which TVS says is based on their 8 National Racing Championship winning machine, the TVS Apache RTR 165 GP.  The bike was launched recently and we got to ride it at the TVS Hosur plant. Here’s our first impression.

Text: Sunil Gupta
Photos: Mohit Gena

TVS Apache RTR 1604V right side

First thing first, there are 3 different variants of the new Apache RTR 1604V – The Fi version with front and rear disc brakes as standard, the carb version with front disc and rear drum brakes, and the carb version with front and rear disc brakes.  Also the carb variant with drum brakes comes fitted with 110/80 rear tyre, while the other variants have a fatter 130/70 tyre at the rear.  

There are 3 color options available – RR Red, Racing Black, & Racing Blue.

Expectedly, the 160 4V looks very similar to the Apache RTR 200 4V. The bikini fairing from the previous Apache 160 has gone and the bike adorns a sharper headlight upfront with twin LED DRLs and a muscular looking 12 L tank with tank shrouds and an offset fuel lid. The tail also looks sharper. There are new graphics on the new bike with elements like a chequered flag. The new 3D running horse emblem first seen on the RR310 also finds its way onto the Apache RTR 1604V. There is a fully digital instrument cluster sitting on top as well displaying a plethora of information to the rider, including speedometer, tachometer, 2 trip meters, fuel gauge, gear shift indicator, top speed recorder, gear position indicator, clock, and a lap timer.  

The instrument cluster on the carb version has a yellow backlight and misses the gear position indicator as well as the lap timer. The one on the Fi variant has white backlight and is ready for TVS’s Bluetooth connect feature as well (similar to what we saw on the TVS NTorq 125 scooter) whenever TVS upgrades this machine. The new bike also has the dual-chamber exhaust seen on the 200 4V. The overall fit and finish and dual-tone glossy paint quality is absolutely top class and reminded me of the paint on the TVS Apache RR310.

The seat on the new bike is a single-piece unit which felt sufficiently comfortable and wide enough to accommodate riders with large body frames. The handlebar now is a flat one-piece unit instead of the clip-on used in the outgoing model and the resultant ergonomics are spot on. The rider sits pretty comfortably yet looks sporty and aggressive without looking too commuterish.

TVS Apache RTR 1604V seat

Pricing starts at INR 81,490 ex-showroom Delhi for the base carb/drum variant. The carb/disc variant is available at INR 84,490 ex-showroom Delhi, and the top variant, Fi with disc is available at INR 89,990 ex-showroom Delhi.

Talking about the powertrain, the Apache 160 RTR 4V is fitted with a 159.7 cc, single cylinder, 4-stroke, 4-valve engine that is mated to a 5-speed gearbox and is available in both carb and Fi variants. The Fi variant makes about 16.8 PS at 8000 RPM and the carb version makes 16.5 PS at 8000 RPM. Peak torque remains at 14.8 Nm at 6500 RPM for both the variants. This makes the Apache RTR 4V the most powerful 160 cc motorcycle in the market today.

TVS Apache RTR 1604V engine

I rode both the Fi & carbureted variants in quick succession and came back pretty impressed. The engine smoothness and refinement is apparent as soon as you thumb the starter.  It feels quicker off the mark and the power is delivered in a very linear fashion. The engine remains punchy and smooth until it reaches very high revs where it begins to show a little bit of vibrations in the footpeg, but it is not a deal breaker. The Fi variant expectedly has crisper throttle response.

TVS claims a top of 114 kmph and I was able to hit that mark repeatedly on the straights of TVS test track before running out of space to go faster. The bike could definitely do a little more than that, around 120 kmph easily on a longer stretch of road. It feels flickable and easy to maneuver but shows its true racing colors when leaned into a corner. There’s only one turn at the TVS track. It is a never-ending type right hander loop where I’ve ridden various TVS bikes during media rides.


TVS Apache RTR 1604V front
TVS Apache RTR 1604V front

The chassis of the Apache RTR 160 4V, which comes directly from the Apache RTR 165 GP keeps the bike rock steady and gives so much confidence that the speeds I was able to carry throughout that turn surprised me. And that right hander loop is bumpy too, which makes you go even more cautiously. But this time, things were different. I could feel the bumps, but they were not enough to shake my confidence while fully leaned in.

A big credit also goes to the suspension setup (rear monoshock & conventional telescopic at the front) which works like a charm with this chassis. Cornering grip from the tyres was also spot on. The braking job is taken care of by 270 mm petal disc up front and the 200 mm petal disc at the rear (133 mm drum), which felt sufficient, but the front brakes felt a bit on the softer side to me. And this was the only negative point that I could think of in this bike.

TVS Apache RTR 1604V

Conclusion: The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is a worthy new entrant in the TVS Apache lineage, which has kept the Indian motorcycle enthusiasts happy for more than a decade now. The changes and upgrades in this bike are quite prominent and the new Apache RTR 160 is a much better package overall and will give its competitors a run for their money. It is powerful and has loads of low and mid range torque and the best part is the way it handles. You get the handling of a proper track tool in a street bike, nothing less! And it is a big deal! It is priced quite reasonably and there are options available to match your pocket and needs. So if you are planning to buy a 150-160 cc sports-commuter bike, head out to your nearest showroom and take a test ride before buying any other bike.

tags
Apache RTR 160 4V
RTR 160 4V
TVS Apache 4V
TVS Apache RTR 160 4V

Yamaha R15 V3 – first impression & review

155CC 19BHP 15NM

“Overall, the new Yamaha YZF R15 V3 at a price tag of INR 1.25 Lakh ex-showroom Delhi comes across as a very desirable motorcycle that would help budding bikers take their first step into the world of performance motorcycling. “

Text: Sunil Gupta
Photos: Mohit Gena

It was the year 2009 when I first rode the Yamaha R 15. We were on a pan-India ride called the Passion Hunt and I was riding it alongside two R1s. I remember putting the R15 through all kinds of torture tests, revving it till the redline in almost all the gears on the literally empty Golden Quadrilateral then to keep up with the R1s. But it never complained, not even once. Then during the Passion Hunt city events, I used to do demo slalom runs, figure of eights in front of the bikers before we asked them to do it themselves. And this bike never failed me. It would do all those tricky manoeuvres smoothly without breaking a sweat. It had been recently launched then and was a rage among bikers. It looked and handled unlike any other 150 cc motorcycle at that time and clearly had the DNA of its bigger sibling, the R1 in terms of looks and the purpose it wanted to serve. The R15 set a benchmark in its category that other motorcycles found too difficult to match.

The Version 2 of the R15 took things up a notch. The bike looked more aggressive without losing on the performance front. Yamaha launched the R15 V3 recently at the Auto Expo 2018 and we got to ride it yesterday at the Madras track and did it manage to meet the standards by its predecessor?

We find out:

In terms of looks, the new R15 is a winner right from the word go! It comes across as very sharp and compact and well balanced motorcycle that looks great from every angle you look at. Predictably it takes styling cues from the latest R1s and comes with a full LED twin headlamp configuration with a dummy air intake port at the centre. The engine, alloys, and handlebars are all powder-coated black and accentuate the sporty look of the bike. The fully digital instrument cluster is also inspired by the R1. Of special interest are the details like the fins on the tank and the solid looking tyre hugger.

Yamaha has made a lot of changes to the R15 engine and the bike now gets bigger throttle bodies, new forged pistons, connecting rod as well as a rebalanced crankshaft. The R15 V3 engine cubic capacity has also gone up from 149 cc earlier to 155 cc thanks to a bigger bore and this fuel-injected ‘new’ engine is mated to a 6-speed gear box and now produces a healthy 19.3 PS at 10,000 RPM. The peak torque figure remains the same though. Yamaha says the new bike is 4.7% more fuel efficient and 16.3% more powerful.

Yamaha also incorporates the ‘variable valve actuation’ technology in the new R15, which utilizes two different cams for intake valve – one of these is activated at lower RPMs while the other one gets engaged with the help of a solenoid motor at around 7800 RPM mark , which results in better low end torque as well as overall linear power delivery. As a result, the low end torque in the R15 V3 is definitely better than the previous iterations.

Here is a small video that would help you understand the Variable Valve Timing/actuation technology 

The other major changes are a bigger air filter and the use of a slipper clutch. The slipper clutch results in overall lesser effort on rider’s part and the rear wheel staying in line even under quick downshifts at high speed.

Here are some snippets/illustrations from the official Yamaha presentation to explain the changes in the R15 V3. 

The R15 V3 now uses a fatter 140/70 section rear tyre (MRF Zapper) and to accommodate it, there is a wider but shorter swingarm and a shorter wheelbase of 1325 mm. As a result, the bike feels much more eager to change course even with the slightest of rider input, which should be quite handy when negotiating city traffic.

The rider seat height has gone up slightly, but the pillion seat height has been reduced. The riding posture is sporty but not too aggressive and you can use it for your daily commute without punishing your back, shoulders or wrists.

Now comes the riding part! I got to ride the new R3 in its favourite playground, the MMRT. There were only a limited number of laps that riders were allowed to do due to paucity of time, but I came out grinning. The bike feels quicker off the mark and builds revs without losing much time. The engine feels smooth and relaxed though tends to develop a bit of vibrations in the higher rev range. The delta box frame along with the rear monoshock and the sorted suspension setup makes it a perfect track tool and the bike leans in the corner with a sense of urgency. It felt quite forgiving in the corners and planted on the straights during high speed runs.

Interestingly enough, the bikes we were riding had the Metzeler tyre at the rear (available as an option for INR 9998) and the stock MRF Zapper in the front. This tyre combination did feel a little odd but proved to be rather helpful to augment the bike’s performance. My rear tyre did go out of line briefly a couple of times under heavy braking but came back without much drama. Talking about braking, it was something that left a lot to be desired in an otherwise formidable package. A bit more bite on the front brake would be something that I would be looking forward to whenever I get to ride it next.

The delta box frame and the suspension setup compliment the bike’s intentions pretty well too and no matter if you are a beginner or an advanced level racer, you’d love to take it to the track.

Overall, the new Yamaha YZF R15 V3 at a price tag of INR 1.25 Lakh ex-showroom Delhi comes across as a very desirable motorcycle that would help budding bikers take their first step into the world of performance motorcycling. It is a serious track tool that would be equally joyful in city riding conditions. It looks great and would surely be a head turner on the road. It is by far the best handling motorcycle in its category and will put a big smile on your face every time you ride it.

Then there are some aftermarket accessories and performance parts that you can buy from Yamaha to make it even more potent, like the Daytona exhaust, frame sliders, USB charging adapter, etc.

What needs improvement is the overall fit and finish. The uneven gap between panels and the not so clean welding is an eyesore and takes the sheen off of its otherwise premium tag.

A big round of applause for the entire Yamaha R15 V3 design team for keeping the legacy of R15 alive and coming up with this product, which stands out among the crowd and sets new benchmarks in the Indian performance motorcycling segment.

And (Indian) Rossi also came down to meet the baby R1

Yamaha R15 V3 tech spec comparison
Yamaha R15 V3 tech spec comparison with competitors

Discuss it on xBhp forum, here

And here’s first ride review of Yamaha R15 V3 by another xBhpian, Saquib, from Bangalore 

tags
R15 V3
R15 V3 First Impressions
R15 V3 First Ride
Yamaha R15
Yamaha R15 V3

Bajaj Avenger Street 180 Review: Cruise(r) Control

178.6CC 15.2BHP 13.7NM

“If we can’t save our monopoly in this segment, we’ll surely Avenge(r) it!”

Marvel is not the only one coming out with its new Avengers in 2018. With the Japanese competition ‘Intruding’ in the entry-level cruiser segment, Bajaj has decided to update their ‘Avengers’ for battle. The update is mostly visual when it comes to the bigger siblings a.k.a. the Street 220 and the Cruise 220. It’s the youngest Avenger that gets an engine upgrade in addition to the visual ups. The Avenger Street 150 is now the Avenger Street 180. We find out how much of an upgrade it really is.

Visuals

Why change something that’s already good. This seems appropriate to describe the ideology of Bajaj. The styling of the Avenger series is tried and tested. It has also been well received by the target audience. The same goes for the new Street 180. The same design cues such as rubber covered front forks, low slung seat etc. make their way in the design of the new Avenger as well. This time around it gets LED DRL’s which slightly changes the shape of the headlight section. The effectiveness of the headlights at night though, is yet to be tested. The motorcycle gets a redesigned tail section which goes well with the overall stance of the bike. Another change in the tail is that the grab rail is now rubberized which should make the bike more comfortable for a pillion. The seat is big and roomy and has a carbon fiber like texture which ‘looks’ good. The pillion seat though is a bit narrow. Apart from that, the new paint scheme and the new Avenger insignia accentuate the visual updates. Overall the bike looks good from all angles but then, styling is subjective.

Instrument Cluster and Build Quality

The overall build quality is passable for the asking price of the Street 180. The quality of the paint used is nice. The fit and finish is also fairly good. The switchgear does not go with the looks of the bike. The buttons and sliders have a good tactile feel but look puny. The Street 180 does not get the digital console used on the bigger Avengers. The speedometer is analogue and has a digital readout for the odometer and a single trip meter. The fuel gauge and other tell tale lights such as the indicators or turn signals and headlight position are placed on the tank. This goes with the looks of the bike but it’s not in the rider’s view so it does need some getting used to. The key of the Street 180 is a bit small-ish. The ignition insert for the key is on the right side below the tank. The handle lock has a separate insert near the handle on the same side.

Engine and Performance

The new Street 180 when compared to the now discontinued Street 150, has got 1 Ps more power and 1.2 Nm more torque. Maximum power on the Street 180 now comes earlier at 8500 rpm when compared to the 9000 rpm of the Street 150. Maximum torque is achieved at the same 6500 rpm.

The engine for the Street 180 is borrowed from the Pulsar 180 which has been tuned for the cruiser character of the bike. It is good for 15.5 Ps of power at 8500 rpm and 13.7 Nm of torque at 6500 rpm. The power and torque figures which although are achieved at the same rpm as the Pulsar, are actually lower than that of the Pulsar. According to Bajaj, this was done to make sure that the engine is less stressed and consequently offers a smoother ride which was true to some extent. The Street 180 did feel smoother and more relaxed than the Pulsar. The Bore-Stroke ratio of both the bikes is the same. This makes the Avenger a little less tractable as the rpms build rather quickly for a cruiser. Pulling the bike from lower speeds in higher gears is achievable but some engine knocking is evident. Nevertheless, the engine felt smooth on the highways, and fairly punchy in city traffic.

The comfortable cruising speed is between 80 and 90 kmph, above which mild vibrations start to creep in the handlebars, seat and the foot pegs which only get worse as you push the motor further. Another thing that I noted is that after riding for an hour or so, there was this strange metallic whining noise when pulling the bike from about 60 kmph in the 5th gear and it was there to stay even after speeding up. This might have been an issue with the specific unit provided to me, but I cannot be sure. The starter button worked well as the bike started with a single push of the button but after an hour of riding, it did miss a few. The exhaust note has got more grunt when it’s idling but while moving and accelerating, it’s the typical Pulsar tune.

The gearbox is smooth and the gear shifts were crisp. The clutch was also light, which is a boon in city traffic. There were a couple of false neutrals but that’s not going to be an issue. The shifter is of the heel-toe type and works well but if you have larger feet like mine, they tend to get stuck between the foot peg and the gear lever.

About the fuel efficiency, Bajaj claims a figure of around 45kmpl in real world conditions. This should give you a range of around 550-600 km as the Street 180 has a 13 litre tank.

Handling and Ride Quality

The handling of the Street 180 was quite good. In fact, it was better than I expected. The bike felt planted on high speed straights as the result of a long wheelbase. What surprised me was the stance of the bike in the twisties. The bike was planted and there was never a moment when I felt that the bike was being pushed harder than its limits. It is not a corner carver like the KTMs, but to be fair it’s not meant to be that. This characteristic of the motorcycle might have been the result of slightly stiffer rear suspension, which at lower speeds can be bothersome if you find a rough patch on the road. At higher speeds though, the Street offers a comfortable and plush ride by mellowing out the undulations on the road effectively. Direction changes are not extremely fast but quite good for the class of bikes that the Street 180 belongs to. Another revelation was the turning radius of the Street 180. Considering the rake of the bike, the turning radius was surprisingly low which results in more than comfortable slow speed U-turns.

The rider’s triangle on the Street 180 is above expectations. Even for someone as tall as me (6’3”), the bike was fairly accommodating. Thus, you ‘can’ ride for longer durations on this bike in varying traffic conditions. But can you? Well, if you want to serve your posterior with some punishment, you can. The seat which looks roomy and feels good at first, is quite stiff and someone with a less generous rear end like me, is going to be begging for mercy within an hour or so.

The braking duties are handled by 260 mm disc brakes at the front and 130 mm drum brakes on the rear. The rear-brake needs a serious upgrade to discs. The front brake though, was progressive and offered ample stopping power. ABS is something that Bajaj should have considered, at least as an option.

Verdict

All in all the Street 180 is an Avenger. It stands true to the nature of a cruiser-sportster barring a few niggles. The bike looks good, performs well and handles well too. Overall the bike is a good package but the most important factor is the price. The Street 180 retails at Rs. 85,498 /- Ex-Showroom Delhi which makes the bike great bang for buck. The fact that it undercuts its closest rival, the Intruder 150 by about Rs. 14500/-, makes the Street 180 a very exciting prospect.

Text: Karan Bansatta | Photography: Thulashi Dharan J / @HolyBiker

tags
Avenger Street
Avenger Street 180
Bajaj Avenger
Bajaj Avenger Street 180