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Text: Gourab Das/ MG
Photos: Sundeep Gajjar/ Sunny and Gourab Das/ MG
Engine and Performance:
One of the problems that the earlier generation Apaches and to an extent the RTR is the engine roughness. The performance was never a problem. With the addition of Fuel Injection that problem seems to have gone out of the window. The power delivery is very smooth and the throttle response is very crisp. The gearbox too is precise with positive shifts every time you tap the lever. The first gear is a bit weak and you don’t feel the true potential of the 150.7cc mill. It’s only when you slot into second gear that the RTR FI starts to show its true colors. Once past 5k r.p.m it accelerates with authority. Shifting while in the power band, I began to feel at home and was excited enough not to resist the urge to go faster and faster. That said if you shifts the gear in lower r.p.m’s then you feel a tremendous loss in power and it takes quite a while to hit the power band again. So correct shifting is the key if you are riding the bike in day to day traffic. But personally I don’t have any complaints about the character of the bike.
TVS says: The bike was not properly run-in and maybe the tuning was not correct and hence the loss of power in lower gears. You won’t feel the loss of power once the run-in is completed.
Some rough figures which I tested:
1st gear- Didn’t want to rev the bike too much
2nd gear- 70 at 10K r.p.m
3rd gear- 92 at 10k r.p.m
4th gear- 104 at 10k r.p.m
5th gear- Tested only till 116 but I got feeling that it will touch close to 130.
**All the above speeds are speedo indicated.
Ride and Handling:
A look at the weather and the overall surrounding and I knew that I won’t be able to push the bike on the corners which is the main forte of this bike. It has been raining pretty consistently from the past couple of days. That said I tried to give my 100% during the test ride.
To provide that racing intent Apache RTR FI has that perfect seating position, courtesy the clip-ons and perfectly positioned rear sets. You have the option to select between two seating modes based upon your requirement to ride on road or race at the track. Also, it gives an option to people of various heights to adjust.
Apache’s compact geometry and 17-inch front tyre make for quicker turn-ins in a series of corners but it is far more enjoyable on tight corners. But in city traffic, I found it a little bit cumbersome to steer at high speeds.
I’m on a bit taller side and I felt the bike to be a bit cramped especially when trying to get behind the bike for that special moment when you try to attack the corner very hard. People with height up to 5ft10inch will enjoy the bike more than the taller guys.
TVS says: Most of our test riders fall in the category of 5ft10 inch to 6ft2inch and they didn’t face any such problem. That’s the beauty of those two seating positions which a lot of option to two different dimension of people. It has more to do with spending more time with the bike.
Could be yes.
The ride is a bit on the stiffer side bit I have no complaints as I always prefer a stiffer setting than a softer set-up. The gas charged shocks responds quicker to surface inconsistencies and also dissipates rebound damping energy thereby completely eliminating the bouncy aspect. But for longer hours of riding on a not so smooth road the back will take a bit of beating.
Chassis and Suspension
TVS says: We take extreme pride in our chassis and suspension development which is typically suited for both track and road conditions. The project engineers did extensive research in fine tuning the suspension and worked on the chassis to keep the balance and that’s why we feels proud in saying that this is a track tool.
Petal discs not only look cools but perform pretty well. Front disc brakes are very sharp and there is a sense of surety whenever you apply it. The rear disc is also very sharp and you don’t feel any sponginess in it. Infact people who have a tendency to use the rear disc brakes more should take it easy before using it properly as it may turn out to be a bane rather than boon.
TVS says: Most of our buyers are enthusiasts who know the correct technique of braking and hence we believe that they won’t face any problem.
As against the popular belief that the TVS tyres are not good and specifically loses traction on wet conditions, I found them pretty decent even if not excellent both in dry and wet conditions. But to be very frank I would have loved to see tubeless on the FI variant.
We accept that the tyre quality in our earlier models( Read the first generation Apaches) were not great but now it is at par to the competition if not better. It’s the perception of public that we need to change. Tubeless would have added the overall cost and the bike is made especially for normal street and track and we don’t see the need as such. But in the higher capacity models you can expect to see tubeless.
I had the opportunity to have not one but two pillion riders who regularly sits behind me. As per my conversation with both of them this is what they have to say.
“The rear seat is pretty hard and a bit narrow. The two piece grab rails are pretty neat and very usable eve in the case of heavy braking and you don’t feel any pain in the hand. On sudden acceleration you don’t feel like falling backwards but on hard braking you have a tendency to fall on the rider”.
Note: The pillion have the experience of sitting only on Karizma and Pulsar 220 so the above lines are plain comparison with the said bike.
Headlights: Works fine and provides ample light in the night.
Horn: Does its job without creating major fuss but there is no need for any market fitments.
Switchgear including clip-ons: Pretty ok but for something bigger I would like to see a better-finished product.
The best is definitely the digital meter with those added on features and the new blue backlit which makes it even more interesting.
Fuel efficiency: It’s difficult to predict the actual fuel efficiency but I got somewhere around 46 so a proper run-in bike will easily give 50-55 in day to day riding condition. On highway it will be slightly more.
A short compare with RTR Carbed version:
Though both the bikes looks identical on a closer look you can see the difference in the racing stripes pattern and also the different colour backlit speedo. The rear disc is not there and also all the important FI is missing from badging. The difference is the exhaust note is prominent and with your eyes closed, you can say that it’s not the FI version. After riding the FI RTR I didn’t like the carbed one not because it’s a bad product but because FI variant is much better. The throttle response is not that crisp and you can feel a slight roughness in the engine. TVS had cleverly given only one FI variant to differentiate the product and they should seriously think of just continuing the carbed version in the price-sensitive zones.
Sunny’s First Impression
Amidst the battle of the giants, Bajaj, Yamaha and Honda lurks this compact yet dynamic and powerful predator – TVS. I had always liked the Apache advertising campaigns, they were directed towards t he youth. In fact this is when me and most of us stood up and noticed a company called TVS. The Apache was its trump card. Thanks to TVS, we managed to get hold of the Apache RTR Fi 160. Those two additional acronyms do sound impressive, and they are. RTR(Racing throttle response) and Fi (Fuel Injection) give it a purposeful name.
The bike that we had got was an Orange colored one. Strange color you may say, but not stranger than a certain bike in lime green, eh?
My first impression of the bike was, OK, this looks good, I mean this looks really good. The sky again was, not surprisingly, painted with dark clouds and the time was 6.15PM. The light was pathetic and the sun was about to go down taking away all the chances of any photoshoot. Without wasting anytime I sat on the bike, inserted the key and turned it on. The response was a sweet whirr of the FI self test and the ultra cool dials lit up. I was sold to the console assembly and the blue lit LCD.
The shield motif on the handle bar assembly did the trick for me. I personally felt that it was fantastic to see a company develop a bike to be the first to see the chequered flag on the finish line.
The pinstriping was a very subtle but important touch which enhanced the character of the bike.
Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday – this is what TVS lives on, and this is what this exudes.
I also like the way TVS are no-nonsensically are clear about the positioning of the bike – on the racetrack, as a brilliant handler and for the youth who wants immediate response from life as well his bike.
I rode the bike was a couple of kays on wet roads and slush. The bike also sounded wonderful. I am told that this particular model had its catcon removed, hence the sound. Someone will verify this later.
The bike also seemed to handle very well on the corners, the most important thing being it felt light and flickable.
I havent ridden an Apache RTR before, so I cannot comment on the improvements or the lack of the. However, I feel that this would be a potent machine for people looking to do lots of twisty riding in the hills as well as show off on the tracks down south.
MGBiker had the bike for a whole day. He will be penning down his first impressions, including a brief ride report.
Of yes, did I tell you that the console also remembers the top speed that you have done. (Details by MG).