Why is there a 160cc category? That odd number is more of a marketing strategy really. Want people to shell out more money for you, give them another 10cc. TVS did just that with the advent of the RTR 160. It was the first ever bike to surpass the notion of selling only 150cc bikes, by giving the customers an upper advantage of extra 10cc in its engine and a little more equipment.

Launched first in 2007 to compete with the rest of the 150cc ones, it is a stylish looking Motorcycle and the word ’RTR’ means Racing Throttle Response which tells you that this motorcycle is built for speed. The bike was launched in parallel with the 180 nemeses and also received the major overhaul in 2012, and it made the Apache look sportier with possessed aggressive outlook. Now, for 2017, TVS has given it yet another mild upgrade which gives it a BS-IV engine and adorns the AHO feature. The rest remains unchanged. Let’s have a brief look at this year’s model.

STYLING

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TVS adopted an all new design philosophy for their Apache brand back in 2012. The motorcycle looked far more aggressive and outrageous than the previous versions of the Apache, and it still continues to carry the panache even today. The 160 takes up the same suit as the 180 RTR with the only subtle difference being the paint schemes and body decals.

Upfront, TVS gives it a “beast inspired” headlamp unit that comes with integrated wedge-shaped LED pilot lamps that will also act as the AHO substitute. This setup produces an intense, raw and animalistic gaze for which the Apache is famous for. Tucked behind this is a neatly sculpted instrument cluster that has a digital display as well as an analogue tachometer. The blue-lit LED display has clear indications and includes all info one needs including the acceleration time. And the best bit is the race inspired carbon fibre cues imprinted around the display unit.

Onto the sides, this Apache gets an aerodynamically designed tank cowls that are also the reason for reducing the engine heat by 10 degrees. These scoops enable the free flow of air and at the same time gives the bike a macho silhouette, especially if viewed from the front three-quarters. The bike gets a muscular looking engine cowl as well which is sleek and functional.

Decals on the tank are different from the ones on the RTR 180 and some of the best ones in the segment, and there are more bits of carbon fibre finished on the tank panels and below the rider’s seat that gives an upmarket feel to the bike’s appeal. The chiselled tail is slick and aggressive with its tail cowl carrying the tri-coloured race insignia of the brand just below the split rear grab bar. Full LED treatment is given to a neat tail lamp. White strip lines on the black alloys give it a sporty edge, and the gold finished suspension unit adds a touch of zing to the overall outlook of the bike.

The switchgear feels premium and the overall levels of fit and finish is impressive. But somehow, the bike now feels a tad too dated in front of the current crop of more contemporary and muscular 150cc motorcycles, which make us think that TVS should rework on the design to catch up with the pace of the competition.

Overall Dimension

Make Model2017 TVS Apache RTR 1602017 Suzuki GixxerHonda CB Hornet 160 R
Length2085mm2050mm2041mm
Width730mm785mm783mm
Height1105mm1030mm1067mm
Wheelbase1300mm1330mm1345mm
Seat height790mm780mm790mm
Wet weight139kg135kg142kg
Fuel Tank16L12L12L

POWERTRAIN

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The TVS Apache RTR 160 may lag behind the competition regarding design and looks, but when it comes to raw performance, it completely blows them away in the hazy clouds. For the 2017 Apache RTR 160, TVS has kept the same engine.

This four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 159.7 cc engine still misses out on fuel injected but gains BS-IV compliancy. The carburetted version gushes out 15 bhp of power at 8500 rpm and 13 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. The over-square race inspired engine comes mated to a 5-speed gearbox.

As for the engine, TVS has managed to fulfil the expectations of the fans of Apache, by making it a scorcher of a mill. The figures may not be as enthusiastic as that of its competitors, but on the tarmac, the engine manages to surprise you with its immense power delivery down the rev range and in the higher rev range as well. The engine is more rev-hungry resulting in a meatier top end grunt.

And as always, these engines are reliable and are worthy of some appreciation. Top speed remains at 118 kph, and the bike gives around 45 kilometres to a litre thus proving its mettle on both the important grounds satisfactorily.

Engine Specification

Make Model2017 TVS Apache RTR 1602017 Suzuki GixxerHonda CB Hornet 160 R
Capacity cc159.7154.9162.7
Bore/ Stroke mm62/52.956/62.957.3/63.09
Output15 Bhp @ 8500 rpm15 Bhp @ 8000 rpm16 Bhp @ 8500 rpm
Torque13 Nm @ 4000 Rpm14 Nm @ 6000 Rpm15 Nm @ 6500 Rpm
Type4-Stroke, 1-Cylinder, Air-Cooled, SOHC, 2 Valve4-Stroke, 1-Cylinder, Air-Cooled, SOHC, 2 ValveAir Cooled, 4 Stroke, SI Engine
Clutch typeWet- MultiplateWet- MultiplateWet- Multiplate
Transmission5-speed5-speed5-speed
Top Speed118 kph110 kph115 kph

RIDE AND HANDLING

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TVS has equipped the 160 with a “synchronous stiff chassis” that they have developed in collaboration with TVS Racing. It sure does the job for its specification. The rider is seated on a contoured saddle that provides sufficient cushion and comfort and the riding position can be said to have a neutral stance which could be more inclined towards the sporty handling abilities.

Suspension units are also up to the standards with telescopic oil damped unit at the front, and at the rear, monotubes with gas filled adjustable shocks gets the job done. These 5-step adjustable shocks provide uncompromising performance for whatever conditions the rider wishes to tame it into.

New rubber on the 6- spoke black alloys have fish-like grips for improved acceleration and braking performances. Coming to braking, TVS has been kind enough to provide petal discs at both ends for absolute control under all conditions. Unfortunately, ABS and RLP (Rear Wheel Lift Off Protection) feature is not even an optional package, unlike the RTR 180.

Why TVS!!!

Chassis Specifications

Make Model2017 TVS Apache RTR 1602017 Suzuki GixxerHonda CB Hornet 160 R
Suspension / FrontTelescopic forkTelescopic ForkTelescopic fork
Suspension / RearMonotube Inverted Gas-filled shox (MIG) with spring aidNitrox Mono ShockSpring loaded Monoshock
Brakes / Front270 mm Petal Disc240mm with 2-Piston Hydraulic Calliper276mm Petal-Type Disc with 2-Piston Hydraulic Calliper
Brakes / Rear200 mm Petal Disc240mm Disc220mm Disc with 1-Piston Hydraulic Calliper
Tyres / Front90/90 R17100/80 R17100/80 R17
Tyres / Rear110/80 R17140/60 R17140/70 R17

PRICE

The all new TVS Apache RTR 160 is priced at ? 75089 (EX showroom Delhi). A bump of a decent ? 3000 from its previous version.

You will get the bike in six colour options: Black, White, Matte Gray, Red, Yellow and Matte Blue.

COMPETITION

There is no dearth in finding a good commuter that also carries a little more oomph than the rest of the herd. No better examples could be found other than the mates from Japan.

Suzuki Gixxer

1.

Suzuki launched the very promising 155cc motorcycle, the Gixxer in 2014, and as expected, the Gixxer became the very first hit from Suzuki in the mass market segment. With this, Suzuki too started showing signs of becoming a settled player like its Japanese rivals in India, Honda and Yamaha.

As far as the overall design and silhouette goes, Suzuki has not made any significant change to call it a major facelift. The bike retains the muscular and handsome big-bike like design, which still manages to turn heads even today. Though there are a few very minute but noticeable changes, they still make the bike look fresher.

Rather than bringing up any power or torque upgrades or changes in gear ratios, Suzuki has played it safe by not making any changes to the sweet 155cc engine which the Gixxer has been blessed with. Which means that the new Gixxer too retains the four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 155cc engine in the same state of tune as before – 15 bhp of maximum power and 14 Nm of torque. However, keeping up with the norms, this engine is now compliant to BS-IV norms. The mill is coupled to the same 5-speed gearbox as before.

With introducing all these cosmetic changes, Suzuki has refurbished the colour options available as well. The motorcycle is now available in three dual tone paint schemes – Glass Sparkle Black, Metallic Triton Blue with Glass Sparkle Black and Pearl Mira Red with Glass Sparkle Black. Regarding pricing, the new Gixxer is now available at a price of ? 80117 for the rear drum brake variant and ? 82509 for the rear disc brake variant.

Honda CB Hornet 160 R

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Compared to the RTR, the overall design of the CB Hornet 160R is fresher, though the stance of the Gixxer is more muscular as compared to the sharper and leaner CB Hornet 160R. Regarding features, the Honda leads the front with a more informative instrument console, engine kill switch, clear lens LED tail lamp, wider tyres and fatter front forks. The CB Hornet 160R gets the Honda’s famed Combined Braking System (CBS) as an option, which the Apache simply doesn’t have.

When it comes to performance, the CB Hornet 160R has got the horsepower advantage. The single cylinder, air cooled, 162.71cc engine, which is good enough to produce 16 bhp of power and 14.76 Nm of torque, making it not only stronger than the RTR but also over all the other 150cc offerings in India.

In the aspect of ride and handling, the CB Hornet 160R has got it covered with wider Nylogrip zapper tyres and disc brakes at both ends. It is priced starting at ?79900 (ex-showroom) while the more premium CBS variant is priced at ? 84400 which makes this motorcycle the most expensive in its segment.

VERDICT

With the Apache RTR 160, TVS is consolidated as a strong competitor in the niche of urban motorcycles. Also, with this update of its Apache series, TVS reaffirms the perception of good design and high performance on all its products.

The TVS Apache RTR 160 may end up being a dated proposition in front of the more contemporary and new age rivals, but somehow, it still manages to retain the value for money tag which its predecessor had in its kitty. The bike still looks good, if not as gracious as its predecessor.

The levels of equipment are impressive, though the bike lacks some crucial bits like fatter tyres and rear monoshock. But for those who crave for performance over other factors, the Apache RTR 160 still manages to give other bikes a run for their money, with its class leading raw power and acceleration figures.