BSVI TVS Apache RTR 160 4V first ride review
The new generation TVS Apache RTR 160 4V was launched less than two years ago, but the manufacturer has given it a midlife update already! TVS Motor has taken the upcoming BSVI emission norms as an opportunity to update its Apache RTR series in fact. And the result is a fresher-looking RTR 160 4V. We got to ride the updated, 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V at TVS Motor's own test track near Bengaluru. Read on to know more.
The BSVI Apache RTR 160 4V gets a redesigned headlamp assembly that looks more aggressive and more premium than before
There's a new, all-LED headlamp to begin with, which err headlines the visual changes. Not that the RTR 160 4V needed a facelift launched early in March 2016 the current generation 160 looks fresh, especially given that the bodywork is inspired by its elder sibling, the Apache RTR 200 4V. Admittedly the motorcycle looks more premium now, courtesy the new headlight. The new headlamp unit looks sharper and more aggressive than before, also endowing the RTR 160 with a more premium appearance. And that's courtesy the fact that the headlight is split into two horizontally, while the boomerang-shaped pilot lamps are a lot bigger in size now and look more prominent.
The boomerang-shaped pilot lights on the headlight have gotten bigger now
The fully-digital instrument cluster sits exposed above the headlight, while the rear view mirrors get a slightly revised design as well, for a fresher appearance. The rest of the motorcycle is the same as before, especially the rear end. That said, the RTR 160 4V gets a set of revised decals now. The theme is the same, race-inspired chequered flag one as before, but looks fresher now. Build quality and fit-finish levels are excellent just as before, and overall the RTR 160 is a handsome looking, well-built motorcycle in the sub-200cc space.
What about the engine?
The engine is the same, 159.7cc, single-cylinder motor as before, but has been tweaked to meet the stricter BSVI emission norms that will get enforced from April 01, 2020. Now, one of the biggest concerns enthusiasts seem to be having with BSVI norms is that motorcycles are set to lose some amount of power while also getting heavier, which is a no-no in the performance world. But TVS Motor has ensured that's not the case with the RTR 160. In fact, we're told the brief to the R&D team was to ensure the RTRs do not trade performance for improved eco-friendliness and also retain their sporty nature.
TVS Motor has ensured that the BSVI compliant Apache RTR 160's outputs are the same as before and do not go down in the interest of lower emissions
And that certainly is the case with the updated, 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V. The outputs are the same as before at 16.02PS and 14.12Nm. TVS tells us a lot of hard work went into the development of the BSVI compliant version of the engine, simply to ensure performance does not suffer in the interest of lower emissions. Revisions to the engine's internals, as also revised intake and exhaust systems have helped TVS ensure the same. TVS has also ensured the 2020 RTR 160 is not heavier than before the aim was to try and reduce the motorcycle's overall weight, but while they did manage to reduce weight in certain areas, weight gain in a few others was simply unavoidable we're told.
How is it to ride?
The good news is that performance remains unchanged and the updated RTR 160 feels as quick as before in terms of straight-line acceleration. That said, the power delivery is a wee bit softer now and feels less aggressive by a small yet noticeable margin. The engine also feels smoother now and in fact, it had barely any vibration even at its 11,000rpm redline, which is certainly commendable for a small, 160cc, air-cooled single-cylinder motor. But at the same time, I have to admit that the engine feels a little too smooth. We have always liked the sense of gruffness in the RTR 160's engine as it felt like it was a part of the motorcycle's character and also gave a sense of the work the engine was doing. So while many are sure to appreciate the engine's improved refinement levels, some may find it a little too smooth for their liking.
The BSVI-compliant TVS handles just as good as before, though the power delivery is slightly softer than before
The good news though is that the RTR 160 feels as quick and as fast as before. So acceleration is quick and throttle response is crisp courtesy the excellent fuelling from the Fuel-Injection (Fi) system. In fact, I have always liked the RTRs for their smooth and precise fuelling and am glad to note that has not changed. The handling is the same as before too, with the bike feeling confident under hard braking and around corners as well. I would have liked the suspension set-up at both ends to be half a notch firmer in the interest of a more engaging feel though. Don't get me wrong the front forks and rear monoshock do an excellent job of ensuring the bike is stable, but a slightly firmer set-up would make the handling even better, in conjunction with the grip from the tyres.
Overall, the BSVI compliant Apache RTR 160 4V feels as good as before, be it in terms of the engine performance or the handling and in our books will continue to be a likeable offering in the important 160cc motorcycle space. The biggest highlight here of course is the fact that TVS Motor has ensured the outputs have not dropped down, while also meeting the more stringent BSVI emission norms. That said, the BSVI version commands a premium of about Rs 7,000 over the outgoing BSIV version, but that's something which we know is unavoidable for manufacturers, given the changes being made to engines to make them less polluting.
On the whole, the BSVI compliant TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is a well-rounded package and is as likeable as before in the sub-200cc performance segment
The BSVI compliant TVS Apache RTR 160 4V retails at Rs 1.03 lakh ex-showroom for the version equipped with disc brakes at both ends now, though the 160 only gets single-channel ABS, unlike the RTR 200 which gets dual channel ABS as standard. That said, the asking price for the RTR 160 is a good one in our books, given the motorcycle's likeable performance, handling and build quality. It should thus be interesting to see what its competitors like the Bajaj Pulsar NS160 and Honda CB Hornet 160R bring to the table in their BSVI compliant avatars.