The TVS Apache series needs no introduction. TVS Motors has always tried to set the benchmark in this class by offering something that the competitors don’t. The Apache RTR 160 EFi was the first bike in its class to offer electronic fuel injection back in 2007. And when the RTR 160 4V was introduced last year, it not only blew the competition in terms of performance but everyday usability as well. And now, as all the manufacturers gear up to meet the Government’s updated emission norms, TVS too has gone ahead and given the RTR 160 4V a bunch of subtle aesthetic updates and some features as well. Let’s delve into the details.
To start off with, the headlight. The 2020 Apache gets an all-new LED headlamp unit which, to me, appears to have taken inspiration from the Ducati Streetfighter 1098, minus the weird looking DRLs. You may love it or hate it but the headlamp does give it a very distinctive look. Other updates include much required rear view mirrors and new decals graphics. But that’s not what the new Apache RTR 160 4V is all about.
The RTR 160 gets all-new fuel injection unit sourced from Bosch that boasts of a faster loop control improving the fueling for smoother throttle response. Another update to the engine is the new asymmetrical piston with a friction-reducing coating. Then there’s the Glide Through Traffic or GTT which is aimed to ease commuting but more on that later.
Now about the engine; the 159.7cc, single-cylinder, 4-valve engine is now BS6 compliant and makes 15.8bhp at 8,250rpm. The engine is down on power by 0.8bhp and the torque is down by 0.7Nm as well. However, the maximum power is now made at higher revs thanks to the new components that allow the engine to rev freely.
Swing your leg over and it won’t actually feel any different from the older model...until you start the bike. The new feather-touch start on the Apache works seamlessly, bringing the motor to life with the slightest of input. Next thing you’d notice is the refinement. The BS6-compliant engine is noticeably much more refined than the older RTR 160 4V, even at high speeds.
With my 68kg lightweight frame, the Apache clocked 122kmph (speedo indicated) on the Hosur test track and even at full chatter, only a mild tingle could be felt on the footpegs. What impressed me the most was the GTT, which I had presumed to be a marketing gimmick. Just slowly release the clutch, let go of the throttle and the bike continues to move at speeds up to 17kmph in 3rd gear! Perfect for commuting through the harrowing city traffic, eh?
The gearbox too is brilliant and we didn’t encounter any deadshifts even when pushing the bike to its limits.
The suspension setup hasn’t been altered at all. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke they say. The Showa derived forks work great on the track and even on roads as we already know. The monoshock was set on the softer side initially which was troublesome in corners. However, with some added preload, the issue was easily solved.
The chronic TVS-problem hasn’t been solved as of yet though. Yes, the brakes are still spongy and offer no feedback; especially the rear disc. The front offers enough stopping power though.
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V was already an epic machine and with the addition of the GTT, feather-touch start and other updates the deal is now sealed. The carbureted variants have been discontinued and only the FI will be on sale from now on. The price has been hiked by about 3,000 rupees for the disc variant costing Rs 1.03 lakh. The drum variant will be sold alongside at Rs 99,950. Only Yamaha has launched the BS6 variant of its 160cc competitor as of now and the FZ-S BS6 is priced at Rs 1.01 lakh. The Apache RTR 160 4V has won a lot of comparison tests in the past and the BS6 is sure to blaze past the competition as well unless Suzuki does something radical with its new Gixxer 150 BS6. The game has just begun!