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2023 TVS Apache RTR 160: Road Test Review

13 January 2023, 06:26 PM Suvil Susvirkar


TVS Apache RTR 160 Right Side View

Why to buy it?

- Gets many features

- Enjoyable motor and good fuel economy

- Good overall fit and finish

Why avoid it?

- No major styling updates

- Cramped ergonomics

- No major price difference over Apache RTR 160 4V

The TVS Apache RTR 160 has been a stepping stone into the entry-level performance segment of the Indian market and it is among the most ideal motorcycles for new buyers with limited riding experience. For 2023, TVS Motor Company has updated the 2V version of this entry-level performance motorcycle, and the latest iteration comes with styling and feature revisions.

TVS Apache RTR 160 Front View

The styling revisions include an updated headlight design while the feature list now comprises Bluetooth connectivity and three ride modes. In India, the Apache RTR 160 rivals the likes of the Bajaj Pulsar P150, and here we bring you a detailed road test review of the 2023 iteration of this TVS motorcycle.

Styling and Quality

TVS Apache RTR 160 Head Light

The styling of the Apache RTR 160 has evolved gradually over the years, but the motorcycle still carries a very familiar silhouette. For 2023, the Apache RTR 160 gets an updated headlight design that features an LED setup along with twin LED DRLs. The design looks modern, if not futuristic and the Apache RTR 160 looks more visually appealing than ever before. Meanwhile, it retains styling elements such as a body-coloured headlight cowl, a black visor, a muscular fuel tank with bold graphics and a 3D logo on the shrouds, an engine cowl, and a split-style pillion grabrail. The carbon-fibre texture on the side and the rear panels further enhance the sportiness of the package.

TVS Apache RTR 160 Instrument Cluster

The cockpit gets an update too, and the Apache RTR 160 drops the semi-digital layout for a fully-digital instrument cluster that is similar to the unit on the Apache RTR 160 4V. The highest-spec version also gets Bluetooth connectivity. The paint quality looks premium while the switchgear operates well. The ‘Mode’ switch is easily accessible too, making it easy to toggle between the riding modes on the fly. However, the plastic around the switches, especially around the joints, could have been of a better finish. Excluding these, we did not find any other build quality issues on this motorcycle.

TVS Apache RTR 160

TVS Apache RTR 160

  • Displacement159.7 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported45 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)15.31 bhp
  • Kerb Weight139 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 1,18,381

TVS Apache RTR 160 Left Front Three Quarter

Then, the styling is appealing and it does manage to grab attention on the road, especially in the Racing Red paint colour that you see in the pictures. There are four more bold colours on offer and they should appeal to young buyers. The motorcycle looks sporty, but does it ride equally well?

Ergonomics and Comfort

TVS Apache RTR 160 Left Side View

The seat height is set at 790mm, making it accessible for a wide range of riders. But the footpegs are high placed, likely to improve clearance while cornering. Now, tall riders may find the rider’s triangle to be cramped and uncomfortable but shorter riders would like this high position of the footpegs. These footpegs, along with clip-on handlebars, deliver a sporty rider’s triangle and it matches the character of the motorcycle.

TVS Apache RTR 160 Rear Suspension

Despite its sporty character, the suspension setup is surprisingly plush. The front forks and the twin gas-filled rear springs iron out most of the undulations on the road, but the sharper bumps are still noticeable. The seat, too, feels well-padded and you can ride for several hours before you need a break. However, the step-up design limits the movements of the rider. That said, it is easy to move the motorcycle around, and with a full 12-litre fuel tank, it tips the weighing scale at just 138kg.

Performance and Handling

TVS Apache RTR 160 Right Rear Three Quarter

The Apache RTR 160 continues to use a 159.7cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine. The maximum power and peak torque output vary depending on the ride mode selected. The Urban and Rain modes limit the power and torque outputs to 13.1bhp at 8,000rpm and 12.7Nm at 6,500rpm, respectively. Meanwhile, the Sport mode offers access to the full 15.8bhp at 8,750rpm and 13.85Nm at 7,000rpm. Do note that these modes do not alter the engine character. Instead, the Urban and Rain modes limit the revs to 8,000rpm. This, in turn, limits the top speed of the Apache RTR 160 in the lower power modes.

TVS Apache RTR 160 Front Disc Brake Caliper

The motor feels comfortable anywhere above 3,000rpm, and it starts to accelerate smoothly post 4,000rpm. It also builds power at a commendable pace and that only starts to fade after 9,000rpm. Still, the motorcycle can cruise at 80kmph at 6,000rpm, while the speedometer indicated top-speed of 125kmph is much higher than the claimed 107kmph in the Sport mode. Moreover, the braking setup complements the performance and the petal-type discs on both wheels offer plenty of initial bite. The five-speed gearbox feels crisp as well and we did not face any shifting issues during the road test.

TVS Apache RTR 160 Rear Tyre

Coming to the handling department, it is engaging as well – thanks to the lightweight of the motorcycle and the sporty ergonomics. Thus, it’s quite engaging when ridden around curving roads. The lightweight also comes in handy while filtering through traffic. But it is limited by the grip levels delivered by the tyres and the stock units are not very confidence inspiring. There is also the Glide Through Technology that aids in bumper-to-bumper traffic. But wait, there’s more.

Features and Technology

TVS Apache RTR 160 Instrument Cluster

The Glide Through Technology allows the motorcycle to move forward without any throttle input. It only operates in the first three gears, and the speed is limited to 7kmph in the first, 12kmph in the second, and 17kmph in the third gear. Then, the top-spec variant gets Bluetooth connectivity which works with a dedicated smartphone that offers access to call/SMS alerts along with turn-by-turn navigation. It also has low fuel warning and assist function that redirects the rider towards the nearest fuel station. There are safety functions as well and the system notifies emergency contacts in case of a crash.

TVS Apache RTR 160 Left Side Multifunction Switchgear

The instrument cluster shows additional information too. Apart from the regular data such as a tachometer, speedometer, odometer, two trip meters, fuel gauge, and a clock, the console also shows a lap timer, top speed recorder, 0-60kmph acceleration timer, and an average speed recorder. Plus, the rider can adjust the brightness of the console, although this function takes some time to understand when operating for the first time.

TVS Apache RTR 160 Left Front Three Quarter

The safety net on this TVS motorcycle includes a single-channel ABS and the intrusion levels vary depending on the ride mode selected. The Sport mode has the least intrusive feedback while the Rain mode has the module on the maximum intrusion. These modes, as mentioned earlier, are easy to toggle with the conveniently located switch on the right side of the switchgear.

TVS Apache RTR 160 Head Light

The 2023 iteration of the Apache RTR 160 gets an LED headlight and the setup delivers a promising performance. The low-beam has a wide spread while the high-beam illuminates several metres ahead, thus giving the confidence to go fast in dark riding conditions. Now, while the competition, too, uses LED lighting, the Apache RTR 160 2V has an edge in terms of additional functions such as detailed instrument cluster readings and Bluetooth connectivity. Not to mention, it’s efficient when it comes to fuel economy as well.

Fuel Efficiency

TVS Apache RTR 160 Right Side View

The motorcycle delivered a fuel economy of 61kmpl in our internal efficiency test. This was achieved by short shifting between 3,000-4,000rpm, keeping the tachometer under 5,000rpm at all times, and shutting the engine off at traffic lights with more than 25 seconds of waiting time. Thus, with its 12-litre fuel tank, the Apache RTR 160 can cover a distance of 732km between fuel stops.

Should you buy it?

TVS Apache RTR 160 Right Front Three Quarter

Things that really work for the 2023 TVS Apache RTR 160 are its styling, engine, and feature list. It looks desirable, especially in the Racing Red theme, and has a decent fit and finish. The engine, albeit not eyeball-flattening in terms of acceleration and top speed, has enough character to keep novice riders entertained. Meanwhile, the modern feature list will appeal to young buyers who are looking for their first motorcycle. It is still relevant and achieving sufficient sales in select markets, which is probably why TVS Motor Company has retained this model in its portfolio. It isn’t, however, for an experienced rider and people looking for even better performance should consider the Apache RTR 200 4V which is just Rs 15,000 more expensive than this variant of the Apache RTR 160.

Photography by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi