At first glance, the 2021 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V would look identical to the model that the company revealed in 2020. You wouldn’t be wrong as the 2021 model carries forward the styling upgrade that the motorcycle received during the BS6 transition. But the spec-sheet reveals a completely different story. TVS Motor Company has made mechanical revisions to the motor to make more power than before. What else? The company also managed to shed two kilograms from the weight over the 2020 model. Here we bring you the road test report of the 2021 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V.
The overall build quality is above average and we didn’t notice any rattling sounds from the motorcycle during the test ride. The paint quality looks and feels good while the 3D logo and the chequered flag decals on the fuel tank further enhance the premium looks of the Apache RTR 160 4V. The sporty pillion grabrail and the dual-tone seat cover look stylish and well put together.
But there are a few elements on the Apache RTR 160 4V that can improve. The plastic used on the LED DRLs, for example, appears as a clear cost-cutting measure. Moreover, while most of the switchgear worked well, the turn indicator controller felt rough while operating.
The styling, as aforementioned, has remained unaltered as the 160cc motorcycle from TVS Motor Company received a major visual overhaul in 2020. Thus, the 2021 Apache RTR 160 4V continues to carry the Draken concept-inspired design that comprises a full-LED headlight with twin LED DRLs at the front, an LED taillight at the back, a yellow backlit instrument cluster, flat handlebar, and a step-up seat.
The motorcycle retains all the cycle parts from the 2020 model, and thus the suspension tasks are handled by telescopic forks at the front and a mono-shock at the back. The setup is tuned for sporty riding without being harsh. The telescopic front forks and the rear mono-shock absorb most of the undulations effortlessly, while being stiff enough to inspire confidence to push the motorcycle around the corners.
The flat handlebar and slightly rear-set footpegs deliver sporty, yet upright ergonomics. The fuel tank recesses offer plenty of room to grab the motorcycle while the spacious saddle ensures sufficient room for the rider and the pillion. The seat height of 800mm should make it accessible to a wide range of riders. Moreover, the relatively light weight makes it easier to move the motorcycle around tight parking spaces.
While the styling and the cycle parts remain identical to the 2020 model, the biggest upgrade for 2021 Apache RTR 160 4V is the revised engine output. The 2021 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V retains the 159.7cc, single-cylinder, oil/air-cooled layout, although the motor on the latest model produces 17.4bhp of power and 14.73Nm of peak torque as against 15.6bhp and 14.12Nm on the 2020 version. TVS has also managed to shed two kilograms off the kerb weight, and the new model tips the scales at 145kg as against 147kg previously. This gives the 2021 Apache RTR 160 4V a better power-to-weight ratio than before.
The motor feels comfortable anywhere above the 2,200rpm mark with a noticeable step-up above the 4,000rpm mark. The throttle response feels crisper and there are no noticeable vibrations in the low and the mid-range. Venture into the higher revs, however, and you will notice a buzz in the footpegs and the handlebar.
The five-speed transmission feels smooth while the light clutch action makes life easier in stop-and-go traffic. Further improving the ownership experience is TVS' Glide Through Technology or GTT that enables the motorcycle to keep moving forward without any throttle input. With the GTT in action, the motorcycle moves at a maximum speed of 7kmph in the first gear, 12kmph in second, and 17kmph in third. The tech also works in the fourth and the fifth gear, keeping the speedometer ticking around the 31kmph mark, without any throttle input, in the top cog.
The braking setup retains a 270mm petal-type disc at the front as standard while the rear is available with either a 130mm drum unit or a 200mm petal-type rotor. The latter carries a marginal price premium over the former. We cannot comment on the difference between the performances of the two setups as we tested the dual-disc version of the motorcycle. While the braking hardware on the dual-disc model delivers a satisfactory response, the setup lacks the initial bite and it isn’t very confidence-inspiring. The electronic rider safety net is at par with the rivals, and the Apache RTR 160 4V uses a single-channel ABS.
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V features an LED headlight, an LED taillight, and a digital instrument cluster. The headlight delivers a praiseworthy performance of lighting up the path after dark, however, the LED DRL design isn’t the most efficient one. The illumination from the DRLs leaks towards the rider, causing discomfort to the vision when riding in the dark.
The cockpit includes an information-rich digital display that speaks of the racing pedigree of the motorcycle. Apart from the regular data, the instrument cluster also records the top speed achieved and the 0-60kmph acceleration timer. While these recording options would come in handy on a racetrack, they provide very little utility value in real-life riding conditions. Instead, a gear-position indicator would’ve enhanced the practicality aspect of the motorcycle. Smartphone connectivity is not part of the package yet, although that feature may arrive in the future. Do note that the Apache RTR 200 4V already benefits from Bluetooth connectivity.
The motorcycle returned an overall fuel economy of 41.4kmpl which, along with the tank capacity of 12-litre, should deliver a range of 497km between fuel stops.
Fitness of Purpose
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is a perfect motorcycle for anyone who wants a sporty commuter. The added power and the lighter weight make it more fun to ride than ever before. The motorcycle feels agile and it’s quick to change directions. Moreover, the light weight makes the Apache RTR 160 4V remarkably easy to filter through traffic. The motorcycle can also sit comfortably at highway speeds, making it fairly suitable for long-distance rides. The lack of wind protection, however, will bother the rider at three-digit speeds.
At a time when performance motorcycles are climbing up the price ladder into borderline “unaffordable” territory for many, products like TVS Apache RTR 160 4V ensure that there’s something for everyone. The motorcycle lives up to the company’s racing history, and it is among the most fun-to-ride products in its segment in the Indian market. The overall package works well, and the added power makes the motorcycle even more fun to ride. The addition of the GTT function makes life easier in bumper-to-bumper traffic situation too.
On the downside, the LED DRLs could’ve used better quality covers while the instrument cluster would’ve felt complete with the addition of a gear position indicator, but we’re nitpicking here. The prices for the TVS Apache RTR 160 4V start from Rs 1.07 lakh for the rear drum variant while the dual disc version is available for Rs 1.10 lakh (both ex-showroom, Delhi).
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
Left Front Three Quarter