I had heard enough rumours suggesting the Apache RTR 180 to be as good a performer as the forbidden Pulsar 220 DTSi and the ever popular Hero Honda Karizma. So, with high hopes I entered my friend’s TVS dealership and was greeted by a line up of Apaches on display. The display included the new RTR 160 Hyper Edge. To my disappointment and it probably will disappoint many readers that the Apache RTR 180 ABS was not available. Neither for a display nor the test ride. A quick chat with my friend and owner of the dealership revealed that this variant hasn’t yet got a good response may take 15 days if bought on order. The news did played spoilsport to my excitement but still, with ideas of mind numbing performance (of course, in Indian sense) I borrowed the bike for a day and settled myself in the saddle of the test mule. First thing that caught my attention was the ignition key cluster that is a direct lift off from the much cheaper TVS Scooty Pep +. Also, Bajaj has often been criticised for cheap feeling switchgear. However, I always found them to be of ‘chalta hai’ quality and similar is the case with the Apache’s switchgear here. Next I positioned myself for a quick ride and the seat was comfortable though not in league of the comfy Karizma. The foot pegs are positioned in a way that they suit both commuting and spots riding. Again, similar to the Pulsar 220 DTSi. I thumbed the electric starter and the first thing to catch my attention was the racy blue backlit display and a digital clock. The only other bike to have a clock is the HH Karizma series. With high hopes and palms itching for action I slotted the bike into the first gear and found that the gear nicely slotted into it. As I rolled into momentum the bike did a quick dash and I quickly had to slot into the second in order to refrain over revving the engine. Yes the bike is quick though definitely a tad slower than the 220 DTSi but feels a tad more refined and smoother. The gear shifts are smooth and very unlike the UG1 and UG2 Pulsars.The ride quality from the bike equoipped with telescopic shocks up front and gas filled in the rear was okay for a bike biased towards the performance and soaked craters as if it is it’s daily business to do so but then again no Karizma like comfort it offers while dealing with bad roads.
Enough of ride, getting to business we come to handling. Now this is one area where Apache feels at home.It sure isn’t as good as the R15 but is a close second as the bike has a light weight of 137 KGs and though the tires from TVS never felt very good but the bike offered substantial grip levels. I was a tad nervous on some one else’s bike but a foot peg scraper was an easy deal and the bike felt comfortable and confident while it was into a lean. The shocks seemed stiff enough and in my opinion, if an average Indian wants a bike that enables him to commute and doubles up as a quick street bike, the Apache seems to be a nice deal for the price TVS is asking for it. The ABS equipped bike is said to retail at 80000 INR with Temp. registration and 1 year insurance and that will make it 2nd bike to sport ABS, the first being the Honda CBR 250R and it will also be the cheapest ABS equipped bike on sale in country. Talking about the braking, the standard 180 has a disc brake at the rear as well and the retardation is good and more than adequate. The bike saw a dash to 122kmph on the digital speedo before I decided to drop the anchors and the bike behaved well while braking. I won’t say it is as good a performer as the ZMR but it is at a close second. The bike has a good paint finish, the plastic panels seem to be of a nice quality and to top it all, it has a price tag that makes the bike seem to be a shade more Value for Money than the popular Bajaj DTSIs. The rev counter has tell tale lights including one that lights up when the bike requires servicing.The Apache RTR 180 will make a good premium Indian bike that is available without asking for a price that aims for the moon but with performance that sure does. The good network from TVS and cost of spare parts that is almost as low as that of Bajaj spare parts make the RTRs a really good deal. I again won’t say it is a 220 DTSi beater nor a HH Karizma killer as it isn’t as comfy and won’t make a tourer but for the price it is asking, the RTR 180 is one helluva good bike and should make it’s rider a satisfied soul everytime he overtakes or gives a close fight to a 220 DTSi or smokes a Karizma and avoids burning a hole in his pocket while paying the fuel bills.
Displacement: 177.4 CC
Max Power: 17.3 PS@8500 RPM
Max. Torque:15.5 Nm @6500 RPM
Carb: Mikuni BS-29
Idle: 1400 RPM
Claimed top speed 124 KMPH
Brakes : 270 MM (F), 230 MM (R)
Rear Tyre Size :110/80/R17
Front Tyre Size:90/90/R17
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