TVS Apache RTR 180
Back in 2009, TVS introduced a bigger capacity update to their then current market favourite, the RTR 160. The almost similar looking TVS Apache RTR 180 provided the masses with those crucial extra horsepower that the RTR’s DNA really deserved. Taking the fight straight to the Pulsar 180 and the 200/220’s doorstep, the RTR 180 proved to be a worthy candidate for TVS to stake its claim. However, ever since then there has been a curious lack of updates from the Hosur based manufacturer, besides of course a few cosmetic changes here and there and that one big change that belied its impact. RTR was given ABS to help with its braking duties and TVS left the OFF switch toggle open to the rider. The version we tested here is the non ABS version, but we got a long run with the ABS version as well soon after. The TVS RTR 180 ABS’s advertisements claim its racing DNA unleashed. Lets find out what lies beneath!
Engine and Performance
The 177.4cc engine on the TVS Apache RTR 180 develops a peak output of 17.03 BHP @ 8500 RPM and 15.5 Nm @ 6500 RPM. The numbers here, though useful, do not prepare you for the sheer grunt and gruffness of the engine once you’re astride it. Sure, there are more powerful bikes than it, not just on paper but also in the real world, but nothing this side of the 250cc bracket has the same grunty roar as this. Thumb the starter and you’re welcomed with a deep throaty noise before the engine settles into its rather silent (comparatively) idling. Do not, however, assume the engine lacks refinement going just by its note. Sure, there are vibrations that creep in through the usual suspects, the handlebars and the footpegs, but the oversquare engine is rather eager to build revs and with it, the refinement rather improves.
Slot the slick gear selector into first, where it settles with a nice clank, release the clutch and there’s a nice build up of revs from the word go. 0 – 60 come up in 4.7 seconds while it takes 10.8 seconds 0 -100 kmph, from there it goes on to a speedo indicated top speed of 126 kmph. Shifting up through the precise gearbox is a delightful affair, so much so that the gearbox leaves you with a distinct impression it can handle more power. Speaking of which, power flows in evenly across the rev band, though once past 7500 RPM it does love screaming its guts out all the way into the rev limiter. Fair warning, the aural delight may leave you wanting to keep her in the higher rev band more than necessary. The vibes, though, will make you roll off the throttle after some time. The clutch is light and precise which aids city riding immensely. Fuel economy (mileage) of the TVS Apache RTR 180 stood at 43 kmpl in city conditions and 47 kmpl on the highway.
Look and Feel and Build Quality
Curiously enough, when the first photographs of the refreshed TVS Apache RTR 180 was first released to the press, which had highlighted mostly the LED strip, it had our imaginations running helter skelter. In our opinion, this is the only motorcycle that has actually let us down with what followed after that. We weren’t really big fans of the way its predecessor looked, but the design language there was safe. This, however, is a lot more polarising in eliciting an opinion, You either hate it or love it, but you cannot ignore the new front. The LED strip does add a lot of character to the motorcycle (we wonder why more manufacturers aren’t following suit already! ) while the pointy visor gives it a sort of a demon with horns kinda look. Along the sides, nothing much has changed. The tanks scoops still gel well with the overall flow of design and the tank is as taut and functional as ever. Over at the rear, the tail light section still has LEDs that are as eye catching as ever. An interesting details are the new stickering patterns seen on the rear body panels, a dash of red and green striped alongside its RTR 180 branded sticker, very much reminiscent of the Italians and their flair for putting an almost similar colour schemes on their special ones ( think Abarth, Gallardo). The build quality remains as neat as ever and TVS’s prowess at building lasting motorcycles is further solidified. The switchgears do their job as intended and we have no complaints with the instrument cluster either, what with the 0 – 60 timer, lap timer and fastest speed recorder built in. We do have a grouse with a rather hard to push buttons on the console, but its not a deal breaker in any way. You can check out the detailed part by part photo gallery of the RTR 180 for a closer look. The RTR 180 ABS comes only in the Black and the while color option while the standard RTR 180 colors include the Black, White and the Grey (Brownish) color scheme.
Handling and Braking
The TVS Apache RTR 180 has one of the shortest wheelbases of all motorcycles currently on sale in India, second only to its own sibling, the RTR 160. Dynamically, that gives it a level of agility most motorcycles would envy. You really see those racing DNAs coming to fore as you approach a corner and settle her into a comfortable lean. Average tyres notwithstanding, this motorcycle can really hold its own around the curves and its fairly easy to get her back in line should you overstep her boundaries. The handlebars are positioned relatively low and close to the tank and the footpegs are just slightly pushed back to help get you in a very commanding riding posture to take the motorcycle by its ears. Once into a turn, its fairly easy to shift your body weight around and the firm yet narrow seats help tremendously with that.
Coming to the braking, the TVS Apache RTR 180 is shod with disc brakes both up front and at the back. Couple that with the ABS and this motorcycle has one of the most confidence inspiring braking seen this side of the market. The rear of the motorcycle tends to skip under hard braking, but that’s mainly due to the short wheel base and better rubber should help reduce that and grip better. The front hardly dives in much and it is quite possible to brake late into a corner and get away with it. Just. Though, a word of caution here. Owing to the short wheelbase, braking while leaned over changes the lean angle far more dramatically than you’d expect, so we recommend taking it easy until you get a hang of this. Its quite agile in experienced hands but can get hairy for the novice. Good that the ABS is on board to help things along. Just remember to keep it turned on.
In our opinion, the TVS Apache RTR 180 makes for one of two motorcycles currently in the market that can be had for cheap for new learners to get to grips with track riding nuances.
Accessories and Key features
The TVS Apache RTR 180 comes loaded with accessories that have become the norm in the market now, but were quite novel when it came out first. The digital console except for the tachometer looks cool even today and has a host of features not seen anywhere else. A 0 – 60 timer, for one. A top speed recorder and lap timer for another. Besides these seriously cool gimmicky features, it also gets a digital clock which in our opinion should be a default in all digital consoles anyway. There’s cool blue backlight to the console that does its job of being attractive and different. Away from the front, there’s split grab rails and LED taillamps thrown in the mix too. However, the key feature with the RTR 180 remains the ABS and its capability to be switched off for the stunter folks and for those who want to have some sliding action.
Value for Money
At Rs.84,565 (ex-showroom Delhi), the TVS Apache RTR 180 ABS cuts a sweet deal for the kind of motorcycling experience it provides you with. There’s a lot of places that this motorcycle is at home in, be it city commuting, touring, beginner track riding or just stunting. The extra 20cc over its younger sibling along with the ABS thrown in doesn’t reflect that much on its price tag. All in all, we’ll say its quite a good VFM proposition.
The TVS Apache RTR 180 ABS has proven itself a worthy contender for our attention and consideration. Sure there are slight drawbacks, such as ergonomics for the generously proportioned or the vibes, but the positives we see in this motorcycle from TVS would rather have us oversee them. It rides well, handles confidently, is quite efficient and has a feel that most riders can connect with. Not to forget, its got your back under tricky conditions with that ABS and you don’t need a better reason than this to get yourself one. Its a shame this motorcycle hasn’t sold in huge numbers, because it definitely deserves to. The TVS Apache RTR 180 remains one of the more underappreciated motorcycles in the market today. Now if only TVS could better this one. Where’s the RTR 250 we’ve all been waiting for?
|Bore*Stroke||62.5 mm x 57.8 mm|
|Torque||15.5 Nm @ 6500 RPM|
|Power||12.52 kW (17.03 BHP) @8500 RPM|
|Fuel delivery||Carburetor – UCAL BS-29|
|Starting aid||Electric + Kick|
|Frame||Double Cradle SynchroSTIFF|
|Rear Shock absorber||Monotube Inverted Gas-filled shox (MIG) with spring aid|
|Brake system Front||Disc|
|Brake system Rear||Disc|
|Brake disc – diameter front||270mm Petal Disc with ABS & RLP|
|Brake disc – diameter rear||200mm Petal Disc with ABS & RLP.|
|Front tyre||90/90 x 17 inch (Tubeless)|
|Rear tyre||110/80 x 17 inch (Tubeless)|
|Fuel tank capacity||16 L including 2.5 L reserve|
|Ground clearance||165 mm|
|Seat height||790 mm|
|Kerb Weight||139 kg|
|Battery||12V, 9 Ah|
|Head lights||35/35W HS1|