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TVS Apache RTR 180 Road Test July.2010

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TVS Apache RTR 180 ROAD TEST

The name APACHE comes from the famous North American Red-Indian Apache tribe from the state of Arizona in Southwest USA (near California), which is known to be the most fierce tribe in that continent. And true to its name all the Apache bikes launched by TVS look fierce as well as perform fiercely like the Apache warriors.

The first Apache was the 150. Then came the Apache RTR 160 carburetor, followed by the Apache RTR 160 F-i. And now comes the Apache RTR 180 carburetor, the fiercest of them all. What does it have?

Breathing thru a Mikuni BS29 carburetor, the 177.4 cc Apache RTR180 having bore X stroke==62.5 mm X 57.8 mm, claims to produce 12.52 kw of power at 8500 rpm and develops a Torque of 1.58 Kg-M (==15.5 Nm) @ 6500 rpm at a compression ratio of 9.5. The five-speed gearbox operates on a one-down-four-up pattern. Built on a 1326 mm wheelbase, the bike has a double cradle synchro-stiff chassis which makes for great rigidity and keeps it flex-free for excellent road-holding in tight corners. Riding on 90/90 X 17 tire front and 110/80 X 17 tire rear further enhances road-holding. The fat 110 mm wide rear tire makes for very good braking as well. The bike is stopped by 270mm petal disc brake front and 200 mm petal disc brake rear. Having a kerb weight of 137 kg and 16 liter fuel tank, the bike has a ground clearance of 180mm.

The highly stepped seat and the clip-on handlebars give the rider a very racy stance. Add to this the rear set foot pegs, and the racist stance is complete. The instrumentation has a digital meter with digital fuel indicator, digital clock, digital speedo & 0do and two digital trip meters. The round tacho at RH is however not digital but analog.

Switchgear which is fairly standard consists of horn button, blinker switch, Hi-Lo beam switch and day-flash button at LH, and self-start button, headlight switch and engine-kill-switch at RH.

Handlebar width is a comfortable 67 cm (without balance weights) and 71 cm with weights included. The actual ground clearance (bike off-stand, no rider) is actually 180 cm at main-stand clip as well as at belly-pan (I measured), which is very good and never touches any speed breaker even riding triples. The stepped seat is 66 cm long and the stepped pillion seat is 4.5 cm higher than rider seat. Leg room for both rider & pillion is 48 cm. In the 26.5 cm wide seat, 39 cm length of cusp is available for the driver, which is important for assholes having a large ass, though not important for me, who is a macchhar [mosquito] of 54 kg. Ass parking length available for pillion babes is 27 cm.

The twin-forks of the front suspension are of 30 mm dia – which is the same for Apache 150, as well as the RTR 160 carburetor & RTR 160 F-i. As compared to all these Apaches, Karizma & Ambition forks are 31 mm dia, Bullets are 35 mm and Bajaj-Ninja 250 are 37 mm dia. Rectangular section rear swing-arm dimensions are 40 mm vertically and 25 mm horizontally with a wall thickness of @ 3 mm, which is the same for all other Apaches as well. This compares with 48 x 28 mm for Hero Karizma and 60 x 30 for Ninja250.

ROAD TEST:

0ne point I would like to mention here is that this bike did not come to me for test as a brand new ViRGiN. Indeed it had already been done more than 5500 km times by male members of the auto magazine community when it came to me. Apparently it came to me after all the hard-copy magazines had done their hard-on testing on it, which means it wasn’t in mint fresh condition, which means not virgin. My test results would have been better if the bike had been brand new virgin. It also came without rear-view mirrors, so I fitted whatever mirrors I could get from my old bikes – one oval and one rectangular.

I took the bike for @ 500 km test ride on 24+25 April 2010 from Pune to Dapoli on the coast (of the Arabian Sea) in Raigad district, west of Pune. Fuel consumption for such a ride I always measure on a tankfull-to-tankfull basis. Costs a lot of munny (=tankfull=Rs.800/-), but accuracy isn’t cheap. I filled the fuel tank right up to the brim, shaking the bike repeatedly to make sure there are no air bubbles in the tank and it is indeed full of petrol with no air pockets. I also took the odometer reading at that moment. It was 5760 km.

The route was around Mulshi lake, via Tamhini Ghat into Konkan, cross NH.17 (Bombay-Goa highway) and ride to the seashore. It is almost the same route which I took for the RTR F-i long distance fuel test. I was single seat (55 kg). Some roads were good and I did some speeding, even touching 122 kph at times. The ride was quite high speed as much as road quality would allow. Average speed would be in the region of 65 kph, with much braking & gear changing due to bad roads and traffic. The weather was quite hot and we rode in the afternoon at temperatures of @ 42 Celcius. I agree the weather was not ideal, but it being a weekend, I got company, which was very important. I was accompanied by Pravin and Navendu on two Karizmas and a female Nehal on an RX100. We stayed at a resort on the beach and returned the next day.

Upon return, I refilled the fuel tank, liter by liter with my accurate One-Liter measuring flask, and in 10.150 liters, the tank got filled to its brim exactly as it was at starting time. The total return trip distance covered was 491 km. Thus the mileage returned by this bike on this trip was 491 divided by 10.15, which is 48.4 kmpL, which is excellent by any standards. NO OTHER 180 cc BiKE GiVEs SUCH GooD MiLEAGE under such conditions.

I also did a very accurate fuel consumption test (==bottle test) on the 180 in city driving. Following are the results:

 

S.No

     Test conditions of TVS Apache RTR 180

Distance Covered (km)

Fuel Consumed (litres)

Fuel average (kmpL)

1

Light traffic. 12 gear changes to 4th, five gear changes to 3rd, 0nce full stop and start from 1st gear. Speed mostly @ 45. Max speed 50.

6.6

0.105

62.8

2

Heavy traffic. Five full stops and start from 1st gear. Many speed breakers. 17 gear changes to 3rd. Max speed 50.

4.3

0.085

50.6

3

One full stop. Self start and go. No gear changing. Max speed 55.

3.4

0.050

68.0

4

Steady 40 in 5th gear. No braking. No gear change.

2.6

0.035

74.3

5

Free ride. Much braking. Many gear changes. Upslope & down-slope. Two overtakings. Max speed 60.

3.1

0.075

41.3

6

Overall Fuel Average

20.0

0.350

57.1

 

Overall mileage of 57 is excellent and better than most 150 bikes also.

ROAD BEHAViOUR:

Press the starter button and the engine fires instantly. Press clutch, press left toe, first gear clicks into place, release clutch and the bike moves. On city roads in Pune where speed rarely exceeds 45, I try to get to top (5th) gear Kwik Lee like Bruce Lee, because that is the way to get good mileage==stay in higher gear as much as possible. And this bike easily trundles along in top gear at 30, and from 35 onwards one can accelerate in top gear itself gradually without changing to lower gear, leading to better mileage.

This is a company that has understood the importance of Low-End-Torque==LET. Even though bore=62.5 mm & stroke 57.8, that is stroke is 4.7 mm less than bore which means  7.5% less than bore, yet LET is very good. Such short stroke engines are called flat engines and are generally better in high end than low end – as were the Kinetic GF170 & Laser & big Italian Blaze scooter. All had the same engine. Yet the Apache 180 displayed amazing low end torque qualities.

Shifting thru gears is a breeze. Staying ahead of the traffic is easy, if you don’t mind the fuel consumption resulting from changing to lower gear for quick pickup. Taking sharp corners is pat & thanks to the 110 mm fat rear tire, road-holding is superb. Having PETAL [cool] discs on both wheels, braking is on the spot – further helped by the fat rear tire. Handling is quite nimble and bike responds admirably even to slight flicks of the handle.

PERFORMANCE:

I did the regular 0-60 test with Rishi Mandke as the rider. Rishi is a daredevil. Nobody I know can do what Rishi can do. Even I cannot do what Rishi can do. The procedure is fairly standard, same as all my other road tests on this site. The best time returned for zero to sixty (many runs by Rishi) was 4.45 seconds by accurate stopwatch. Given my crude, desi, method [sasta-acchha-tikau], and subtracting human error from that, TVS claim of 4.15 seconds in their website is definitely correct.

Braking== sixty to zero was EXCELLENT.  Over many runs and wheel lockings done by Rishi, Varying from 9 meters to 11 meters, I have concluded that zer0-to-sixty braking distance for this bike is 10 meters, which is shorter and safer than most other bikes. This is probably bcoz of the FAT rear tire. Also in the TEN-meter skid (both wheels locked), the bike remained arrow straight with no wavering, which is very good and very safe. Rishi is a master bike rider and stunter who does stunt shows, wheelies, stoppies and other ‘naataks’ on bike.

After my above tests, this Apache RTR180 was ridden across the GOLDEN QUADRiLATERAL of India by my colleague Devjeet Saha. Golden Quadrilateral is Mumbai – Delhi – Kolkata – Chennai – Mumbai, and the total distance Devjeet covered was 7000 km. This ride was an Anti-Tobacco awareness drive sponsored by CANCER PATiENTs AiD ASSOCiATiON, Hindustan Petroleum, Tru-4 Oil & Aircel. It started from Mumbai on 10 May and ended at same place on 22 May. The Apache RTR180 performed beautifully, covering @ 850 km every day and there was not a single problem in 7000 km.

FiNAL CONCLUSiON:

180 cc is not a defining category. There are bigger bikes and there are smaller bikes. Why manufacturing people are sticking to this 180 figure I cannot understand. But if you want the top 180 cc bike, then at Rs.62500/- price in Delhi, this is it!

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