First introduced in 2009, the TVS Apache RTR 180 was at a point of time one of the go-to bikes for a riding enthusiast looking for their performance fix at an affordable price. It looked great, offered excellent track honed dynamics, and was pretty quick too, all for a price tag under Rs 80,000.
Over the years however, the RTR 180 changed very little. It looks even more menacing than before, and it now comes with optional ABS, although in terms of mechanicals, it is still the very same bike it was when launched 6 years ago. So, just how relevant does it feel in the midst of today’s sub-200cc performance bikes? We find out!
Styling & Build Quality
The RTR 180 is visually a very appealing bike. We liked the aggressive low stance of the bike, and the cool-looking LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), which adds a little bit of drama to the mix. The mid-life refresh, which happened in 2012, seems to have done a whole lot of good for the 180, and it looks relevant even in this day and age.
The build quality on the bike is top-notch. Fit and finish levels are high, and the materials used throughout seemed to be of high-quality. We weren’t really fond of the faux carbon-fiber patterned plastic panels used around the bike though.
The ergonomics of the Apache RTR 180 are a mixed bag. The seat height is low, which is a good thing, as riders of all varying heights can straddle it with ease, and place both feet flat on the ground. What’s not so good is the riding posture itself. The clip-on handle bars and the rear set foot pegs seat the rider in a slightly forward-bent posture, which applies a lot of pressure on the wrists when riding in city traffic. Also, there isn’t much room for tall riders to move about.
The 177.4cc air-cooled engine used in the RTR 180 is a great unit. It is an over-square unit that’s fed by a carburettor, and produces 17.03 bhp @ 8500 rpm, and 15.5Nm @ 6500 rpm, with a redline set at a high 12,000 rpm. Acceleration is intense, getting the bike to 90 kmph in a flash. The 5-speed gearbox feels very slick, and is a joy to use when working up the ratios.
On the flipside, the engine feels unrefined and coarse. As the revs increase, so do the vibrations. While it is tolerable at city speeds, as you go faster, it gets more intense, which mars high-speed cruising to an extent.
It is no secret that TVS has incorporated years of their racing experience into the RTR 180. In fact, during its development phase, it underwent extensive testing at the race tracks in Chennai, Coimbatore, and even Philip Island in Australia! The result is a lithe machine that feels composed and stable through a corner. It isn’t as intuitive or nimble as say, a Duke 200, and it take some effort to turn it in, but once in, it holds its line well. Straight line stability is also quite good.
The conventional telescopic forks up front and the twin gas-charged shock absorbers at the rear combine to offer a really supple ride, surprising for a sporty bike like the RTR 180. All bumps and potholes are absorbed with alacrity, with very little being transferred to the rider. Better still, the bike remains composed, and doesn’t wallow about over uneven surfaces, unlike most other bikes with a soft suspension setup.
The RTR 180 we tested came equipped with an anti-lock braking system as standard, and it works like a charm. The petal discs on both wheels are very responsive, and help stop the bike without much trouble even from triple digit speeds. The ABS doesn’t feel very intrusive, and works silently in the background, intervening only when it senses the wheels locking up.
The bike gets a digital-analogue combo instrument console that comes with interesting features such as a 0-60kmph acceleration timer, a top-speed recorder. Also included are LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) and LED tail lights.
At Rs 75,999 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Apache RTR 180 comes across as great value for money, priced at the same level as a few premium 150cc motorcycles. But that’s only for the base version. When you add ABS into the equation, the asking price shoots to Rs 86,689 (ex-showroom, Delhi), which brings it to nearly Rs 1 lakh on-road, almost at par with the much more powerful and capable Bajaj Pulsar 200NS.
Overall, the TVS Apache RTR 180 is a great package. It looks striking, is faster than most premium 150cc bikes, and offers a superb ride. Plus, the ABS version delivers the one of the best braking performances we’ve seen in bikes under Rs 1 lakh. If you are looking for a quick, sporty bike that's comfortable for the everyday commute within this price bracket, we suggest you take a closer look at the Apache RTR 180.
|Engine||Air-cooled, 4-stroke single cylinder|
|Power||17 bhp @ 8500 rpm|
|Torque||15.5 Nm @ 6500 rpm|
|Chassis Type||Double Cradle Synchro Stiff|
|Brakes||Front:Petal disc, dia. 270 mm
Rear:Petal disc, dia. 200 mm
|Suspension||Front:Telescopic Forks, 105 mm
Rear:Stroke Mono tube inverted gas filled shox (MIG) wi
|Fuel Tank Capacity||16|