Date posted on July 11, 2019
In the last few years, many motorcycles and scooters of Indian origins have been marketed by different well-established brands in the Philippines. Now numbering by the thousands, these bikes have been proving their worth in enduring the harsh local road conditions and riding habits. Now there is another new Indian bike in the local market, but this time it proudly bears its original Indian name.
Designed and produced by one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world, the sporty and capable TVS Apache RTR 150 will definitely make Filipinos take notice of the brand from India.
TVS Motor Company, the third largest in India and the sixth largest motorcycle producer in the world, launched the 2012 Apache Series RTR last April in India. According to TVS, the latest Apache has an all new beast themed styling that matches its high performance power train, and makes it look dynamic, even when stationary. “We have taken the Apache RTR to the next level with obsessive engineering and menacing design. The priority in every step of the Apache brand’s development has been race bred performance. Every system, detail and component has been tuned to maximize performance,” H.S. Goindi, President-Marketing, TVS Motor Company said. “Chiseled and sharp tank shrouds constitute a revolutionary new aerodynamic package which helps reduce engine heat, helping in unbridled top end performance for race enthusiasts and increasing the usable power and crispness of response. The bike sports a sculpted digital console with new muscled styling and race inspired carbon fiber cues. The new nocturnal blue backlit display adds to the design element,” he added. The bike indeed is noticeably different from its competitors with its aggressive lines, stepped seat, clip-on type handlebars, additional tank shrouds, crash guard and engine cowl that gives the Apache RTR a more macho and sporty image.
This new TVS bike together with four other models landed on Philippine shores more or less at the same time it was launched courtesy of the Wheeltek Group of Companies by way of its nationwide dealerships Wheeltek, R-Cycle and Peer Marketing.
We were fortunate to have been given the chance to get a first impression of the Apache RTR 150 bike which is targeted at solo riders looking for an alternative bike to the usual underbone or scooter. It is positioned as a sporty commuter bike. It is not a small full-on sports bike but rather an affordable, practical, stylish and trend- setting backbone motorcycle.
The TVS Apache RTR 150 is powered by a 147.5 cc single overhead cam, single cylinder engine producing an impressive 9.95kw (13.4 bhp) of maximum power at 8500rpm and 12.3 nm of maximum torque at 6000 rpm. Matched to a manual clutch and 5-speed constant mesh transmission, it can propel the 136kgs Apache to a claimed maximum speed of 124 kph. This engine is a little rough when started from cold even when the manual choke is engaged and takes a few minutes to warm up. However, once the required engine temperature is reached and the bike gets moving, it smoothens out and delivers a noticeably strong pull above 4000 rpm. It is surprisingly refined enough to be enjoyable at sustained cruising pace. It is a big single so strong engine vibration is expected, but TVS has managed to reduce the amount of vibration reaching the rider by employing thick rubbers on the foot pegs and foot controls, and the handle bars have very heavy bar ends. The thick and soft seat also does a good job. These all help in isolating the rider from most of the vibrations; making a big difference in terms of comfort during daily commutes and especially during long rides. The big fuel tank can carry as many as 16 liters, giving the Apache a good range.
The controls feel and function similar to normal big bikes complete with a passing switch, manual choke and engine cut-off switch. One attractive feature of the Apache is its instrument cluster that features a digital speedometer and a big analog tachometer just like in modern big sport bikes. The digital speedometer’s digits are big with good contrast so you can easily read it even during daytime. It also display, fuel gauge, a digital clock and a trip meter. However, while the tachometer is readable; the stylized graphics on the background obscure the digits.
The front fork has105 mm travel and is not a leading-axle type that can make the steering quicker. The rear dual shock absorbers are adjustable for preload and its inverted mono-tube gas shock with a different chamber enables it to perform better. The front brake consists of a petal type 240 mm front disk brake that is strong and with a good feel while the rear is handled by a 130 mm drum brake.
It is very stable at high speeds when cruising in a straight line; yet it handles very light when you reach the twisties. It is unusual for the Apache RTR 150 to have different tire sizes;18-inch rear wheel and a smaller 17-inch front. TVS either made the rear wheel bigger for stability or the front smaller for quicker handling. Whatever the reason is, the result is good. Replacing the TVS-branded tires, which we highly recommend for faster riders, will just be a bit complicated than normal. They are fine for commuting but when you get used to the quick handling and the power of the Apache, you might get aggressive when cornering, so stickier tires are better.
The new TVS Apache is the modern day universal motorcycle. If you don’t like retro styling and you don’t want an underbone, this bike will be a good option. It has the ability and the performance plus modern styling. It’s also value-for-money as you get a number of extra items that you don’t get from other comparable bikes. Its long established and experienced nationwide network of dealers also ensures that servicing and spare parts availability will not be a problem.
“The TVS Apache is a standard bike leaning towards the sporty side. Although it has only been in the country for less than a year, it is already visible in most parts of the country. With TVS now aggressively promoting their brand, I expect this Indian brand to be a significant player in the local industry in the near future. The TVS Apache RTR 150 is very nice-looking and comes with many touch of additional details not normally expected like the garnish on the sides of the relatively big gas tank, crash guard and engine cowl. The front fender’s modern shape combined with the black mag wheels with red pin stripes are very nice and create a sporty image for the bike. However, I’m not fond of the faux carbon fiber graphics. I like very much the instruments with a combination of digital speedometer and analog tachometer. The ergonomics is perfect for everyday commuting. It’s relaxing for a long run; it is aggressive enough when you want to do sporty riding. The seat height is low enough that I can put both of my feet down during stop and go traffic. I find the handling easy on normal commute and fast enough for spirited riding. The engine is strong and smooth when hot, although you need to give it time to warm up. While I would upgrade the tires, overall, the Apache 150 is an impressive and value-for-money package.”
“The bright and simple color looks ordinary for me but the beast came out when I twisted the throttle in 2nd gear. There is a surprising amount of power that this bike has to offer. From low speed to high speed, the torque is always alive. I like the relaxed riding position and the large speedometer that can easily be read at speed. The suspension travel is good plus the softness of the saddle is relaxing and “butt stress” relieving. Additional “pogi points” are the flower front disk rotor, the cowling under the engine and the red highlights on the mag wheels that give it a sporty look. I like having a passing light button on a bike which I can use often and this bike has it. The head lamp size suits my taste for style and the tail lamp looks good too. The additional crash guard might help but do not suit my taste, good thing is it is just bolted on the chassis and I can remove it anytime. From “porma”, power, performance and price, 3 stars for the Apache.”
“It’s a new player in town and it seems to me that they’re targeting the big manufacturers in the market. I feel like they have a good chance with this bike. It sure does look like a much bigger bike than its Japanese counter parts with its big head lights and gas tank extensions. I like the color of the test unit and the graphic stickers are ok. It looks modern and sporty. The gauges are really good and nice to look at during night rides and easy to read even when you’re speeding, it’s a good design! The analog tachometer and digital speedometer are readable enough when you take a quick glance when you are speeding. I also like the side mirrors, they are huge and look good with the whole bike. I like how they pick out each and every part of the bike as they fit well with each other. I give them an A in design. For the size of the bike, the engine isn’t that bad. It does not scream but you don’t get so much vibrations either, but I think it needs a little more power. The handling is very good in terms of turning into corners although the tires could be improved. The Apache is really a force to reckon with in this segment.”
*This article was published in InsideRACING’s Volume 10 Number 7 2012 issue.