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Old 18th September 2011, 17:10   #1
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Default TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

The TVS Apache RTR180 ABS was launched in India just about 6 months back. Although being a significant launch as far as Indian motorcycling is concerned, there are not many reviews of the bike that could be found online. I personally felt such an effort from an Indian company should not go unattended by a popular forum like Team-BHP. So, here is an unbiased open review of what I felt when I drove this bike. Though this is not an official Team-BHP review, I have tried my best to keep it to those standards.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-1.jpg

You gotta love TVS for what they do. While every other two-wheeler manufacturer, both domestic and international, are content with churning out the same old models with an occasional nip, a tuck and a sticker job, here is one company which keeps pushing the technological barriers and comes out with models that sets the pace and trend in the industry. From the VTi technology introduced in the Centra to the most recent auto-clutch technology introduced in the Jive, TVS has always been at the forefront of technological innovations when it comes to two-wheelers.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-2.jpg

So, it should come as no surprise that TVS has once again taken the initiative and launched the Anti-lock Braking System, a technology that should ideally become a standard in our country, given the unsafe road conditions. And they could not have chosen a better model for launching this feature than their flag-bearer Apache. The Apache RTR 180 ABS thus becomes the first Indian motorcycle to feature the life-saving ABS technology and more importantly, comes at a price that does not make it out of reach of common people.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-3.jpg

So, how is the ABS-equipped Apache to drive and stop? Do we feel the ABS kicking in during panic braking? Does it inspire confidence in us or is it just another gimmick? Is it worth spending the additional 12,000 odd rupees over the regular Apache RTR 180? A short drive in the new Apache RTR 180 ABS answered all these questions and much more. But, I don’t want to keep that last question unanswered even for a moment. Hell yeah, the ABS tech is worth every extra penny that you will shell out for it. Period.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-4.jpg
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Old 18th September 2011, 17:14   #2
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

TO LOOK & FEEL:

The Apache, since its launch in 2005, has retained its basic shape and design till date. A mid-life facelift with a series of subtle yet significant changes boosted its appeal and as a result, the Apache still looks fresh and hot against the latest competition from Yamaha (FZ16, Fazer) and Honda (CB Unicorn Dazzler) unlike say, the Pulsar, which has started to look severely dated. Apart from its sleek and sexy sculpted body panels, another attractive element on the Apache range surely has to be the palette of colors on offer. Be it white, red, yellow, orange, black or grey, they all are stunners and the paint job is immaculate too. This particular ABS-equipped version of the Apache comes only with the unique white coat with contrasting black stripes.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-5.jpg
TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-6.jpg

There are certain striking design elements in the Apache RTR 180 ABS that makes it really stand out from the rest of the crowd. Details like the gold-colored petal disc up front, racy RTR stripes running along the length of the bike, the sub-fairing with the RTR and ABS stickers, the broad and muscular fuel-tank, the body-colored engine fairing, the gold-colored ABS system in the wheels, the striking twin LED taillamps and the broader 110/80 tires in 17 inch alloys make sure that you get as many stares on the road as you desire. Having said that, the absence of a full frontal fairing means that the ‘big-bike’ feel that you get, like when driving a CBR 250R or a Karizma ZMR, is not there.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-7.jpg
TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-8.jpg

Get closer and you will find that the fit and finish of the bike is top-notch in many areas but equally iffy in some other areas. The switchgear, for example, feels solid to touch, feel and operate and the clip-on handle-bars are great too. But the same can't be said about the rear-view mirrors which vibrate like hell at speeds in excess of 70 kmph. Also, the stitches in the seats have started coming off exposing the cushion and there seems to be a small misalignment in the position of the kick lever as it comes into contact with the leg brake lever when in operation. Those are not something that you expect in a ‘brand-new’ bike. Apart from that, the overall quality of the bike was good and it felt built to last.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-9.jpg
TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-10.jpg
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Old 18th September 2011, 17:19   #3
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

ON THE ROAD:

The Apache RTR 180 is powered by a single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 177.4 cc engine capable of producing a maximum power of 17 bhp and a maximum torque of 15.5 Nm. Turn the ignition ON and the Apache settles into a nice and sporty groan. Though a bit loud, the deep-throated and sporty exhaust note is a big plus and a major part of the excitement of driving this bike. TVS, with its long racing heritage, knows a thing or two about power and handling and it clearly shows with the Apache 180 being one of the more powerful and nimble bikes available in the market today. Be it a quick start from standstill in a traffic light or cutting and making way through dense city traffic or a relaxed drive in an open highway, you say it and the Apache RTR 180 does it all without much of a fuss.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-11.jpg
TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-12.jpg

Though the handling is great and the bike is willing to lean into corners, the tires remain a sore thumb with grip levles not on par with bikes like FZ16 and Fazer. Nevertheless, one other area where the Apache RTR 180 inspires confidence in the rider is in braking, thanks to its Anti-lock Braking System technology. On paper, the ABS integrates sensors placed in both wheels with an Hydraulic ECU. With a constant stream of input from the sensors, this HECU can detect a potential wheel-lock. It then modulates the braking pressure to the wheels accordingly thus making sure the wheels don't lock which, in turn, eliminates skidding and improves stability in all surfaces, be it gravel or tarmac, wet or dry. That said, any technology is easy to understand as long as it remains a theory on paper.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-13.jpg
TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-14.jpg

But, how good is the ABS in real-world conditions? How does this technology help an average road-user? Back-to-back rides in a regular Apache 150 and the RTR 180 ABS gave us the answers.

Not much difference was observed between the two bikes as long as the roads remained smooth and perfect and there were no instances of panic braking. Then came some muddy patches of broken tarmac and the RTR 180 ABS immediately made its presence felt as soon as the brakes were slammed a little harder. Where the regular 150 encountered wheel-lock for a few seconds before it regained composure leaving you with a heart-in-your-mouth feeling, the RTR 180 ABS just sailed through with superb stability. Another area where we really felt the significance of ABS was in a gravel track. The RTR 180 ABS refused to lock wheels and remained supremely stable in stretches where the regular 150 repeatedly locked wheels and lost composure.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-15.jpg
TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-16.jpg
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Old 18th September 2011, 17:21   #4
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

SPECIFICATIONS:

* Engine Type: SOHC, 4 Stroke
* No of Cylinders: 1
* Displacement: 177.4 cc
* Max Power: 17 bhp @ 8500 rpm
* Max Torque: 15.5 Nm @ 6500 rpm
* Transmission Type: 5 Speed, 1Down 4Up
* Tyres: 90/90 R17 (Front) / 110/80 R17 (Rear)
* Brakes: Petal Disc (Front) / Petal Disc (Rear)


TO SUM UP:

On checking the TVS website coming back from the test drive, it was pretty clear that the Apache RTR 180 ABS is engineered to be equally at home negotiating wet patches and gravel tracks as it is on smooth tarmac. Overall, all I have to say is TVS, along with its ABS supplier Continental has done its part really well in trying to bring this technology within the reach of thousands of Indians. But TVS can do nothing about the typical-Indian attitude of opting out of safety features to save a few thousands of rupees. Its upto each one of us to realize the significance of a life-saving technology like this and embrace it. Hats-off and way to go TVS!

WHAT YOU WILL LIKE:
* Finally, ABS is made available to us Indians at an affordable cost
* Aggressive and sporty looks that doesn't go overboard and look in-your-face
* Immaculate paint-job and eye-catching colors on offer throughout the Apache range
* Deep and sporty exhaust note that's sheer music to an enthusiast's ears (relatively)
* Nimble racing-inspired handling and superb braking that tempts us to lean into corners
* A practical daily-commute that can easily combat a race-track over a weekend

WHAT YOU WON'T:
* Lacks the 'wow' factor of a fully-faired motorcycle (like Karizma ZMR)
* Strictly average ride especially over longer distances
* Notchy gearshift that takes some time getting used to
* Average fit and finish in some areas (like rear-view mirrors and seats)
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Old 18th September 2011, 17:21   #5
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Default

OTHER SMALL BUT SIGNIFICANT THINGS:

Though every other manufacturer uses LED taillamps now, I still think TVS has done it the best. These lamps look terrific, especially when lit.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-17.jpg

The RTR branding with stripes, badges et all looks sporty.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-18.jpg

The gold coating used in a few places (like this rear gas shocks) adds to the overall appeal of the bike.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-20.jpg

The petal discs, both at the front and the rear, look great.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-21.jpg

The switchgear feels robust and built to last.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-22.jpg

The instrument cluster with blue lighting is easy on the eye unlike the orange color used by some of the competitors.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-23.jpg

The ABS System with sensors placed on both wheels constantly monitor the wheel movement and sends a constant stream of input to the Hydraulic ECU.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-24.jpg

The HECU then detects a potential wheel-lock and modulates braking pressure to those wheels thus preventing it.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-25.jpg

The contoured seats look great but the stitches started coming off in just two weeks.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-26.jpg

Though the engine fairing improves the looks of the bike, its a pain to maintain.

TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review-apache-rtr180-27.jpg

DISCLAIMER:

This is a self-sponsored test-drive done with the sole intention of helping prospective buyers out there. This was done as part of a post for my blog (ANYTHING ON WHEELS) and of course, Team-BHP. Photography was done by Arun Varadarajan.

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th September 2011 at 19:42.
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Old 18th September 2011, 17:24   #6
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Smile Re: TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

@arvi86,

Thanks for the unbiased report of the TVS Apache, it looks like its one hell of racing bike. The pics look good.

Whats the mileage achieved by the RTR, is it at par with its peers? Who exactly are the competetion, Pulsar 180....? What variants do the RT come with and whats the price tag?
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Old 18th September 2011, 17:43   #7
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

Really good review
Can you mention the changes in the 2011 Apache RTR 180(Std/ABS) compared to previous years' model.
Also, how do you rate the vibrations encountered between the two models?
As my friend owns the 2010 Apache RTR 180 and when I rode it,the vibrations were unbearable and the rear seat is as good as my Dio's!(i.e it does not exist!).
Other than that he had to change the display console seven times!;even though all of them were done under warranty and free of cost.
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Old 18th September 2011, 17:44   #8
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
@arvi86,
The pics look good.
Thanks a lot ghodlur. These pics were taken by me and my cousin (Arun Varadarajan).
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
@arvi86,
Whats the mileage achieved by the RTR, is it at par with its peers?
We have not exactly calculated the mileage as the bike is just a couple of weeks old. I will update the mileage figures after a few days.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
@arvi86,
Who exactly are the competetion, Pulsar 180....? What variants do the RT come with and whats the price tag?
The On-Road price in Chennai was Rs. 91450. On prices, the RTR180 ABS competes with Pulsar 220 DTS-i and to an extent, the Hero Moto Karizma ZMR too.

Last edited by Rehaan : 18th September 2011 at 19:44. Reason: Moved your post up as requested. Thanks for the thread!
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Old 18th September 2011, 22:10   #9
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot_Vishwas View Post
Really good review
Also, how do you rate the vibrations encountered between the two models?
As my friend owns the 2010 Apache RTR 180 and when I rode it,the vibrations were unbearable and the rear seat is as good as my Dio's!(i.e it does not exist!).
You are spot-on with your observations. The Apache's rear seat is not at all comfortable for even slightly well-built passengers, leave alone others. Since this is a brand-new bike, we really did not rev the engine much. But, even in the moderate speeds that I drove, I could feel the vibrations. So much so that the rear-view mirrors had a resonance effect partially blurring the images.
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Old 19th September 2011, 13:40   #10
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

Amazing!! Great review and pics!! Agree with most of the stuff written.

Few things to clarify:

1. In the "what you wont like section" of the review, what do you mean by Strictly average ride especially over long distances??

I have done 250+kms in a single day on the RTR160 and will be doing the same in the RTR180 once it completes the running in. I have never felt the ride to be average. If you mean the sitting posture, then yes, its aggressive you need to take breaks to rest your hands.

2. Personal opinion, but seriously, the ZMR does not have the Wow factor. It looks out of proportion with the mammoth and ill-designed fairing. Bring in the CBR250R into picture and that is a good looking fully faired motorcycle. But the P220 and ZMR dont come close with their quirky fairings.

3. Rear Seat - Well, my wife has accompanied me on all my rides with a Cramster Colt Saddle bag on the rear seat. She was totally comfortable and never asked for an extra break due to fatigue. At the risk of her reading the post, she is not on the very light side as well (Diving for cover)

I got the RTR180 Std, recently and it has done 600+kms so far. The mileage since I am controlling the urge to rip it beyond 60kmph has been a steady 43-45kmpl in varying traffic conditions. But once I take it beyond 60kmph and start riding in the 4-6k rpm range, i am expecting it to return somewhere around 35-40kmpl max. Should help with a few queries posted earlier.

Vibrations are a nature of the RTR series due to their over square engine and TVS has not managed to damp them out effectively. I have started taking my bike to 4.5k rpm recently and yes the vibes are present but not as much as it was on the RTR160 i owned previously.

I had heard of the display console issues and also the kicker lever falling off issues in the RTR180 2009/10 models. I think my console will also give up since the RPM needle vibrates for no reason. I just hope TVS will replace it free of cost. Else have to shell out 1.5-2k just for the console.

Sorry about the long post!!
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Old 20th September 2011, 06:39   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Amazing!! Great review and pics!! Agree with most of the stuff written.
Thanks, glad that you liked it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
1. In the "what you wont like section" of the review, what do you mean by Strictly average ride especially over long distances??

I have done 250+kms in a single day on the RTR160 and will be doing the same in the RTR180 once it completes the running in. I have never felt the ride to be average. If you mean the sitting posture, then yes, its aggressive you need to take breaks to rest your hands.
When I mentioned 'ride', I mentioned the overall riding experience over long distances. First of all, as you said, the sitting posture is a bit sporty and not comfortable enough for relaxed cruising. Then, I personally felt bikes like the Pulsar 220 DTS-i absorbs bumps and potholes better than the Apache RTR180. Third, the Apache wants the pillion rider to be very fit. A slightly well-built frame and the seats aren't good for them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
2. Personal opinion, but seriously, the ZMR does not have the Wow factor. It looks out of proportion with the mammoth and ill-designed fairing. Bring in the CBR250R into picture and that is a good looking fully faired motorcycle. But the P220 and ZMR dont come close with their quirky fairings.
. Karizma ZMR looks out of proportion but still when you see it you get the feel of a 'big bike' which, I felt, is missing in the Apache RTR180 ABS. It just looks like a slightly souped-up 150cc motorcycle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
3. Rear Seat - Well, my wife has accompanied me on all my rides with a Cramster Colt Saddle bag on the rear seat. She was totally comfortable and never asked for an extra break due to fatigue. At the risk of her reading the post, she is not on the very light side as well (Diving for cover)
Now, this is quite surprising to me. To be frank, my mom immediately felt uncomfortable on sitting behind in the Apache. She didn't feel so all these days sitting in a Pulsar. A couple of my friends who own Apaches also agree that the rear seat comfort in Apache is not that great. Maybe, in your case, your wife has started loving the bike because of you. (Its possible, you know).
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
The mileage since I am controlling the urge to rip it beyond 60kmph has been a steady 43-45kmpl in varying traffic conditions. But once I take it beyond 60kmph and start riding in the 4-6k rpm range, i am expecting it to return somewhere around 35-40kmpl max. Should help with a few queries posted earlier.
Thanks for the figures. It would definitely help prospective buyers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Vibrations are a nature of the RTR series due to their over square engine and TVS has not managed to damp them out effectively. I have started taking my bike to 4.5k rpm recently and yes the vibes are present but not as much as it was on the RTR160 i owned previously.
But I felt that the vibrations were a tad irritating because the resonance due to those vibrations made it challenging for me to decipher images out of the rear-view mirrors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Sorry about the long post!!
I am glad that you gave such a comprehensive feedback and many interesting trivia on the Apache RTR180. Thanks again!
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Old 20th September 2011, 08:10   #12
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180 ABS: Test Ride & Review

Good job on the review. I quite likedit. Forwarding to some friends!
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Old 20th September 2011, 08:27   #13
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Thanks for the review! Now that you gave such an awesome review, I don't think I have any extra points to talk about in my review. Agree with the build quality of the seats, pathetic. Add to that, the dealer did not wash the bike before delivery and even revved it upto 6k. So people in Thane, do avoid Priyanka TVS. I do about 70 kms daily, had some pain in my hands yesterday (maybe it's because I'm new to biking).

The ABS does work, and it does the work pretty well. Yesterday, had to brake suddenly thanks to a WagonR who thought he was in US and driving on the left side! The OTR here worked out to be 91,487 incl. octroi. Sexy pics too, thanks.


P.S: Though I wanted my bike white and only white, they should give a few colour options to those who want to settle for other colours.
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Old 20th September 2011, 12:56   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arvi86 View Post
Thanks, glad that you liked it!

When I mentioned 'ride', I mentioned the overall riding experience over long distances. First of all, as you said, the sitting posture is a bit sporty and not comfortable enough for relaxed cruising. Then, I personally felt bikes like the Pulsar 220 DTS-i absorbs bumps and potholes better than the Apache RTR180. Third, the Apache wants the pillion rider to be very fit. A slightly well-built frame and the seats aren't good for them.
comment about pillion is funny! The P220 is an outright tourer with a relaxed riding position and very generous pillion seat. I owned it in 2009 and it felt really good doing 250+ kms on it without any hassle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arvi86 View Post
Karizma ZMR looks out of proportion but still when you see it you get the feel of a 'big bike' which, I felt, is missing in the Apache RTR180 ABS. It just looks like a slightly souped-up 150cc motorcycle.
Oh yes, the ZMR looks big!! While the ZMR is meant to be big, the RTR on the other hand is derived from TVS racing and is meant to be lean, mean and what not. Again, as mentioned in my previous post, looks are a personal thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arvi86 View Post
Now, this is quite surprising to me. To be frank, my mom immediately felt uncomfortable on sitting behind in the Apache. She didn't feel so all these days sitting in a Pulsar. A couple of my friends who own Apaches also agree that the rear seat comfort in Apache is not that great.
Ah, getting mom's into the equation, the RTR loses big time on pillion seat comfort. Its just not big enough for ladies to sit to a side. Pulsar wins hands down in this department. And again, the rear foot rest of the RTR is slightly rear set and hence sitting to one side, the ergo will not work at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arvi86 View Post
Maybe, in your case, your wife has started loving the bike because of you. (Its possible, you know).
Ha ha ha!! Good one mate. But since my wife is my companion on all my long rides, she is very vocal about the rear seat comfort. She is really a good motivator and our next aim is to do a saddle sore 1600 together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arvi86 View Post
But I felt that the vibrations were a tad irritating because the resonance due to those vibrations made it challenging for me to decipher images out of the rear-view mirrors.
Oh yes definitely. i am not saying they are not there or that they are manageable. Just that i owned the RTR160 for a year and half before getting the RTR180. The vibes on the 180 are a tad lesser compared to 160. That apart the vibes are very much present and irritating to say the least!! I am saying this today coz i took the bike to 5k rpm this morning and got a free foot massage!!!
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Old 20th September 2011, 13:23   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Oh yes definitely. i am not saying they are not there or that they are manageable. Just that i owned the RTR160 for a year and half before getting the RTR180. The vibes on the 180 are a tad lesser compared to 160. That apart the vibes are very much present and irritating to say the least!! I am saying this today coz i took the bike to 5k rpm this morning and got a free foot massage!!!
So are there any solutions as such for reducing the vibes? Will switching to synthetic/semi-synthetic make any difference?
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