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Old 7th March 2012, 17:40   #1
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Default TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

6months and 10 days. The first milestone achieved on my RTR180.

TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review-photo067crop.jpg

Before proceeding with the review, which will be a long one at that, those not interested in the history and geography, please skip the first 2 sections and jump direct to the review at the bottom.

History: No great history as such. I don’t know how I got into biking or why. Liked the feeling of freedom on the bike. My first bike was a Suzuki Samurai. I still reminisce the good times I had with the bike. Thus started my tryst with bikes and biking

Bikes owned: Now call me what you like but I had to go thru a lot of motions to find the right steed. Below are a list of bikes and the approximate duration for which I owned them.

Suzuki Samurai
– Nearly 3 years (22,000kms) --> Zero problem bike which was easy on the pocket during the college days when the moolah was difficult to come by.

Pulsar150 DTSi First Gen
– 10 months (8500kms) --> Very unbalanced bike & has a front heavy weight balance which is not to my liking.

RX135
4 Speed – 18 months (9,000kms) --> Superb city bike but did not inspire confidence (in me at least) beyond speeds of 90kmph.

RTR160 ’07 model
– 12 months (7000kms) --> Love a first sight with an RTR. Enjoyed every moment with the bike. Had to sell it since I was leaving town and no one at home was ready to ride a geared bike.

Pulsar220 DTSi
– 4000kms (not sure of duration) --> Very cumbersome in city traffic with the bulky fairing, front heavy as usual and too many niggling issues which the service center could not fix in the first visit numerous times.

RTR160 ’08 model
– 20 months (13,000kms) --> RTR always stirred something in me which is unexplainable. This was one sweet ride which was modified by Joel to 175cc and also had a K&N as well as Free Flow Exhaust by him. Unfortunately, it developed some issues and I had to unwillingly part with it.

Yamaha FZ16 – 3 months (4000kms) --> Classic case of lemon. Too many issues to list but booked my loses by selling the bike. Good point of the bike was its handling and I learned what leaning into a curve means on this bike. Holds the road like a leech with that mammoth rear tyre.

Finally ended up with the RTR180. Phew!

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As mentioned earlier, the RTR series always stirred me up like none other. The perfect proportions, the unique color options, that wonderful instrument cluster - everything about it feels perfect and any other bike will leave me wanting for something that was present in the RTR. Well then you might ask, why the hell did I try out so many different bikes rather than just picking up an RTR each time I wanted a bike. Human tendency. I wanted to try bikes like P220 and FZ16 only to be left unsatisfied and disappointed. There is nothing wrong with them bikes as such. It was just me who was so used to the perfect RTR (personal opinion) that the other bikes felt pale in comparison.

Coming to the meat of the matter. The review - The obvious starting point at least for me is the way it looks.

Looks: This is the first thing most observe in any vehicle. How it looks when parked/at stand still. It has to strike the chord when parked. The RTR did that to me in 2007 and it did it all over again in 2011 with the Pearl White color. The looks are still very well proportioned and the slightly beefier rear tyre compared to RTR160 gives it a meatier look from behind. Overall, the looks are mesmerizing to my eyes and draw me to it every time i park the bike. The gold forks, pearl white paint which has high quality finish, the superb tail lamps... I can keep going on.

Seating: Rider comfort, after getting used to the seating posture, is quite comfortable. Have toured for 300kms one way with 2 butt breaks without any paining wrists or shoulders. Pillion comfort is also good at least from the perspective of my wife who is 5'2 and has accompanied me on most rides. I have never sat pillion for more than couple of kms on the RTR, so no personal observations here.

Engine: Heart of the matter and it is very strong. Very torquey for the city and high revving for the highways. Good balance of low, mid and high end torque. Never feels short of power. Yes, the vibrations are present but they are much much less compared to the RTR160. And again yes, the vibrations are present in the 4k-5.5k rpm when accelerating and from 6k-4.5k during deceleration. This is only until you complete around 5000kms on the odo. After that and with a good engine oil, you can barely feel the vibes in the handle bars and a little more pronounced on the foot pegs. Overall much better refinement compared to the RTR160.

TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review-img_0121.jpg

Gearbox: Rather than gearbox, i would like to call it gearshifts. Highly notchy in the first 1000kms with false neutrals galore, slight improvement in the next 1500kms, and by around 3500kms on the odo, either you are used to the amount of pressure required to shift or the gearbox would have bed in nicely

Brakes: Of all the bikes listed above, including the RTR160, the brakes on the RTR180 are the best i have experienced so far. Very progressive and the rear discs actually do feel like disc brakes unlike the P220 where it was always feeling like a drum brake. Petal discs help to dissipate heat faster than normal discs which you will not feel during normal riding. But yes you can feel the progressive braking and the way they go about dropping the speed.

Headlight / Tail Lamp: 35/35W AC stock headlamp with that awesome reflector is the best bet barring the projector set up of the P220. Now this was the first bike, in my case, in which the headlamp alignment was correct right from the factory. The FZ and the P220 both required multiple visits to the service center just to get the low beam/high beam alignment right. Tail lamp is all LED and looks good when viewed from a distance. Very bright and visible even on a hot summer afternoon or dark streets.

Tyres: The worst tyres ever provided right out of the factory by any mfg.! The front is a 90/90-R17 and rear is 110/80-R17. The wheels are now 17 inch both front and rear as opposed to the 18 inch rear on the RTR160. Totally crappy tyres. They slip and slide like nobody's business. I have never had to live with factory tyres on the RTR160 as i had changed them to tubeless of different make. But on the RTR180 i lived with them for 7000kms to really experience the crap they dish out and if it was indeed true about them. And yes it is. In wet on a straight line they are good. Change direction one bit and you lose the rear. Gravel and sand are a big no at speeds more than 20-30kmph. Dry tarmac is the only place where it is good for speeds and the other road conditions do not inspire any confidence.

Instrument Console: The best I have come across so far, barring probably the Duke which has almost MFD like cars. But still i am not a fan of digital RPM meter. I like the way the digi speedo and analog tacho are integrated on the RTR. The console shows digi speedo, time, Odo, 2 Trip Meters, Top Speed, 0-60 timings. The cool blue back light of the console is soothing and looks good at night.

TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review-img_0123.jpg

Handling: The brilliant chassis is let down by a poor choice of tyres. Yes, it is very nimble and easy to handle in city traffic. But throw in some sand, gravel or wet patch on the road and it all goes for a toss! Change them tyres and you have the best handler for the money spent. Of course spend more and you get the likes of Duke200, R15 v2.0 which are better. But for 82k on-road price, the RTR180 handling is perfect for city/highway. Again at the risk of sounding repetitive, with a better set of tyres. The weight is only 1kg more than RTR160 so the brilliant power to weight ratio, ease of parking, removing it out of tight spots, maneuverability all are in favor of the bike.

Fuel Efficiency: During run-in, I have got around 47kmpl in the city. After run-in and with gearshifts moving to 6.5k rpm range, the mileage dropped to around 38kmpl in the city. The highways, it still gives me 45kmpl after 10000kms on the odo and gearshifts in the 6.5k-7k rpm. No complaints at all!

TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review-img_0133.jpg

Maintenance: Hassle free and in fact pleasantly surprised with the service offered by Trijal TVS at least. All the regular services were done to my liking. I never used TVS oil after the first 500kms which is right from my first service. The SA, Bhaskar is very knowledgeable and patient and listens to your complaints. Does not hesitate for warranty/regular replacements and very amiable chap. Below are a list of replacements on my bike so far:

1st service at 500kms - Regular service with oil/oil filter change. Wash n normal polish
Service cost - Rs.70/-

2nd service at 3000kms - Regular service with oil/oil filter change. Air filter cleaned. Chain cleaned and lubed. Wash n normal polish.
Service cost - Rs.135/-

At around 4500kms on the odo, a petrol leak was identified near the petrol cock. They replaced some washers twice in a gap of about 2 weeks. Third time around the SA Bhaskar spoke to the works manager (another nice and amiable chap) and agreed to get the tank replaced under warranty. It was done free of cost and within 2 days as they did not have stock of the white color tank at the time.

3rd service at 6000kms - Regular service with oil/oil filter change. Air filter cleaned. Chain cleaned and lubed. Wash n normal polish.
Service Cost - Rs.138/-

At around 7200kms on the odo, my rear tyre got punctured by a blade. The cut was wide and deep. Air was leaking even after fixing the puncture. Changed the rear tyre to Pirelli MT75 57P Tubeless for the rear. Handling and wet grip improved by leaps and bounds. Gravel and sand even at speeds of 50kmph feel planted. Front is still stock but will change it soon too and see how it helps with the braking/handling.

4th service at 9000kms - Regular service with oil/oil filter change. Air filter cleaned. Chain cleaned and lubed. Front brake pad changed. Wash n normal polish.
Service cost - Rs.480/- (Brake pad approx Rs.350/-)

Engine oil was provided by me for all the above services. They never created any problem and happily put it in the bike.

Overall, very happy with the bike and specially the service of the bike at Trijal TVS, Whitefield, Bangalore. Hope to have many more such milestones before I can think of an upgrade.

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Please feel free to ask me any queries. Shall try to answer to the best of my knowledge. Also there are not too many pics as i was busy riding the bike. Have included what little i had.

Last edited by abhinav.s : 7th March 2012 at 17:48.
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Old 7th March 2012, 17:58   #2
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

Nice compilation. Rating it a well deserved 5 stars. If you are planning to stick around with this, please change the bike's footwear.

IIRC, R15's rubber didn't work as expected (it was on some forum, can't recall which)
That is the best bit you can gift yourself Please up-date once you plan this. RTR-180 for sure feels faster than all bikes costing ~1L.

Ride-safe.
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Old 7th March 2012, 18:53   #3
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Nice compilation. Rating it a well deserved 5 stars.
Thanks for rating Sheel

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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
IIRC, R15's rubber didn't work as expected (it was on some forum, can't recall which)
Oh thanks for this tidbit. Was going to change to R15's rubber for the front. Will check other options now.

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RTR-180 for sure feels faster than all bikes costing ~1L. Ride-safe.
Spot on!
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Old 7th March 2012, 19:13   #4
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

No queries on the Apache as such - but where's the location in the last 2 pics? Does one have to do lots of "offroading" to get there? Can a car get to that place?
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Old 7th March 2012, 19:19   #5
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but where's the location in the last 2 pics? Does one have to do lots of "offroading" to get there? Can a car get to that place?
You would not believe but that is a golf course which has turned that color in summer. This is in Coorg en route to Somwarpet. I remember taking a pic of my Sparky with similar background but in monsoon and it was lush green! No off roading was required then. (Am averse to offroading on the bike anyways). Now we have to cross a ditch which is dug up which will prove too deep for a car to cross! We did not want to cross it on the bike itself & had to be content with the edge of the road as close to the golf course as possible.
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Old 8th March 2012, 14:52   #6
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

Dude, good to see you having a nice time with the Apache, though I was a little surprised by the 82K tag, i got mine for 76K when i did (too much time has passed and too few kms done :P )

You are bang on with the observation on the tyres, they are just not fond of even a wee bit of gravel.
The switches for the speedo are also a lil too hard for my liking but they stay in default mode for me.

Ride safe man, good to see atleast someone is enjoying it the way it should be . (hee hee)

p.s. You really seem to be on a bike upgrade spree, looking at the list. Whats next?

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Old 8th March 2012, 15:00   #7
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

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IIRC, R15's rubber didn't work as expected (it was on some forum, can't recall which)
I believe that was for the V1, with V2's newer fatter rubber, equations might change, but if you come across similar profile tires with Michelin, Pirelli or any tire/brand which you have heard good reviews, would suggest go for it.

I have a hunch that R15's tires work good on that particular Motorcycle. I would love to be wrong though as it would open new avenues as far as tire shopping goes (esp for P-220 & RTR-180 riders)
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Old 8th March 2012, 16:15   #8
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Ride safe man, good to see atleast someone is enjoying it the way it should be . (hee hee)
Thanks for your kind words Sammy!! You have the greenie now for the adrenaline rush so no wonder the RTR is not used much!!

Quote:
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p.s. You really seem to be on a bike upgrade spree, looking at the list. Whats next?
Nothing on the cards at the moment. Planning to ride this for at least silver jubilee (25,000kms) before an upgrade The Ninja is really tempting as the next upgrade but the CBR has me confused in terms of VFM v/s Performance

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.. but if you come across similar profile tires with Michelin, Pirelli or any tire/brand which you have heard good reviews, would suggest go for it.
I had a tough time getting the stock RTR180 tyre size (110/80-17) when i was forced to change the tyre due to the puncture. None of the tyre dealers in Bangalore had that size at that time. I was wary of upsize. Finally found one guy stocking the Pirelli in the exact same size.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
I have a hunch that R15's tires work good on that particular Motorcycle. I would love to be wrong though as it would open new avenues as far as tire shopping goes (esp for P-220 & RTR-180 riders)
Couldn't agree more. Somehow the same tyre on a different motorcycle does not work as well as it does on the one for which it was designed for. Specially the case of R15 (v1) as I heard feedback from other riders that the tyres did not work well for the RTR160. Maybe in case of R15, the tyre was designed by MRF specially for the bike taking the weight/chassis dynamics etc into consideration?
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Old 8th March 2012, 21:10   #9
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

Good review Abhinav! Very detailed(and pretty much what we talk ) The photos look yummier on the forum after the touch up. Your shining white and my gleaming black steeds look perfect for a comparo. Wishing you many, many happy miles with it and I'm sure it will keep you grinning inside the helmet
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Old 8th March 2012, 21:48   #10
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Good review Abhinav! Very detailed(and pretty much what we talk ) The photos look yummier on the forum after the touch up. Your shining white and my gleaming black steeds look perfect for a comparo. Wishing you many, many happy miles with it and I'm sure it will keep you grinning inside the helmet
Glad you found time out of the busy schedule to read thru the entire thing.
And yes the contrast of our White & Black bikes in the green/brown background looks awesome! That ride we did was really good and we should do one more sometime soon!
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Old 10th March 2012, 01:05   #11
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A wonderful report but Abhinav I would really like you to write more about RTR's performance on steep mountain climbs,roads. Didnt you find RTR 180 struggling sometimes while climbing steep roads. I found it struggling to climb at rpm range 3 to 4k. Beyond that I dont feel like revving in the same gear as the engine feels harsh and it even doesnot help the climbing process.
Also what petrol do you use does it affect the climbing process.
I found the performance lacking especially with a pillion.Recently I was on a tour of the konkan with my wife and I noticed the above. I also experienced first time brake fade due to continuous braking down the mountain slopes.The brake were really down to only 25% of the braking efficiency. But the bike was alright once the brakes cooled off in a matter of minutes and brakes regained the earlier braking bite.
Regarding all other aspects of the bike I totally agree with your views.
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Old 10th March 2012, 01:53   #12
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

Thats a nice report Abhinav, thanks for sharing.

So you had two 160's & now bought a 180, wow you really like the RTR

I agree with Sammy, the console were very hard for my liking too on my 160 but overall the dynamics are pretty spot on with the RTR.

Any mods planned with Joel?
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Old 10th March 2012, 12:58   #13
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Looks: This is the first thing most observe in any vehicle. How it looks when parked/at stand still. It has to strike the chord when parked. The RTR did that to me in 2007 and it did it all over again in 2011 with the Pearl White color. The looks are still very well proportioned and the slightly beefier rear tyre compared to RTR160 gives it a meatier look from behind. Overall, the looks are mesmerizing to my eyes and draw me to it every time i park the bike. The gold forks, pearl white paint which has high quality finish, the superb tail lamps... I can keep going on.
Congrats for yet another Apache!!
Completely agree with you on the looks front.
There is no bike under 1 lakh which has the neat, tight and perfect proportions as an Apache.

What tyres did you upgrade to? Any recomendations..asking because i've been eyeing an Apache for quite some time.
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Old 10th March 2012, 14:03   #14
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

Fantastic ownership review, Abhinav. You have covered all the bases of the RTR-the good, the bad and the ugly (tires, of course). Also, you have a great biking history. Thanks for sharing all of that.

BTW, how is the Pirelli holding up on the road? It's a known fact among RTR riders now that OEM tires are crap; almost all of the RTR owners I know have replaced the crap-chakra rubber with other brands. And all of that is done within first 10k on the odo. Hope, TVS is listening and will do something about it.

Anyway, my bike is still running on TVS tires up front (26k on odo). The rear tire had been changed at 12-13k with the IRC. It was super-sticky for the first 10k but now has started to show its age, which was very short indeed. I am thinking to change both of them in due time. Front will most probably come from the R15 v2, but for the rear I am a little bit confused between the MT75-you are using, and the IRC-which I have used previously. I am a little skeptical if the Pirelli MT75 would be as sticky as the IRC. My friend's R15 is running on MT75 at rear, and under hard-braking (80-0 kmph) I was unable to not let the rear skid. May be it was because of the front-dive that R15 experiences under hard-braking, but it sure left me doubtful aboubt the MT75. Hope, you will help me out on this one.
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Old 10th March 2012, 15:26   #15
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Default Re: TVS Apache RTR180: Ownership Review

Am i seeing it right!!!???You've done a Lac kms in just 6 months and 10 days????? Where have you been riding man???To the moon???

Last edited by Porschefire : 10th March 2012 at 15:29. Reason: Ooops!!!Its 10000kms.Did not notice the decimal point.My bad!!!
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