|TVS Apache RTR F-i
Even after testing dozens of bikes over the last 22 years, the quality of SEAMLESS POWER DELiVERY by the fuel injected RTR160 is something new to me. This seamlessness in power delivery is the biggest difference in on-road “feel” between carburetor fuel induction and direct fuel injection, not just in the RTR bikes but in any bike. It is a generic difference between carburetion and fuel injection. The other felt difference is in the consistency of the Low-End-Torque in the F-i version of the RTR160.
Between the Carburetor RTR160 which I tested in 2007, and the fuel-injected RTR160, there are three major differences.
1>>The Carburetor RTR160 which I tested has full chain cover while the F-i has half chain cover like Bullet.
2>The Carburetor RTR160 which I tested has rear drum brake, while the F-i RTR160 has disc brake at rear also. Today however, if you want rear disc brake in the carburetor version, it is available now. I think it is called the RTR Refresh. Ask for it. It is worth the extra money. I discovered this when I did the braking test, which is: locking both brakes at 60 and skidding to a stop. The RTR160 F-i stayed arrow straight in the skid and has brilliant stability.
3>The Carburetor RTR160 has the hollow rectangular box welded on the bend pipe of the silencer==EXHAUSTEC, which is there on most bikes now-a-days, but the F-i RTR160 does not have it. It is probably not required because of fuel injection.
In all other dimensions, the RTR160 F-i is identical to the carburetor version.
I am generally averse to commenting on looks. Personally somebody may like Bipasha, others may prefer Aishwarya. How to say? My personal choice is Pamela Anderson, which in bike terms is Bullet==fully naked. No faltu paneling-baazi. Just front mudguard and rear mudguard==Bra & Panty. Other people may like Yamaha FZ or Pulsar. It is a very personal thing. But one thing is sure. This bike looks aggressive. And it is.
The bike is powered by the same 159.7 cc pot which powers the carburetor version, having bore X stroke of 62 mm X 52.9 mm, and develops highest-in-class power of 15.7 bhp (11.54 kilowatts) at 8500 rpm. Max torque produced is 13.1 Nm at 6500 rpm at a compression ratio of 9.5. Idling is set at 1400 rpm plus or minus 100 rpm. Fuel is inducted into the engine by Electronic Fuel Injection, there is no carburetor. And this is what makes the BiG DiFFERENCE in ride quality and Low-End-torque between the carburetor version and the fuel injected version. Transmission is through a wet multi-plate kluch and the FiVE constant-mesh gears operate in a one-down-four-up shift pattern operated by a sporty, toe-only shifter. Very effective stopping power is provided by PETAL discs both front and rear, the front disc having 270 mm dia and the rear having 200 mm dia.
Built on a wheelbase of 1300 mm with 180 mm ground clearance, the bike rides on 90/90 X 17 front tyre and 100/80 X 18 rear tyre. Kerb weight of this bike with tool-kit and 90% fuel is 139 kg as given in the Owners Manual. Front suspension is telescopic twin-forks having 105 mm travel while rear suspension is on inverted, mono-tube, gas filled, 5-step adjustable shock absorbers. Fuel tank capacity is 16 liters which includes 1.7 liters usable reserve, which means you can confidently go 40 km (at reasonable speed) till your fuel tank starts running dry.
Electrics are powered by a 105 watt flywheel magneto. The 12 volt 35 watt halogen headlight has excellent beam quality due to the best MFR==Multi-Focal-Reflector and clear lens. Tail light is a half-watt LED==Light Emitting Diode, which consumes less than one-third the wattage of a conventional halogen bulb while giving brighter light==more Lumens / Lux==more safety for driver and longer battery life. Turn indicating blinkers are a bright 10 watts while brake-light is an adequate 3.5 watt. Electric back up is a 12 volt NiNE Ampere-hour battery. The digital dual-more ignition system provides spark to the twin-electrode Mico-Bosch UR5DDC spark plug.
|Rear Petal Disc Brake
ROAD BEHAViOUR :
A Fuel injected engine behaves very differently from the same engine being carbureted. The torque characteristics differ considerably and hence Road Behavior of any fuel injected bike is fairly different from that of the carburetor version of the same engine / same bike. The carburetor version is like Bruce Lee, while this fuel injected bike is like the Great Khali of WWF==World Wrestling Federation.
Since this bike is auto-choke and auto-cock, there is no fuel cock and no choke lever. Everything is automatic. You switch on the ignition and the dials (whole dashboard) light up for a few seconds after which the lights go off. A tell-a-tale red light in the round dial of the dashboard indicates that the ignition is ON. Press the starter button and the engine fires. No nakhra. Even if the bike has been lying un-used for ten days, it still fires at first press. GREAT! The engine fires even if the bike is in gear which is quite a boon in tricky traffic situations and red lights.
This bike has a toe-only gear-shifter and shift pattern is one-down-four-up. The seating posture is very racist (==racing posture) since the driver footrests are quite rear-set. Shift to first gear and open the throttle. The bike moves seamlessly and blends into traffic. For best fuel economy I quickly shift to higher gears and get into fifth (==top) gear by the time I hit 35 kmph speed. Gear shifting in this bike is effortlessly slick, absolutely no foul ups or sticky gears. Another thing is that this is the most effortlessly driven geared bike. Due to its superb Low-End-Torque, this bike needs very little gear changing and hence very little driver fatigue. Maintaining 35 kmph speed in top gear is very easy for this bike and makes for great fuel economy. If traffic allows and you want to do a quick overtake, no need to shift to lower gear, just gradually open the throttle and the bike eases past traffic as you wish it to. In fact, this bike pulls even from 23 kmpH in top gear.
Due to its racist riding posture, the centre of gravity of bike + rider is quite low and therefore road-holding is excellent and handling is a breeze. Since both front and rear wheels have disc brakes, braking is very effective and since both discs are petal, heat dissipation from the discs is quicker and operating temperature of the discs is lower, resulting in longer life of the brake pads.
FUEL CONSUMPTION :
For measuring fuel consumption in normal bikes having carburetor, I used to fit the fuel outlet pipe from my measuring bottle into the inlet nipple of the carburetor. Since there is no carburetor on this fuel injected bike, it is not possible to use my measuring bottle. Therefore I measured fuel consumption on this bike on a tankfull-to-tankfull basis. Also, since the fuel tank capacity of this bike is 16 liters, I had to measure fuel consumption over large distances, so that significant quantity of petrol gets consumed. Small quantities like 30 cc or 50 cc can be accurately measured ONLY on my small 200 cc measuring bottle, but it would be very difficult to accurately quantify 30 cc or 50 cc in a 16 liter tank, since I was measuring on a tankfull-to-tankfull basis.
|Tankfull to Tankfull
I did two classes of fuel measurements: One on the highway, and the other in city traffic. For the highway run, we went from Pune to Murud-Janjira, which is on the seashore of Raigad district of Maharashtra’s Konkan region. I fully topped up the tank at a petrol pump at Chandani-Chowk (very near my house) and noted the odometer reading and set the trip meter to zero and set off for Murud-Janjira. The route was down-slope via Tamhini Ghat. We were descending from Pune, which is @ 600 meters above sea level, to Murud on the seashore itself==on the beach==SEA-LEVEL.
The bike was ridden single seat by Rishi Mandke, India’s leading stuntist + wheelie-ist + stoppie-ist + racist, whose weight is 62 kg. There was not much traffic on the highway, and bike speed was generally high, in the region of 70-80 kph, sometimes touching 90 kph while overtaking. Along with the bike were four friends in a Scorpio out on a picnic to the same beach. In the Scorpio I carried a 10-liter can of petrol, funnels, liquid sucking pump and graduated beakers made of glass, which are of laboratory quality and very accurate.
The distance from the Chandani-Chowk petrol pump (mentioned above) to Murud, where I topped up the tank again came to be 204.9 km. Topping up the fuel tank again to exactly the same level as at the beginning, required 3.75 Liters. So the mileage is 204.9 km divided by 3.75 liters, that is==54.6 kmpL, which is brilliant, because bike was doing 70-80 kmpH speed and as per law of nature the faster you drive the poorer the mileage. Yet this bike gave 54.6 mileage. One reason for this great mileage could be that we were on a down-slope. So let us see what happens on the return journey==up-slope.
We did exactly the same return journey. The return distance from Murud top-up back to my house was 205.4 km and fuel tank top up required 4.58 liters, giving a mileage of 44.8 kmpL. Remember, we were going up-slope from sea level to 600 meters up. So the total return distance was 204.9 + 205.4==410.3 km, and the petrol consumed was 3.75 + 4.58==8.33 liters. 410.3 km divided by 8.33 liters petrol gives an overall mileage of 49.3 kmpL, where up-slope disadvantage cancels down-slope advantage. This is an excellent mileage for a bike of such power and performance.
The other fuel measurement I did was city driving. Normally this would be a very painful and boring exercise. Bluddy, driving around in trafficked areas simply to burn petrol. Ugh! Traffik in all our cities is bursting. There is hardly any road in any big city in India (except Narendra Modi’s Gujrat) where you can do more than 45-50 kmpH except after midnight and before 05:00 am morning. However on this bike, boring it was, but NOT PAiNFUL. The Low-End-Torque of this bike is so good, that one can very comfortably cruise at 27-28 kmpH in top (==5th) gear, with no hiccups, no chain snatch, no engine sputter, nothing. And if by chance you get a clear road and want to pull away, just twist throttle in top gear itself. No need to change gear. The bike pulls like the late lamented RX100 of yore. The seniors who existed at the time RX100 was el-primo, would know. Boss, if you want Low-End-Torque and pull-away-ability-without-changing gear, this is it. This is what I mean by SEAMLESS DELiVERY, mentioned in the first paragraph of this report.
I did TWO identical runs of 19.1 km each on exactly the same road on a tankful-to-tankfull basis. The first run I did was at an average speed of 35 kmpH staying as much as possible in top (5th) gear. Except stopping at traffic light (engine off), the number of gear changes I needed to do over the whole 19 km route was TEN, out of which seven times I shifted to 4th and three times to 3rd. I never had to go below 3rd gear except when I had to stop at traffic light. The mileage I got on this slow & steady run was 68 kmpL, measured on a tankfull-to-tankfull basis.
Then I did the same route again at higher speeds, as much as traffic would allow. I was not racing nor was I in a hurry. The top speed I touched was @ 55, number of brakings was 30 and gear changing was 22 times, mostly to 4th, except when I had to stop at traffic light. The mileage I got on this run was 61.
This bike is the best combination of mileage, power and Low-End-Torque. If you want good mileage in city traffic, stay in top gear as far as possible and in a speed range of between 35 to 45 going up to 50, but not more. You will notice that you hardly need to change gear and can stay in top (5th) gear almost always. You will easily get a mileage of SiXTY kmpL.
While I claim 99.5% accuracy in mileage tests when done with measuring bottle, on a tankfull-to-tankfull basis I will not claim more than 95% accuracy, which means my results could have up to 5% error.
I did SiX runs of sixty to zero (stop). The rider was Rishi Mandke, the same guy who did the Pune to Murud Janjira run with me. On a straight plain stretch of road Rishi would attain a steady speed of 60 kmpH and when his front wheel touched a thick white line drawn on the road, he would lock both wheels and skid to a stop. The bike skidded to a dead stop in 11.2 meters.
For the measuring the zero to sixty timing (pick-up), the procedure was as follows:
Rishi would be on the stationary (at rest) bike some distance away on a straight plain stretch of road clearly visible to me, with bike in first gear, clutch pulled in and engine running. I give him a hand signal and simultaneously start my stop-watch. Same moment Rishi shoots-off on the bike keeping his eyes on the speedometer. As soon as the speed0 shows SiXTY kmpH, he flashes the headlight and I stop the stop-watch.
We did SiX such speed runs and the best timing recorded was 5.6 seconds. Now this is a very manual procedure where there would be small time lags in reaction times such as:
<1>Time lag between my giving hand signal to Rishi, and Rishi taking off.
<2>Time lag between Rishi seeing speed0 indicating SiXTY and switching ON headlight.
<3>Time lag between Rishi switching ON headlight and me stopping stop-watch.
If we assume that time lag at <1> above is half-a-second because Rishi is reacting to my signal (one person reacting to another’s action) ; time lag at <2> is quarter second (stimulation and response of same person) ; and time lag at <3> is half-a-second (I am reacting to Rishi’s signal), then the error in my timing would be 0ne-and-a-quarter second. Thus the zero-to-sixty timing for the RTR160 F-i is 4.35 seconds. Speed of SiXTY was achieved in SECOND gear.
Speed0 indicated top speed measurement of the RTR160 F-i was done by Devjeet Saha.
Dev is quite a rider. He is the only person in the world who has raced his bike from Bombay to Jaipur (1203 km) against the ARAVALi EXPRESS Train, and beat the train by more than half an hour. This test (race) was done on the Pune-Bombay expressway, in the portion before the first toll-gate where two-wheelers can go. The speedo indicated top speed of the RTR160 F-i is 126 kmpH.
The carbureted RTR was (and is) already the top bike in its class. Add to it a rear disc brake (petal) and give it fuel injection and you have a winner, which gives you the most effortless & fatigue-free ride on a geared bike (best Low-End-Torque). Add to this the fact that you can get almost 70 mileage if you want economy ; do zero to sixty pickup in a flashing 4.35 seconds ; achieve a top speed of 126 when you feel zippy and stop in 11.2 meters without any wavering, and all this for Rs.74,243/- on road in Pune and you’ve got everything you asked for. Well…almost!