Jul 29, 2007

7 Apache RTR 160 Vs. Pulsar DTSi 150 Vs. CBZ Xtreme [Part I - Test Ride/Review]

TVS Apache RTR 160 head to head with Bajaj Pulsar DTSi 150 and Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme.. PART I

Thats me checking out the RTR

I take my friend Siva out to test ride the New TVS Apache RTR 160 and pit it against the likes of the best selling Bajaj Pulsar DTSi 150 and the strong contender Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme.

After our test rides we try to answer the following question to ourselves, "If given a choice among the Bajaj Pulsar DTSi 150, Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme, TVS Apache RTR 160, which one would I go ahead and buy..??"

In part I of this review let’s first look at the DNA of the bikes individually…

Bajaj Pulsar DTSi 150 :

The Pulsar has aged like mature wine since 2001, when it was first launched. The pleasingly rounded looks of the first generation Pulsar has given way to the present sharp looking youthful bike. The headlamp has an attractive and distinctive matt black “mask” like plastic casing around the glass area. Had Bajaj gone ahead with a redesigned and sharper looking tank to match the overall sharp theme of the new bike, the result could definitely have been more stunning.

Siva on the Pulsar DTSi 150 UG III

Both of us felt comfortable with the dimensions of the Pulsar DTSi 150

Nevertheless the Pulsar still manages to look hot. The latest UG III (Up Grade III) version of the Pulsar also comes with some innovative, useful and also some “eye-candy“ features, some of which were first for the Indian two wheeler industry. The Pulsar is kitted with LED tail lamps, Digital Speedometer, Self Cancelling Turn indicators (works perfectly), Backlit switches that glow in the dark (like car switches) which definitely is nothing but “eye candy” than being functional but nevertheless manages to give the bike an exclusive feel. Meanwhile the power output saw an increase from 13.5 bhp to 13.9 bhp (14.02 Ps).

The Pulsar is a bit smaller in dimension than the CBZ Xtreme but looks and feels bigger than the Apache RTR 160. Both of us felt comfortable with the dimensions of the Pulsar DTSi 150.


Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme:

Way back in 1999 Hero Honda’s CBZ was the bike which was responsible of kick starting the 4 stroke 150 C.C segment in India. But the CBZ was soon left behind by the Bajaj Pulsar. The poor fuel efficiency of the CBZ and the lack of R&D capabilities (of Hero Honda) required for timely upgrades finally led to its demise. Meanwhile Hero Honda tried to re enter the 150 C.C segment with the Achiever which had borrowed the engine from the Honda Unicorn. The Achiever returned improved mileage but everything else about the Achiever was disappointing including its cheesy name. The styling was insipid and the power output wasn’t exceptional either.

Siva on the CBZ Xtreme

>> The CBZ Xtreme does manage to look like a “Tall, dark and Handsome” guy albeit with unkempt looks but still manages to carry it off with a swagger

>> The execution of the styling of the CBZ Xtreme appears like a job done in haste

>> I found the CBZ a bit big for me but for Siva (who is 5 ft 10 inches) the CBZ Xtreme was a perfect fit

The situation called for “Xtreme” measures. Hero Honda responded by launching the CBZ Xtreme, which had the same Unicorn/Achiever engine block but tuned more towards performance. The CBZ Xtreme in fact shared nothing common to the original CBZ except its name. The CBZ Xtreme belts out 14.4 Ps which made it slightly more powerful than the 14.09 Ps Pulsar DTSi 150. It however lacked Digital Speedometers and Gas Filled Rear shocks which the Pulsar already possessed in its armour.

To go along with the bumped up power of the engine, the CBZ Xtreme was given an entirely new look. The CBZ Xtreme has the biggest looks among the 3 bikes in comparison here and it shows. But the execution of the styling of the CBZ Xtreme that appears like a job done in haste. The design of the side panels and the tank are very plain and unimaginative with just a few amateurish cuts and slashes thrown in. The headlamp of the CBZ Xtreme is the worst offender here. It sticks out from the rest of the bike like a sore thumb. The LED tail light of the CBZ Xtreme is resembles the bright rear end of a firefly and looks attractive, but on second thoughts it appears to be bit overdone for a motorcycle. Lastly, the body colored rear view mirrors of the Xtreme appears to have been inspired from the “Girly” Hero Honda Pleasure Scooter.

Despite this the CBZ Xtreme manages to stand out in the crowd mainly due to its “Big Boy” dimensions. The CBZ Xtreme does manage to look like a “Tall, dark and Handsome” guy albeit with unkempt looks but still manages to carry it off with a swagger.

I found the CBZ a bit big for me but for Siva (who is 5 ft 10 inches) the CBZ Xtreme was a perfect fit.


TVS Apache RTR 160:

Not very long ago Indian biking enthusiasts were exasperated with the conservative attitude with which TVS used to churn out its bikes. From styling, performance, features.. everything about TVS bikes used to be conservative. Classic examples were the Fiero/Fiero F2 150 C.C bikes. Meanwhile Bajaj took the Indian 150 C.C market by storm with its aggressive Pulsar which was designed anything but conservative. Finally it was time for TVS to wake up and smell the coffee.

Siva on the Apache RTR 160

>> The advent of the RTR and demise of the Apache 150 probably is a signal that TVS has finally shed its conservative nature for good

>> Siva who is 5 ft 10 found the bike very compact and wasn’t comfortable on the RTR and found it too small to his liking

“If you can’t beat the, just join them”, accordingly TVS has tried to follow the path shown by the Pulsar and the first result was the TVS Apache 150. TVS tried to recreate the Pulsar magic with its Apache 150. The styling, power output, features all were fashioned after the Pulsar. The Apache 150 enjoyed more success than the Fiero/Fiero F2 but its sales were still far away from its arch rival the Pulsar. Meanwhile the Apache 150 C.C engine had lost the smoothness of the Fiero/Fiero F2 engines. The riding position was neither sporty nor commuter friendly and lastly the bike looked and felt small to ride. And to make matters worse Bajaj had launched its Pulsar DTSi 150 UG III which had previously unseen features like Digital Speedometers, LED tail lamps, Self cancelling turn indicators and not to mention a bump in its power output.

TVS probably realized that it needed to iron out the flaws of the TVS Apache. So in came TVS Apache RTR 160 with apower output of 15.2 Ps, making it the most powerful 150-160 C.C bike in India. The advent of the RTR and demise of the Apache 150 probably is a signal that TVS has finally shed its conservative nature for good. With the Apache RTR 160 TVS has transformed an already good looker (The Apache 150) into a stunning one. The racing stripe running across its front mudguard and fuel tanks; the body colored engine guard nestled below in front of the engine; the Digital Speedometer; bright LED tail lights; the attractive “Petal shaped” front disc; the clip-on handlebars.. etc. all of it makes the Apache virtually a work of art. The RTR stands for “Racing Throttle Response” and as the acronym suggests, TVS has designed the RTR keeping in mind the race track. This is reflected by the front footrests which are the most rear set and most sporty among the trio. TVS has to be applauded for using alloys for the hand and foot brake levers.

The RTR fit me like a glove. Everything about the RTR felt like it has been designed for me. Let me remind that I am on the shorter side at 5 ft 5 inches. Siva who is 5 ft 10, found the bike very compact and wasn’t comfortable on the RTR and found it too small to his liking.




In Part II of this review, we'll compare the..
  • Ride

  • Handling

  • Performance

  • Fuel Efficiency and

  • Our individual choices among these 3 bikes






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Disclaimer:

This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.




7 Comments:

RRN said...

oh common..post the second part of this review payeng..waiting for it..

Payeng said...

Hi Guys,

Extremely sorry for not being able to post the Part II of the Apache RTR 160 Vs CBZ Xtreme Vs Pulsar DTSi 150.


I have been very busy with my office work lately..

I promise to publish the Part II by tomorrow.

vabs said...

a good comparison but i still feel the tail design of RTR is pretty awkward.... of course its a copy of the Pulsar DTSi and CBZ-x, but they have made it look like some child's imagination of a monster with horns..... its no way MANLY...

Guess u r a big fan of RTR that u overlooked that feature....

Payeng said...

Usually I am accused of being a Bajaj Fan and this time I am being labelled as being a "TVS Fan"..

Its amusing to say the least..



Nevertheless, I liked how I felt while riding the Apache RTR 160 and that's it.. Period

Sumeet Sahu said...

Have you published the second part??

If yes, please provide the link here otherwise please publish it soon. I am looking for a bike with 150 cc.

Your blog helps a lot in making decision.

Payeng said...

Hi Sumit,

Find here more Test Rides Bike Comparisons..


However don't just go by my word.. take test rides of the bikes for yourself and then decide for yourself.

shawon said...

really confusing to choose among the 150 cc bike segment. congratulation to all the honda company who made us confused to buy a bike!!!

one has style other has mileage....another has height factor.

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