Aug 3, 2007

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

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

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.

That's me checking out the 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 II of this review let’s try to find out which bike excels in which category.. and then try to get the answer to the above question.

Lets first start with the Looks...




Looks:

  • Best Looks: Bajaj Pulsar DTSi 150 and TVS Apache RTR 160


    • I must admit that looks is an entirely subjective opinion. What might be a object of beauty for one might turn out to be an eyesore for another. Let us now jot down the positive and negative aspects of the looks of each bike.


      The Apache RTR 160 happens to be the smallest among the lot and looks almost like the old Apache 150...

      this is one aspect which will definitely put off many prospective buyers. As far as I understand, majority of Indians prefer a bike which looks and feels big.

      The CBZ Xtreme loses out due to its awkward styling, lack of features like Digital Speedometers and also in fit and finish which we found was a bit lacking in comparison to both the Pulsar DTSi 150 as well as the Apache RTR 160. The only thing going for its looks was its big dimensions.

      In contrast to the CBZ Xtreme, the Apache RTR 160 is sharp and muscular looking. But it also happens to be the smallest among the lot and this is one aspect which will definitely put off many prospective buyers. Although the wheelbase of the RTR has been lengthened by 40 mm, the bike still looks almost like the old Apache 150. As far as I understand, majority of Indians prefer a bike which looks and feels big. The RTR has been designed with compact dimensions in mind; which might be great for cutting corners but might not find favor among some bikers. Also on the move it’s not that easy to differentiate the new Apache RTR 160 from the older Apache 150. The racing stripes can only been seen by the rider sitting on top of the bike and a keen eye is needed to look out for the front Petal Shaped Discs and the alloy levers. Only when you seen the bright LED tail lamps at the rear or when you see the stunning “Yellow” colored (exclusive to the RTR) Apache, you will realize that it was the RTR which whizzed past you.

      The size of the Pulsar DTSi 150 will manage to please majority of Indians. It is neither too big nor too small but just right. The chiseled looks and the extra features available on the Pulsar also manage to give it a handsome and up market appeal. The only thing that might go against its looks is that Pulsar’s are ubiquitous in every city, on every street and virtually around every corner of India. Familiarity might breed contempt for some.

      Both Siva and I liked the big stance of the Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme but in the end we voted the Pulsar DTSi 150 and the Apache RTR 160 as joint winners as the Best looking 150-160 cc bike.


    Riding Position:

  • Most Comfortable Riding Position: CBZ Xtreme
  • Most Sporty Riding Position: TVS Apache RTR 160


    • Strange it might sound but on the RTR you will soon find that you have an alter ego called “Rossi"

      The CBZ Xtreme has the most comfortable riding position among the three bikes. The rider sits upright on the CBZ Xtreme without any strain on his wrists. Not that the CBZ Xtreme has a commuter oriented riding stance. The footrests are in fact nicely rearset to give that sporty feeling. The CBZ Xtreme manages to please both worlds.

      The Apache RTR 160 is the one with the most overt sporty riding position. TVS makes no attempt to please the commuters this time. The rider sits with the most rearset footrests among the three bikes and crouched on the low set clip on handlebars. Strange it might sound but on the RTR you will soon find that you have an alter ego called “Rossi”. But this very sporty riding position might translate into aching wrists on long drives.

      The riding position of the Pulsar DTSi 150 can be best described as neither as sporty as the Apache nor as upright as the CBZ Xtreme.


    Siva on the Xtreme

    Siva on the Xtreme


    Ride and Handling:

  • Best Ride: Bajaj Pulsar DTSi 150
  • Best Handling: TVS Apache RTR 160


    • The Pulsar DTSi has the most plush ride quality among the three bikes. The Gas filled rear shocks of the Pulsar should actually be the prescription for every biker in the country with a bad back. The Apache RTR also features gas filled rear shocks but since TVS had a racing bike in its mind while designing the Apache, the RTR has a stiffer setup for its shock absorbers to aid quick handling and turns. The CBZ Xtreme has the most stiff set up in terms of ride quality. The culprit here is definitely the lack of gas filled rear shock absorbers.

      The Best Handling bike among the three is definitely the RTR followed closely by the CBZ Xtreme. The stiff set ups has its own advantages when it comes to handling.


    Engine Power/Performance:

  • Most Powerful : TVS Apache RTR 160
  • Most Refined Engine: CBZ Xtreme


    • On paper the RTR has the most powerful of these three engines. After our test ride we can safely say that the RTR is not just a paper tiger but is definitely the most powerful 150-160 CC bike on Indian roads. It is followed by the CBZ Xtreme and then the Pulsar DTSi 150. The CBZ Xtreme has the most refined engine among these three followed by the Pulsar. Vibrations crept in the Apache RTR around 4500 RPM. The RTR 160 is more refined than the older Apache 150 but as we found out in our test ride, TVS still haven’t ironed the vibrations out completely.


    Gearbox

  • Best Gearbox: CBZ Xtreme


    • The CBZ Xtreme has the best gearbox followed by the Apache RTR 160 and then the Pulsar DTSi 150. The gearbox of the Pulsar has improved from its earlier versions but it still remains its Achilles Heel. We encountered no false neutrals on the Pulsar but the shifts are lifeless even though they are smooth.


    Fuel Efficiency:

  • Most Fuel Efficient: Bajaj Pulsar DTSi 150 (According to Aug 2007 issue of Autocar India)


    • If the RTR gives a mileage of anything above 50 Km/l, then I’ll accept that TVS engineers have learnt to find a way around the laws of Physics. After all, “Can we have the cake and eat it too..??”

      Fuel efficiency is one aspect which we definitely did not and could not have checked in our brief test ride at the showrooms. But the August 2007 issue of Autocar India carries a comparision between these three bikes. According to the magazine the Bajaj Pulsar is the most frugal with mileage of around 50 Km/l. The CBZ Xtreme comes in next with mileage a little bit below the Pulsar. According to the August 2007 issue of the Autocar India the Apache RTR delivers an overall mileage of around 42 Km/l. These figures are of course expected since the RTR is the most powerful among the trio.

      But what comes in as a surprise is the Test Ride of the Apache RTR 160 published in the August 2007 issue of Overdrive Magazine. Overdrive has quoted a mileage figure of 55 Km/l in the City..!! Hhmm… If the RTR gives a mileage of anything above 50 Km/l, then I’ll accept that TVS engineers have learnt to find a way around the laws of Physics. After all, “Can we have the cake and eat it too..??”


    Verdict:

    • Siva:
    • After the test ride I ask Siva as to given a choice which bike would he prefer among these three. Siva said he liked the way the RTR pulled ahead but he found the RTR too small and compact for his 5 ft 10 inch frame. He liked the way the CBZ handled and pulled effortlessly. He also felt most comfortable on the CBZ Xtreme compared to the other two. But in the end Siva said he would probably choose the Bajaj Pulsar DTSi 150 over the other two. Siva said that for him the CBZ Xtreme loses only by a small margin to the Pulsar. The reasons he gave for his decision against the CBZ Xtreme were its odd looks coupled by the lack of features and relatively poor fit and finish. Siva also confided in me that he has enamored by the “Pulsar” brand since a long time. And that actually has helped him favor the Pulsar 150 more than the CBZ Xtreme.



    • Me:

    • Me on the Apache RTR

      Had I been given a choice to choose among these three bikes I would have definitely gone ahead and plumped in for the TVS Apache RTR 160. I just liked the way I felt totally in control of the bike, its stable and predictable handling, it’s aggressive riding position and the pull from its powerful engine. There definitely are vibrations from the bike but so does the Yamaha RX100 which I ride. As for the uncertain fuel efficiency of the RTR… Well, I never really care much about that.


    Conclusion:

      Hero Honda has really messed up the styling of a brilliant bike. If only had it got the styling of the CBZ Xtreme somewhat close to the original Hero Honda CBZ, it definitely would have appealed to lot more bikers.

      Bajaj is definitely reaping the benefits of having taken the care to build a Brand around the “Pulsar” name. There are many who have grown up dreaming of owning a Pulsar. Bajaj just needs to take care to nurture the “Pulsar” brand; a job which I think Bajaj is doing extraordinarily well.

      TVS has had enough of its conservative approach to making bikes and trying to catch up with Bajaj. In one clean move it has decided to appeal to the other extreme by ceasing the production of the Apache 150 and pushing only the RTR 160. But purely for business concern, I fear that TVS might have gone a bit more than it should have had. The RTR might put off people looking for a comfortable 150 C.C bike to potter sedately around in town. But the enthusiast in me isn’t complaining.







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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.




    35 Comments:

    nilu said...

    TVS has indeed pulled off a neat product with the RTR. The only grudge is the compact dimensions of the bike. RTR might stand for Racing Throttle Response, but the form factor sure isnt anything near "racing".

    Nitin said...

    hmmmm.. it is definitely a pulsar 4 me....Apache is 2 small 4 a 150cc.....Though it luks awesum..........

    aravind said...

    my choice the pulsar definitely! n i saw a YELLOW pulsar in a bajaj shoeroom in mekhri circle...it costs a grand and a half xtra though... but the YELLOW pulsr sure is more than eye candy!!!! cheers!!

    Kishor said...

    Nice topic. Pulsar is the bike that gives you everything that you want. It has the great features.
    But i'll go for CBZx,bcoz of it's material quality. And here the Bajaj fails. Bajaj is using poor quality materials.

    nilu said...

    kishor..

    you just cant say that bajaj uses poor quality materials. there hasnt been material failures so far barring the initial fork failure of the p200. There has been no instance of failures as u have indicated.
    its just a notion that many harbour..but i simply dont know why.
    everybody seems to pounce on bajaj at the slightest hint of some mismatch, but forgives all others.
    i am no bajaj die-hard, but then everyone should scrutinize all fairly.

    peace

    jeetu said...

    tvs tried 2 pull of a bike lik shogun !! nice try ... i wish dey good work more on da head light n da wheel base ... evrythin else is awesome abt dat bike !!!

    ganesh said...

    hi TVS RTR is superb awesome by its pickup

    yogi said...

    plz do not prefer apche rtr as ur bike.apche has lot of vibrations tht too at low speed 60.average is ok about 45-50kmpl. if u want to hv really perfect bike go for unicorn. or if want high speed at same rate then go for pulsar 180

    yogesh said...

    apche rtr has lot of vibrations
    it is vibrating at very low speed of 55

    arya said...

    what ever it may be cbz xtreme is the ruler in 150 cc segment in its racing design and perfect track riding comfort

    Rajan said...

    Ashutosh

    I am go now buy a new Pulsar180 I wish all the best
    Thanks

    CantGetANick said...

    @arya

    Why the fuck you need comfert in the track. n00b.

    narendra said...

    i like apache rtr180 becoz its more comfort than all other bike

    Anonymous said...

    Apche RTR 180.
    No Vib At speed of 70.
    Also

    vidyasagar said...

    apache rtr is best

    Justin jack said...

    Hi All,

    Thank you for ur valuble suggestion and feedback on all the 3 byks......

    Iam planing to take pulsar 150 dtsi as it is superb in comfort and stylish looks........

    first thought of going with Apache RTR Fi 160..but only this is byk is tooo short........

    Help me out friendsssssssssss......

    finally_finally said...

    Apache RTR 160 anytime , stylish , awesome control and great speed..

    shadab said...

    I own a Pulsar 150 for last one year and am a great fan of it. Now i am planning to change my bike now i have to choose between RTR 160 and Pulsar 150 ...............and i have again decided to have a Pulsar 150 with more upgraded features.

    FANISH said...

    Hi my hight 5'3". Plz.. suggest bike in 150-160 cc.

    yuva said...

    confussing comments by everyone....
    please suggest any one with perfect reason...

    bhupendra said...

    hi please tell me about apache rtr 160 fi.
    new feature etc.
    my three choice is here, please sugest any one?
    apache rtr 160
    honda stunner
    bajaj pulser

    Anonymous said...

    my choice Apache RTR 160 anytime , stylish , awesome control and great speed............ bcoz i defit pulsur every time in racing.

    chandan said...

    hiiiiiii
    plz suggest me which bike best on mileage....
    among CBZ Xtreme & TVS Apache RTR 160.........
    and which is best for me.......

    Payeng said...

    Shorter guys will be more comfortable on the Apache RTR, taller guys on the CBZ Xtreme. The Pulsar 150 would suit most sizes.

    pradeep said...

    in des 3 wat i shd buy??

    KINGDOM said...

    i got pulsar 150.when compared with apache 160 it has no vibration even in a speed of 105kmp.but in apache it has more vibrations even in the speed of 60kmp.so pulsar is good for smooth and powerful ride guy and its defenatly male.

    Dikshant said...

    In RTR, vibratn comez at speed of 45-65kmph. If ur racer u wud luv to see ur byk passng away wid earthshakng vibratnz. Recntly beat bullet and avenger 180cc. Olready beat pulsar 150cc,unicorn,fz and cbz.

    Ziaur Rahman said...

    good article thanks for the info..

    I test drove Apache 180 and Pulsar 180 yesterday

    Pulsar:
    --------------
    Looks:
    1. The first thing i noticed as soon as i entered pulsar showroom was that all the pulsars right from 135 to 220 have the same looks. I was very disaapointed by that.
    2. I could not identify which was 150,180,220 at first glance
    3. It looks very agressive(no curves) so will not suit everyone
    4. Engine looks cool.

    Size:
    1. Its very big and heavy so it was difficult to cut through the traffic.

    Riding:
    1. It was really easy to ride both in slow and high speeds

    Power:
    1. The pickup was not as i had expected. It was normal like any other bike. So i got disappointed again.

    Apache
    -------------
    Looks:
    1. Very elegantly designed. Everything blends together. Looks very sporty. Better than Pulsar's looks.

    Size:
    1. I'm 5.9. It was very small for me. And the riding position was too sporty. This position maybe good for highways but not for someone who goes to college or office on the narrow roads or in traffic.
    2. This bike is made for short people i guess.

    Riding:
    1.Was good at curves

    Power:
    1. I felt it was less than pulsar.

    conclusion
    ------------
    I am not satisfied with both these bikes.
    I'm yet to try CBZ extreme and Hunk

    Ziaur Rahman said...

    good article thanks for the info..

    I test drove Apache 180 and Pulsar 180 yesterday

    Pulsar:
    --------------
    Looks:
    1. The first thing i noticed as soon as i entered pulsar showroom was that all the pulsars right from 135 to 220 have the same looks. I was very disaapointed by that.
    2. I could not identify which was 150,180,220 at first glance
    3. It looks very agressive(no curves) so will not suit everyone
    4. Engine looks cool.

    Size:
    1. Its very big and heavy so it was difficult to cut through the traffic.

    Riding:
    1. It was really easy to ride both in slow and high speeds

    Power:
    1. The pickup was not as i had expected. It was normal like any other bike. So i got disappointed again.

    Apache
    -------------
    Looks:
    1. Very elegantly designed. Everything blends together. Looks very sporty. Better than Pulsar's looks.

    Size:
    1. I'm 5.9. It was very small for me. And the riding position was too sporty. This position maybe good for highways but not for someone who goes to college or office on the narrow roads or in traffic.
    2. This bike is made for short people i guess.

    Riding:
    1.Was good at curves

    Power:
    1. I felt it was less than pulsar.

    conclusion
    ------------
    I am not satisfied with both these bikes.
    I'm yet to try CBZ extreme and Hunk

    hemant said...

    hey frnds, tell me which is better, pulsar 150 or apache 160???? pls

    Anonymous said...

    PLEASE NOTE EVERYONE

    THE BEST BIKE IS THE ONE THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOUR REQUIREMENTS. PLEASE DON'T LISTEN TO ANYONE, AND GET DISAPPOINTED AFTER PURCHASE.
    FOR INSTANCE I WILL PICK MY BIKE LIKE THIS. I AM 6.0 FEET. IF I WERE TO CHOOSE ONE AMONG THESE THREE BIKES ITS DEFINITELY NOT APACHE RTR 160 BECAUSE IT'S LOOKS AND FEELS AS IF I AM RIDING A TOY BIKE AND SINCE I AM NOT PARTICIPATING IN RACE OF SOMETHING I DON'T CARE IF THE BIKE IS 10CC MORE THAN OTHER TWO(THAT DOESN'T MAKE HUGE DIFFERENCE)AND IN CASE IF I WERE TO PARTICIPATE IN RACE I DON'T TAKE ANY OF THESE BIKES AT ALL I CHOOSE AT LEAST 220 CC BIKE.AND IT'S NOT WORTH SACRIFICING MY COMFORT(SINCE ITS TOO SMALL) FOR JUST +10CC.SO APACHE IS NO MORE IN MY LIST.. AND I AM BASICALLY THE GUY WHO WILL PREFER COMFORT THAN STYLE. I RODE BOTH PULSAR AND CBZ, SINCE I AM TALL I CAN RIDE BOTH OF THOSE BIKES COMFORTABLY. SO I COULDN'T ELIMINATE EARTHIER OF THESE IN THIS CASE. I DON'T LIKE SMOOTH RIDE LIKE UNICORN GIVES IT DOESN'T SENSE TO ME MANLY WHILE RIDING. BOTH PULSAR AND CBZ WILL GET MY ATTENTION, BUT TO BE FRANK PULSAR HAS A LITTLE UPPER HAND. BUT THIS IS NOT ENOUGH TO DECIDE ONE BIKE. NOW MILEAGE IS ALSO MY CONCERN, AND TO MY KNOWLEDGE THE PULSAR WILL HAVE THE UPPER HAND. I AM ALMOST CHOOSY TO PULSAR. BUT THERE IS ONE LAST THING TO CONSIDER IS "SERVICING". IN THE AREA I LIVE BAJAJ HAS MORE SERVICING CENTERS THAN HERO AND THE SERVICES OFFERED ARE ALSO HIGH. MAY BE HERO HAS SERVICE CENTERS THROUGHOUT INDIA MORE THAT BAJAJ, BUT I ONLY CONSIDER MY AREA BECAUSE I AM SURE I AM NOT GOING TO TRAVEL ALL OVER THE COUNTRY ON BIKE LOL... PULSAR WILL GET A POINT IN THIS AS WELL. I WOULD HAVE BEEN IN DILEMMA IF HERO HAS MORE SERVICE CENTERS IN MY AREA. THEN I HAVE TO CONSIDER SOME OTHER FACTOR (EVEN THOUGH I DON'T HAVE) TO DECIDE BETWEEN THE TWO. AS PER LOOKS PULSAR LOOKS GOOD TO ME, SO IT GOT THE POINT THERE AS WELL. NOW I AM DAMN SURE I AM GONNA GET PULSAR, NO MATTER WHAT OTHERS THINK.

    SO LIKE WISE YOU MUST CHOOSE THE BIKE BASED ON YOUR REQUIREMENTS AND NEEDS. NOT BASED ON WHAT OTHERS SAY OR THINK. SO PREPARE A LIST OF YOUR NEEDS, AND THEN GO FOR A TEST DRIVE AND DECIDE.

    REMEMBER : THE GUY WHO SUGGEST YOU A BIKE WILL BE HELPLESS AFTER YOU PURCHASE IT AND YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED.

    REGARDS,
    KARTHIK

    AAYOOSH MOITRO said...

    hie all.i wanna clear up my mind one thing. many says that pulsar is good but i also heard that after 2 year the bike started giving problem.. the vibrations,low avg and regular parts failure. so is this a real matter of concern on this bike? i want a bike that will good for long time. so which one is good Apache or Pulsar?

    Anonymous said...

    I am quite impressed by the quality of reviews in this website.Informative ,accurate and to the point,keep it up.

    Anonymous said...

    Hey frnds i'm looks for buying pulsar 150.its right or not

    rms olympic said...

    @ the one above go for p 150.... i myself have p 180 and its giving me a mileage of 55 - 60 km!!!

    if you can stretch your budget a little (3k) go for p 180 it makes world of difference from a p150!

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