The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V has remained the undisputed king of its segment, but can the Japanese bike upend the table? We find out
The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V has been the undisputed king of its segment, and rightly so as it has a lot going for it - good looks, a sporty ride and most importantly, it’s a great everyday commuter. But Suzuki begs to differ with its 2019 Gixxer. To settle this dispute once and for all, we positioned the duo against each other and here’s how it panned out.
Suzuki gave the 2019 Gixxer a complete overhaul with new features to help differentiate itself from the previous-gen model. The all-new Gixxer comes equipped with a new LED headlight and tail light, split seats and a restyled exhaust muffler. However, we would like to point out that the exhaust end can sticks out like a sore thumb, and even the finish on the exhaust tip is a little too flashy.
On the other hand, the sharp lines of the RTR 160 4V have been carried forward from the Apache RTR 200. Its chiselled tank, sculpted headlight, clever use of graphics and an underbelly cowl gives it a sporty look.
What helps the Gixxer stand out despite its dull silver colour is its chunky fork, beefy tyres and the new alloy wheel design.
TVS has equipped the RTR 160 4V with a wide handlebar and mildly rear-set footpegs which translates to a slightly leaned-forward riding posture. The Gixxer, on the other hand, has an upright riding stance thanks to its handlebar which curves back towards the rider.
The Gixxer’s sculpted tank allows riders to lock their thighs, thereby offering more feel. There’s also enough room for riders of all sizes, which isn’t the case with the Apache RTR 160 4V.
At 795mm, the seat height of the Gixxer is 5mm lower compared to the Apache RTR 160 4V. It’s also narrower, which should be beneficial for shorter riders. The Gixxer's split seat may look cool, but it has its own set of drawbacks. The pillion seat, for instance, isn't as comfortable as one would expect. It also isn't easy to get onto. On the contrary, the single-piece unit on the TVS offers more space and is easier to get onto.
The 2019 Gixxer gets an all-new digital instrument cluster, which displays a speedometer, tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, trip meter and clock. The RTR 160 4V’s console, on the other hand, has additional features such as a lap timer, top speed recorder and a reserve fuel light. That said, the carb variant that we tested misses out on a gear position indicator.
Fit and finish on both bikes is impressive, however, the Apache’s switch gear and lever quality is more premium.
In our acceleration test, the Apache was quicker by 0.5sec to hit 60kmph and a whopping 5sec in the 0-100kmph run. What’s even more disappointing is the fact that the 2019 Gixxer is marginally slower than the older-gen model to 100kmph.
The 155cc motor in the Gixxer offers linear power delivery and this unit delivers a good low and mid-range performance. However, once you get into higher revs, the motor runs out of steam and feels strained.
On the open roads, both bikes can sustain around 100kmph, but the Suzuki feels stressed and vibey at those speeds, while the Apache feels calmer and more poised. A 5-speed gearbox is common on the duo and they perform their duty well.
In terms of fast cornering, it’s the Gixxer that has the edge owing to its radial rear tyre which allows you to carry more lean without worrying too much. In fact, on wet roads during our tests, the MRF tyres gave much more confidence than the TVS rubber.
One of the important aspects for buyers in this segment is fuel efficiency and it’s the Apache that’s the clear winner. In the city, the bike returned 50.4kmpl and the highway figure was 56.1kmpl. The Suzuki Gixxer managed 49.70kmpl (city) and 50.58kmpl (highway).
Rough roads, potholes, undulations -- no matter what the surface is, the Apache feels composed. The Gixxer on the other hand feels a bit firm, especially the rear, which can bottom out on sharp bumps and your back does feel that harsh shock.
The Apache RTR 160 4V as well as the Gixxer come with a single-channel ABS unit. When it some to bite and progression, the Gixxer is clearly the winner on this front. The Apache’s brake lever feels spongy and robs the rider of feel, even though there's a good amount of bite from the pads.
The Gixxer still remains an exciting motorcycle to ride and one that connects with your heart despite its few shortcomings. But one can't dismiss the fact that it's more expensive than the Apache at Rs 1 lakh (ex-showroom).
So head-to-head, the Apache RTR 160 4V is a better all round package and our pick among the two.