Apache RTR v X-Blade v gixxer

The best of the 160-cc class bat­tle it out

Bike India - - CONTENTS - STORY: HAR­KET SUCHDE

here was a time when the 150-cc seg­ment had a cou­ple of bikes and no con­vo­luted sub-gen­res that all sort of en­croached on each other’s ter­ri­tory and twisted around the cor­ri­dors of your con­fused cra­nium. those were sim­pler times. to­day, you have en­try-level, mid-range, pre­mium, su­per pre­mium (now, with added aBs good­ness), naked, half-faired, fully-faired... al­most too many to keep track of! this in­tense divi­sion is tes­ta­ment to how our coun­try’s pop­u­lace has taken to these ver­sa­tile pocket-rock­ets that are also easy on the pocket and el­e­vated this seg­ment to one of the most pop­u­lar in the two-wheeler mar­ket.

this divi­sion also means that you can’t toss all the 150-160-cc bikes in the mar­ket into one pot and then stir it up. in­stead, you have to pick and choose and pit like for like. which is why, out of the many, many bikes that oc­cupy this gen­eral area, we’re only fo­cus­ing on these three 160s. the X Blade and rtr are new en­trants to the mar­ket and the Gixxer has been a front-run­ner in this space. apart from bring­ing sim­i­lar at­tributes to the ta­ble, these three are also priced quite close to each other. al­though you wouldn’t know it just by look­ing at them.

these bikes are so dis­tinct in the aes­thetic de­part­ment that you can tell them apart with nary a glance. Let me start with the new­est kid on the block, the apache rtr 160 4V. while its rtr lin­eage def­i­nitely shows in the de­sign, it has been given a makeover in its lat­est avatar and is now much more in line with its older rtr 200 sib­ling. i like the sharp head­lamp unit, sharp tank shrouds, and sharp belly-pan, all of which lend the rtr a look that is... er .... sharp. se­ri­ously, though, it looks ag­gres­sive and ready to slice through the air, and that retro red shade with a nice white stripe, in­fused with flakes, run­ning across the tank, and even the off-set fuel filler cap add a touch of per­son­al­ity to the rtr. how­ever, i’m not a big fan of the che­quered flag de­cals on the tank; i think they’re a bit much, and nei­ther am i too keen on that ex­haust, which looks at odds with the rest of the bike’s de­sign.

Next, the X Blade, and this one is an­other

good-looker. a good mix of sleek and sinewy, the at­ten­tion to de­tail on this one is so com­mend­able. there are many bits and pieces that on any other bike would have been a vis­ual over­load, but here, they fit very well to­gether and give the bike a dis­tinct ap­pear­ance. even the sari-guard, so de­rided in au­to­mo­tive cir­cles, is a pretty piece of crafts­man­ship. the head­lamp unit is a lit­tle bit of a downer for me, though. it kinda looks like the Fallen, the lead bad­die from the film

Trans­form­ers: Re­venge of the Fallen, and i don’t like my bike look­ing like an­cient De­cep­ti­cons, but, hey, maybe, that’s just me.

the Gixxer sP is the lat­est it­er­a­tion of the suzuki Gixxer that was launched back in 2014. while noth­ing has changed phys­i­cally, it has got the full sticker treat­ment. the mus­cu­lar, sculpted tank is now adorned with this techno-style two-colour de­cal job and even the shroud gets a com­pli­cated “sP” logo. to me, this takes away from what is oth­er­wise a re­ally good-look­ing bike. the most min­i­mal in terms of de­sign of the three, i was quite a fan of the Gixxer’s sim­plic­ity, which has now been marred a lit­tle by the ex­ces­sive stick­er­ing. the red pin­stripes on the wheels are an­other new ad­di­tion and those do look quite at­trac­tive.

turn the ig­ni­tion on any of the three bikes and you’ll be greeted by an all-dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter as has pretty much be­come the norm to­day. while they all have their own in­di­vid­ual flavours, in terms of pure ease of vis­i­bil­ity, the rtr stands out. all three bikes come with the usual odome­ter, fuel in­di­ca­tor, large dig­i­tal speedo, and hor­i­zon­tal tachome­ter placed at the top of the dis­play. how­ever, the rtr gets a few fun “race” fea­tures over and above the standard ones like a top speed read­out and a 0-60 km/h tim­ing fea­ture as well (al­though it isn’t ac­cu­rate). it even has a gear-shift light to tell you op­ti­mal shift times when at­tempt­ing a sprint. On the flip side, while both the X Blade and the Gixxer come with a gear in­di­ca­tor, the rtr does not. also, the but­ton to switch be­tween

Our per­for­mance fig­ures in­di­cated that the TVS’ su­pe­rior power did bear fruit, as it hit both the 60 km/h and 80 km/h mark quicker than its ri­vals

The Honda’s seat is the most com­fort­able of the three, both for the rider and the pil­lion

dis­plays doesn’t work when the rtr is in mo­tion, even though it works on both the other bikes.

Other dif­fer­ences among the three bikes in­clude the lack of a kill switch on the honda, which is quite an­noy­ing, and only the Gixxer comes with the con­ve­nience of the choke be­ing mounted on the han­dle­bar.

Climb aboard these bikes and the X Blade has the most up­right riding po­si­tion, while the rtr, with its race lin­eage, has the most com­mit­ted one. the Gixxer is some­where be­tween the two, al­though all three bikes are fairly com­fort­able to ride, even on longer stints. the honda’s seat is the most com­fort­able of the three, though, both for the rider and the pil­lion. en­gine-wise, they’re all air-cooled, four-stroke sin­gles mated to five-speed gear­boxes.

the X Blade has a 162.71-cc en­gine pro­duc­ing 14.13 Ps at 8,500 rpm and 13.92 Nm of torque at

6,000 rpm. the tVs’ plant dis­places 159.7 cc and pro­duces 16.5 Ps at 8,000 rpm and 14.8 Nm at 6,500 rpm, and the Gixxer’s 154.9-cc mill churns out 14.8 horses at 8,000 rpm and 14 Nm of twist at 6,000 rpm. Our per­for­mance fig­ures in­di­cated that the tVs’ su­pe­rior power did bear fruit, as it hit both the 60 km/h and 80 km/h mark quicker than its ri­vals. the Gixxer was slow­est to 60, but made up ground by the time it hit 80 km/h. when it comes to tripledigit fig­ures, though, the tVs is in a league of its own, over five sec­onds faster than the honda and nearly seven sec­onds quicker than the Gixxer. the rtr had the most en­joy­able ac­cel­er­a­tion, too, and you could com­fort­ably cruise at 80 km/h+ on both the rtr and the X Blade with­out ei­ther bike feel­ing out of breath. the honda’s gear­box is the best of the lot, though, with smooth ac­tion and as­sured shifts.

when it comes to ma­noeu­vring through traf­fic, the Gixxer stands out. as the light­est of the three and the one with the short­est wheel­base, it is great for quick di­rec­tion changes. it takes U-turns on a dime and was even the stand­out when we cor­nered the bikes hard. the rtr, too, was ex­cit­ing around cor­ners, but what the honda lacked in the out-and-out han­dling stakes, it more than made up for in ride qual­ity, ab­sorb­ing all the harsh­ness from bad roads and speed-break­ers with aplomb and of­fer­ing a more com­fort­able ride over­all than both its ri­vals. and even though it was the slow­est to a stand­still in our per­for­mance tests, the X Blade also felt the most com­posed un­der hard brak­ing and of­fered great pro­gres­sion and bite from the front brakes. it is, how­ever, the only bike of the three here that doesn’t sport a disc brake at the rear as well; you have to set­tle for a drum in­stead. On the other hand, while the

As the light­est of the three and the one with the short­est wheel­base, the Gixxer is great for quick di­rec­tion changes

Gixxer pro­duced the best fig­ures of the three, there was a lot of play in the lever, so if you use two fin­gers to brake, the lever will press into your fin­gers that are still gripping the han­dle.

mov­ing on to fuel ef­fi­ciency, the X Blade of­fers 54.5 kilo­me­tres to a litre over­all, while the rtr 160 comes with 49 km/l, and the Gixxer 47.75 km/l, and con­sid­er­ing that all three hold 12 litres in their fuel tanks, the X Blade is eas­ily the most ef­fi­cient of the lot. it is also the cheap­est of the lot, as it car­ries a sticker of rs 79,000, fol­lowed by the Gixxer that is priced at rs 82,000, and the most ex­pen­sive of the three is the rtr 160 4V with a price of rs 84,500 (all prices exshow­room, Delhi).

it’s clear that the honda X Blade is the best value-for-money bike of the lot and if it was me do­ing the buy­ing, it would be my pick too. it looks great, has the best ride qual­ity, is the most com­fort­able, and is no slouch in the per­for­mance de­part­ment ei­ther. that, cou­pled with its widely su­pe­rior ef­fi­ciency and cheaper price means that i can’t find my­self look­ing past it.

the rtr 160 will ap­peal to those who want per­for­mance above every­thing else. as for the Gixxer sP, the fact that it is es­sen­tially a gen­er­a­tion older shows, but it has light­ness and agility go­ing for it and it has the low­est seat too, so smaller-sized riders will be most com­fort­able astride it.

The X-Blade and RTR are new en­trants to the mar­ket and the Gixxer has been a front-run­ner in this space

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: SANJAY RAIKAR

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