Bajaj Pulsar N160 vs TVS Apache RTR 160 4V: Battle Of The 160cc Bikes
news

Bajaj Pulsar N160 vs TVS Apache RTR 160 4V: Battle Of The 160cc Bikes

Reviews by Team Drivio | Apr 10, 2023

The Bajaj Pulsar N160 has everything it takes to be the segment leader, on paper. Let’s see what it translates to, in the real world:

  • The N160’s 164cc mill has 16PS and 14.7Nm on tap. 
  • TVS has, meanwhile, tuned the Apache to produce 17.55PS and 14.7Nm.
  • Where the Apache also has the upper hand is with its 148kg weight, meaning it’s a whole 6kg less than the Pulsar N160. 

Indian manufacturers dominate the 150-160cc segment. TVS dominates the segment with its extremely capable RTR 160 4V, which has received a couple of useful updates over the last four years, including the addition of more features, more power, and a new headlight. 

It now has its most formidable competitor in the form of the new Bajaj Pulsar N160. The Pune-based manufacturer has had plenty of time to thoroughly research its competitors and launch a focused assault. So, did it succeed in seizing the throne? 

Bajaj Pulsar N160 vs TVS Apache RTR 160 4V: Design & Features

FeaturesBajaj Pulsar N160TVS Apache RTR 160 4V
LED HeadlampYesYes
Fully-digital ConsoleNoYes
LED indicatorsNoNo
Riding modesNoYes
Alloy wheelsYesYes
Split seatsNoYes
Bluetooth connectivityNoYes

The TVS Apache RTR 160 4V has a classic streetfighter appearance, with sharp and sporty lines. The all-LED headlights and DRLs that look like fangs complement the chiselled fuel tank extensions. The middle section has large grey side panels, while the rear is dominated by a bulky, yet useful tyre hugger and a stylish twin-barrel exhaust. 

The design of the Pulsar N160 is similar to that of its larger sibling, the Pulsar N250. It has a sharp front cowl that houses a projector headlight and LED daytime running lights. Tank extensions give it a muscular appearance that complements the high-set tail section.

In terms of features, it’s a no-brainer that the Apache takes the cake. With segment-first features like riding modes, slipper clutch and bluetooth connectivity to boast of, the Apache gives all the other bikes a run for their money in terms of features, leave alone a bike like the N160, that isn’t exactly high on features. It not only gets a basic-looking semi-digital console from the N250 and F250, but the lack of other features does show Bajaj’s slight cost-cutting.

Bajaj Pulsar N160 vs TVS Apache RTR 160 4V: Engine & Gearbox

SpecificationsBajaj Pulsar N160TVS Apache RTR 160 4V
Engine164.82cc single-cylinder, air-/oil-cooled, 2-valve159.7cc single-cylinder, air-/oil-cooled, 4-valve
Maximum Power16PS at 8750rpm17.55PS at 9250rpm
Maximum Torque14.7Nm at 6500rpm14.7Nm at 7250rpm
Transmission5-speed5-speed with slip-and-assist clutch

The highlight of motorcycles is their hearts, each of which beats in such a way that its maker earned its sporty stripes. So, like everything else made by TVS, the Apache RTR 160 4V was born, developed, and fine-tuned by putting it through its paces around a race track multiple times. As a result, it has the strongest engine in the 160cc sporty commuter segment. 

Surprisingly, it is the Pulsar that proves to be the faster motorcycle of the two. It may appear shocking, but the reasoning is straightforward. Bajaj Pulsars have always been about ruling the streets, and torque talks. The 1.5PS power deficit is compensated for by a broad torque band that produces 14.7Nm at revs as low as 3000rpm. Furthermore, its engine revs up a lot faster as well.

The sorcery you are witnessing above demonstrates that, while the RTR is producing more power, it is unable to fully utilise its increased potential. All of that extra horsepower is generated higher in the rev range. So, while it allows you to hold each gear for longer, you don't gain as much speed as you would otherwise. With gear shifts to consider, the difference between the two bikes becomes even more pronounced. 

Bajaj Pulsar N160 vs TVS Apache RTR 160 4V: Suspension, Tyres & Brakes

SpecificationsBajaj Pulsar N160TVS Apache RTR 160 4V
Front suspensionTelescopic forkTelescopic fork
Rear suspensionMonoshockMonoshock
Front tyre100/80-1790/90-17
Rear tyre130/70-17130/70-R17
Front brake300mm disc270mm disc
Rear brake280mm disc130mm drum/ 200mm disc
ABSDual-channel as optionalSingle-channel

When you show the two bikes a set of curves, they both enjoy speeding around them. The RTR 160's race-honed chassis begins to edge out the Apache at this point. When you want to go fast around a bend, it gives you a lot of confidence. It has a sharp turn in, is fairly stable when leaned over, and is quick enough to change directions.

However, the Pulsar is not lacking in this regard. Only when compared to the RTR does it become clear that it isn't as sporty. The wider section front prevents sharper turn-ins, and the firmer suspension tune means mid-corner bumps aren't as easily handled.

While the Pulsar is more ergonomic, the RTR compensates by providing a more sorted and composed ride. The Showa-tuned suspension on the RTR is supple and mushy, filtering and absorbing any type of bump. Even over larger imperfections, the bike remains stable and the rider maintains firm control.

The N160 suffers from Bajaj's platform engineering business here, as the N250 borrowed suspension components remain unchanged. Because of the N160's lighter weight, the tune doesn't match the levels of comfort you'd expect from a sporty commuter. The monoshock has a firm edge that throws the rider over sharp bumps.

Bajaj Pulsar N160 vs TVS Apache RTR 160 4V: Dimensions

DimensionsBajaj Pulsar N160TVS Apache RTR 160 4V
Wheelbase1358mm1357mm
Ground clearance165mm180mm
Kerb weight154kg148kg
Fuel tank capacity14-litres12-litres
Seat height795mm800mm

This is quite a close game as well. Both the bikes are extremely closely-specced and none really pulls ahead of the other one. They’re both compact, making commuting quite a joyous task. They both feel agile and extremely peppy. The Apache RTR 160 4V, though, feels a tad bit more agile of the two. 

Bajaj Pulsar N160 vs TVS Apache RTR 160 4V: Price

PriceBajaj Pulsar N160TVS Apache RTR 160 4V
Ex-showroom DelhiRs 1,22,854 onwardsRs 1,23,020 onwards

Bajaj has priced the N160 at a rather mouth-watering Rs 1.22 lakh onwards. And most importantly, what you get, is dual-channel ABS, a segment-first feature and something that is a lot more usable than the Apache’s gimmicky list of features. 

TVS, meanwhile, has priced the Apache at Rs 1.23 lakh onwards (both ex-showroom Delhi) and what it offers for that money is a more peppy engine and sharper handling dynamics. 

Verdict

This was a difficult test, and predicting the winner is impossible. It's like deciding who is the greatest of all time: Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. You simply cannot. It's not as clear a case as it was in previous comparisons, where the Apache RTR 160 4V romped ahead. As a result, credit must be given to Bajaj for making the Pulsar N160 as brilliant as the Apache and, in doing so, restoring the Pulsar brand's glory days.

We can assist you in deciding between the two by directing you to make the best decision for yourself. If you want an easy commuting experience, the Pulsar's super tractable nature and ultra refined experience would be more appealing. And the fact that it isn't a slouch is a plus.

The Apache RTR 160 4V is still a great sporty motorcycle, especially for those who are just getting into sport riding. Its athletic genes are well balanced with sensible traits. It can also prepare you nicely for bigger, meaner, and sportier motorcycles in the future.

So who is the real winner? It’s you, the buyer! That is because both of these bikes are incredible. And you will not be disappointed if you choose one over the other.