Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Apache RTR Vs CBZ Xtreme

Last week, I was lucky to test drive these 2 new bikes on successive days. I wanted to ‘freewheel' them for a long time but never found an opportunity. So on the day of the ride, off I went like an excited kid jumping to drive. I got my hands first on CBZ Xtreme and then on the Apache RTR.
Day 1 (should be saying late night): By now, I have got used to the Xtreme looks, though I still feel the old CBZ is a design to beat in spite of it belonging to the prev bike gen. The Xtreme ride and engine revs were very smooth. I felt as if it was a Unicorn tuned for a further smoother ride. The low end torque somehow didn’t impress me much, I had a feeling I was riding a 125cc machine. For a bike in this category and looking to compete with the likes of Pulsar 150 and Apache, this fatigue won’t help much.
At high speeds above 80kmph, the ride felt solid and confident. I also had the feeling the brakes weren’t sharp and didn’t respond quick enough as I expected. I am also not a big fan of the pilot lamp on the bike. Nevertheless, the ride was exciting and was a good bike to drive without much strain on me and the bike. Overall rating: 3.5/5.
Verdict: Certainly better than the previous generation 150cc bikes.

Day 2 ( Night 2):
Apache RTR. This was a red one belonging to my friend. First look, I was very impressed at how it was different from the 150. Small aesthetic and visual touches at the right areas on the 150 and what do we have? Stunning and gorgious RTR!
Just sitting on the bike gave me a very comfy feel. Before talking more on the bike let us just go back and ponder on what Apache users feedback were on. The bike had a bad gearbox, changing gears - a pain in the neck. Vibration felt at high speeds. Handling - not very comfortable for city ride and felt less confident at high speeds. Surprisingly I found the bike to have none of these. In fact I should say, the bike outperformed Xtreme on all these parameters.
The low-end torque was too good to be true. The ride was very comfortable and brakes had good response. I just love the digital tacho on Pulsar 150 and dream as I may on other bikes, but it was there on RTR. I think the digital tacho gives the bikes the international appeal and that of a superbike. The new clip-on handles were very comfortable. When it was time to stop, I didn’t want to put my feet down, the ride was so good, I wanted to go on. Overall rating: 4.5/5
Verdict: Innovative Engineering by TVS. Eager to see the same quality engineering flow to Flame also (The new TVS 125cc bike).

Final Word: In spite of being very late successor to CBZ, not much technical innovation has gone into the Xtreme as it uses the same Unicorn engine. However the bike feels good and solid. An upgraded Unicorn is my take.
RTR, a smart piece of engineering and a great upgrade for Apache 150. What tops the cake, is that it is a km or 2 more fuel efficient than the Xtreme and I heard its a 1 or 2k cheaper than Xtreme, 2 more reasons to choose the RTR.
People looking for a rush of adrenaline should go for Apache RTR. For a smooth care-free ride it is the Xtreme.

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