2021 TVS Apache RTR 200 4V BS6: Review In Images
Have the upgrades to the RTR 200 4V really made much of a difference?
The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V has been setting benchmarks ever since its launch in 2016. And the bike just keeps getting better with every passing year. For 2021, TVS has updated the Apache RTR 200 with an adjustable front suspension, ride modes, adjustable brake and clutch levers, and a stylish new colour scheme. But do these updates really make a difference?
Nothing's changed in terms of design. But it's still a sharp, well-built streetfighter with high quality standards and a feature list that simply cannot be contested in this segment.
Of course, there’s a new matte blue paint scheme that looks striking and will get you just the right amount of attention on the road. Also, the paint quality and finish is phenomenal to say the least.
The overall ergos are still the same. You sit in a leaned-forward riding posture on an 800mm tall seat and with rearset footpegs.
However, these rear-set pegs are positioned a little too high, making it a bit cramped. In our opinion, TVS could improve this by just pushing the footpegs further back and lowering them ever so slightly. That way there’ll be a bit more room for taller riders -- in this case, for a 5’10'' frame like mine.
The seat has comfortable cushioning and is easily accessible, even for average-sized riders. More importantly, at no point did I find it to be uncomfortable, even after spending over 100km on the saddle at a stretch.
As always, the 2021 Apache RTR 200 is packed to the teeth with features. Majority of the features have been carried over from the previous iteration. But what will impress you is the addition of adjustable brake and clutch levers, which elevate the overall riding experience by offering more flexibility to riders of all sizes.
You also have three different ride modes (Rain, Urban, and Sport) that change the tune of the engine and the ABS intrusion. More on that later.
The RTR may still retain the same 197.75cc single-cylinder engine with an oil-cooler, but it’s currently the only bike in the 200cc space offering ride modes -- a feature that’s usually only available in the higher segments.
The engine retune on the 2021 RTR also helps it extract 0.32PS and 0.45Nm more than the 2020 model. Gear ratios have been revised too, which means there’s more power available lower down the rev range.
The new bike manages to shave a whole 1.7 second off the older model while gunning from 0-100kmph. It’s even quicker than the Race Edition (carb), which was already quite fast to begin with.
A meatier mid-range results in quicker roll-on acceleration, which improves quick overtakes within city limits. Out on the highway though, you will have to drop down a gear to stay within the powerband.
Switching to ‘Urban’ makes the throttle response more mellow and limits the power and torque to 17.32PS and 16.51Nm respectively -- available slightly lower down the rev range.
Ride modes on a small 200cc streetfighter may sound like overkill, but it works. Not everyone wants 20.82PS at their disposal all the time. Some may prefer a leisurely ride with better fuel-efficiency. The ABS intrusion is also bumped up at the point that could be more useful to newer riders.
You’d probably expect fuel-efficiency to take a hit, given the 2021 RTR’s improved performance figures. But that’s far from the reality.
The new engine tune is such that you don’t have to work the engine as much to get the most out of it. It can sit peacefully between 80-90kmph, which certainly helps its highway efficiency.
Better bottom-end and a meatier mid-range mean the engine is at ease in city traffic as well. All in all, you could expect well over 500km on a full tank, but only if you’re gentle with the throttle.
The biggest change on the 2021 RTR is the front suspension setup. It’s still a telescopic fork but no features preload adjustments, which add a layer of flexibility that no other 200cc bike has on offer.
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There are four preload settings available for the fork, tailored for riders of varying weights (although TVS specifies this weight range between 65 and 80kg). Bumping up the front preload (which basically pre-compresses the front springs) not only helps the front suspension support a heavier load more comfortably but the slight change in geometry also allows for a more reactive front-end that’s quicker to steer. Of course, this comes at the expense of a bit of plushness from the front suspension on bad roads.
We fiddled with the setup with a 75kg rider on board and found that the second notch from the softest setting works best for overall rideability. It does a fantastic job at flattening bumps and potholes, and almost offers a carpet-like ride.
The handling capabilities of the 2021 RTR 200 are further highlighted by its tyres. Sure, the configuration may be a bit odd -- Remoras at the front and the new Eurogrip Protorq SR tyres at the rear. But it works! The grip from these tyres are incredible, and it reflects in the braking department as well.
Braking was one of the biggest drawbacks on the older RTRs. That’s not the case anymore. Braking distances have improved by 3-5 metres compared to the previous-gen model. The improved numbers are down to the tyres and also the way the brakes are set up. It's the same configuration as before, but TVS has re-tuned the unit to offer better bite, feel, and progression through the levers.
The Apache RTR has come a long way, from being just another entry-level performance bike to almost TVS’ crown jewel. It’s now a fine product, and dare I say, better than the BS6 Apache RR 310 in terms of overall rideability.
You have a better spread of power throughout the rev range (that makes it more usable in every situation) and an adjustable suspension setup that can be tweaked for different riders. It brakes and handles much better than the older model too. It’s truly an enjoyable bike that’ll keep you engaged, no matter how experienced a rider you are.
So should you put your money on the 2021 RTR 200 4V then? That’s an emphatic YES from our side.