TVS Apache RTR 200 – First Ride Review
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It has been a very very long time since TVS launched a new motorcycle. The last we saw was the new Scooty Zest which still impresses us till today. The Apache RTR brand by TVS was slowly dying and with the showcase of the Draken at the last Auto Expo, we were hoping to see the motorcycle in production by now under the RTR brand. But TVS have done something even better. They’ve taken a long time but their efforts and RnD have paid off with the launch of their new Apache RTR 200.
The Pros: Superb engine, very good and usable torque curve, extremely low vibrations.
The Cons: Brakes lack bite, No ABS.
The Crux: It is by far the best 200cc motorcycle you can buy.
Design and features
Right from the onset you can make out that this doesn’t look like an Apache. In fact it looks like BMW’s partnership with TVS has given them a new look on styling of a motorcycle. That small headlight coupled with a miniscule cowl screams it street fighter intentions. It’s even got these neat looking white Day Time Running Lights.
The chiselled tank with those gorgeous shrouds and the underbelly cowl make it look sporty and that split seat with a sharp rear tail just enhance its racing appeal. The new allow wheels look sleek but what’s even more impressive is the exhaust. The shotgun like double barrel exhaust emits a nice grunt while incorporating two catalyst converters to adhere to Euro III and Euro IV emission norms. Overall the motorcycle looks stunning and not intimidating at all.
It comes in five Matte colours – red, yellow, white, grey, black and a glossy black and a glossy white. The matte finish on these look superb and TVS is probably the only company to offer so many matte colours for one motorcycle.
As far as features go, the Apache RTR 200 comes loaded with them. The all new digital instrument console come packed with features like, a gear indicator, odometer, two trip meters, lap time, highest top speed, a timer mode, fuel gauge and even tells you the time of day.
The switch gear quality is top notch and the palm grips are comfy. The rear LED tail light, spilt grab handle and short tyre hugger look neatly done.
Engine and Performance
TVS say they’ve built an all new engine for the Apache RTR 200. They stressed on the fact that the engine had to be tuned not for extreme power and torque but to give everyday riders a more usable torque curve that can be fully exploited. The new 198cc oil cooled engine churns out 21PS at 8,500rpm and 18Nm at 7,000rpm. You will have two options, a carburetted and a fuel injection version of the Apache as variants. The carburettor variants get a Keihin CV carburettor and the fuel injection variant gets a Bosch- Closed loop system. We rode both variants and the FI version definitely felt a lot smoother and had more punch.
To keep the engine cool, TVS have even added a Ram Air system to into the oil cooler as well as on the engine head. They say it helps cool the engine by an added 10degrees which is impressive. We weren’t able to test out the performance of the Apache RTR 200 but the testing figures that TVS gave us reveal that it can do 0-60km/h in 3.9seconds, 0-100km/h in 12.1seconds and reach a top speed of 127km/h. When we get the motorcycle for a road test, we’ll be able to confirm if these figures are true and find out the fuel economy it returns.
Ride, Handling and Braking
The Apache RTR 200 is a mean looking machine but once you sit on it, it doesn’t feel so intimidating. The clip on handle bars are at just the right height so that your wrists don’t start hurting and the foot pegs are rear set to just the right amount. You are leaned over while riding but not in a too radical position. The seat even though it’s small, has been shaped and padded to give you a comfortable ride. The pillion seat on the other hand is a level above the rider and under hard braking; you will feels the pillions weight on your back.
As you shift into first gear you get a nice click from the 5-speed gear box but as you shift into the higher gears, the shifting becomes so smooth that you can barely feel it. Around the track the Apache RTR 200 felt nimble as it weighs just 148kg. TVS have even incorporated a new Double cradle Split Synchro Stiff Frame to make sure the motorcycle handles even better than before. Flipping the motorcycle around the corners was a breeze and no matter how hard you pushed it, the motorcycle felt stable.
Now the TVS test track in Hosur isn’t the smoothest and has its share of bumps. Here we were able to test out the suspension and though the front telescopic forks work well, the new race tuned KYB monoshock was really impressive. It soaked up the bumps nicely and we think it will work well even on city roads. On the braking front though, we weren’t too happy with the front petal disc brake. It did stop the motorcycle but lacked the amount of progression and feel that we were expecting. The rear petal disc brake on the other hand worked better and had more bite. They don’t have an ABS variant yet but they say it should be out in a few months.
Now one of the biggest changes for TVS on the new Apache RTR 200 is the new tyres. They have developed a new in house tyre called Remora. The new Apache RTR 200 is also offered with Pirelli tyres as optional and at an additional cost. But in our ride handling test, we rode both motorcycles back to back with the two brands of tyres and found that the new Remora tyres work just as well as the Pirelli tyres and in fact, you could barely feel the difference between the two. So in our opinion, there is no need to pay more and get the Pirelli tyres when the new TVS Remora tyres get the job done just as well.
In this segment, there isn’t much competition right now. The Bajaj NS 200 isn’t on sale anymore but you do have the faired RS 200. But then that’s a faired motorcycle so you can’t compare the two. You could compare it to the KTM Duke 200 but the KTM costs a lot more. The TVS Apache RTR 200 carburetted variant retails for Rs. 89,000(ex-showroom Delhi) while the fuel injection variant should be launched for approx. Rs. 1,15,000 (ex-showroom Delhi). Both variants aren’t available in showrooms yet but bookings should open in a month or two. Overall though, TVS have been able to find a niche for themselves and have priced the motorcycle just right. It looks great and performs even better than any of the older Apache’s and it is bound to revive the Apache RTR brand in India.