TVS Apache RTR 200 Race Edition 2.0: Road Test Review
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The RTR 200 now gets a slipper clutch as standard. We tested the ABS version to see how much of an improvement it is over the previous bike.
Our earlier review of the TVS Apache RTR 200 confirmed that the 200cc naked is a promising performance packed tool for someone who rides more in the city than on the highway. But the Race Edition 2.0 brings with it a slipper clutch as standard and dual channel ABS as well on the top end variant, both of which are segment first features. So we got our hands on the ABS variant to find out if its worth an additional Rs 13,800 over the standard model, but more than that, if the addition of the two new features affected its performance in any significant way.
Looks & Styling
On the design front, the RTR 200 remains unchanged, with styling cues typical of the new generation RTR family. What's new and refreshing though, is the new set of colours, graphics and the small windshield on top of the angular headlight. The body graphics run along the edges of the panels and do a great job in highlighting the highly angular design of the bike. And to further differentiate this new version from the previous one, it now gets small fork protectors at the front and a slightly redesigned tyre hugger at the back.
The halogen headlight with the boomerang-shaped DRL’s looks sharp and gels with the overall styling. Brightness from the lamp is adequate and can feel a bit dim when it has to contend with the glare from oncoming headlights. The white-backlit all-LCD instrument cluster remains unaltered and packs in all the basic readouts such as a clearly legible speedometer along with a clock and even a gear position indicator. Other information displayed includes a lap timer, a top speed recorder and fastest lap recorded and rev limit indicator. The switchgear quality is one of the best in segment and the switches work well with a soft click to them.
Other design highlights are the offset fuel filler cap and the air ducts on the chiselled 12-litre fuel tank, that are not just a design highlight but also help improve airflow to the engine for better cooling.
Overall, the attention to detail and the build quality of the Apache RTR 200 Race Edition 2.0 makes it a premium offering. The only glaring bit on this otherwise handsome looking motorcycle, is the double barrel exhaust, which looks a bit bulky and out of place when compared to the aggressive stance that the motorcycle holds. It does sound great though, so we’re willing to forgive its slightly awkward design.
Engine & Performance
There is no change to the heart of this 200cc naked. The air-and-oil-cooled motor still produces peak power of 20.05PS @ 8500rpm and a peak torque output of 18.1Nm at 7000rpm.
Extracting power out of the RTR doesn’t require much effort. Since the gear ratios also remain unchanged, and owing to the short 1st gear, the Apache RTR 200 shoots off from 0 to 60kmph in 4.53 seconds, with a beefy torque band felt between 3000rpm to 7000rpm. However, post 7000rpm, the rush starts to settle down. As a result, the 0-100kmph stint can be achieved in 13.29 seconds. managing a true VBox-tested top speed of 117kmph.
Owing to the Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0’s strong low and mid range grunt, it feels responsive, refined and vibe-free while surfing around the city. But this feeling changes once you start climbing into triple digit speeds, particularly since the motor feels a bit stressed beyond the 7000rpm mark, with mild vibes felt through the footpegs.
With the Race Edition 2.0, the Apache RTR 200 4V also gets a slipper clutch, which aids in downshifting through multiple gears, without the fear of the rear wheel locking. Another benefit owing to the slipper clutch is that the clutch lever action has become lighter, which makes riding in peak traffic conditions a lot easier.
Since the Apache RTR 200 gets a 5-speed gearbox, it isn’t as closely stacked as some 6-speed units in its competition would be. As a result, roll-on from 30-70kmph in 3rd gear is managed in 5.8 seconds while 40-80kmph run in 4th gear is achieved in 7.6 seconds, which is more than what we got on the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200.
Overall though, from slow to medium speeds, this RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0 works really well. The smooth engine coupled with enough power on tap to manage quick overtakes and a slick shifting gearbox is exactly what you need in the urban environment.
The clip-on handlebars on the Apache RTR 200 are positioned closer to the rider, resulting in a more relaxed reach and a relatively upright posture. The mirrors provide ample rear view, thanks to the extended stalks.
The Apache RTR 200’s commuter-focused ergonomics can be seen from the positioning of the footpegs as well, which aren’t too rear-set. That said, owing to TVS’ racing pedigree, and hence their need to provide plenty of cornering clearance when leaned over, they are a bit high-set, which does need some getting used to. The ergonomics are suited for taller riders as well as there is enough room to lock your knees into the recesses provided. But it isn’t the most comfortable place to be in for extended durations. The split seats are cushioned on the softer side, meaning long hours in the saddle will cause some butt-ache. Also, if you are on the heavier side, there will be limitations to how much you can move around the rider seat.
Tuned on the softer side, the telescopic forks up front and the 5-step preload-adjustable monoshock at the rear manages to iron out rough road patches with ease. However, it doesn't feel composed enough after tackling large bumps, as the RTR 200 tends to bob a bit before regaining composure, pointing at a faster rebound setup. With a pillion on-board, this effect is amplified and a lot more noticeable. The soft setup also results in sudden jolts with the rear suspension bottoming out through especially bad potholes, and this can unsettle the pillion rider sometimes.
Handling & Braking
The RTR requires some getting used to while charging into corners, since the light and sharp front end makes the bike tip in quicker than you’d imagine. Mild undulations while cornering though are kept in check, thanks to the soft suspension setup. However, the Apache RTR 200 does feel a bit twitchy mid-corner, since it has a short wheelbase of just 1353mm. However, this excessive flickability means managing a set of chicanes is quite easy as the corner to corner transition is fairly effortless… as long as you get used the light front-end feeling that is.
But cornering shenanigans aside, this nimble steering is a real boon when riding in the city. It can be flicked in and out of tight traffic situations as if its second nature - a true testament to the RTR 200’s fantastic urban usability.
Tyres also play a vital role in a bike’s cornering capabilities. In this case, TVS has offered the newly developed Remora branded TVS tyres, which proved to be efficient on dry roads but failed to offer enough traction to tackle wet roads. So riders planning for weekend rides in the rain, beware!
The 270mm front disc brake and along with the 240mm rear disc now gets dual-channel ABS, which is a first in this segment. While ABS isn’t very intrusive at the front, a little more room before the rear ABS kicked in under hard braking, would have been better. That aside, the brake feel from the earlier non-ABS RTR 200 hasn’t really changed. Meaning, the feedback isn’t consistent under hard braking. So, while the brakes have a decent bite when used gently, they lack the sharpness and response you need to stop quickly. On the whole, the brakes manage to stop the bike from 60kmph in 21.09 metres, which is about 5 metres more than what the non-ABS equipped Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 can do.
How fuel efficient is it?
After putting the Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0 through our standardised fuel efficiency tests in the city and on the highway, it returned 46.9kmpl and 41.5kmpl respectively. Yet again, proving itself as a worthier city bike, which isn’t a surprise going by the performance it had to offer.
The Apache RTR 200 Race Edition 2.0 does make a strong case for itself with commuter-friendly dynamics, higher fuel efficiency in the city and a comfortable ride in most conditions. For about Rs 3,500 over the earlier RTR 200 ABS, you’re getting slicker paint and graphics. But more importantly, you’re getting a slip and assist clutch as standard, which is a great feature to have even if you’re not into aggressive riding, thanks to the light clutch lever action it offers. So in that sense, this upgrade is certainly worth it.
But then the bigger question for some may be, within the Race Edition 2.0 family, whether it’s worth paying the extra Rs 13,800 for ABS. While others may be offering ABS versions of their bikes for a lesser price increase, it’s important to note that they all offer only single-channel ABS (working just on the front wheel that is). The RTR 200 gets proper dual-channel ABS - something that only it, and its smaller sibling, the RTR 180, offer in the sub-1.5 lakh Rupee category.
So yes, those on a budget can certainly opt for the standard variant of the Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition 2.0, priced at Rs 96,230 (ex-Delhi). But if it’s possible to stretch your budget to Rs 1.10 lakh (ex-Delhi), then we’d highly recommend the ABS version for the vastly improved levels of safety it offers.