- Date acquired: July 28, 2016
- Kilometers when arrived: 2883.5 km
- Current reading: 3854.6 km
- Fuel efficiency: 35-40 kmpl
There isn’t another made in India motorcycle we know of which proudly flaunts its racing bloodline on its bodywork has been built with learnings from the track and comes slapped with a sexy sounding acronym like ‘RTR’ in its name. What’s also noteworthy is that those learnings aren’t reserved for wealthy pupils alone, but is available at a price which makes it accessible to anyone who can afford an education of the two wheeled kind. That, and a little Tricolour above the headlamp which conveys that the new TVS Apache RTR 200 4V is unabashedly proud of its identity, makes it a very special motorcycle. So when a carbeuretted example joined our long term fleet, I managed to beat everyone else in the office to snatch the keys and spend time with what looks like the sportiest homegrown machine you can buy for the least amount of money. Here’s what we found out.
There is collective liking towards the RTR 200’s styling in our office. Out on the road, inquisitively admiring looks from folks on year old rickety Pulsars and even new age muscular Hondas, add to that smug feel. Bits like the offset fuel filler cap, sharp, lithe styling cues, and that in vogue all-digital display go a long way in making the Apache part of a fast-at-standstill picture. We quite like the minimal approach to the design, where things exist on the motorbike because they are functional, yet, their existence is rather stylish.
The first crank after a night long rest requires a helping hand from the choke, but once warmed up, the motor settles into a healthy idle. A hot knife like clutch lets you cut through a melting butter like gearbox and one gets quite busy shuffling up and down the box in townie conditions, thanks to shorter initial ratios. You don’t mind when your toe gets busy though, as there’s hardly any loss of momentum or pauses felt when you change cogs, given the generous amount of torque available in the lower band. If you’ve come down a gear or two carrying slightly higher engine speeds, there is a rewarding burble that pops out from that upswept exhaust. Oh and did we tell you, the Apache 200 is one of the fruitiest sounding sub-300 cc machine on sale right now. It isn’t all go and no sound show.
That 200 cc motor offers a max twist of 18.1 Nm at 7000 clicks. But then, as much as 16 Newtons can be tapped from as low as 4000 rpm. Which means, all your cherries hang accessibly low and you don’t really have to climb a tall palm tree. If you’re still hellbent and like your rewards to be set higher up, you may make the engine fire its guts till 10000 rotations. However, peak power of 20.7 bhp is dished out at 8500 clicks and there are sweeter rewards if you shift up around that mark.
Handling prowess is what this machine is all about though, and that trait alone makes the RTR 200 very special. Straight line stability is first class, but then show this machine some corners and that matt finish paint turns glossy and shines out real bright. Sticky Pirelli rubber playing your wing-man at both ends, the Apache RTR 200 loves you back like a clingy girlfriend around bends, no matter if your inputs are smooth or haphazard. Front end feels relatively light in a good way, (never flighty, even with two up) and that along with some impressive weight distribution allows electric flickability when slicing through traffic, or throwing the bike around twisties.
In the saddle, it feels lightweight and well balanced between your limbs. That feeling finds affirmation in the way this bike handles and goes about its business. Cycle parts relay a strong sense of integrity and all the touch points feel alive and talkative. Riding position is a fair balance between sporty and comfortable, although a higher perched pillion on that slippery stepped seat will be all over you, every time you brake. Young blood, take note! Courtesy of a disc setup at both ends, braking power feels adequate at all times. We would’ve liked things to be a bit more sharper though, as one has to grab quite a lot of that lever to shed higher speeds.
Switch gear placement is ideal and considering that the bike is parked out in the open, its crisp operation has survived a fierce spell of rains Bombay has witnessed this year. Only the beam toggle switch seems to have caught a cold and requires a few back and forth movements to set the desired focus, while a few screws seem to have lost the battle to rust. The headlight’s low beam has a good spread, while the higher beam has an arrow like focus. Illumination is decent and there’s nothing to complain, but a little more intensity wouldn’t have hurt. The bike has been consistently returning a fuel economy number in the range of 35+ kpl in city conditions and more than 40 kpl on the highways, depending on the amount of twist you induce in your wrist. Those number are pretty good, considering the fact that our throttle openings have been generous at all times.
As a package, the TVS Apache RTR 200 isn’t about hairy chested rampage. It leans towards offering an experience which which is sharp and refined, it’s a motorcycle which handles brilliantly and feels joyously athletic, every time you swing your leg over it. A circuit riding trip through the hills has been long due and we’ll report our findings about the same in the next report as the rains subside. Stay tuned!
The build quality of the Apache 200 4V is one of the best we’ve seen so far on a TVS two-wheeler
The Apache proudly flaunts its racing bloodline on its bodywork
The insectoid headed front piece wears a smiley headlamp cluster that’s highlighted by twin, C-shaped LED strokes at the edges
Double barrel exhaust unearths a bassy note
Ready To Race?
Five spoke wheels with the twin spoke design come wrapped in Pirelli rubber
A higher perched pillion is quite comfortable, even on relatively longer rides