Apache. To most, the name flutters up images of an American, snub nosed, combat helicopter chopping the skies. But to more than a million riders across the world, it reminds them of what they ride; a motorcycling brand that can be single handedly credited for putting the Hosur (TN) based manufacturer on the world map.
For what essentially begun in 2005, brand Aapche has been enjoying steady and healthy sales thus far; successfully fending off its arch enemy, the Bajaj Pulsar, in the 150-180 cc categories. Now, the highly anticipated Apache 200 RTR is finally here. TVS’s new flagship claims to be strongest Apache yet, and naturally, the fastest as well.
Is it too late? Or is the new Apache going to turn things around for its maker? We find out in our first ride review.
Design and Styling
The all-new styling keeps the Apache theme intact, yet takes generous inspiration from the Draken Concept.
The insectoid headed, rather compact front piece wears a smiley headlamp cluster that’s highlighted by twin, C-shaped LED strokes at the edges. Blacked out detailing inside the headlamp cluster looks murderously cool. To keep perspectives intact, the indicators are tiny tots too.
The front piece is crowned by an exposed instrument cluster, giving the notion that the latter is “floating”. That said, it somehow feels that there a part of two missing in the area. If you haven’t noticed already, the Indian tri-color is proudly stuck to the corner.
The front fender hasn’t been spared the chisel as well, with edges that rise up like stubby horns on both sides, along with a subtle midriff; setting the styling theme for the top of the fuel tank. The section which falls along the matte gold finished front forks has been blacked out to stick to a theme. White pin-striping on the rims interspersed with TVS Racing decals look the part.
The fuel tank, all of 12 liters is a well chiseled unit with pointy, integrated extensions. The scooped out knee recesses feature blacked out ribs, while the theme running from the front fenders is applied on the top of the tank as well.
An asymmetrical, aircraft style fuel filler cap and blacked out middle section complete the fuel tank’s appearance from the rider’s perspective. We think it all looks trendy and muscular so far. The middle section is smeared in black, hiding all the details apart from the TVS Racing badge.
The split seat looks quite pert and dare I say, the front seat’s shape is an innuendo there for the taking. The pillion section can be completely taken off to access a small storage compartment for storing whatever things people store inside motorcycles. Yes, it’s a bit small.
Am I the only one who thinks that these fake air scoops look odd? Well, I guess it’ll grow on on with time, like they say. Fantasy says that these could have become functional, cooling air inlets if the Apache 200 came with an under seat exhaust system.
Bodywork caves into the middle of the Apache 200’s slim, LED tail lamp; thereby associating itself to the Apache family. The single piece grab rail atop syncs in with its antlers too.
Fuel injected versions come with dFilogic (remember the Fiero?) stickers on the sci-fi shaped under body guards.
The stainless steel exhaust canister breathes out through a dual tipped muffler that’s tuned to enrich low frequency notes; or bass. The lower “barrel” is actually one of the two catalytic converters.
The all-digital instrument console shows a tachometer sans red-lining indicators placed on top of the panel. A digital clock, gear position indicator and a service reminder icon is huddled to the left of the panel. The speedometer sits at the center of display with a fuel indicator below it. The display’s actually a bundle of information, and keep the geekier streaked riders happy. One gets a lap timer and two trip meters. It’ll even record your top speed 0-60 km/h sprint time. Tell-tale indicators like turn lights, fuel, neutral, ABS indicator, are placed on the plastic panel housing the digital display.
The chrome dipped levers look awesome; familiar TVS switch gear feels tactile to use, reeks of good quality too. Everything on the bike seemed to really well put together; with the build quality being one of the best we’ve seen so far on a TVS two-wheeler. Interestingly, the new Apache’s color palette comprises solely of matte finished shades, comprising of yellow, red, white, grey and black.
The new Apache’s styling is that feel-good halfway house between Bajaj’s flash and Honda’s subtlety. We think it just works.
The new Apache 200 RTR 4V is powered by an all-new 197.75 cc 4-stroke, oil cooled single pot engine. The 4V suffix defines the 4 valves on the cylinder. The engine will generate peak power of 20.2 bhp at 8500 rpm and a max torque of 18 Nm at 7000 rpm. The new motor, wearing a red cap, features an oil cooled combustion chamber for low engine noise, along with ram assist. Pistons here also feature from a generous smear of Nano FriKs, a coating full of solid lubricants, additives, nano particles and binders, that TVS claims, ensure the least possible friction between the insides of the cylinder and the pistons.
The power is pushed to the rear wheel by a 5-speed transmission. The engine is cradled inside a completely new frame that uses the engine as a stressed member, à la KTM Duke 200/Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS/RS. Over the regular Apache, this new frame, claim TVS, comes with improved torsional and lateral stiffness.
The Apache RTR 200 comes with telescopic front suspension, while at rear there’s a KYB-developed monoshock, the first seen on a TVS bike sold in India. At the back is a box-section steel swing arm. At 148.5 kilos, the new Aapche RTR 200 is a little lighter then the Pulsar 200 NS, which tips the scales at 151 kilos. The Apache 200 RTR 4V will be made available in both carbureted and fuel injected versions. The latter employs a closed loop fuel injection system governed by a 16-bit micro processor, along with throttle position and manifold pressure sensors.
The riding experience
We sampled the new Apache at TVS’s test track at their manufacturing plant in Hosur, Tamil Nadu.
Right then, get astride and one straightaway notices the compactness around their legs as compared to say, the Pulsar 200 NS. For this particular package, the naked sport theme couldn’t have been put across in a better way. The riding stance is upright, but not entirely relaxed as the foot pegs are positioned a bit rearwards.
We had a go at the carbureted version at first, and saved the fuel injected version for later. Thumb the starter and single cylinder engine barks to life, with the bulky exhaust settling into a louder than usual, staccato rumble. TVS says that the exhaust has been “sound engineered” to more aurally aggressive than rivals, and even at idle, the note is heavy to the ears.
To better understand how the engine performs, let’s see how the specifications chart up. Though 20 odd horsepower sounds a bit boring as compared to competition, TVS says that it’s been spread across the power band wisely. Anywhere between 2,000-7000 rpm, the Apache offers more power, including more torque than its immediate rival, promising better tractability during everyday riding. TVS calls it “usable power”. Let’s see how things pan out, albeit in the closed confines of a test track.
Banging through the gears is fun, provided you up shift below 7,500 rpm. Keep twisting the throttle further and performance wanes as the power and torque curves promise. Though it revs till 11,000 rpm, the engine becomes a screaming block of agony by then, clearly out of its comfort zone. As for top speed, we managed to hit a speedometer indicated 123 km/h on the relatively short straight of the test track. Though the claimed top speed is 129 km/h, TVS insists that it’ll do more, and eventually top out at 144 km/h; given a long enough stretch of tarmac.
Don’t get us wrong here. The Apache 200 is quick by standards, but its shiftless top-end whack might just get it licked by the Pulsar 200 NS in the latter half of a drag race, with both motorcycles going flat out. However, we don’t think that’s going to be an issue for riders who’d be putting their money on one of these.
Instead, the Apache’s got enough punch in the power band that its buyers are mostly going to be riding in most of the time. Mid-range felt meaty, while in-gear acceleration came off as quite strong. Given the specifications, there seems to be more than enough power at hand to deliver a convincing surge while negotiating real world traffic.
In fact, the Pulsar 200 could very well be humbled by the initial poke of this Apache, as claims by TVS put it as fastest accelerating in its class, with a claimed 0-60 km/h sprint time of just 3.9 seconds. However, all of these comparisons are merely speculations, and we really need to test both side by side in the real world to reaffirm the presented case.
What’s certain is that TVS has built a motorcycle for the average enthusiast to have unbridled fun on the open road during everyday riding, without actually needing to rev the nuts off the engine. They’ve made it a civilized performer, throaty exhaust notwithstanding, rather than a snorting mongrel who’s always trying to gnaw off his leash – which they could have, but chose not to in the benefits of better everyday enjoyability.
Its linear, effortless performance is delivered without a trace of unwanted vibrations as well, neither through the aluminum clip-on handlebars, nor through the footpegs, which is quite a commendable feat. Throttle response for the carbureted version was good enough while the fuel injected version was more linear and crisp in its power delivery, noticeably so.
Through the curves on the test track, the Apache 200 displayed impeccable manners for a motorcycle that’ll primarily be slicing through urban crawls or occasionally stretch its legs on the highway. Its effortless grace around a corner can be attributed to the KYB sourced mono-shock at the back, and of course, the optional Pirelli tubeless tires our test bikes were equipped with; especially the 130 section at the back.
The stiff chassis is well balanced, and in spite of the irregular surface on the curves of the test track, the new TVS comfortably held its line, inducing me to push harder and instilling confidence. Grip from those tires is immense, and though the undulations managed to coax the rubber to lose grip, it was back in a wink, thus never letting the Apache 200 veer off the intended line around the curve.
The tracks’ lack of width and patchy surface didn’t encourage reaching the motorcycle’s limits, but we’re sure there’s far more potential hanging out under that beaky styling. A full road test review should attest to that. The Apache cruises well, and a high geared, low speed stroll sees the motorcycle trundle along without the motor spluttering and coughing. However, the rather loud exhaust note is omnipresent.
Brakes are great, and even though the ABS equipped versions are still a while away, the anchors; petal discs measuring 270 mm at the front and 240 mm at the rear; drop in with good bite and pedal feel. Clutch action is well weighed, and the slick shifting 5-speed transmission deserves a special mention. Shifts are smooth and precise, sans the clunk. Even at idle, engaging neutral just required the minutest flick from the left foot.
As for fuel efficiency, we’ll have to save our judgment on that after testing it in real world conditions soon.
Summing it up..
The new TVS Apache is an impressive motorcycle. It’s a strong statement as a flagship of a brand that’s already won more than a million loyalists. The slightly mellow styling might be down everybody’s alley, but we think it looks great. Real world performance is impressive, and we’re not crying ourselves hoarse at the lack of top-end whack, because all the usable power is right where it should be. The Apache handles with enough grace and pace to impress the keener rider out there, while stopping well and sounding great too.
Initial impressions suggest that TVS has a winner on their hands. The Apache 200 RTR 4V looks like it’ll not only generate serious amounts of want from the brand’s loyalists, but also usher in new customers to the brand. TVS has taken its time, but has ultimately delivered a competent product. The aggressive pricing is just the icing on the cake, and we could be very well be looking at the new performance king below INR 1 lakh.
However, a final verdict is still awaited till we put it through its paces in the real world.
|ENGINE & PERFORMANCE|
|Type||SI, 4 stroke, Oil Cooled|
|Engine Capacity||197.75 cm3|
|Maximum Power||21.0 ps @ 8500 rpm/15.46 kw @ 8500 rpm|
|Maximum Torque||18.1 Nm @ 7000 rpm|
|Carburettor / fuel injection||Keihin CV / bosch-closed loop|
|Bore to Stroke Ratio||1.14|
|Valve Per Cylinder||4 valves|
|Idle Speed||1400 ± 200rpm|
|Ignition||IDI – Dual Mode Digital Ignition / mapped ignition system|
|Power to Weight Ratio||0.1019 kW/ton / 104.1 kw/ton|
|Compression Ratio||9.7 :1|
|Air Filter||Paper Filter|
|Cooling System||Oil Cooler with Ram Air Assist|
|Muffler||Twin Pipe and Twin Barrel Design|
|Clutch||Wet Multi Plate – 6 Plate Design|
|Gear box||5 Speed Gear Box|
|Max Speed||128 kmph / 129 kmph|
|0-2sec (speed in km/h)||38 km/h|
|0-60km/h (time in sec)||3.95 s / 3.9 s|
|0-100km/h (time in sec)||12 s|
|CHASSIS, SUSPENSION & ELECTRICAL|
|Rear Suspension||Mono Tube – Monoshock|
|Frame||Double Cradle Split Synchro Stiff Frame|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic Forks|
|Headlamp||60/55W, H4 Bulb with All-Time On LED Position Lamp|
|Tail Lamp||LED 2.5W|
|WHEEL, TYRE & BRAKE|
|Rim Size (front)||1.85×17″|
|Rim Size (rear)||3.50×17″|
|Tyre Size (front)||90/90-17″ Tubeless|
|Tyre Size (rear)||130/70-17″ Tubeless|
|Front||Disc (270 mm Petal type)|
|Rear||Disc (240 mm Petal type)|
|Brake Fluid||DOT 3 / DOT 4|
|DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT & FUEL TANK CAPACITY|
|Ground Clearance||180 mm|
|Saddle Height||800 mm|
|Kerb Weight||148 kg / 148.5|
|Max Payload||130 kg|