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Beast of a bike!

By MotorBeam
February 22, 2016 15:32 IST
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The new TVS Apache RTR 200 is faster than its smaller siblings and more comfortable too. The bike is a well-engineered complete package and is offered with an attractive price, says Indian automobile website MotorBeam.

TVS Apache RTR 200

The Indian motorcycle giant TVS is known for taking its own sweet time to develop and launch its products. But the bikes offered by the company have a vast and loyal fanbase which knows that when TVS delivers, it does not falter on the performance and fun factor side of the bike. Now, after a long wait for a bigger-engined Apache, TVS has finally released the new RTR 200 performance bike.

The smaller sibling of this new bike, the Apache RTR 180, has been a long favourite of MotorBeam. Thus, when TVS invited us to their Hosur test track in Bangalore to test ride the motorcycle, we decided to shun the airplane and hit the highway on our RTR 180 itself, so that we can properly judge the improvements.

Styling

TVS Apache RTR 200

The new TVS Apache RTR 200 is inspired by the Draken Concept motorcycle, which was showcased way back at the 2014 Auto Expo. The bike looks beautiful and attractive from all angles and it looks like TVS has used distinct parts which are different from its other offerings: a nice touch.

The bike has some unmistakable Apache resemblances which harkens back to its TVS lineage such as the big and bold graphics and other elements. The new alloy wheel design is really impressive, and so is the sculpted muscular fuel tank that gets an offset cap. Split seats and sporty grab rails complete the package with high quality switch gear being used here.

At the front, the headlamp cluster might look small at first glance but has got LED daytime running elements in them. This gives the bike a classy and sporty look along with added convenience. What is missing are the LED indicators which have been there in its competitors for a long time.

Instrument cluster

TVS Apache RTR 200

The bike is equipped with a new fully-digital instrument cluster which is a first for TVS. The panel has a white backlit display and shows a 'Race On' (cheekily inspired from KTM's 'Ready TO Race') upon powering up. Start the bike and everything on the the cluster lights up and does a system check.

The speedometer is placed in the centre, flanked by gear indicator and clock on the left and twin trip meters, lap time recorder and acceleration time recorder on the right.

The tachometer is placed on the top of the speedometer, with a big shift light placed on the top right corner. The bottom of the cluster shows the fuel meter and selected mode. All in all, the instrumentation looks beautiful and easily legible.

Ergonomics and comfort

TVS Apache RTR 200

The new Apache RTR 200 gets a tall seating position and thus is accommodating to both shorter and taller riders. The motorcycle is equipped with a main stand and underseat storage space too. Though, we do recommend removing the main stand in favour of weight reduction and improved cornering clearance.

Performance

TVS Apache RTR 200

The bike gets a bored out version of the RTR 180 motor, having displacement of 199.7cc. It breathes via 4-valves and is oil-cooled. The engine produces 20.5 PS of power at 8500 RPM but we expected a lot more out of it.

We were surprised by TVS when a fuel injected version was also presented, which produces a slightly more 21 PS of power.

The specs on paper aside, when it gets to the on road performance, the bike really impressed us with its punchy low range. TVS stated that the engine has been tuned to deliver 80 per cent of its oomph in the lower part of the rev range for better performance in real world riding conditions.

The new Apache 200 feels faster in comparison to the RTR 180, reaching the speed of 100 km/hr in the claimed 12 seconds. The carb model does 48 km/hr, 75 km/hr and 100 km/hr in first, second and third gears respectively while the fuel-injected version does 50 km/hr, 76 km/hr and 103 km/hr in the same set of gears.

Since the power output is not very significant, the top range performance feels lethargic and its best to shift up just under 9000 RPM in order to keep the engine spinning in its power-band. The shift light blinks at peak torque, that's 7000 RPM.

As mentioned earlier, the bike is offered in two variants -- the carbureted version which felt smoother and the fuel injected version which had a bit more punch but more vibrations too. The bike is equipped with a counter-balancer shaft and it does the job efficiently, keeping vibration down to the minimum till 8000 RPM, post which there are some vibrations on the handlebar-end and footpegs.

The motorcycle is equipped with a new dual port exhaust which is a bit quiet but has a lot of bass. The 5-speed gearbox isn't exactly a smooth shifter and even misses a gear sometimes near the redline. The first three gears are short and the top two are tall to enable better cruising.

Riding dynamics and handling

TVS Apache RTR 200

The bike has always been a good handler on track but its ability was severely restricted by the TVS brand tyres. This has been rectified by the new Remora tyres which offer good grip and -- surprise, surprise -- Pirellis are also on offer which provide astonishing amount of grip.

But the real improvements in the ride have been brought by introduction of the new monoshock suspension at the rear, sourced from KYB. The front telescopic forks are at their usual good self but the rear suspension makes high speed cornering very stable.

The frame is a double-cradle and TVS says it's stiff but in spite of that, the ride quality is just amazing. The clip-on handlebars provide valuable feedback but the bike could have been better if the turning radius was a bit less. Also, a little bit of weight reduction would have helped immensely. The bike comes with the option of dual-channel ABS with RLP (Rear Lift Protection), which makes braking sharp and easily the best in class.

Verdict

TVS Apache RTR 200

The new Apache RTR 200 is a very good performance bike as well a comfortable cruiser. It looks like TVS has put in a lot of effort in it and the refinement levels are really impressive. The bike may not be as quick as its rivals, but it has a lot better braking and real world performance. With a multitude of variants on offer with a mix of tyres, ABS and how the fuel is fed, there seems to be an Apache 200 for every kind of buyer in the segment.

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