TVS Apache RTR200 Race Edition review road test

The TVS Apache RTR200 has been around for quite sometime. However, TVS has been giving the motorcycle its fair share of updates all through. These might have come in the form of Pirelli tyres, introduction of ABS, new graphics or a slipper clutch. Luckily enough, our test bike came with all of them, except for the Pirelli tyres. Were these tyres missed or did the TVS Remora units hold up decently? This and more in our review of the TVS Apache RTR200 Race edition.

Design of the TVS Apache RTR200 Race edition

The Apache design has aged well. The race edition featured here gets golden coloured front shock absorbers. There is also a small cowl above the sharp headlight unit. Moreover, the fetching black paint scheme as well as the new decals on our test bike look quite fetching. An ABS logo is present on the front fork too. The tank has scoops on the side and looks beautifully executed with its off-set fuel filler cap. The small instrument cluster provides a lot of information including a lap timer. .

The mirrors are decently wide and you can see more of the rear traffic than just your elbows. Overall, when you sit on the motorcycle it bestows a premium experience and that in my opinion is a win-win.

Engine and transmission

There is no change to the TVS Apache RTR200 4V’s engine. This oil-cooled motor produces 20.5PS of power and 18.1Nm of torque, when fed through a carburettor. Our test bike came with a Keihin CV unit. Performance is brisk and the Apache seems very eager to row through gears. This short gearing and the light pull accorded by the slipper clutch make mincemeat of traffic conditions. In fact, the Apache 200 is a hoot to ride in city traffic. The same though cannot be said about the highway riding as the engine tends to lose steam pretty much early. At around 100kmph, the rev counter is at 7,000rpm and slight vibrations start to creep in. Push the motorcycle and it will touch a speedo-indicated 118kmph. Tuck down and you will see 122kmph.

This short gearing benefits in the city fuel economy. We recorded a fuel efficiency of 44kmpl in the city riding conditions while on the highway, the number dropped to 42kmpl. Yes, the Apache RTR 200 Race edition or any other Apache 200 delivers a better fuel economy in the city.

Ride and handling

The adjustable mono-shock from KYB at the back and telescopic units at the front are tuned to be on the softer side. While the ride quality is decently good, it isn’t plush. The short wheelbase of the motorcycle too causes it to have a slight pogo effect if one is carrying a bit more speed than usual over potholes. Similarly, the front end is too light and while that is good in traffic, out while tackling potholes it isn’t as good. The Apache RTR200 is quite quick to change directions and is a joy while finding your way through dense traffic. The seating position itself is comfortable and the seats also don’t provide much in the form of complaints.

With the rear wheel lift off protection coming into play with the dual channel ABS, stoppies are a tad difficult on this Apache. That’s a good thing because if you go hard on the front brake, the rear has less chances of lifting, a boon for newbie riders. These newbies will also appreciate the light handling of the Apache 200. Speaking of brakes, I wished they had more feedback, especially during slow braking maneuvers.

Back to the question we posed earlier. The TVS Remora tyres are far far better than the earlier tyres that TVS used to manufacture. These offer ample grip during regular commutes. Wet performance though could be better. An everyday rider will not miss the Pirellis and only an advanced rider will want them.

TVS Apache RTR200 Race edition verdict

We had a mix of motorcycles to shoot on the same day as the RTR. All of them boasting higher capacity than the diminutive RTR. However, there are no guesses as to which motorcycle found favour with all three. It was the RTR 200. The smooth gearshifts from the 5-speed gearbox, the light handling and of course the comparatively higher fuel efficiency for a 200cc machine. It also pays that the machine looks and seems premium. At Rs 1.10 lakh, the Apache is the only bike in its category to offer dual channel ABS as well as a slipper clutch. The Hero Xtreme 200R may be priced lower but it offers slightly lower performance, has single channel ABS and is more fuel efficient. You choose!

Things we like about the TVS Apache RTR200 Race edition

Ease of riding, equipment on offer, build quality

Things we don’t like about the TVS Apache RTR200 Race edition

Top end, slightly twitchy handling

Trivia: Cold starts have always been an issue with most TVS vehicles. This is true in the case of the RTR 200. Be prepared to use the choke for the first start if you have a carburetted machine.

Images by Donald Dsouza

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