TVS Motor Company’s Apache series held its ground in the performance-oriented 150-180cc bike segment in India for a while now. The latest addition to the Apache line-up here, the new TVS Apache RTR 200 4V, aims to further fortify the company’s performance products in addition to taking the performance pedigree of the Apache series a notch higher for TVS.
The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V, in a way, breaks new ground for the company – taking the first definitive step towards hi-performance motorcycles. Labelled as being inspired by motorcycle racing and designed for the racing enthusiast, the RTR 200 4V offers a great package- with aggressive looks, usable performance and even racing diagnostics in its instrument panel. We put the bike through its paces at the TVS test track in Hosur.
Design and Features
Overall, the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V doesn’t look radically different from its siblings – the Apache RTR 160 and the Apache RTR 180. But the Apache 200 does seem to have been given a leaner, meaner and sleeker look, yet with all the muscle and cuts expected from a performance naked.
The chiseled fuel tank has sharp shrouds at both sides which serve a dual purpose – enhance the sporty looks, but more importantly to direct air flow towards the spark plug to aid in cooling.
The all-digital speedometer is a first for any TVS bike and offers a long list of read-outs that includes the usual speedo, odo, tacho, fuel level, and trip meter as well as a service reminder, gear shift indicator, low battery indicator, lap timer and top speed read out. The clip-on handlebar is made of forged aluminium, allowing weight saving of around 1.5kg.
The split seats not only look good, but offer good comfort, both for pillion and rider. The rear side panel tapers off to a nice LED taillight, topped off by a sporty looking split grab rail. Brakes comprise of a single 270mm petal disc up front and a 240mm disc at the rear. ABS will be offered as an option soon. Overall, the Apache RTR 200 4V is an aggressively good looking motorcycle – be it in terms of overall silhouette or the minutest of details and high quality features.
Engine and Performance
The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V is powered by an all-new, 198cc, four stroke, oil-cooled engine, that is available in a carburetted as well as a fuel-injected variant, making around 20bhp of power at 7000rpm and 18.1Nm of torque at 7000rpm. The engine is from a new family of TVS-engineered power plants which feature an oil-cooled combustion chamber and ram air assist cooling, a first in its class.
Start up the Apache RTR and the engine settles into a deep idle. Rev it up, and the throaty, full bodied sound of the exhaust note will immediately impress you. The exhaust, named the Double Barrel by TVS, has been engineered to produce a meatier and bassier note, and has been tuned for delivering optimum performance.
The five-speed gearbox shifts with precision, and what also impressed us is the strong mid-range of the Apache 200’s engine, complemented by the throaty growl from its exhaust. The numbers on paper don’t seem much to go ga-ga over, but the Apache 200 certainly provides entertaining performance, though a little more punch towards the top end of the rev band would have been the icing on the cake. The carburetted engine sounds great but our pick would be the fuel-injected mill, which offers fantastic power delivery and throttle response – nice and linear.
Ride, Handling and Braking
The Apache 200 4V’s suspension consists of high quality race-tuned KYB monoshock and front telescopic forks offering very good shock absorption, even over broken patches and road undulations.
What’s more impressive is the taut handling of the bike, even while cornering at high speeds. Of course, the Pirelli rubbers on the top variants offer even more confidence and grip, be it while cornering or braking.
Braking is handled by petal discs at both ends – a 270mm disc at the front and a 240mm at the rear. Dual channel ABS with rear lift prevention control will be available too by March. Despite ABS being absent on the test bikes that we rode around the track, braking was progressive and with sufficient bite to not worry about skidding or losing traction, also thanks partly to the excellent rubber.
Variants and Market Positioning
The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V has been priced at 88,990 (ex-showroom Delhi) for the base carburetted version with TVS Remora tyres. Pirellis are available as an option at an extra cost of around 7,000. The EFI versions will cost between 12,000-15,000 more and the top of the line ABS variant, once available, will be priced at around 1.15 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
If you look at the base price, the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V offers a very good entry level performance motorcycle at a very attractive price point in its segment. But will that do? Some would say, EFI and Pirelli tyres are both absolutely necessary, and if you look at the advantages that ABS offers, then why not go the whole nine yards?
At 1.15 lakh or thereabouts, it still is a very attractive proposition. The question that remains is – whether it’s good enough to unseat already established rivals in this segment. That will be an interesting comparison and an interesting story. But that’s a tale for another time. For now, if you’re in the market for a 200cc motorcycle, you most certainly should check out the new warrior from the Apache tribe.
Photography: Rahul Kapoor and Preetam Bora[“source-auto.ndtv”]