Bike Reviews Reviews

TVS Apache 200 review – First ride (carb and FI variants)

 
TVS Apache RTR 200 review (1)

With its fastest ever production motorcycle, TVS is aiming to create its own niche in the entry level sportsbike segment. This is what we think of it.

The TVS Apache 200 is not just a variant of the existing platform but an all-new ground up product in its own right. So, all this while, as Apache loyalists were waiting eagerly for a worthy upgrade, the boffins at Hosur were busy getting the product’s composition just right. The new Apache’s output figures may not sweep the target audience off their feet at once but TVS says that the flagship offering is engineered to excel in real world conditions rather than to win that occasional impromptu traffic light stand-off.

TVS Test Track Hosur

The older Apache RTRs have set high standards for the new motorcycle to uphold when it comes to dynamics and material quality. At the same time, the Apache RTR 200 also had to overcome its predecessors’ infamous refinement issues and dulling aesthetics. We sampled the bike at TVS’ Hosur test track, which is surrounded by a mini wild life sanctuary filled with cobras and migratory birds, to check if it meets the expectations. Here is our TVS Apache 200 review.

Design

The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V settles for a naked street fighter styling which was previewed by the Draken concept. The motorcycle’s multiple surfaces and edgy elements are not really photogenic but the overall design is definitely sporty when viewed in flesh.

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The combination of matte colors and multiple surfaces look better in flesh than in photographs.

The nicely detailed headlamp cluster sports signature LED daytime running lights and a minimal body colored fairing with Aprilia-inspired national flag sticker (Indian tri-color in this case). The aerodynamic fuel tank is designed in such a way to offer ram air assist to the radiator and cylinder head (via tank vents). The sharp extensions, black racing stripe and eccentrically placed fuel filler cap add to the motorcycle’s sporty character.

The tailpiece houses split seats, pseudo air vents, LED taillight and an interesting grab rail. Other salient features include a fully digital instrument console, a dual-aperture silencer, petal discs, clip-on handlebar and a razor sharp belly pan.

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The bike measures 2,050 mm in length, 790 mm in width, 1,105 mm in height, 180 mm in ground clearance and has a wheelbase of 1,353 mm.

We are glad to note that the material and build quality is as good as an Apache loyalist would expect. The range of matte colors go a long way in achieving a high perceived quality as well. Alloy foot pegs and levers, meaty handlebar grips and tactile switchgears further enhance the feel good factor.

Engine and Gearbox

The 197.75 cc single-cylinder 4-valve engine gets an oil-cooled combustion chamber (rest of the engine is air-cooled) to have better cooling and NVH characteristics. Mated to a 5-speed gearbox, the engine is available in both carbureted and fuel-injected variants.

The carbureted unit dishes out 20.5 PS at 8,500 rpm while the fuel-injected version is capable of 21 PS at 8,500 rpm. Torque output however is identical at 18.1 Nm at 7,000 rpm. As per TVS’ data, usage pattern of the target audience involves 80% city riding and hence, the engineers have tuned the motor to offer a wider torque band, thereby prioritizing driveability over flat-out performance.

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The refined engine has a wide torque spread that offers impressive driveability. FI variant feels significantly better than the carbureted one.

As a result, the Apache RTR 200 may not win a drag race with a comparable 200 cc machine, say the Pulsar 200 NS (which is anyway not in production as of now), but will certainly be much more proficient in tackling the real world conditions, be it rushing through the urban jungle or mountainous roads.

Both versions of the engine love to be revved, are free of vibrations and have a very sporty exhaust note. The motor offers a sustained rush from 4,000 to 8,500 rpm (the point of peak power), making the progress pretty effortless. The low-end torque is strong enough to avoid frequent gear shifts in city traffic whereas revving beyond 9,000 rpm only invites vibes.

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The 5-speed gearbox complements the engine’s nature pretty well but upshifts could do with a satisfying click.

The fuel injection system sourced from Bosch gives the engine a decidedly superior character over the carbureted version. The technically advanced variant responds to throttle inputs noticeably quicker and feels more refined. Since we rode both the variants on the test track back-to-back, the difference in performance could be very easily appreciated.

Thanks to the engine’s torque spread, the 5-speed gearbox is adequate for the intended usage pattern. The ratios complement the powerplant’s nature very well, so much so that you wouldn’t feel the need for another overdrive unless you’re a hard-core touring enthusiast. But then the TVS Apache 200 is not a purpose-built tourer. While the gearshifts are smooth and easy, a satisfying click during the upshifts would have added more fun to the overall riding experience.

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The auxiliary chamber below the muffler contains additional catalytic material to achieve BS4 emission norms without compromising on performance.

The ‘sound engineered’ muffler voices out throaty exhaust note while accelerating and a highly addictive crackling sound while decelerating. The intriguing auxiliary chamber below the main silencer carries additional catalytic material to comply with BS4 norms without hampering performance.

Ride, Handling and Braking

The TVS Apache RTR 200 is underpinned by a double cradle split synchro stiff frame with the engine as a stressed member. The suspension setup comprises KYB 37 mm front telescopic fork and rear monoshock. The 17-inch alloy wheels comes wrapped with standard TVS Remora tubeless tyres measuring 90/90-17 upfront and 130/70-17 at the rear. One can also upgrade to optional Pirelli tyres of same specs (Sport Demon upfront and Angel GT at the rear).

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The TVS Apache RTR 200 loves to be pushed hard around the corners irrespective of the tyre choice.

The TVS track with its progressively tightening and bumpy right hander evidently served as an excellent test bed for the engineers to fine-tune the Apache RTR 200’s dynamics. Being true to its core brand values, the flagship Apache doesn’t hesitate to change directions.

The motorcycle enjoys being pushed hard around corners and feels remarkably stable despite the mid-corner bumps. The good thing is, such a sporty handling doesn’t come at the cost of compliant ride quality. The Apache RTR 200 should make for a fairly comfortable steed on average Indian roads.

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Ride quality is compliant enough for everyday usage on average Indian roads.

The Pirelli rubbers offers excellent grip thereby helping the rider to commit to the corner with absolute confidence. The standard TVS Remora tyres aren’t far behind either. If you ask us, on that day and in that conditions, there was hardly any difference between the two set of tyres.

Braking is courtesy to 270 mm front and 240 mm rear petal discs which can be specified with dual-channel ABS from Continental with Rear Lift Protection. None of our test bikes were equipped with ABS. The disc brakes are progressive and offer adequate stopping power for everyday usage but seasoned riders would like a slightly more aggressive bite. Even without the ABS, it’s quite difficult to lock the tyres and the bike doesn’t lose its composure under panic braking.

Features

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The fully digital dashboard incorporates plethora of functions.

The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V brings to table some cool features such as a fully digital dashboard with lap timer, top-speed recorder, configurable rev limiter (red light flashes when you cross the specified rpm limit) and a whole array of tell tale lights. Other equipment highlights include standard front and rear petal discs with optional dual-channel ABS, diagnostics, tubeless tyres, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, etc.

Variants

The new Apache will be available in carbureted and FI avatars and both can be had with optional ABS and Pirelli tyres. Factoring in the choice of 5 matte and 2 glossy color options, there are enough permutations and combinations to keep you in a confused state.

Verdict

The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V may be a little late to the scene but it emerges as a well engineered product of very high quality. It’s properly sporty, pretty refined, comes equipped with upmarket components and is calibrated to be a very versatile and fun-to-ride compact sportsbike.

The fuel-injected version of the engine feels so good that we don’t see a point in the existence of the carbureted version. So, if you’re interested in the Apache RTR 200, we strongly urge you to opt for the FI version with ABS. It is by far the best motorcycle in the Indian two wheeler maker has ever come up with.

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If you happen to be a satisfied owner of the older Apache RTR 160 or 180, the new bike makes for a compelling upgrade.

The TVS Apache RTR 200 has a starting price of INR 88,990. The prices of higher variants are not revealed but the company has promised that the fully loaded variant with FI, ABS and Pirelli tyres will not exceed INR 1.15 lakhs (both prices are ex-showroom). All the variants should be available across the country by the end of this financial year (March 31, 2016). At this price range, the motorcycle offers tremendous value for the money you pay.

TVS Apache RTR 200 Review – Photos

 

About the author

Nithyanandh Karuppaswamy

Winner of national level automotive quiz competitions, Nithyanandh aka Nithz jumped into the blogosphere right after gaining a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Love for automobiles and an even greater drive to share his knowledge with the automotive community, Nithz is Deputy Editor at RushLane.

Email - nithyanandh@rushlane.com

  • Well all is good…
    But the 148.5 Kg kerb weight for a 200cc bike is too heavy…
    I wondered how Bajaj managed 200 NS under 145 kg…
    Is it due to pressed steel frame?
    By looks and price Apache 200 seems better.

  • Vijay Bharath

    Seems to be a beast.. Except for the pillion split seat which will not be supportive for older women to sit easily.. In my 180, my mom sits in the pillion with ease..

  • Quite

    I am hearing to much about the catalytic converter in Apache 200.
    Can anyone tell me if other brands have also improved their exhaust to comply with upcoming BS standard (BS4) or only TVS has worked on that.

    only in apache 200 review I am getting this new upcoming BS4 standard to read and thinking what if I bought other bike.

  • Hari Prabhu

    does anyone know about the mileage aspects?

  • Neeraj Ubhan

    Does anybody aware when FI ABS version will be release in market.

    • As far as we know, December is the launch.