TVS, as a company, was known to produce mass commuter scooters and bikes that catered to women and mileage-conscious men. Then in 2005, Apache happened. Apache transformed TVS from the foresaid avatar to a sportstar. TVS became a worthy name among entry sports bike enthusiasts thanks to its amazing mix of power, performance and budget. And when RTR brand got attached to it, the Apache was unstoppable. It’s been over a decade now and Apache got lost in the wild with more modern and better looking machines. Time for the new TVS Apache RTR 200.
TVS has kept the design of the new Apache RTR 200 close to the Draken X-21 concept shown at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo. The bike gets aggressive styling from its face to the exhaust. The headlamp looks sharp with LED daytime running lights, followed by a sharp looking fuel tank with extended fenders. Other features include sporty split seats, body-coloured engine cowl, double barrel exhaust and LED tail lamps. Fit and finish is top notch matching the competition.
The other important feature that we liked—and TVS has outdone the competition—is the fully-digital instrument cluster. The instrument cluster is loaded with information like speedometer, odometer, two trip metres, gear indicator and service reminder. But what’s special is it also shows fun things like lap timer, high speed recorder, apart from the “Race On” every time you turn it on.
The new Apache RTR 200 comes with a 198 cc engine that TVS is offering in two variants—a carburettor version and a fuel-injection one. The carb unit makes 20.05 PS of power and 18.1 Nm of torque while the FI version makes 21 PS with the same torque. The engine gets an oil cooler with Ram Air Assist and a four valve head. While the power is not class leading, there is a lot of driveability for city driving and the power-in-reserve when it comes to highway cruising.
The unit has great bottom and mid-range, making it easy to drive through the traffic and never feels exhausted, when you suddenly find the need to sprint away. The five-speed gearbox does its job fairly well and you don’t feel the need for a sixth gear, until you cross triple digit speeds on the highway. A sixth gear would have given the engine more breathing room at high speeds. But TVS has done a great job on controlling the vibrations as the Apache RTR 200 has one of the best refined units in the business.
The new RTR 200 comes with 17-inch wheels with 90/90 and 130/70 profile for front and rear wheels respectively. Rip levels are satisfactory and only under hard cornering there is a slight unnerving. Controlling the bike under sudden braking will be easy thanks to the ABS and disc brakes that are standard with 270 mm disc to the front and 240 mm to the rear. The brakes are a huge improvement for the new bike and kudos to TVS for improving things where they really matter.
Handling has been Apache’s strength always and this time with a new frame, the new Apache RTR 200 has gotten sharper. Changing directions is sharp and easy. But the suspension is softer than before for better ride quality with 37mm Kayaba forks to the front and preload adjustable mono-shock at the rear. That doesn’t mean the new RTR 200 doesn’t handle well, but TVS has managed to properly balance ride quality and handling. The 12-litre tank is smaller than expected but the Apache 200 RTR will return an average of 35 km/l in real world driving conditions.
Overall, the new RTR 200 takes forward the Apache legacy with pride. It looks good, goes better and has a terrific exhaust note. It may not be the most powerful but surely one of the most engaging bikes in its segment.