From the way the RC200 looks to its seating ergonomics, it is all near identical to the RC390. But, from the time one fires up the 200, clicks it into first, gasses it, goes around a bend and then calls on the brakes to come to a stop, the two feel completely different.
The RC200 still sounds like a four-stroke auto with its underbelly exhaust at idle, and it has more vibes than the RC390 too. The clutch and gearshifts, however, are equally light and easy to engage on both bikes. Start riding and the RC200 feels and sounds more frantic as it races through its engine revs, hungry for the next upshift. And because you know there isn’t too much torque going to the rear wheels, you indulge it by being carelessly ham-fisted with the throttle.
For the most part, the RC200 feels decently quick. And on a track, wherein by the third lap you know exactly what gear to use for what corner, the frantic nature of the engine doesn’t get tedious either. But, on the street, particularly for those who like to stay in the meat of the powerband, the 200 could be a fair amount of work going up and down the gearbox constantly.
Around corners, the RC200 is still a fun bike to ride. Being lighter than the RC390, it takes less effort to get it to flip from side to side. The turn-in meanwhile is as sharp as the latter and if one can trust the tyres on the 200 – these are less grippy and cheaper MRFs compared to Metzelers on the 390 – one can put in handsome lean angles on the 200 too.
Where the RC200 disappoints however is braking. It has the older arrangement of the 300mm disc up front worked on by a fixed radial, twin-piston calliper. And like before, it still lacks the bite one expects in a supersports setup, no matter the engine capacity. The brakes feel soggy and it takes some effort at the lever to get the bike to cut speed. The RC200 also still doesn’t get ABS, which along with the lack of progression and feel can really put you off.