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2017 KTM RC200 Track Ride Review

30 January 2017, 05:59 PM Vikrant Singh

What is it?

This is the new-for-2017 KTM RC200, which like an ignored child, gets very few upgrades compared to the new RC390. Sure, all the 200’s tantrums have forced KTM to give it a new set of clothes. But with that white hue, the paint job looks more like the older RC390’s hand-me-down clothes; only these are altered for the 200’s size. Now, haven’t all the second-born amongst us experienced that, especially when it came to school uniforms?

The new RC200 gets a few more hand-me-downs, albeit from the newer RC390. There’s the softer seat, the plastic flap to protect the monoshock against dirt, and the wider rear view mirrors. This apart, the bike is exactly the same as the older RC200. But the good thing for this review is that I had never ridden one before. So, excuse me if I get into the details…

How does it ride?

 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.

discontinued
KTM RC 200 [2020]

KTM RC 200 [2020]

  • Displacement199.5 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported32 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)25.4 bhp
  • Kerb Weight160.6 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 1,73,453

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.

 

Anything else I should know?

As with the RC390, we can’t comment on the RC200’s ride quality given we rode the bike exclusively on the track. But, don’t expect it to pamper your back. What will also be an issue – which is the case with most supersports that take the product brief too seriously – is riding two-up. The pillion seat height is high and even though you get these grab rails smartly integrated into the tail, it’s still an uncomfortable perch for most rides.

Should I Buy one?

For those looking to move up from street 150cc motorcycles to something sportier and more entertaining, the RC200 is a good option. And there are a decent number of such buyers because the RC200 clearly outsells its bigger capacity sibling. But do keep in mind, the RC200 isn’t the ideal motorcycle for regular or long distance pillion rides, and it will take some effort to commute on as well. Also do yourself a favour and do make sure you head to the twisties once in a while if you end up buying one.

Where does it fit in?

Looking solely at the supersports genre, the RC200 goes up against the Yamaha R15 and the Honda CBR150R. It also has its Bajaj cousin – the RS200 – to contend with. What’s more, not only are all the three motorcycles cheaper to buy, these make for better daily rides than the KTM too. Yes, compared to the Yamaha and the Honda, the RC200 has a clear performance advantage, but that’s not the case between the RC and the RS. And when you factor in the fact that the RS200 also gets ABS (even though it’s a single channel setup) the choice isn’t as straightforward.

Gear Check

1: Arai Axces-II helmet

The entry-level Arai helmet one can officially buy in India. It is great on fit, quality, safety, comfort and even visibility. Price: Rs 48,000

2: Sena 20S Bluetooth set

Sena’s top of the line 20S is a one-stop solution for all one’s music and communication needs. It is expensive but I love it. Price: Rs 20,000 

3: Icon Pursuit jacket

Almost like a tank top in length, the Pursuit works best when zipped to riding pants. It’s genuine leather with lots of ventilation. Price: Rs 16,000

4: Ixon RS Circuit HP gloves

Not the best full-glautlet gloves I have used but the Ixons do a fair job be it comfort or protection. Price: Rs 8,000 

5: Joe Rockets Speedmaster pants

These aren’t in production anymore, but I have had them for years and they still great even today! Price: NA

6: TCX S-Speed boots

Not exactly track focused, but the S-Speed still work well on both track and street. Not the best to spend a day in, though. Price: Rs 19,500

Photography by Sanchit Arora

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