This is the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V and it needs no introduction. It is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished motorcycles in its class, mainly due to its sporty styling, peppy performance, and a long list of features. It started its journey in 2016 and kept on receiving timely updates, only to retain its desirability. Now, with an aim to keep this very desirability intact, TVS recently gave the motorcycle another overhaul and equipped it with a couple of segment-first elements.
So, it's clear that a motorcycle as good as the Apache 200 has gotten even better and you don’t need to think twice before buying it. But for the more conservative amongst you who believe in taking a calculated decision, here’s the detailed road test review of the 2021 Apache RTR 200 4V.
The overall built quality of the Apache 200 is not extraordinary, but it doesn’t leave room for complaints either. I couldn’t find even a single inconsistent panel gap or rusting or fading of the paint. The black paint job on its engine and wheels is well executed and so is the brushed aluminium finish on its footpegs and levers. Even the quality of plastic used for its body panels, switchgear, and instrument cluster is decent. And the matte blue colour scheme we had, not only looks stunning but the paint finish is also flush and consistent.
Getting astride the Apache RTR 200 and planting both feet down requires a negligible effort, courtesy its 800mm of seat height. And once you settle in and hold the handlebar, there’s a hint of raciness to its ergonomics because of the slightly forward-set clip-on handlebars. Even the footrest is positioned to keep your knees properly folded, dug into its recesses. And the mildly sporty riding stance won’t leave you feeling tired or restless even after hours. However, the pillion seat is not as comfortable and spacious as the rider’s.
Enhancing its comfort further are the new adjustable brake and clutch levers, something we have never seen before in this class. The levers are accompanied by a tiny metal knob that allows you to easily adjust the reach of the levers from the handlebar in three steps.
Before we get into its overall performance, which has always been satisfying, let’s touch upon the most talked-about aspect of the 2021 Apache 200, and that is the presence of three riding modes - Sport, Urban, and Rain. TVS has infused a dedicated 'Mode' switch to select one of these. Now, the riding modes don’t make as comprehensive changes in the Apache as those in larger displacement motorcycles, but they do tweak certain important parameters.
Starting with the Sport mode, this is the one that allows you to extract full 20.2bhp of power while the ABS acts least intrusive. This mode is engineered for enjoying the bike to its fullest on the highway and around a race track. Now, in Urban and Rain mode, the peak power delivery is limited to 17.1bhp while ABS intrusion is higher than that in the Sport mode.
Select any of these modes and you won’t feel much difference in the acceleration. But as you start revving the engine to its fullest, you’ll realise that the Sport mode allows it to rev until 11,500rpm while the Urban and Rain modes make the rev limiter kick in at around 8,000-9,000rpm. You can also feel a difference in the ABS intervention, but that’s very minute.
Now, whichever mode you’re in, the engine character of the Apache 200 is racy and exciting as always. Propelling the motorcycle is a 197.75cc, oil-cooled, single-cylinder engine. The acceleration from this unit feels very lively in the city and fairly so on the highway. As you get going from a standstill, there’s a decent pull from around 3,000rpm which only gets stronger as you cross the 5,000rpm mark. While this makes it a hoot to ride in the city, it feels like no slouch on the highway either. Cruising at 100-110kmph is not a problem, except for the minor buzz which creeps in on the handlebar and somewhat on the footpegs. Also, overtaking quickly on the highway requires you to wring the throttle really hard.
Complementing the enjoyable performance of the bike is its extremely light clutch and a slick gearbox. Thanks to the presence of a slipper clutch, my left hand was at ease even after a long duration of riding in the city. And the gear lever literally requires just a minor touch to operate.
The TVS Remora tyres of the Apache inspire a lot of confidence due to their excellent grip, especially in dry conditions. And no matter how spiritedly you ride it, coming to a halt is a quick affair due to the ample bite and feel from its brakes, front and rear both.
Besides the riding modes, another segment-first bit in the new Apache 200 is the preload-adjustable Showa suspension setup at the front, which is a commendable thing to have on a 200cc motorcycle.
In simple words, preload adjustability allows you to setup the amount of compression of the suspension while it is at rest. To obtain the best ride quality, heavier riders need higher preload while lighter riders should keep it lower. This feature will also be helpful for those who want to set the suspension for sharp handling dynamics for riding on the race track.
Adjusting the preload on the Apache 200 is quite easy, especially for the front. You just need a screwdriver for that. However, for the best setting as per your weight, it is recommended to get it done by a TVS technician.
The Apache continues to be a bike loaded with modern elements. It incorporates an LCD console that is more advanced than many other more expensive motorcycles. While it comprises all the basic information, it also shows race-oriented data such as three lap times, 0 to 60kmph timing, and last recorded top speed. And the best part is that it is Bluetooth enabled. It connects with the rider’s smartphone and gives access to turn-by-turn navigation and message and call alerts.
The display works in conjunction with TVS’ exclusive mobile app ‘Smart Xonnect’ which consists of detailed information about the motorcycle while it allows you to log your rides as well. And in case you have a crash, the app detects the mishap and alerts the rider’s emergency contact.
Then there's the GTT (Glide Through Technology) function that makes city riding effortless. It allows the motorcycle to cruise at 8kmph in first gear without any throttle inputs. It also works in second and third gear by trudging the bike at 12kmph and 18kmph, respectively.
While having all the fun on the Apache 200, you won't have to worry much about its fuel expenses. After riding it in varied conditions like in traffic and on the highway, it returned a mileage of 41.9kmpl. That translates into a great riding range of 502.8km considering its fuel tank capacity of 12litre.
Fitness of Purpose
The Apache RTR 200 4V is mainly suitable for the young chunk of riders who are moving up the displacement ladder from 125-160cc motorcycles. It has a rev-happy engine, razor-sharp handling, best-in-class features, and frugality, making it an ideal proposition for the enthusiastic and budget-conscious youth.
Most importantly, with an ex-showroom price tag of Rs 1.33 lakh, the Apache 200 exemplifies the term- value for money. Although its rivals such as the Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and the Honda Hornet 2.0 are also priced nearly the same, the Apache is surely a better-equipped package.
TVS’ Apache series of motorcycles have always been praised for their aggressive looks, great performance, agility, and best-in-class features. And the RTR 200 4V has all of that in abundance. Needless to say, the introduction of new features has only increased its appeal further. We can say this with utmost conviction that every penny spent on the Apache RTR 200 4V is worth it.
As for the riding modes, they might not make a substantial difference for someone who's experienced in riding bikes of this class or above, but for a novice or for someone who will take the bike to the race track, the riding modes surely lend a helping hand. Lastly, only if we had to nitpick, the absence of a sixth gear hampers its highway cruise-ability to a minor extent.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
Right Front Three Quarter