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.