The 2022 RC 200 retains the 199.5cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine that makes 25.4bhp of power and 19.5Nm of peak torque. While the performance numbers haven’t changed, KTM has equipped the new RC with a bigger airbox for the engine to breathe more freely now. Even the radiator design is curved for better heat dissipation.
The revisions in the engine are noticeable from the word go. It has become substantially smoother, more tractable, and less frantic now. You can do speeds of about 40-45kmph in sixth gear without the engine throwing any tantrums, which means pottering around in the city is much easier. Although the acceleration hasn’t improved drastically, the power delivery is more linear across the rev band. Until 6,000rpm, the RC 200 remains polite and humble with a mellow acceleration, but beyond that, it delights you with a quick and enjoyable pull, making it addictive to rev the bike to its redline. It can also do speeds of 100-110kmph without much stress and overtakes aren’t a task either.
Even the gearbox of the RC is typical of a KTM with slick and effortless shifts. And this is accompanied by a light clutch. However, we noticed that the cogs misbehave after a long riding session and the shifts take some effort at times. And now that we are talking negatives, the presence of vibrations is another shortcoming you have to deal with. It creeps in on the footpegs and the handlebar from as low as 90kmph and persists as you go faster. A minor buzz emanates from its panels as well.
One area where the RC 200 has improved by a huge margin is in terms of heat dissipation. Thanks to the revised cooling setup, even after getting stuck in traffic for several minutes, I didn’t experience any heat being dissipated on my legs.
The handling of the RC 200 is as taut and sharp as ever. In fact, the new model feels more predictable and composed and inspires a lot of confidence while pushing it around corners. The steering responds with decent precision and once leaned over, it holds its line accurately, may it be taking on long sweepers or tight hairpins. While the grip from the tyres is also commendable for the most part, there is a lack of needed feedback when pushed to the edge.
Surprisingly, the ride quality isn't compromised in favour of confidence-inspiring handling. The motorcycle soaks up almost everything with ease, from small potholes to ruts, from stones to manhole covers. It's only when you go fast over major undulations that the rear feels a bit firm.
The RC 200 could do better with brakes though. It doesn't deliver as good stopping power as you would expect from such a performance-focused machine. The brake lever has a decent initial bite but feels inconsistent and lacking under hard braking. The rear brake, however, delivers adequate bite and feel.