Popular myth suggests that a touring motorcycle is supposed to have a fairing for wind deflection, abundant space to accommodate luggage and an engine capable of maintaining triple digit speeds effortlessly. The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V FI has none of these. And yet, more than two thirds of the 9,000 kilometres that I have put up were amassed on highways. So what made me choose the Apache RTR 200 4V FI for these long hauls?
The Apache has always been notorious for its vibrations, though TVS has taken care of this to a large extent with the Apache RTR 200 4V FI. It feels most comfortable cruising at 6,500rpm, which is 90kmph in fifth gear. Despite the loud exhaust note, the engine feels smooth and emits minimal vibes. It is only past 7,000rpm that the footpegs and fuel tank get you tingling and you notice a slight harshness. Keep the throttle open and the torque keeps flowing till 8,500rpm, after which all you get is a harsh roar from the engine, and vibrations. Staying in the sweet spot also helped me squeeze out 44kmpl from the Apache on highways, which is impressive for a 200cc motorcycle.
I encountered plenty of twisty sections during my rides and each of these brought a smile on my face. The Pirelli Sport Demon at the front and the clip-on handlebar gave good leverage to flick it into corners, while the KYB rear monoshock and the Pirelli Angel GT offered a planted and confident ride. Despite being on the sportier side, this setup has in no way compromised ride comfort. While I did get a sore bum by the end of my rides, my spine hasn’t had anything to complain about.
In the few instances when I had to ride after sunset, the 60/55W headlamp turned out to be a boon. I did get a chance to use the USB charger, though I still feel that the placement (under the seat) hampers its convenience. The slightly rear set footpegs and muscular fuel tank offer a comfortable riding position. On the downside, carrying a tank bag has become a problem as the plastic fuel tank isn’t magnet friendly.
I have owned a Honda CBR 250R for two years now and regardless of what my colleagues think of it, I am a proud owner. Besides being an adept commuter, the CBR 250R is also an accomplished touring motorcycle which is why I bought it in the first place. However since the Apache RTR 200 4V FI came into my garage, the CBR250R has been confined to the parking lot for longer than usual. In no way am I suggesting that the Apache RTR 200 4V FI is a better bike than the CBR 250R. Every time I took the Apache for one of my long rides, I missed the grunt, wind protection and the CBR 250R’s ability to comfortably cruise at triple digit speeds. But then these are the compromises I have been willing to take for the sake of the sheer convenience of the naked Apache RTR 200 FI. Besides, the Apache RTR 200 4V is a lot more affordable and economical than the CBR 250R.
Photography by Kapil Angane