At the 2014 Auto Expo, TVS showcased the Draken Concept. The motorcycle looked ahead of its time and the company stated they would give us a production vehicle based on it soon. In 2016, the motorcycle manufacturer introduced the Apache RTR 200 4V with a host of options such as Pirelli Scorpion sticky tyres and a dual-channel ABS along with the racing prowess that earlier Apache motorcycles were known for. Since its inception, the Apache moniker has garnered a reasonable sales figure for the Chennai-based motorcycle manufacturer. And like the smaller capacity Apaches currently available on sale in India, can the largest capacity Apache carry the mantle of the moniker forward? Time to find out
Design and Features
The first thing one would notice is the striking similarity between the Draken Concept and the production motorcycle. Sharp lines with an offset fuel filler cap and tank extensions add to the sporty character of the 197.8 cc motorcycle. The black cladding on each side with the rather tiny (yet bright) tail lamp accentuate the sportiness further. Swing a leg over the Apache and another noticeable change over the earlier generation is a wide seat with adequate saddle height of 800 mm. This height with the wide clip-on handlebar and slightly rear-set footpegs offer a sporty stance but without straining your back. My commute over the next few days involved commuting in rush hour traffic from Gurgaon to Noida and back (approximately 100 kms). The rear seat like the front is wide and offers adequate cushioning. However, in order to keep the sporty lines, the rear saddle is comparatively high and this is a split seat setup unlike some of its competitors meaning the pillion will have to put some effort while getting on or off the RTR 200 4V. That said, pillion rider would still be reasonably comfortable.
Another noteworthy mention is the LED DRLs that can intimidate some (if not all) of the oncoming traffic. All this combined with the Matte White exterior colour on our test vehicle made the Apache feel upmarket and a segment above its when compared to its competition. The only kink, in terms of design, is the awkwardly designed exhaust. Apart from the muzzle shaped exhaust, each element on the Apache 200 4V blends with the other quite easily and people are bound to give it a second glance.
The equipment on the RTR 400 4V also impressed us! The fully digital backlit instrument cluster is easy to read and provides the usual information like tachometer, speedometer, tripmeter, digital clock etc. along with lap time, zero to 60 kmph time and health of the motorcycle. Turn on the ignition and the startup sequence also includes a countdown ( 3, 2, 1) after which it mentions 'Race On'. This is similar to the KTM's sequence that says 'Ready to Race'. Considering the Apache is a segment below the Austrian motorcycles, this feature accentuates the premium appeal.
Engine and Transmission
Start the Apache and there is a mild rumble (for its segment) after which the motorcycle settles around the 1,000 rpm mark. Although the exhaust may not be the best looking, the dual barrel setup offers good bass (like its predecessors) for a rather sedate sounding segment. The 197.8 cc motor on the Apache churns out 19.77 hp of power at 8,500 rpm and 18.1 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm. Unlike the peaky nature earlier Apache motorcycles had, the RTR 200 4V has a better low and mid range. The meat of the power remains between 5,500 rpm and 8,500 rpm after which a gear change is required. Vibrations from the motor are limited and refined when compared to its competition.
However, the TVS Apache RTR 4V doesn't have a precise gear shift. The 5-speed unit has a shallow shift and engaging a neutral can be cumbersome. Minus the transmission, there are no hiccups with this motor. We would have loved a 6-speed transmission like the one on the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS, however, this transmission delivers power seamlessly.
Coming back to the engine's power delivery, all I can state is that even with the highest gear engaged, the Apache RTR 200 4V kept trotting at 30 kmph. Overall, it is a comfortable everyday motor that is happy staying in the low and mid-range. And despite the relatively large motor, the test vehicle covered 47 kilometres for every litre of petrol.
Also Read: TVS Victor Review: Reincarnation Done Right!
Ride, Handling and Braking
The Apache RTR 200 4V that we were testing was a carburetted one, but with Pirelli Scorpion rubber. That, coupled with the KYB monoshock at the rear (a first for TVS) and a telescopic setup upfront offer the confidence a rider would need while negotiating corners. Lean to one side and push the motorcycle to its limit and forgivingly, the Apache holds its composure. The suspension setup is slightly on the stiffer side, however, its isn't unsettling. A net result of this configuration on the motorcycle is better handling over a softer setup found on most other motorcycles in this segment.
Riding position is forward biased with rear set footpegs, however, the ergonomics are more in favour of comfort over an aggressive stance. Unlike the earlier Apaches, which had a rather uncomfortable riding position, one can do long hauls and would not end up in a sore back. Mind you, it is not a cruiser so don't expect it to be as comfortable as one, but for a naked streetbike, this is by far the most comfortable tourer in its category. For reference, my daily commute is over 50 kms (Gurgaon to Noida and back) and with my weight at 96 kgs (or maybe more), the RTR 200 4V was comfortable and fast enough for the city as well as expressways. I could not do a long haul, but rest assured and as aforementioned, this 200 cc motorcycle would be as comfortable on proper highways as it is in urban areas.
Another intimidating factor is the fairly large cross section which may get you thinking if the motorcycle can weave through traffic. But maneuvering this motorcycle through 'choc-a-bloc' traffic is as easy as cruising at high speed, primarily due to a responsive motor and a light clutch.
Another addition in the RTR 200 4V is a dual-channel ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) which kicks in when needed. Unfortunately, the test vehicle did not have this, however, despite the absence of ABS, there is ample feedback from the front and the rear disc brake setup and one would not lose confidence even while panic braking.
The optional ABS also has RLP or Rear wheel Liftoff Protection which restricts the rear wheel from lifting off by intermittently releasing the front brake till the time the rear wheel does not touch the ground. All this is judged by the motorcycle using a gyro sensor. We would have loved to test this feature, however, we will give you a report on it as soon the ABS variant is reviewed.
So, here is the roundup! It looks muscular while being lean, it is comfortable over long city commutes, it delivers a reasonable fuel efficiency, is sedate in the city, can be used comfortably as an everyday motorcycle and handles better than most its competitors. With a starting price of Rs 89,215, ex-showroom, Delhi for the non-ABS version, which I would personally not recommend, the Apache RTR 200 4V is a motorcycle you would not get tired of in every aspect possible (Ride, design, engine responsiveness etc). The only chink in the Apache RTR 200 4V's armour is the shallow gear change.
Considering all the plus and minus points, the Apache RTR 200 4V is a perfect value-for-money package which can keep the rider comfortable and happy throughout its lifespan. If you are looking for a motorcycle that has the attributes of a race-bred machine which can be used every day, the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V is worth every penny and should be considered.