Tech­nol­ogy & in­no­va­tion

Auto components India - - FRONT PAGE - Text : Aninda Sar­dar

TVS Apache RTR 200

When TVS launched the first Apache RTR in 2007 it was a hum­ble 160-cc mo­tor­cy­cle. The game then moved to a higher seg­ment and TVS an­swered with an Apache RTR 180. Sub­se­quently, there came a ver­sion of the Apache RTR 160 equipped with fuel-injection and ABS, show­cas­ing the In­dian bike­maker’s tech­ni­cal prow­ess and thought lead­er­ship. Since then, how­ever, TVS has been con­tented to re­main silent on the Apache front... un­til now. In the lat­est evo­lu­tion of the Apache RTR saga, TVS has given their pop­u­lar per­for­mance ma­chine a big­ger heart, a brand­new look and a chas­sis that has been tweaked to make it even more ca­pa­ble than be­fore. In­trigued? Read on to find out how the new TVS Apache RTR 200 4V feels when you get astride one. Visu­ally, the de­sign lan­guage of the new Apache RTR 200 4V is far edgier than be­fore with more cuts and slashes cre­at­ing bold lines. The petrol-tank (ac­tu­ally the plas­tic shroud on the tank, which is a small 12-litre unit hid­ing un­der the shroud) is a meaty af­fair and way to a set of rather well-de­signed split seats. The seats them­selves have been cre­ated from spe­cial foam and con­toured to pro­vide max­i­mum com­fort. The tail-piece, too, is a well-sculpted af­fair and looks con­tem­po­rary, as is the belly- pan. There is no doubt that the new Apache RTR looks mod­ern and sporty. Di­men­sion­ally, too, the bike has changed con­sid­er­ably over the pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tion of the Apache RTR. The over­all length of the mo­tor­cy­cle is now shorter by 35 mil­lime­tres at 2,050 mm but the bike is wider by 60 mm at 790 mm. Wheel­base, at 1,353 mm, is longer than the old bike’s (1,326 mm). Even the ground clear­ance on the new bike is 15 mm more than be­fore at 180 mm. Only the over­all height has re­mained un­changed at 1,105 mm. As a re­sult of th­ese al­ter­ations, the Apache RTR 200 4V now feels like a big­ger ma­chine as you get astride. In­ter­est­ingly, though it feels larger, it doesn’t feel any bulkier, which I quite liked. Re­plac­ing the dig­i­tal-ana­logue com­bi­na­tion in­stru­men­ta­tion of the old Apache is an all-new alldig­i­tal in­stru­ment panel, which in­cor­po­rates a rev counter, speedo, fuel-gauge, odome­ter, two trip me­ters, lap timer, and top speed recorder, among other in­for­ma­tion. There are also a set of tell-tale lamps that tell you when to shift up, re­mind you about ser­vice and in­di­cate low bat­tery level. One of the more gim­micky fea­tures which I thought was a nice ad­di­tion to the mo­tor­cy­cle was an al­phanu­meric mes­sage that pops up on the screen when you start the bike and re­minds rid­ers to wear

hel­mets. As its name sug­gests, the Apache RTR 200 4V is pow­ered by an all-new 197.75-cc air­cooled sin­gle-cylin­der four­valve SOHC en­gine with an oil-cooler, the last-named be­ing a first in the Apache RTR se­ries. The en­gine also gets the ben­e­fit of a much-needed counter bal­ancer. If you’re fa­mil­iar with the old Apache RTR bikes, then you’ll know that one of the ma­jor draw­backs of those ma­chines was vi­bra­tions from the en­gine. The ben­e­fits of the counter bal­ancer be­come ev­i­dent as soon as you start the en­gine, which, de­spite its larger size, feels a lot more re­fined. Con­fir­ma­tion of this pos­i­tive change came af­ter nearly two hours of whizzing around the TVS test-track for there was none of the fa­mil­iar tin­gling in the palms that Apache rid­ers are so used to. At least, noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant enough to men­tion. TVS of­fer­ers cus­tomers a choice of fu­elling so you can have a car­bu­ret­ted ver­sion that puts out 20.5 PS or one with elec­tronic fuel-injection that puts out 21 PS, both peak power out­puts be­ing achieved at an iden­ti­cal 8,500 RPM. Max­i­mum torque in both cases is 18.1 Nm, which is avail­able at 7,000 RPM. Al­though on pa­per this puts the Apache RTR at a dis­ad­van­tage against its more pow­er­ful com­peti­tors, TVS claim that they have in­ten­tion­ally worked on the en­gine to pro­vide a wider spread of power than just pro­vid­ing high out­put. Ra­tio­nal as it sounds, whether po­ten­tial cus­tomers will buy this ex­pla­na­tion is some­thing that only time will tell. You will also note that the dou­ble-bar­rel ex­haust looks a lit­tle un­con­ven­tional. That is be­cause TVS has fit­ted the Apache RTR 200 4V with an ex­haust that houses twin cat­alytic con­vert­ers in or­der to meet fu­ture emis­sion norms as well as those in force now. Ac­cel­er­at­ing from stand­still on the long straight of the TVS test­track the bike felt grunty and picked up speed eas­ily. In fact, we could get up to an in­di­cated 123 km/h on the fuel-in­jected bike and about 120 km/h on the car­bu­ret­tor ver­sion be­fore we ran out of track. There’s plenty of mid-range grunt, too, which should make short work of over­tak­ing or rid­ing through the city. Trans­mis­sion is via a very slick five-speed gear­box, which again puts the Apache at a dis­ad­van­tage be­cause its ri­vals get six-speed ones. To its credit, though, the trans­mis­sion it­self is quite well-sorted and more than ca­pa­ble for the kind of rid­ing that most Apache own­ers will put it to. TVS has re­tained the dou­ble­cra­dle frame of the old Apache but it’s now a split cra­dle. TVS has also worked on the al­ready ca­pa­ble chas­sis to make it stiffer still. Tele­scopic front forks are 37 mm in di­am­e­ter and TVS has ditched the twin shock-ab­sorbers at the rear in favour of a KYB monoshock. Around the lone long bumpy right-han­der at the end of the straight on the test-track, the bike felt com­posed and at ease. There was no ner­vous chat­ter­ing from the sus­pen­sion or any hint of in­sta­bil­ity. Tip it in, and the bike just tracks your cho­sen line through the turn. Flick it on to its left for the exit back on to the long straight, and again there’s no sen­sa­tion of be­ing

un­set­tled. Clearly, the new Apache RTR 200 4V re­tains the old mo­tor­cy­cles’ sweet han­dling na­ture. The sus­pen­sion set-up, too, is re­ward­ing as it is soft enough to cush­ion the bumps and yet stiff enough to pre­vent the bike from wal­low­ing all over the place. The Apache gets two choices for tyres as well. You can, of course, get a pair of Pirellis (90/90 R17 Speed De­mon up front and 130/709 R17 An­gel GT at the rear) or you can opt for the spe­cially de­vel­oped TVS Remora tyres. In terms of out­right grip there is, of course, a dif­fer­ence be­tween the Pirellis and the Re­moras but the dif­fer­ence isn’t too stark. In fact, truth be told, all of us who had the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence both sets of tyres on the bike came back fairly im­pressed with the TVS tyres; while all of us ex­pected a cer­tain amount of grip from the Ital­ian tyres, the In­dian rubber ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions. The Apache RTR 200 4V gets a 270-mm dia pe­tal disc up front and a 240-mm dia pe­tal disc at the rear. The brakes have good bite and feel pro­gres­sive, quite un­like what one got on the old bike. TVS said that ABS with RLP (Rear Lift Pro­tec­tion) is also on the way and should be avail­able as an op­tion over the next few months. TVS launched the Apache RTR 200 4V start­ing at Rs 88,990 (ex-show­room, Mum­bai) for the car­bu­ret­ted ver­sion shod with Remora tyres. Add fuel injection and Pirelli rubber and you’re look­ing at some­thing that’s Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 more ex­pen­sive. An­other Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 and you’ll also be able to buy any of th­ese ver­sions with ABS and RLP. At that price the bike cer­tainly looks like good value. It does have a good en­gine, han­dles well and of­fers rea­son­able ride com­fort along with a host of fea­tures. Ques­tion is, will this pack­age be enough to woo cus­tomers or will they con­tinue to flock to the fre­netic Duke or the more sober Pul­sar? We will, of course, try and an­swer that with a com­par­i­son test of our own but the real an­swer to that ques­tion, only time will tell.

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