2020 TVS Apache RTR 200 4V First Ride Review: Tuned To Precision

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At TVS’ native test track in Hosur plant, we put the newly launched BSVI 2020 TVS Apache RTR 200 4V through its paces to find out what has changed and what has not

The Apache range has been at the forefront of TVS’ volume aspirations for nearly a decade and a half and it elevated the brand image to newer heights. The Apache RTR 200 broke into the scenes in 2016 and set a new benchmark for refinement and ride quality and it improved on with features like slipper clutch in the Race Edition 2.0.

With BSVI regulations coming into effect from April 2020, motorcycle brands have worked behind the curtain to make their existing machines and the upcoming models future-ready and the first signs are showing off. Companies have really accelerated launching their BSVI models in the last few months and we would see more of them over the due course of the next three months.

TVS introduced the BSVI versions of the Apache RTR 200 4V and its smaller sibling the Apache RTR 160 4V at the end of November and I got to ride them at the narrow yet exciting test track established within TVS’ Hosur plant premises. Here are my reflections on the 2020 TVS Apache RTR 200 4V which has the new-gen closed-loop fuel injection system and other changes related to sticking with BSVI norms:

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The naked streetfighter gets graphical updates that are very much visible from the first glance. Sold in Glossy Black and Pearl White colour schemes, the new Apache 200 4V looks more striking in the black colour elevating the razor-sharp styling details it already has with red highlights on the fuel tank, side bikini fairing and headlamp area.

The key update is the bolder and bigger repositioned LED Daytime Running Lights and LED headlamp with improved illumination. Additionally, the Bluetooth-enabled SmartXonnect digital instrument cluster comes with dot matrix display which has clock, rpm, lean angle, kmph/mph setup and Bluetooth pairing options in the menu. For the ease of the rider, a dedicate info switch has been added to the switchgear.

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The dot matrix display certainly enhances the user’s experience as it displays turn-by-turn navigation, SMS alert, crash alert, low fuel warning, nearest petrol station indication and other useful information when connected through the Bluetooth module with the smartphone app. Moreover, rider can dissect and improve the style of riding and observe saddle time as dedicated data analysis measures come in handy.

The feather touch start as TVS calls it has noticeably improved the responsiveness of the engine crank timing. The redesigned mirrors, new ‘wave bite’ key, elements of attention to detail like the stickering on the belly pan and the paint finish further enhance the premium appeal of the motorcycle. The 2020 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V is powered by the same 197.75 cc single-cylinder four-stroke oil-cooled fuel-injected engine producing 20.5 PS at 8,500 rpm and 16.80 Nm at 7,500 rpm.

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The BSVI compliant engine has identical power rating as its predecessor but the peak torque has been dropped by 1.3 Nm. The peak torque now kicks in 500 rpm later in the rev range comparatively. The homegrown manufacturer has kept the kerb weight at 153 kilograms. What is dubbed the RT-Fi (Race Tuned Fuel Injection) system comes courtesy of the stringent emission standards and is a significant upgrade compared to the previous Fi tech used in the four-valved 200.

The faster closed-loop system enables more precise combustion control and it functions along with the nanofriks coated asymmetric pistons and PVD coated rings to improve precision, fuel efficiency and apparently reduce pollutants. The mechanical updates pertaining to the BSVI norms have indeed not hampered the sporty handling characteristics of the 200 4V and, in fact, they perfected what has always been a fun-loving motorcycle.

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The throttle response has been immediate all along and its eagerness has certainly improved giving the motorcycle a quick push off the line. The five-speed gearbox is slick as usual and it works in tandem with the throttle to give good feedback. This, in turn, ensures good low- and mid-range power and torque delivery with consistency and the fuelling has been intuitive to say the least.

The dual-channel ABS system renders plenty of confidence for the rider to brake late into corners and its feedback has been consistent throughout the time I had with the motorcycle. I managed to hit a top speed of 126 kmph on the instrument console when the track rubbered in nicely on my final run and it has something to do with the stickier Eurogrip tyres – radial for the first time at the rear.

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Another new technology added to the 2020 Apache series is the GTT (Glide Through Traffic) that helps in crawling without any effort from the rider in lower gears. It is a big step forward in reducing the weariness in stop-and-go traffic situations. The BSVI 200 4V weighs 6 kg heavier than the 160 4V and the added weight does bring more composure into the mix. The slipper clutch ensures aggressive downshifts with ease and I hit 123 kmph just before the loop section of the track with plenty of confidence.

The balanced suspension setup provided by the telescopic front forks and monoshock rear deserved a nod of appreciation. Overall, the BSVI Apache RTR 200 4V is an improved version of its own self and is priced at Rs. 1.24 lakh (ex-showroom) – nearly Rs. 10,000 more than its predecessor.

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For the extra bucks you need to shell out, there are more features on offer along with the cleaner and greener engine. It will be interesting to see how Bajaj’s Pulsar NS 200 responds in its updated avatar but the Apache 200 4V BSVI sticks by its guns and does things it is already good at making it a compelling buy in the segment.