I have fond memories of riding the Apache RTR 200 4V at the Kari Motor Speedway, during our track test, last year. It goes without saying then that I was eager to check how our long-termer bike performs at one of my favourite roads, the section leading to Aamby Valley in Lonavala. It is full of varied types of corners and to add to the thrill, it was raining for most of the ride.
To get there, I had to get past the let's-go-to-Lonavala-because-it's-raining traffic that dotted the highway, but the Apache made light work of it all. It feels quite quick up to 100-110kmph, but after that it feels a little strained. A sixth cog certainly would have helped. That said, the vibes from the engine were minimal which is a plus on long rides. The grip from the Pirelli tyres is confidence inspiring, even on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway concrete, that you encounter for about 10km.
The Pirelli tyres offer impressive grip in the wet which is a major confidence booster
Once on the road up to Aamby Valley, I finally began riding the bike the way it's meant to, and it was such a joy! In my case, I've always grown fond of bikes that make me feel connected, and the Apache has managed to spark that feeling in me.
The Apache's reactive nature keeps your inputs in check. It needs you to be smooth to go faster and I love that kind of a challenge. Now don't get me wrong by thinking that the Apache is a bad handler, because it certainly isn't. But it requires you to work towards riding quicker, and when you get it right, the bike rewards you. This feeling is what stems this connection I've developed with our long-term Apache.
The brakes feel progressive, even in the wet
This year also marks the second monsoon season of this bike, and so far it has held up pretty well. The lights are working fine, the switches still operate smoothly and the instrument panel has not fogged up, an issue that we faced last monsoon. Let's see how she handles Mumbai's infamous potholes in the next report.
Date acquired:May 2016
Last report at:9,440km
Photography: Anis Shaikh