The last time I was excited upon seeing a naked yellow motorcycle was when Bajaj unveiled the Pulsar 200 NS. Its transformation from the bulkier bikini-faired Pulsars to the chiseled, lean, new-age look was quite exciting to the eyes. The new TVS Apache RTR 200 4V brought back those very thoughts when I first saw it last month at the OD garage. I had missed riding it then, but when I learnt that it had gone back for its scheduled service post the road test and was coming back to us for a long-term review, I pounced upon the opportunity to make it mine for the stipulated time.
The eagerness was only partly because of the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V'slooks. It had more to do with everything that I had read about its capabilities when my colleagues penned down their thoughts from the track test, followed the road test. With my Triumph Daytona demanding cleaner roads or the racetrack for my idea of fun with the bike, I was eagerly looking for a secondary motorcycle that I could throw around even on broken roads or commute with in comfort, without worrying about heating issues or unwanted attention. The RTR seemed to fit that requirement quite well.
Coming back to its design, TVS seems to have nailed it. The street-fighter look goes very well with its aggressive attitude, and the design seems much cleaner than its lower capacity siblings. As is evident with most new offerings from TVS, the bike maker has gained plenty of expertise with matte paint and the RTR looks stunning in that finish. The contrasting panel on the tank does have some inconsistency in the paintwork, but ours seems like a pre-production motorcycle and therefore I choose to ignore them.
What I can't ignore, however, is the exhaust canister. While the twin-pot design is a nice approach, the execution looks half-baked and doesn't gel that well with the more sophisticated appearance of the rest of the motorcycle. The fit and finish of all components is excellent though and ends up imparting a better feel-good factor than some of the Japs in this segment.
The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V certainly feels more accommodating to me than the Pulsar 200 NS. The knee-recesses are nicely contoured to accommodate riders of most sizes, and the handlebars are set at a good height - slightly on the taller side but not too commuter-ish.
Compared to something the Duke then, the riding posture on the RTR is more relaxed. The saddle is quite comfortable too, and on myfirst weekend ride out on the bike (230km), it did not tire me all that much. The pillion did not have similar thoughts though, and halfway through the ride I was already hearing complaints of discomfort. But I believe that they had their origins in the hot and humid weather during the ride.
The bike's suspension is quite well-sorted for two-up riding.As our road test mentioned, the RTR is sprung slightly on the softer side (compared to its rivals like the Duke/AS), but on some of the broken roads that my pillion and I rode on, the suspension never bottomed out or rebound unnervingly even at its default setting.
But with the rains setting in now, the bike will be subjected to relatively more grueling conditions as I intend to go riding down the coastal routes of Maharashtra with it (and my pillion has happily denied the participation). I'll fill you in from the sport touring perspective then, once the plans materialise.
Date acquired: May 2016,Odo reading (when acquired): 1,032km,Odo reading (current): 1,682km