I have to admit, like most Filipinos, I’m biased towards Japanese bikes when it comes to purchasing one. You can’t blame me; I mean, the Japanese motorcycle marques have had a strong reputation for quality and reliability since time immemorial. Until last year, I had the pleasure of testing the TVS Apache RTR 180. TVS what? Most people will ask what or “who is TVS?” Well, the TVS Motor Company is the third largest two-wheeler manufacturer in India with an annual capacity of over three million vehicles. Through Wheeltek Motor Sales Corporation, we were so lucky to have first dibs on the new TVS Apache RTR 200 4V carbureted version that will soon enter the Philippine market this July.
The RTR 200 is powered by a single cylinder 197.8cc 4-valves, air and oil-cooled engine coupled with a 5-speed transmission. The RTR 200’s acceleration is by far my favorite, proving the company claimed 0-60 in just under 4 seconds. Another thing to like is the air and oil-cooler combination to keep the engine temperature leveled even during intense traffic conditions here in the metro. The engine’s double-barrel exhaust provides a good clean sporty grunt.
The electronics appear basic until you take a closer look at the instrument panel, and you’ll realize that the bike has more to offer under its sleeves. For example, it can record your lap times, acceleration time and top speed; the bike will even congratulate you for your new achievement, which is so cool! Oh, did I also mention that the bike comes with daylight running LEDs plus the H4 bulb dims when you are at a stop to conserve energy? Also according to TVS Philippines, their fuel-injected version can be diagnosed without requiring special diagnostic tools and wires, you just simply plug your laptop to the panel with the right diagnostic software and that’s it!
STYLING AND HANDLING
Mean and masculine – that’s what most people said when they saw this bike, some even thought that this was a “big bike” like the Suzuki Bandit 650. I didn’t like the handling of the bike at first because of its very soft front suspension that dives at the next street corner, but I was surprised at the bike when we tested it at the famous Marilaque (Marikina – Infanta HWY) up to the broken bridge a few kilometers after Jariel’s Peak. Once I got used with the front suspension play, curve after curve, the bike attacked it so gracefully like a ballerina. The rear KYB monoshock absorber plays just right: not too soft and not too stiff.
FUEL ECONOMY RANGE AND STOPPING POWER
Fuel capacity is 12 liters and we were able to squeeze a whopping 35-38 kilometers per liter from this carbureted bike, that’s roughly a 420-kilometer fuel range on one top up. Stopping power is provided by a 270mm disc with double piston caliper for the front while the rear has single piston caliper and 240mm disc.
“Every day is RACE DAY,” says TVS, yet they never failed to incorporate everyday practicality with the RTR 200 4V. Styling, fuel economy, and power; they’re all engraved in this bike. Truly, the RTR 200 is a bargain for all it’s packed with, we even gave the RTR 200 a good beating through good and bad roads but the bike never faltered nor did a single bolt fall. The only issue I found in this bike is that it took a bit of effort to find the neutral shift during stops, which is pretty common on brand-new bikes. With the Apache RTR’s superb craftsmanship, it is no wonder that the Bayerische Motoren Werke had chosen TVS to manufacture its new entry-level bike – the BMW G310 R. If I were looking for nice city and weekend bike, would I buy this? Absolutely!
(This story also came out in the July 2016 issue of C! Magazine)
ENGINE: Single cylinder, air & oil-cooled, 4 valves
MAX. POWER: 20.5 bhp @ 8,500 rpm
MAX. TORQUE: 13.3 lb ft @ 7,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: wet multi-plate, 5-speed
SEAT HEIGHT: 800 mm
FUEL CAPACITY: 12 liters
WET WEIGHT: 148 kg
TOP SPEED: 125 km/h as tested
PRICE: PhP 94,900 (carbureted) PhP 109,990 (Fuel Injected with Pirelli tires)
+: Bargain for a 200cc bike, very smooth and eager motor
-: Finding neutral is sometimes hard