My 2022 TVS Apache RTR 200 4V: Buying process & initial impressions

This bike is the complete opposite of the old RTR 160 and 180s. It is now one of the segment benchmarks. Absolute zero-to-hero story, in this one.

BHPian OffPoynt recently shared this with other enthusiasts,

Hello everyone! I’m OffPoynt, and this is my first post here.

Team BHP played a big part in my choosing this bike (thanks Hagaru and vijai!). And not many reviews of the 2022 bike, so I thought why not.

Background:

Car lover since as far as I can remember. I used to get my fix in my high school hostel days with an Evo magazine subscription (no mobiles allowed there). And watch Top Gear whenever I went for outings.

Many years later, I am now in a bachelor’s course for Visual Media (after having quit engineering). I used to be in a hostel for my engineering, but now though, the college is close to my home, which meant taking my dad’s nine-year-old Access 125 to college. This would create some scheduling conflicts with my dad (we did have a Figo, but he didn’t like taking it for small runs like groceries, etc). This is where the thought of buying a vehicle entered my mind.

I only experienced 3 bikes until now, and all thanks to my elder brother. He first borrowed a friend’s Unicorn. Then, brother-in-laws’ Pulsar 150. And he ended up buying an FZ, the first generation with the 164cc 14 hp engine. Which he ended up selling when he went abroad to fund his education. During all this, I was too small and young to even ride scooters, let alone bikes.

So, no bike in the family to ride, so no bike experience and no passion to ride. I did ride a bike for my license tests, but that was just because adding on a geared motorcycle license to a DL later is very complicated, so why not get them all in one go? I did have respect for super bikes still.

At this point (beginning of 2022), I seriously considered the TVS Ntorq and even pitched the idea to the family but it wasn’t taken much seriously. I also didn’t mind too much; the Access was doing well enough.
Fast forward to March-April when my parents tell me that my sister’s friend has an old Apache that he doesn’t ride and would lend it to me for my college duration, a BS3 Yellow RTR 160. Having not much interest in bikes, I postponed getting it for so long. The day before somebody else was about to borrow the bike, I went and got it even then, my reason to get it was that it would be faster than the Access (and not totally because my buddy bought a Pulsar N250 which I could totally keep up with).

Not even a month later. Just two weeks into riding the 160, it all sank in. Everything made sense. I immediately understood biking. I had found Pandora.

The last service before returning the bike. Sorry for the bad angle:

By June – July, I started to feel bad for the 160. It was once a college student’s bike, now in my hands. I am a safe rider, but I do like to live my life in the upper half of the tacho (this engine). I felt bad, and not to mention, some of the problems on the bike (vibrations, rust in a few places, a cracked front cowl) which came with the bike, made me feel even more guilty about riding it and felt the need to return it. But not before I got one for myself…

Enter the “I want a new bike” phase:

I was in love with the RTR 160’s racy feel. Something about it really tickled my inner child when the bike was ridden hard. Naturally, that nominated the RTR 200 for me.

Options I considered:

  • Yamaha MT-15/R15 – Out of budget. My goal was under 2L. However, due to having had a Yamaha in our family before, I really did think about the R15.
  • FZ250 – This one actually costs very similar to the bike I ended up buying. It makes similar power, but more torque and is a very easy city bike. However, I rejected this because of the dated features, and it didn’t tug at my heartstrings quite enough.
  • Hero Xpulse 200 4V – I’m not really into adventure bikes. I can see the appeal, though. My Neanderthal brain also went “200cc with 17bhp hmm not great” too. I am also a bit short for this. Good bike, just not my vibe.
  • RE – Out of my budget, and too heavy for me. I am also not a cruiser kind of guy.
  • Honda CB series – Hondas don’t really draw me, except for the CB300R (which was out of my budget).
  • KTMs – Already out of my budget. Also, it does seem like everyone has one. I know the RTR is popular, but I have seen more KTMs than the 4v RTRs,
    by many multiple times.
  • Pulsar F250/N250 twins – This one was a very hard bike to reject for me. As I’ve said, my buddy bought an N250, and it was 187000 on-road, which is practically the same as what I paid for my RTR (186000 on-road, Mysuru). The bike is fantastic. It sounds absolutely incredible and is really performant. Since I didn’t want to buy the N250 (totally not because a buddy has one) the F250 was also a choice for me. In the end, I decided that the Pulsar was a very good bike, but it was more a sporty bike, with all the hooliganism that the Pulsar name represents. Which I don’t have a problem with, I just wanted a track feel and not a sporty feel out of my new bike.
  • Pulsar NS/RS – Rejected for similar reasons as KTMs and the N/F250s. But, I do want to have a multi-bike garage one day and the RS is around the top of the list.
  • Suzuki Gixxer/V-Strom – Out of my budget, again. I liked the 250 naked Gixxer.

Aaaand out of all these options, I went with the Apache stable and chose an RTR 200 4V, 2022, dual-channel ABS with riding modes. My color of choice during the booking was white (quite a rare color here). I went with a small TVS dealer because my family actually had used their services during the 90s. There was a bigger showroom closer to my house but the salesperson just couldn’t be bothered to explain about the bike. No drive/energy whatsoever, which turned me off.

My first choice was actually the matte blue one. However, the showroom person told me it isn’t made anymore (which may/may not be true, I didn’t check) and went with white. This all happened before my year-end exams. I would ideally get the bike when the holidays started (win-win).

A few days, I went to the dealer and asked him for an ETA. He said that due to low demand for the white, manufacturing is less and that it will take time. Welp.

Went again after a week to check the progress. Same thing, except this time he mentions that two black RTR 200s in the variant I chose have just been delivered to a showroom by the factory and I could have one in a week.

Call me fickle-minded, but this was my first bike and first vehicle. I was honestly giddy for the whole one or two months before and after I got the bike. I told the dealer yes, I will take the black one.

Two days later, the bike made its way to the dealer.

The bike stayed there as there were some things to be done (registration etc). I personally couldn’t wait for the day I got my bike.

And the day came.

It actually started drizzling during the delivery. Not to be stopped, I donned a raincoat and rode home in the rain. Delivery went well. The free TVS Xpod helmet would arrive a week later. I used my Vega until then. Everything went smoothly. No problems or issues on the bike. Number plate to arrive about 2 to 3 weeks later.

At home, what a feeling!

Since my holidays had started, it gave me ample time to know my bike better.

Pros:

  • Very refined. This bike is the complete opposite of the old RTR 160 and 180s. It is now one of the segment benchmarks. Absolute zero-to-hero story, in this one.
  • Ergonomics. I am on the short side, which makes this bike suit me well. The upright seating, although a departure from the race-style posture of the old RTRs, is very welcome and some touring on this bike is no problem.
  • Exhaust note. Countless YouTube videos watched still didn’t prepare me for how good this bike sounds. It sounds like a big bike and sounds incredible. It doesn’t have the outright bassyness of the N250 but it still is one of the best sounding single cylinder bikes. Gotta love the turning of heads as people hear this coming.
  • Chassis, suspension, and handling. TVS has a factory race team and it shows in this bike. Fast corners and swooping curves really show how nimble and fleet-footed this bike is, despite using a traditional double-cradle chassis instead of the more modern perimeter/trellis frames. The suspension units are from Showa, which is a Japanese big-name brand that is found mostly on superbikes. Adjustable forks are a very good feature. The handling is really confidence-inspiring.
  • The looks. This bike looks really, really good. From the seat, it does really give you a “big bike” feeling. Don’t be fooled by the tank size, it isn’t actually that large of a capacity. More about this in Cons.
  • Adjustable brake and clutch levers. The adjustability I found not to have too much of an impact at first, but I ended up discovering that adjusting them changed how the levers feel. Brakes feel better set at level 3. Also, it is useful for the occasional time a trusted friend takes the bike for a spin.
  • Gearbox. It is very quick and allows for absolutely beautiful downshifting, especially if you know rev-matching.
  • Power. All the RTR 200’s power is packed mostly into the mid-range, giving it one of the fastest 0-60 times in the segment. It doesn’t make sense on normal roads or highways but on tight roads with turns, it does.
  • The console. Very useful and informative console, although I would have liked a bigger and more elaborate tachometer. Phone connection is a big plus (to see the name of the caller is a huge advantage while on the move, as I can pick calls with an intercom). Ride statistics are accurate.
  • GTT. Glide Through Technology, allows one to leave the clutch and throttle, and at low speeds, the FI system injects a bit of fuel to keep the bike moving at a set speed (7 in 1st, 14 in 2nd, 22 in 3rd, 29 in 4th and 34 in 5th). It is not advisable however to use GTT for the 4th and 5th gears.
  • ABS and riding modes. The ABS works well, and with the Rain mode, it makes it impossible to lock up the wheel in any scenario. Very useful.
  • As compared to the 2021 version (rode a friend’s bike), the 2022 version gets a better side stand (his observation). The 2022 version also gets a switch to turn the headlamp on/off while the DRL remains on, and dims itself when the headlamp is on.

Cons:

  • Brakes. The no-name brand brakes have a very spongy feel and are very uncommunicative. Also, the stopping power is not enough (most, if not all rivals have better stopping power). The rotors are also small (personal opinion). Setting the lever to step 3 makes it feel better. I will start using LiquiMoly’s brake fluid after the warranty on the bike is over.
  • Power. For the money, the RTR 200 is now rivaled by the NS200 and the N/F250 twins, both of which make more power. Not really a big point, but I’ve felt the need for more power for cruising at higher speeds on expressways. This bike loses most of its steam above 110.
  • Gearing. 5 gears is fine but above 110 the bike struggles to gain speed. The meat of the power starts at 5k RPM, I feel. 5k to 8k is the sweet spot. Could’ve been wider. Also, 6th gear.
  • Lack of aftermarket parts. I had such a hard time searching for some parts to improve my daily experience on the bike (like tank/thigh pads). Many websites have parts for KTMs, Bajajs, Yamaha, and the like but no Apache.
  • Slight struggle after cold starts. Sometimes, the engine cuts off in 10s after a cold start. It always starts correctly, however. The idling can sometimes dip below 1k RPM for a split second when idling after a cold start.
  • TVS’ oils. Their brake and engine oils are not good. Despite what I said about the gearbox is good, it does occasionally throw up a missed shift. I suspect the oil. I will be changing this too after the warranty on the bike ends. Apparently, the brake fluid is DOT 3 from the factory, like what?
  • Riding modes. The bike produces 20.5 bhp on Sport mode and 17.1 on the others. Apart from the modes also changing the ABS intervention (which DO make a difference), this power difference doesn’t make sense and is nearly imperceptible. It may be because the bike is new and I need time to tell, but that is the problem. It feels more like a gimmick at times. Personally, I leave it on Sport all the time. Might as well call it ABS modes.
  • Halogen turn signals. Not a bother for some. To me, it feels outdated. Full LED headlamp but halogen signals?
  • Toolkit only contains a screwdriver and a 12/14mm (IIRC) spanner. Not much you can do with these (when it comes to adjusting clutch/throttle plays, installing radiator guards, etc).
  • TVS Connect app is sometimes finicky. Didn’t expect much out of this, so not disappointed. Navigation can sometimes get stuck. Not fully reliable. Haven’t used it much as the app can’t take locations shared for example on Whatsapp. I only use it if I need to track performance and distance statistics.
  • Tyres are not confidence inspiring, especially when cold. Warmed up is when they have life. Switching these after they wear out. No Pirelli option too
  • TVS releasing a lot of OEM accessories for the Ronin has made me a bit salty. Where are OEM accessories for the RTR? For example, Ronin gets thigh pads and adjustable levers in two colors among other things. The Ronin also got USD forks and a USB port. I might be able to retrofit all these, but still.
  • Ergonomics are not good for tall riders. My tall friends do not like the ergos one bit.
  • Tank capacity is just 12L, despite how big the tank looks. Yes, given an ideal mileage of 40, it should do 480 km which is sufficient. The old RTRs however, came with a 16L tank and near-50kmpl mileage (a theoretical 800km!). The upshot to this is that the tank you see isn’t a tank, it’s a fiberglass panel covering the tank that can be replaced for cheaper than if something were to directly damage the tank.

Some might feel like I’ve bashed the bike a lot, but I want to make sure I put out everything.

The first service was done and dusted within a month’s time of taking delivery of the bike. After that, I waited till the bike hit 1000kms to ride to Bangalore. From Bangalore, I went for a ride to Krishnagiri with 3 friends.

Me on mu bike.

I was riding with a friend who rode a Duke 390. Can’t expect this to keep up, but I tried my best. It was smooth throughout. I had no problems throughout.

Mods done (can’t really call what I’ve done as ‘modifications’ but here I go):

Screen scratch protector:

The screen getting scratched was a worry for me, who knows if I can get the glass replaced? So I bought this. Anyone wanting to do the same, be warned that the protectors are flat while the console screen has a slight curve to it. It applied fine, but the next day after college, I notice half the protector has unstuck itself from the screen. Took the protector off, cleaned the sticky side with a cleaning sticker from a phone tempered glass kit, and this time I used a hairdryer on the hot setting to get the protector to curve and attach properly. No problems so far except 2 edges where it won’t sit properly (minuscule, not there in the picture).

Thigh / Tank pads from Autologue Design:

This is the thigh pad.

And this is the tank pad.

These were just about the only pads I found designed for this bike. It’s made of rubber and provides a really good grip, enhancing handling and everyday usage. They come in a pack of 6. Two for the tank and 4 for both sides. I wished the rubber would be a completely jet black color to match the bike, instead of the dark gray it is, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Radiator guard:

After seeing a few fins bent, I was pretty scared. The bike did not come with a radiator guard from the factory, and asking the salesperson came to nothing. So, I ordered one from Amazon. Again, this was the only good one I found. No variety. I attempted installing it at home and gave up. Got it done at the place I bought the bike.

The radiator guard.

After installing.

  • Planned:
  • Air filter.
  • Windshield/Visor.
  • Painting the panel above the tail lamp and the one between the seats red and adding two black stripes (to continue and match the tank’s design to the rear) along with the radiator guard painted red (this one was suggested by the salesperson after getting it fitted). Also want black levers all around (clutch, brake, gear, rear brake).
  • Brakes, either just the pads and fluid or the entire system. I don’t know if this will be complicated due to the presence of dual-channel ABS.
  • LED Indicators from either a Ronin or RR310 (as told about by a fellow member).

Service:

Pretty inexpensive, overall. The first service cost me around 650, with additional money for a wash and polish. Exceeded my expectations with respect to cost, I went to the center expecting a bill of 1k to 2k. I do not know if the center I chose can deal with major problems but since I don’t have any, no issues at the moment. The second service is nearing soon at 2.5k to 3k km. The oil filter was not changed (due to it being in pretty good condition, as per the sales/service person).

Overall:

I love this bike. It may not have the outright power of its rivals, but it handles so well and so sweetly.

Actually, this bike was a bit of an impulse purchase. I have not test-ridden any bike, not even this one, before buying. Why? I do not know. All that I know is that I am satisfied and happy. More mentally stable, too. Riding has that effect.

Compared to the old 2V RTRs, I feel that the 4V RTR (I don’t know about the 160, which has slightly different ergonomics) has lost some of that unique RTR track feel. It is now an upright bike, and the tank shape along with the way it feels to grip, makes the ergonomics feel different from the 2V bikes. This isn’t a knock, per se. It places the RTR firmly into the modern naked/street bike. The sound too leans towards the sporty side but this is a really good-sounding bike and is a proper corner rocket. Not knowing how to corner (and not being the type to corner at high speeds), I am not the person to tell you how the 2 generations of RTR differ in this aspect. Nevertheless, I like this evolution.

Pictures:

The three types of Apache, hmm.

My RTR with a friend’s N250.

Eye candy, this bike.

A Mustang of my own.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Source: Read Full Article