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The TVS Apache is a motorcycle that has been synonymous with entry-level performance motorcycling ever since it was first launched. Back in 2005, the TVS Apache 150 was launched and targeted at the then hot-selling Pulsar 150 and Pulsar 180.
Soon, the TVS Apache proved itself to be the more reliable offering in the segment. Over the years, the TVS Apache brand grew by leaps and bounds. TVS Motor Company kept updating the motorcycle and new, more powerful variants were also launched.
Back then, it was the most-powerful Apache model yet and featured an all-new design and chassis, etc. It was bound to take the market by storm, and so it did. The TVS Apache 200 4V gained a cult following and its owners loved the motorcycle.
We too rode the motorcycle and were very impressed. TVS then lent us the motorcycle for nearly a month and we loved it even more as you can see in our long-term review of the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition.
With its raspy exhaust note, sorted chassis, torquey engine, and fun-to-ride characteristics, the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V usually leaves biking enthusiasts beaming. Now though, TVS has launched the BS-VI variant of the motorcycle. With more than four months to go before the BS-VI emissions norms kick-in, TVS launched the BS-VI variant of the motorcycle.
The motorcycle is now cleaner and greener than it was before. But is it as much fun-to-ride? Is it the same Apache that we have come to love or is it better? Well, we hit the test track at TVS' manufacturing facility in Hosur to find out.
Design & Styling
The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V BS-VI has had a comprehensive facelift, especially up front. Up front is a new LED headlamp with LED DRLs flanked by a new headlamp mask. It is certain that the designers at TVS were looking at sharper lines.
The new headlamp mask also makes the entire unit look bigger than it actually is. The lower part of the headlamp is taken up by the low-beam and when the high beam is turned on, the upper LEDs too light up.
TVS claims that it has worked on trying to make the LEDs look like daylight which would in turn make it easier for riders to see at night without blinding others. We didn't get to test it at night and hence cannot comment on the visibility at night.
But it did have a yellow tinge to it rather than a blue tinge which we're used to seeing on most LED headlamps. Other details up front include the conventional telescopic fork being finished in a shade of gold.
The BS-VI Apache 200 4V also rides on stylish alloy wheels, which have been carried forward from the outgoing model. The 2020 TVS Apache RTR 200 4V BS-VI features racy graphics all over the motorcycle, which only makes it look more attractive.
The rear-end of the motorcycle carries forward the design and styling from the outgoing model. It features an LED tail lamp and bulb-lit indicators. The exhaust system is the same twin-barrel unit and still produces a lovely exhaust note.
The only sore point when it comes to looks is the position of the catalytic convertor, which has been moved up the downpipe, closer to the engine head.
Engine & Performance
The biggest difference when compared to the outgoing model is the new BS-VI emissions compliant engine. It is still the same air and oil-cooled, 197.75cc, single-cylinder engine from the outgoing model. However, the engineers at TVS had to make quite a few changes to it in order to reduce BS-VI emissions.
It comes with a new asymmetric Nano Friks piston, and a new Race-Tuned fuel Injection system. This helps it to produce less emissions while still being very responsive to every single input on the throttle.
Also, in order to help with BS-VI compliance, TVS' engineers have moved the catalytic convertor higher up the exhaust system. It is now located on the downpipe/header, closer to the exhaust valves.
According to the technical team at TVS, this helps in reducing emissions because the catalyst in the catalytic convertor now gets heated up quicker than it usually would. Enough of the technical stuff now. Let's get straight to the numbers.
Has the BS-VI update affected the engine output? Yes it has! The new BS-VI engine has a maximum power output of 20.21bhp at 8,500RPM and a peak torque output of 16.8Nm at 7,500RPM. That is a drop of 0.03bhp and 1.3Nm when compared to the outgoing model.
Also, the peak torque now comes in at 7,500RPM instead of 7,000RPM. While the 0.03bhp drop in power can be brushed off, the 1.3Nm drop in torque seems like a big deal, but is it?
Has the BS-VI update affected the performance? Not really! The race-tuned fuel-injection saves the day with its responsiveness. The difference it makes when compared to the carburetor on the outgoing model is massive.
Every single movement of the rider's right wrist now gets a reaction from the engine. TVS has also equipped the motorcycle with something called Glide Through Technology (GTT). It is basically a smart way of keeping the motorcycle from stalling in slow-moving traffic.
This is one feature that most buyers of the motorcycle would find very useful during everyday commutes. Indian roads are getting clogged with traffic and in order to navigate through this, most single-cylinder motorcycles will need a lot of clutch, gear and throttle inputs.
Well, with GTT, the Apache RTR 200 4V BS-VI will take traffic in its stride as it will not stall in lower gears. The motorcycle can move in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears without any throttle input, given that it is already at that speed.
Whenever in one of the aforementioned gears, crawling through traffic, the FI system keeps the motorcycle constantly at 2,000RPM. Smart move, TVS. The motorcycle also features a Race-Tuned Slipper Clutch. This one is to please the adrenaline junkies who love shifting down at high RPMs
TVS Racing plays a huge role in the development of TVS Motor Company's two-wheelers, and out on the race-track, high-RPM downshifts happen all the time. The slipper clutch prevents the rear wheel from locking-up at high RPMs, therefore almost guaranteeing a smooth entry into the corner, if the rider is sane or otherwise.
In terms of performance, the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V BS-VI seriously impresses. The drop in torque figures wasn't felt while we were pushing the motorcycle on the track. The 0-60km/h run is done in just under four seconds. 0-100km/h is managed in just over 12 seconds.
TVS claims a top-speed of 127km/h and we managed to do exactly that on the straights while in a crouched, racing position. While sitting upright, like most road users would, the motorcycle managed 117k/h on the same stretch. That is a small lesson in aerodynamics right there.
Ride & Handling
The TVS Apache 200 4V has always been one of the best-handling motorcycles in the segment and that thankfully hasn't changed. The front end is light enough to flick it through traffic and also good enough for track use.
Suspension duties are handled by a telescopic fork up front and a KYB monoshock at the rear. The suspension takes the small bumps on the racetrack in its stride. Out on the road, we have found that the Apache RTR 200 offers the most-comfortable ride in its segment.
Though we didn't ride the BS-VI variant on the road yet, we can safely say that it is comfortable because no changes have been made to the suspension. When it comes to the tyres and road grip, the TVS Apache leaves the competition far behind thanks to the new TVS Tyres.
The BS-VI Apache rides on TVS Tyres' Remora Protorq range of tyres and they are quite simply brilliant. They cling onto the tarmac and are better than a few high-end tyres from some reputed italian tyre manufacturers. Yes, they are that good.
For the first time, TVS is offering a radial tyre at the rear. We cannot yet comment on the grip for everyday use just yet, because we haven't ridden the bike on public roads. Braking duties are handled by a 270mm petal disc up front and a 240mm disc at the rear. Dual-channel ABS comes as standard fitment.
The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V BS-VI comes with a few new features like LED headlamps with LED DRLs, Race-Tuned Slipper Clutch, Fuel-Injection, etc. However, the users will surely love the new SmartXonnect feature and the new LCD instrumentation.
The LCD instrument console comes with an in-built dot-matrix display that allows the user to see the speed in km/h or m/p configuration, see the clock settings and see information relayed to it by the smartphone app.
It also displays the top speed achieved, the quickest 0-100km/h time, average speed, incoming call alerts, crash alert, etc. The console can be paired to a smartphone app through which, it shows navigation directions, low fuel warning and directions to nearest petrol station, ride statistics, etc.
Another important feature is the rear-wheel lift protection that comes as part of the ABS system and prevents the rear wheel from lifting while braking hard on the front wheel.
The BS-VI update on the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V has made the motorcycle better than the old one in several ways. It now looks very much like the Draken concept that was displayed at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo. The new claw headlamp design though will be loved by some and hated by some.
Also, TVS could have used this opportunity to equip the motorcycle with a 6-speed gearbox. The Apache is the only motorcycle in the segment that still makes do with a 5-speed gearbox. However, when these details are overlooked, the Apache 200 4V BS-VI is better in every single way.
It is now cleaner and greener without losing out on the performance and the raspy exhaust note it is known for. The TVS Apache 200 4V BS-VI is considerably more expensive than its main rival - the Bajaj Pulsar 200NS. But it also offers more in terms of features and design.