India’s Bike of the Year. That’s no small feat. In a market which is being flooded with motorcycles by the Japs, the Brits and the Italians, to be able to wrestle through them and come out on top is rather commendable. It’s an award that has been claimed by the likes of the Yamaha R3 and the Harley-Davidson Street 750 in recent years. But TVS brought it home with the Apache RTR 200.
I’ve had the Apache RTR 200 for a number of months now, and I can vouch for its brilliance. I mean, it checks all the right boxes. You want sportiness? The engine has got the grunt, the seating position is superb, the exhaust has a nice thrum to it. You want to commute? It’s more than comfortable inside the city, the motor is tractable and the clip ons aren’t too aggressively set so you’re comfortable on your daily commute. And the fact that it looks the way it does, is nothing but a bonus. It is possibly the best-looking bike to roll out of TVS.
What makes the bike special is that you can feel that TVS has created the bike with an enthusiast in mind. The TVS Racing stickers that adorn the bike aren’t there just for fun. I was attending an event hosted by TVS a couple of months ago, where they introduced us to their Sherco-TVS Dakar bike. One thing they mentioned there was how the TVS Racing department has a role to play in the development of every bike with the RTR badge. Right from planning, to design and even testing, TVS Racing is involved every step of the way. Over the years, their expertise in this sort of road-bike development has improved and it shows on the RTR 200. It’s a machine built for the road, but has no qualms about going racing. TVS runs the Apache RTR 200 as part of their one-make race series as well, and not too many changes have been made over the stock bike. Its been stripped down to save weight, minor tweaks to the engine have been made to allow it to make power higher up in the rev-band, but otherwise, it is stock.
My RTR has been used for my daily commute, and also for my rides up to the twisties of Lavasa. It’s a great, confidence-inspiring machine, a bike that can improve your riding the more time you spend on it. I just got it back from a service – nothing major, just fixing the slack on the chain and giving it a once over, and it feels great. Off late though, the mercury at our FBI base in Pune has dropped far too low for my liking and the frequency of my morning rides has dropped. But no excuses. You’re going to be seeing a lot of the RTR on these pages of Fast Bikes India, so stay tuned and I’ll keep you up-to-date with how it has been fairing. I think it’s time for me to invest in some wind-proof gear.