Now if you ask me, TVS has been really late to the party to launch the TVS Apache 200 now in 2016 when these bikes have been flourishing from as back as 2012-13. But as they say, better late than never, right? So now that TVS is finally here, it is only fair to check out how it compares and fares against the two best bikes in the segment which have pretty much defined and shaped the 200cc segment of the industry. Looks:
Yes, TVS is late, but then it has not brought any big features to the bike that we haven’t seen before. Rather it is bit of a surprise that TVS did not even provide liquid cooling to the bike which its competition has while going for the older oil cooler technology. Even when we compare the bike in terms of its looks, compared to the NS and the Duke the Apache does seem pretty at first glance, but its design is really minimalistic and seems incomplete in many ways if you ask me. Also you also tend to see flashes of NS a little from the side and looks pretty much like the old Apache bikes as for the rest.
The headlight of the bike is also quite minimal and feels as if it is not a part of the bike as a whole; it seems like a completely different entity. Compare this to the other two the NS has an amazing headlight in terms of looks and the bikini fairing makes it a whole lot fuller and complete. The Duke though is minimalist but somehow its tall design approach does make it look good rather than incomplete. Also the seat of the bike is a bit weird with quite some space between the rider and pillion seat making it look weird. The NS and the Duke too have split seats but they come together well and do not feel like different units as such. Performance:
Here comes the main part of the bikes. The Apache 200 comes with a carbureted engine similar to the Pulsar 200NS while the Duke 200 comes with Fuel Injection. This should not be an issue for the Apache since there are reports that they will be bringing the FI version of the bike soon at a bit higher cost. There is not ABS on the bike as of now since even the Apache 180 had ABS as an option, but then again none of the competition too comes with ABS, so that should not really be an issue here for TVS.
There are reports though that TVS is working on providing Dual Channel ABS on the bike soon and that should come along with the FI version of the bike and it should also coincide with Bajaj releasing the FI 200NS as well. So this should even out most of the competition there except for the ABS part where the Apache will have the advantage.
Still there is no liquid cooling on the Apache 200 which both the 200NS and Duke 200 have, but TVS has gone with Air and Oil cooling here. We hope that this does not cause any overheating issues in the bike later in the future at least in the peak of summers. But one has to be wary of it which is not the issue with the competition. But one thing here is TVS is keeping true to its Racing DNA as the Apache 200 is quite a peppy bike with good power and torque figures.
The only let down here is that even though the figures on paper are good, in terms of performance overall the Apache 200 does fall short since it only has a top speed of 127 kmph while both the 200NS and the Duke 200 have a top speed of 136 kmph. Also the transmission on the Apache is 5 speeds whereas both the other bikes come with a 6 speed transmission. We are just hoping that the 5 speed tranny is tuned well and is tall to make use of all that power properly in the bike. Features:
What it loses in the rest, the Apache makes for it in the features that it has. It gets an engine cover like the Duke 200; it gets petal discs like the 200NS and also a feature full and informative console. Though it still cannot match the one on the Duke for the information provided, but it is still a lot better than the 200NS since it does not have the gear indicator, the lap times and more which the Apache has.
The best part is that the Apache 200 4V is going to get FI and ABS both and this is good news since this shows that TVS is working on making the bike safe even for beginners and also working on putting in the technology to improve the power and efficiency of the bike. This will definitely result in the increase of price of the bike but it is still better than putting one’s life to risk.
Also the bike is currently available in TVS tyres which TVS claims to have improved using a new Remora compound which improves grip of the tyres. But TVS is also going to provide the bike with Pirelli tyres as an option and that is the one we are waiting for as it will be one Holy Grail when that comes up. The Duke 200 might also fall short here since even it gets just MRFs on it while the 200NS has MRFs too along with TVS’s own sucky and sad Eurogrips (ahem! Euroslips I must say). Conclusion:
Yes, TVS has made quite a good bike but it does fall short of the competition by quite some. If I were to put my hard earned money, I would rather go for the 200NS or else the Duke 200 because even though the Apache costs less than the Duke, still the overall package being offered by the KTM Duke 200 is quite a better one. But when TVS launches the FI, ABS and Pirelli tyres version of the Apache 200 4V, then it is going to be a game changer because leaving out the part that the bike loses out on a 6 speed transmission, liquid cooling and sports less power than the competition, it still will be quite the track machine with all the electronics and Sticky Pirelli rubber loaded on it. But until then I would really stay away from the TVS Apache 200 4V because even with a cheaper price tag, still does not attract me as much as the competition does which is easily over 3 years old.
By: Pratik Patole