KTM 390 Adventure Review: Dirt on Orange and Orange on dirt!
KTM has always been known for its off-road motorcycles. Numerous wins and championships in the world’s toughest rally events speak volumes about KTM’s prowess at making motorcycles that can kick up a storm (heard of Toby Price and the Dakar?) while other motorcycles kick up some dirt. So when they entered the Indian market with the Duke, a street motorcycle, and then the RC, a full-fledged track beast, something was amiss… the sense of ‘Adventure’ inherent to KTM. Years later, the void is set to be filled as KTM has launched the 390 Adventure in India. But does it live up to the hype? Is it everything that we hoped and waited for? We flew to Pune to find out.
Text: Karan Singh Bansatta
Photos: Sikandar Amin Khan
The first Indian made KTM that we rode was the Duke 200, and its performance set new benchmarks. We were blown away.
But that was the year 2011. The RC 390 was the first bike in India on which anyone could train to be a track racer, and boy was it fast… a proper pocket rocket!
The KTM 390 Adventure was unveiled at EICMA 2019 and it caught the fancy of the enthusiasts the world over. And we see no reason why it shouldn’t have. The 390 range has been immensely popular all over the world and the ‘Adventure’ dimension was the last piece of the puzzle. It was armed to the teeth with tech and the venerable 373.2 cc single-cylinder engine from KTM and was thus bound to be a screamer. But usually motorcycles, on their way to India, tend to shed some of the ‘goodies’. But then, it makes sense too since ours is a rather price-sensitive market. And so, the KTM 390 Adventure has lost some thing(s) too. Adjustable suspension is one of them. But anyway, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, pun intended.
The perennially important question: How does it look? In our opinion, it looks good. A bit edgy, but good. While I believe that it may not fit the bill for a ‘good looking motorcycle’ for everyone, most would be able to cope with the insect-like front fascia. It harks back to the KTM design philosophy of the old… make’em look like they want to chew you up and spit you out. And it does look that way.
But then, KTM Adventures were always styled differently than your regular ADVs.
For example, this 990 Adventure that we rode in the Austrian Alps in 2011.
Another reason for that is the size… or the way it portrays its size. It looks big… proper big. And that too without lots of fairings and plastic and pixie dust and whatnot. It has its soul bared and you can see the ‘Adventure’ lurking inside. We really liked the design of the exhaust, and the way the engine guard and the bash plate have been executed. Overall, it may not be a good looking motorcycle for everyone but it sure is a purposeful looking one. And it is one of the few motorcycles which grow on you.
And now, onwards to dem juicy bits! KTM 390 Adventure is powered by the same 373.2cc mills that power the 390 Duke and the RC 390. Therefore, the power and torque remain the same as well; 43 bhp of power and 37 Nm of torque. Even the gear ratios and the final drive remains the same which is a little sad. One doesn’t want something which is slightly bland at the low-end for steep climbs full of rocks… or boulders…
And on that note, it should be made clear that this motorcycle is a Duke masquerading as an Adv-tourer and trying its best to avoid being caught. While it is mostly successful, it does get caught sometimes. To get the best out of it, you have to stay above 4,000-4,500 rpm and god forbid if you go farther than that… you won’t want to let it go! At least we didn’t.
It has ample power to make the rider laugh and cry at the same time. You laugh thinking about how your brash attitude took you to a terrain that you are not prepared for… not by a long shot and then you cry when this fantastic little wild-child gets you out of there. Skill is important, of course, and a motorcycle that can accentuate those… is priceless. The KTM 390 Adventure is that motorcycle.
One of the things that are a welcome change- the curved radiator with two cooling fans. Orange stuff notorious for overheating? No more! And it works quite well. It was rather hot in Pune and the motorcycles were being brutalized… sometimes by expertise and sometimes by… well… you know. Now, the motorcycle gets a ride-by-wire throttle. With the on-point fueling, it makes for a joyous experience.
Another luxurious addition to the ‘entry-level’ adventure-tourer is MTC or Motorcycle Traction Control. While its importance can’t be overstated from the safety point of view, the implementation could have been a bit better. When you are off the tarmac, you’d want that thing off but every time the motorcycle is switched off, even with the kill switch, it comes back on and it does get on your nerves after a while. But even then, it is a useful addition and it might just end up saving one’s life but be careful when you are taking it off the road. It has an off-road mode too which can let you slide the rear to some extent, but then, it cuts in a bit too quickly robbing you of power and that is something you won’t want… especially on the inclines!
So the engine department is well sorted but with KTM’s accolades in making stellar off-road bikes, a little more grunt in the lower rev-range would have been appreciated.
The 6- speed gearbox is a star in its own right. Packed with the awesomeness of an anti-hopping slipper clutch and a Quickshifter (YES! YOU READ THAT RIGHT! A QUICKSHIFTER FOR THE SAKE OF EVERYTHING THAT’S HOLY!), one can really go at it if they have got the cojones. The clutch action is featherlight and you can say goodbye to discomfort even in stop and go traffic.
So overall, the performance of the KTM 390 Adventure does not disappoint, but it does leave some things to be desired, namely; more grunt at the lower end of the rev range, better implementation of the Traction Control, and a little more refinement.
As it has been since the beginning of time, handling is the best aspect of this KTM as well. The KTM 390 Adventure is built around a lightweight trellis frame. On paper, that sounds good, in the real world, it makes the motorcycle a hoot. It is so nimble, so agile, and so responsive that it is almost magical. It may seem like an exaggeration but stay with us.
When one starts to ride a motorcycle and learns to ride it, they are bestowed with a certain skill set. Now, the people who are riding in MotoGP or the Dakar rally, have honed and sharpened those skills beyond comprehension. But even mere mortals like us, have those skills and a lot of it is derived from feeling. How a motorcycle behaves underneath you as it squirms for traction or as it tries to compose itself. We can all feel it but for most of us, we need the motorcycle to communicate those things to us. And the KTM 390 Adventure does that very well.
It can be explained via this statement: “I wish I wore my brown pants when I first saw the testing ground that KTM chose for us. And when I came out unscathed, I knew that I owed a huge chunk of it to the motorcycle despite wanting to hog all the limelight… the little bit of it that was there anyway!”
Talking about the suspension, the KTM 390 Adventure has been decorated with WP Apex long-travel suspension with 170 mm of travel up front and 177 mm of it at the rear. The suspension held up very well and inspired a lot of confidence. Adding to that confidence was the 200 mm of ground clearance. We were quite surprised at the kind of abuse this motorcycle could take. Rocks… keep going, loose gravel… keep going, steep climbs with bigger rocks… keep going. It just… keeps going. But then you have to go slow.
The suspension is soft and if you ride the 390 Adventure like you’re preparing to be the next Dakar star, it will leave you a little disappointed. And that is where we’d like to point at an important goodie that the 390 Adventure dropped on its way to India; adjustable suspension. But despite that, it is more than enough for what most of us are capable of and even more so, for what we intend to do with this motorcycle for the most part.
Now, the brakes are stellar. Lots of bite, lots of feel from the lever, and ABS. And not just ABS, Cornering ABS with off-road mode. Engage the off-road mode and let the rear slide as much as you like… or as much as you can manage to be honest.
Now, the 100/90 and the 130/80 tyres on the 19” front wheel and the 17” rear are just what the doctor ordered for making a capable off-roader. But the Metzeler Tourance tyres… not entirely. The rubber is meant for light off-roading and anything extreme is just pushing your luck. The tyres are tubeless which is a good thing but the wheels are… not spoked. But that is no reason to be spooked because they took a lot of abuse rather sportingly. How long can they go on like that, we can’t say just yet.
The geometry of the motorcycle is spot-on. The relatively relaxed steering-head angle and the longer wheelbase go a long way in making this motorcycle a steady operator without making it too lethargic. So, handling wise, the KTM 390 Adventure is sorted for all your off-road shenanigans, limited only by the tyres and also to some extent, by the suspension.
The KTM 390 Adventure is an adventure-tourer and its ergonomics are set like one. The rider’s triangle is comfy when you are sitting on the bike, the narrow tank and toothed footpegs ( with removable rubber tops) help a lot when you are riding standing up. The handlebar is wide and offers a lot of leverage. The adjustable windscreen offers ample protection from the wind. The seat is long and spacious. Even the pillion seat is spacious and comfy if you do not plan to carry a lot of luggage. So if you want to take the 390 Adventure for a long haul, it’d back you up fully.
The only gripe that we have, and so do a few more people, is that when you are standing up, the handlebars hang a bit low so trying to get the right position with the right amount of leverage to control the motorcycle becomes a little difficult. If one plans serious off-roading with the KTM 390 Adventure, risers might be the first thing they’d want especially if they follow the taller scheme of things.
On the tarmac
Everything that makes the KTM 390 Adventure a fantastic motorcycle off the tarmac, makes it an even better one on the road. Everything that limits the motorcycle’s potential off the road, does a great job on it. The suspension feels great on the road offering a compliant and responsive ride. The tyres provide ample grip on the road and the stellar braking setup complete with cornering ABS goes a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride. 158 kg dry weight makes it seem like a little hefty but it all disappears as soon as you get going. The traction control issues are alleviated on the road and the motorcycle, even with a little less grunt on the low-end of the rev range, is a bliss to ride. It is powerful, it is poised, it is comfortable… it’s awesome.
Mileage and Range: We do not even know why we include this bit in the Little Things section. Maybe because the motorcycles are performance-oriented… Anyway, KTM claims a range of around 400 km and the tank is 14.5 L so the fuel efficiency comes in at around 27 km/l. But these are claimed figures and something that we could not verify during this short test.
Rearview mirrors are sturdy and offer a good view of the moments left behind. The headlight, again, we rode it in the day so we cannot comment on that but if the 390 Duke’s headlight performance is anything to go by, the 390 Adventure is all set in that regard.
The build quality is commendable considering the thrashing that the motorcycles got and yet, nothing broke… except for one loose bar-end weight. The fit and finish are top-notch too. We really liked the design of the exhaust and the soundtrack was decent too.
Not so little things
A motorcycle that warrants a new section altogether… cool, eh? So, We mentioned something about being armed to the teeth. Well, Quickshifter+, Ride-by-wire, MTC ( KTM Speak for Motorcycle Traction Control), Slipper clutch, ABS with off-road mode, Bluetooth connectivity, turn-by-turn navigation are the things we have already mentioned and they are all standard. The engine guard, the lever guards, a sturdy grab rail, adjustable foot-brake pedal reach, and the spring-loaded gear lever (so that it does not break in case of a fall) just highlight the fact that the KTM has left no stone unturned to make the 390 Adventure one of the most feature-loaded motorcycles in its class.
Another nifty trick is the KTM MY RIDE. With the KTM MY RIDE system, a smartphone can be tethered to the bike, allowing you to make phone calls, listen to music and use the optional turn-to-turn navigating app. All of those goodies are managed by a beautiful screen which is navigated via the means of buttons on the cluster, just like the 390 Duke.
What the motorcycle is really capable of!
That’s not me. I wish that was me. I wish I could lie that it’s me. But that’d be too indigestible a lie.
The person you see giving baby Adventure the beans here… is Adam Riemann. He is a heck of a rider, a heck of a person, and a heck of a mentor. He takes up some really, really messed up adventure rides and sees them through. It was scary to see his eagerness to thrash that Adventure 390 mercilessly, intimidating the testing ground that was intimidating us.
You see the height on that one? The alloy wheels took that!
And that too! So rest assured, they are sturdy!
2.99 Lakhs is a lot of money. And the KTM 390 Adventure is a lot of motorcycle. Maybe a bit too much if you consider the comprehensive list of features for safety and comfort. And it is still a KTM at heart (literally) so the fun factor comes standard too. Will it keep you happy on a long roadtrip? YES! Will it take you to Spiti or Ladakh? YES! Will the performance put a smile on your face? YES! Will the handling make you want to explore your limits? YES! Should you buy it? Well… you know…
A little head to head?
And some more photos!
Rider protection at xBhp is taken care of by Rynox Gears and Axor Helmets. The Apex Crypto you see in the picture is one of the safest and most comfortable helmets that we have used. The airflow keeps your head cool and with the DOT and ECE certification, you can be sure that it’ll take care of you. The Tornado Pro Jacket and the Advento Pants have some nifty tricks up their sleeves (literally) with adjustable CE Level 2 certified armours. All-weather comfort is a given with the included rain and winter liners and the mesh-type design.
Ferrari 812 Superfast… 12 cylinders, 790 horses, and countless grins!
What is the first thing that comes to one’s mind when they think about the word Flagship? Googlers will know that it’s the ship of a fleet which carries the commanding admiral. It also depicts the best product owned or produced by a particular organization. OnePlus 7 Pro is the flagship of OnePlus. Panigale is the flagship superbike of Ducati. And uhh… xBhp is the flagship lifestyle motorcycling magazine of India… Moving on to the more pressing matters, how about the flagship of a revered brand like Ferrari? The answer to that, had us engulfed in Dubai and showed us how it feels when a 1600+ kg supercar accelerates like a superbike. The answer is, Ferrari 812 Superfast.
Why 8, 1, and 2, and why Superfast? So, the 8, comes from the peak power which is 800cv (cheval vapeur) or roughly 790 bhp. The 12, is the number of cylinders in the engine. And lastly, Superfast because, well… 0-100 km/h in 2.9s, 0-200 in 7.9s, and a top speed of over 340 km/h. No complexities in the name there, just plain-old pride in the engineering marvel that the car is, and well deserved too. The reason is that Ferrari has had flagship V12s for a long time now and every new one is an improvement over the previous but isn’t there a limit to how much you can extract out of a naturally-aspirated V12? Not for Ferrari apparently.
The predecessor, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta (the whole model run including the TdF) was a heck of a car hailed by car enthusiasts the world over and it felt like that was it… Don’t you think 730 bhp, or 769 bhp in case of the F12 TdF, should be it? No, not for the folks at Maranello. Maybe it is because of the racing background (with Scuderia Ferrari) or just deep-rooted mercilessness towards the tyres and the tarmac. Whatever it is, they just do not seem to stop. In 2017, the 812 Superfast debuted as a successor to the F12 and they were still able to extract more power out of the V12, 20 more when compared to the F12 TdF! That’s outrageous!
You must be wondering, “Why such a hoopla around the V12?” and stuff along those lines. The first reason is related to sentiments. V12, which has powered so many iconic cars in the past and continues to do so even today, is a dying breed. Most of the manufacturers that swore by the possibilities to explore with the V12 have moved to turbos and superchargers with smaller engines like V8s. Without taking anything away from those cars, you cannot get what you get from a V12 from anything else.
When you are in Dubai and piloting the flagship Ferrari, you feel like you have arrived. Keep your Ferrari Panache going even when you are away from the car with this laid-back printed shirt from Rare Rabbit. After all, you cannot take your Ferrari inside the club now, can you?
Remember the best racing games that you have played and the best cars you have driven in them. We are sure that the Ferrari F50 made the cut. We are sure that the Ferrari 599 made the cut. We are sure that the Ferrari Enzo made the cut. And LaFerrari… What’s common in all of them? They are all V12s and they all rev to the moon. Why did they make the cut? Because of the clenched jaw and the sheer grin that is induced when you floor the pedal and give it full gas like there’s no tomorrow!
Now imagine how the people who actually drive these cars feel… You just cannot beat that kind of a rush. Ah… how we are going to miss this mill when it is phased out. We really wanted to shed some tears thinking of this while driving the 812 Superfast but uhh… we gave it gas and they dried right up! So yeah, we are one of the lucky ones who got to thrash around a V12 Ferrari. Thanks to the Ferrari folks in Dubai who handed us the keys to the 812 right after we returned the Portofino. We did ask if we could keep this one for good… Sad that they said no… politely.
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When the 812 was being brought out for us to drive, the first glance imbued a rather subdued, “Holy sh*t! This is gonna be a sh*tload of fun!” The exact terminologies used has been changed for quality assurance purposes. The long snout shouts Berlinetta-style grand-tourer. The lines, so many of them make it seem like it is cutting through the air even at a standstill. And that short tail… It almost borders to the point of being called a Sportback, or even a shooting-brake! But gladly, it is not. It is just excruciatingly beautiful and painfully out of reach… *soft sobs*
The design of this car is complex and most of it is because of the aerodynamic efficiency that the engineers wanted to achieve. Gone are the days when aerodynamics was meant for people who could not build engines. With almost the best being extracted out of the engines, how do you make cars faster? By reducing the retarding forces. In other words, reducing the drag caused by air.
There are so many lines and so many vents routing the air around the car making it more efficient in slipping through the air than ever. While the 812 Superfast is 0.2s faster in 0-100 km/h than the F12 Berlinetta, it shaves a cool 0.6s off of the 0-200 timing which would not have been possible with increment in power alone. With great speed comes the need for great stability and not just in a straight line. The 812 Superfast is equipped with active-aero. The front flaps, the rear diffuser and the spoiler (rear wing) move about thanks to the onboard computers calculating the need for downforce with respect to the speed among other complex factors.
Achieving that much aero-efficiency, without larger-than-life (literally) rear-wings and sawing off almost every part of the car which slows it down, is a commendable feat. The complexity of the design does not hamper the looks of the car and all the lines, routed properly, make for a beautiful flowing design.
Ferrari’s traditional 4-lamp taillight has made a comeback and gosh did we miss that… 430 Scuderia and Enzo lovers, this one is for you. 3 little LED couplets on the front and rings on the back serve as turn signals. Little things that make the kid inside you perform somersaults. Clean your hands properly and run them along those lines and contours of the Ferrari is an experience unforgettable. One can almost visualise the passionate engineers in Maranello working hard to bring joy to the owners of this beautiful car… and a lucky few like us.
While the instinct to jump in the car and gun it was overwhelming, we took out time to walk around the car and just… admire it and of course, to take a look at the engine. Pop the hood and there it is, sitting there in all its glory, the 6.5 L V12! Even when the engine is off, it isn’t hard to believe that this massive gem of an engine revs to, 8,900 rpm, runs a 13.6:1 compression ratio, puts out 789 bhp of at 8,500 rpm and 718 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm, 85% of which is available from 3,500 rpm! Amazing what marvels are achievable when one puts their heart and soul into it!
Walk towards the rear and it has a real usable trunk… Grand-Tourer title justified! Opening the trunk reveals another leather cover of sorts which lets one in on a little secret. The trunk is very spacious and is decorated with the traditional Ferrari leather straps to tie your luggage in and a plaque that lists all the options and extras that are fitted in the particular example. And now, it’s time to get in. There’s something special with even the smallest things in these high-end cars. Even the door openers on the gates have a certain… tactile feel to them. Open the gates, get in the car, sit with your hands on the steering wheel, take a deep breath and inhale the sporty intent of the 812 Superfast. This is where the performance aspect gets ahead of the grand-touring aspect. Not that the car is lacking in creature comforts, but everything is just lean and stripped down. The interiors are plush, yet sporty. The bucket seats engulf you and have your back for what is about to ensue. But they are not electronically adjustable.
The control to all the action is right there on the steering wheel so that the driver is never distracted with mundane tasks like selecting a mode or changing the song. The best part though is a sort-of rev counter on the steering which works via the means of small-led lights that light up as you progress through the rev-range. On the left of the steering wheel, there’s a small display, controlled by a wheel below it, that shows you the vitals of the car such as the tyre-pressure, temperature, speed, selected gear, rpm, and even the g-forces. On the right, there’s another screen which shows you stuff like music, calls, navigation etc and is controlled by a wheel beside it.
Look further right and there’s a carbon-fibre bridge of sorts between the driver’s and the passenger’s seat. It has the reverse button, the Auto button and a button that says PS (Power Start, Ferrari speak for Launch Control). How do you put it in Drive? How do you put it in Park? Well, Ferrari has pedal-shifters (perhaps the best thing about a sportscar). To put it in Drive, you just pull on the upshift pedal once and voila! You are ready to go. To put it in Park, you pull on both the pedals simultaneously, switch the engine off and voila! The parking brake comes on and the car is now in park mode. Nifty eh?
Move further right and you realize that the passenger can also be a part of the action via the means of a little power button. Pressing that button brings up a touch-enabled screen on the passenger side which replicates all the information from the two screens on the driver’s side. It shows the selected mode, selected gear, speed, rpm and all sorts of stuff, in addition to the music!
All of that is well and good but the best part is yet to come… Driving the 812 Superfast. There are 3 modes; Wet, Sport, and Race. Engage Race mode from the steering wheel. Electronic Stability Control and Traction control are on by default and DO NOT switch those off unless you have breakfast at a racetrack. Push the starter and the mighty V12 settles into a mild but emphatic rumble. Blip the throttle and the peaky V12’s screams stir your soul and the little crackers that go off while letting your foot off the pedal, take you to heaven.
Once done with having static fun, put it in Drive, engage launch control, rev and let go and scream with the V12!! Let the needle kiss the redline, shift up, and repeat!! Even while we write this we have tears in our eyes from the freight-train-load of fun the experience was. The car makes you do all the above stuff with a clenched jaw and an impish grin… just like it was in the video games. Only this is more feral, more visceral, more furious, more fun, and more… real.
Man… the Ferrari 812 Superfast can really move, and it is not just in a straight line. The car handles like a dream which is no less than sorcery because a car with that much mass and engine at the front should not move like that. But then again, it is a Ferrari, isn’t it? While its performance is the best thing about it when you have a playing field, even in the humdrum city traffic, it does not feel out of place at all.
The engine isn’t jerky, the transmission is just as good in the boring city rides as it is in spirited runs and the suspension, well… it is stiff. But hey, what’s that button that has a doodle showing suspension? Press it and the suspension softens up… it even shows an 812 on bumpy roads on the screen! And just like that, a car which nearly pushed us through the seat and our eyes rolled backwards with our tongues out like a dog with its head out of a window of a moving car, blends in with the city traffic like its nothing. Someday, we’ll visit Maranello, and bow our heads in respect for the people who build stuff like this… un-effing-real.
It is an amazing car. It is an artistic example of automobile experience that remains fabled in the lives of most people. We do not know where the world is heading… Up, down, or sideways. We do not know how long V12s are going to survive. We do not know if the future has cars as insanely engaging and fun as this. But we do know one thing, at present, Ferrari is making cars like these and all the speculations about saturation and ‘What next for Ferrari’ can be thrown out of the window. With all our heart, we say, “In Ferrari, we trust.”
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2020 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V and 200 4V: Newer now, Menace-ing still!
Ever since its introduction, TVS Apache series has always been considered to consist of a few of the best performance motorcycles in India. Recently, TVS launched two new ones; the 2020 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V and 200 4V.
Both the motorcycles pack a few upgrades in addition to the BS-VI compliance which is ‘deemed’ notorious for stealing away some of the performance. So the question is, do the new Apaches still evoke the same emotions as before? Let’s find out.
So, first off, let’s get this out of the way… the changes are limited to slight visual, some mechanical and a few technical revisions. And the overall impact of these revisions is limited to enhanced comfort and ease of riding.
The most obvious change in both the motorcycles is the front fascia, the headlight to be precise. The unit is now LED and gets high-intensity position lamps. TVS also claims that the illumination is much better and has a warm-white colour to simulate daylight conditions. Tall claims that we’ll only be able to verify in a full-blown roadtest but we are quite sure that the claims are not very far off from the real thing.
Apart from the headlight, the visual changes succumb to just graphics. The 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V gets a racing flag on the tank and on the tank shroud. The seat is dual-tone but TVS claimed that it was more comfortable too. The seat on the previous iteration was not so bad either. So, we cannot verify those claims without a few jaunts on it alongside the old one.
The 2020 Apache RTR 200 4V also gets revised graphics with generous use of red streaks and carbon-fibre decals. The headlight also has the SmartXonnect sticker.
Overall, both the 160 4V and the 200 4V have always been lookers and the new iteration adds a pinch of aggression to the tried and tested design. We are all for aggression but some people may feel that the headlights of the older ones were better. We think that the new ones look good but in the daytime, the so-called ‘fangs’ could have used some better plastic. Apart from that, both the motorcycles have been bestowed with high-quality fit and finish, a trademark of motorcycles from the stable of TVS.
Like we mentioned before, the changes on the mechanical front are minimal with the new iterations. The elephant in the room is BS-VI compliance. Purists have had their ‘issues’ with reduced performance (even if ever so slightly) and environmentalists have welcomed it citing the reduced emissions. We… are rather unfazed until it brings about significant real-world changes which deteriorate performance.
In the case of the 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V and 200 4V, the changes on paper are minuscule and in the real world, almost non-existent. But for the sake of being thorough, let’s list them out.
The 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V makes 15.8 bhp of power at 8,250 rpm as compared to 16.56 bhp at 8,000 rpm of the previous model. The torque is also down from the 14.8 Nm at 6,500 rpm of the previous model to 14.12 Nm at 7,250 rpm on the current model. Please note the old model refers to the Fi variant of the previous/old model.
In the real world, the performance feels no different when compared to the previous iteration as despite the slight reduction in power and torque. In fact, compared to the carbureted variant of the previous model, the 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V feels peppy because of the RT-Fi (Race Tuned Fuel Injection… ah well) and the throttle response is crisp. The refinement is stellar and there are very less to zero vibrations all throughout the rev-range. Overall, not a lot has changed in the performance department of the Apache RTR 160 4V and that’s actually a good thing.
Coming to the 2020 Apache RTR 200 4V, the story remains the same. The slight change on paper amounts to intangible changes in real-world performance. 20.24 bhp at 8,500 rpm of the previous iteration (carb) to 20.25 at 8,500 rpm in the new one and 18.1 Nm at 7,000 rpm of the previous iteration to 16.8 Nm at 7,500 rpm in the new one. The 2020 variant has also gained 2 kgs when compared to the previous iteration (151 kg to 153 kg).
On the move, the RT-Fi ensures precise throttle and enhanced responsiveness. As we rode both the 160 4V and 200 4V in succession, the 200 4V felt more entertaining because of the increased power albeit at the expense of slightly lower refinement. But then again, knowing the Apaches, this seems more like a characteristic of the motorcycle than a flaw. The RT Slipper Clutch makes rapid downshifts fun, without the risk of losing traction and prevents wheel hops. This is one thing that you love to not only use, but abuse if the opportunity to do so presents itself.
Now, time to talk about the prominent features. First, the feather-touch-start-the-motorcycle-with-a-touch-ever-so-slight-that-it-borderlines-to-being-inappropriate. Our apologies… these terminologies take their toll. The bottom line is that both the motorcycles come alive at the slightest touch of the starter.
More importantly, both the 2020 Apache 4V models feature a nifty tech that TVS has christened as GTT or Glide Through Technology. What it does is that you can release the clutch slowly, without needing to meddle with the throttle, and the bike starts to move… and it keeps going like that, much like cars. A handy technology especially if traffic is one of the woes of your daily-commute.
To wrap this section up, the performance of both the motorcycles is one of the best in their respective classes and is enough to keep your engaged, both on the road and the racetrack. GTT is a commendable addition meant to enhance riding comfort.
Ergonomics and Handling
This is the part which remains the most ‘unchanged’ in both the motorcycles when compared to their previous iterations. Almost all the aspects, from the geometry to the rider’s triangle, remain the same. And therefore, both, the 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V and 200 4V, remain great handlers.
The chassis, the sharp-ish rake, relatively short wheelbase and well-balanced suspension mean that both the Apaches salivate at the sight of corners. Mid-corner corrections are a breeze and the motorcycles remain composed even under hard braking. And thankfully, the tout handling package does not come at the expense of comfort.
The 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V comes with SuperMoto ABS (read single-channel) and so, if you ever want to summon your inner Ruben Xaus, you certainly can. The disc on the rear wheel is optional and that determines the size of the rear tyre. The disc variant gets a 130-section tyre on the rear whereas the drum variant makes do with a 110-section one.
Now, the 2020 Apache RTR 200 4V comes with a 130-section radial tyre (Eurogrip) on the rear. The difference that it has induced in the handling department makes itself apparent in the corners. When leaned over, the motorcycle has more pronounced stability throughout the corner. That also inspires the rider to get on the throttle even quicker than before at the exit.
And now it’s time for probably the hottest (not the newest though) feature which is exclusive to the 2020 Apache RTR 200 4V (the 160 4V doesn’t get it), the SmartXonnect system. And it is quite a comprehensive system too. As a result of this tech, the motorcycle gets turn-by-turn navigation, Call/SMS alert, low-fuel warning and navigation to the nearest fuel station, crash alert and probably the one thing that might interest a lot of people, race telemetry.
One can use the app to connect their cellphone to the motorcycle’s console and make use of all the above features. It displays the top speed achieved (we got 123 km/h), quickest 0-60 time (we got 3.5s), the max g-force experienced (we forgot!), and the maximum lean angle achieved.
Now, the last two are rather tricky as they are sourced from the sensors on the phone. While the g-force reading may be correct (with a slight room for error, of course), the lean angle depends on the phone’s orientation. If you keep it in your pockets, the readings can be incorrect and may even be outrageous!
One of the screenshots shows it to be 88 degrees… Beat that Marc! We dare ya! We double-dare ya! But we digress… the only way to get even a remotely reliable reading of it is to mount your phone on the handlebar and keep it as upright as you can…
Verdict… what could be the possible verdict of the reviews of two motorcycles which do almost everything almost perfectly? The 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V has ample power, is very refined, the handling leaves not a lot to be desired and comfortable ergonomics (despite the slightly rear-set footpegs).
The same goes for the 2020 Apache RTR 200 4V and SmartXonnect (and that sweet, sweet exhaust note) is the icing on the cake. And let us not forget the radial tyre (only on the 200 4V) and GTT (on both). So, the answer to the question that popped up, in the beginning, is YES! And an emphatic one at that! It still does everything that we expect an ‘Apache’ to do and then some.
But… and it’s a man-sized one… the price. A hike of INR 10,000/- over the previous model seems like a steep hike for the 2020 Apache RTR 200 4V. The 2020 Apache RTR 160 4V is also around INR 3,000/- pricier than the Fi variant of the previous iteration. But if… and that’s a man-sized one… you have the money, both of these motorcycles are more than capable to justify their price tag.
The 2020 TVS Apache RTR 200 4V series is available in two colours namely, Gloss Black and Pearl White; while the 2020 TVS Apache RTR 160 4V series is available in three colours namely, Racing Red, Metallic Blue and Knight Black.
Prices (Ex-showroom Delhi)
- TVS Apache RTR 200 4V – DC – INR 1,24,000/-
- TVS Apache RTR 160 4V (disc) – INR 1,03,000/-
- TVS Apache RTR 160 4V (drum) – INR 99,950/-