BS6 KTM 200 Duke Ride Report
As the deadline for the roll-out of the BS6 only vehicles is nearing, it is raining new/upgraded two-wheelers in India. Though the market sentiments are not really favourable, we are not the ones to complain. Hopefully, the arrival of new products will help in the revival of the market. The latest one to help this noble cause is KTM who have fielded the BS6 variants of their entire lineup in the market. And this follows, very closely, the launch of the much-awaited KTM Duke 390 Adventure. We were there at Chakan in Pune recently to ride two of the most prominent of these BS6 KTM machines – namely the Duke 390 and Duke 200, both of which, apart from the BS6 compliant machines, have received a bunch of other goodies as well to bolster the sales appeal.
The oldest member of the KTM family in India, the Duke 200, walks away with the maximum bounty in this upgrade fest. Not only has it received the new greener mill, but it has undergone a much-deserved makeover. The BS6 KTM Duke 200 doesn’t look like Duke 200 of yesteryears at all, but it has moved closer to the Duke 250 in terms of the overall styling. In fact, there is very little difference between the 200 and the 250 when it comes to visual signature now. The most prominent difference between the two remains the exhaust system – the Duke 200 still has the underbelly exhaust. Here’s xBhp’s review of the KTM 200 Duke when it was first launched in 2012
The Duke also receives a lightweight split trellis frame, a new bigger tank, a new halogen headlamp with LED DRLs, and Dual-channel ABS. And much to the delight of long-distance riders, the fuel tank is now 13.5 L instead of the 10.5 L on the outgoing model so you can cover 30% more distance before having to stop for refuelling.
The engine parameters remain the same as the outgoing model. The 2020 KTM Duke 200 still has the 199.5cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke mill that makes 25 ps of peak power at 10,000 RPM. The peak torque figure has gone up marginally from 19.2 Nm to 19.3 Nm at 8,000 RPM. The exhaust sounds a bit subdued and we would have preferred a bit more bite on the rear brake. But the overall dual-channel ABS system seemed to work well to tame these Austrian horses. The switchgear and the mirrors remain the same, while KTM has finally shown some sympathy towards the pillion riders and made the pillion seat bigger and they say it is more comfortable as well, though we didn’t get to try this. The fuel economy should remain essentially the same but you can expect it to improve a bit owing to the BS-6 engine which is supposed to burn fuel more efficiently.
Now, it all boils down to how all these new and old elements work together in unison and how they make the riders feel. As we mentioned earlier, this is the desperately needed makeover for the 200. While not much has changed in the numbers game, there is a considerable difference in how you feel when you first swing your leg over the bike and sit on it. The bike definitely feels bigger now and has a much sharper overall visual signature. Thumb the starter and put it in the first gear, it leaps and accelerates ahead with almost the same eagerness that the Duke 200 is known for. What has changed is the overall stance, which felt a little less aggressive. The overall feeling now is that it feels much more mature, and not that straight-out-of-college unguided missile, but like the 25-something boy who still parties hard but realizes that he is not supposed to ride once he is drunk. Hope you get the analogy. And yes, the Duke 200 is available in 2 new colour options – Electronic Orange and Ceramic White. It can be yours at a price tag of 1,72,749, Ex-showroom Delhi. Coming to the Duke 390, the bigger Duke remains more or less unchanged except the introduction of Quickshifter+ to add more frills to the already potent package of the motorcycle. What a quickshifter does on a motorcycle is that it allows for clutchless gear changes, which in turn saves power loss which happens due to engaging-disengaging clutch. The quickshifter on the Duke 390 is bi-directional which means that it would allow both upshifts and downshifts without having to use the clutch. It is now available in two new colour options as well – Ceramic White and Silver Metallic – with new decals. The price of the 2020 BS-6 compliant KTM Duke 390 is INR 2,52,928 Ex-showroom Delhi.
2020 KTM 390 Duke with Quickshifter+
2020 KTM 250 Duke (BS6 compliant)
2020 KTM RC 125 and RC 200 (BS6 compliant)
2020 KTM RC390 (BS6 compliant)
2020 TVS Apache RR 310 Review: Ballistic and loaded with tech too!
Since the start of 2018 and the launch of the TVS Motor Company’s top dog, the Apache RR 310, this was the 3rd time that we went to the Madras Motor Race Track to test it out. The first one was when it was launched, the second one when it got a Slipper Clutch and a new colour and then, this year. This year is about the BS VI compliant 2020 TVS Apache RR 310 which is not only greener but gets quite a few upgrades to make it better… and of course… more desirable!
The first thing that we’d like to get out of the way is our appreciation for TVS. The point here is not just making a good motorcycle. It is about perpetually trying to make it better. That’s exactly what TVS has been doing… trying to eke out every little bit of performance that they can from the Apache RR 310. The 2020 TVS Apache RR 310 gets ride-by-wire technology, 4 different riding modes, a 5” TFT screen with control cubes to manage all that, and last but not the least, stickier tyres. How do those factors materialize in the real world? That’s what we are about to find out.
Firstly, the looks. The RR 310 has always been a looker and in our opinion, it is a universally-appealing design that sweeps the onlookers off their feet. It looks big, sporty, purposeful, and drop-dead gorgeous. The new livery over the Titanium Black colour brings even more out of it, accentuating the wind-tunnel shaped bodywork. Of all the shades of black the RR 310 has seen, this one perhaps is the most appealing. For the faithful, TVS has retained the classic red colour option. And you won’t find any other significant visual change in the latest variant of this flagship from TVS.
Now, let’s talk performance because liveries don’t make a motorcycle faster and more fun. The 312.2cc reverse-inclined engine is here to stay but this time around, it is BS VI compliant. Despite complying with the stricter emission norms, the motorcycle still makes the same 34 Ps of power and 27.3 Nm of torque, which is commendable. And it feels a little more eager to build the revs as well in the Track and Sports riding modes. ‘The Great Differentiator’ though is how that power is delivered.
The 2020 TVS Apache RR 310 is now equipped with a ride-by-wire throttle, which has enabled TVS to make the RR310 follow the rider commands even more religiously as the input from the throttle passes onto the engine with the help of electronic sensors now and can be played with electronically to help augment the 4 different modes namely; Rain, Urban, Sport, and Track that TVS has implemented on the 2020 edition of the RR310. These riding modes do the work as described and the difference in riding quality is quite apparent when you try these modes.
We all know about the rich racing heritage of TVS and how their experience and tech trickles down to the Apache series of motorcycles. TVS Racing is not offering any quarters this time around as each mode features carefully crafted parameters to allow the rider to get the most out of the new RR 310 while still being safe.
In Sport and Track mode, the motorcycle delivers all of the 34 Ps at 9,700 rpm with a crisper and more immediate response… more so in Track mode than Sport mode. The torque available in these modes is also higher at 27.3 Nm (max torque) at 7,700 rpm. The Rain mode and the Urban mode allows the riders to access only 25.8 Ps of power at 7,600 rpm and the torque available in these modes is 25 Nm at 6,700 rpm. Talking about going all out… Top speed is also limited to 120 km/h in these modes.
We rode in Track mode for the most part and the experience is… different… in a good way, of course. The engine seems more responsive to throttle inputs and the motorcycle seems a bit more eager. Also, the slightly jerky feeling in lower revs of the previous iteration has also been taken care of and throttle transitions are smooth for the most part.
The motor feels more refined as well when compared to the previous iterations but the motorcycle needs a little more of that. Although the vibes are less, they are still there but we believe that they’ll settle down a little more once the motorcycle has seen a few hundred kilometres on the odometer.
Another nifty addition is the GTT (Glide-Through-technology) which facilitates smoother riding in stop-and-go traffic as the motorcycle does not stall and can move simply with clutch modulation with minimal to no throttle input. The 6-speed gearbox was predictably slick, and the addition of assist and slipper clutch in the last update had made it an even more value-for-money product. It keeps the clutch action light to make sure that riding in the traffic does not induce wrist-ache. All in all, the performance of the motorcycle was always appreciable and on the new iteration, everything is just better.
Handling and Ergonomics
Coming to the handling and the ergonomics part, the motorcycle remains almost the same. The short wheelbase-long swingarm works wonders in providing the motorcycle with a steady straight line demeanour without robbing the motorcycle of agility. The sorted chassis along with the slightly revised suspension setup makes this motorcycle a fantastic handler whether you are flying in a straight line or attacking corners like an adrenaline-crazed corner master.
In fact, last year we had taken two RR 310s for a short spin of around 4000 km from Delhi to Chennai, visiting all the race tracks that are there in India open for public. And that included a flag off from Buddh International Circuit, visiting Kari Speedway and MMRT, and then the culmination of the ride at the Sholavaram Race Track near Chennai, which can be called the birthplace of motorsports in India. And we not only visited these racetracks, but we also made sure that we got plenty of track time at all these tracks on the RR 310s, in effect, testing not only the touring but also the racing pedigree of this bike. And it felt as comfortable on the race track as it felt on the boring long highways.
Coming back to the 2020 RR 310. It is shod with Michelin Road 5 dual-compound tyres which, in our opinion, are a much better fit for the RR 310 compared to the ones doing duty on the previous iteration. The motorcycle feels much more confident in the corners and under braking. These tyres let the rider go even further, exploring the limits of the RR 310’s fantastic handling package. TVS people claim that these tyres have been developed to give good grip especially in the corners and on wet roads.
The brakes are also pretty good and coupled with the ABS, make for a commendable braking setup. The intrusion of ABS is governed by the rider mode selected, with Rain and Urban calling for quicker intervention than Sport and Track mode. So the handling package, which was very good, to begin with, has become even better with the new rubber. And that is, despite the added 4.5 kg of kerb weight (from 169.5 to 174 kg).
And now, the star of the show – the 5” TFT screen also dubbed as Race Computer by the folks at TVS. This one takes the cake as far as the changes in the 2020 RR 310 go. This not only looks so attractive with crisp colours but also does the talking when it comes to functioning. It can be controlled with the switchgear on the left-hand side and has automatically switchable day/night mode to adjust the brightness. All 4 riding modes also get their own theme that can further be customized with the custom widgets that a rider can choose. It can also pair with your smartphone with the help of Bluetooth and give you turn by turn navigation, call and SMS alerts, besides capturing ride stats, vehicle health data. You can also capture the race telemetry and download it on your phone to analyse your performance.
Despite not so encouraging numbers, the Apache RR310 has been a worthy motorcycle to be the TVS flagship. TVS has never shied away from loading this motorcycle with the latest tech and have given it all they had from their 30+ years of racing experience. It has always been a great all-rounder but a little underappreciated as well. It can be used as a daily motorcycle to take you to your workplace, albeit with a touch of style and attitude and it can be used as a proper track tool, without making a lot of changes to the stock motorcycle. And in its 2020 Avatar, it has become an even more VFM product. It has seen a hike of approximately 12,000 rupees over the outgoing model, but the hike seems justified considering the upgrades it has received.