Shootout: Hero Xtreme 200R vs TVS Apache 200
Shootout No. 199
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,09,070/- (Hero Xtreme 200R), Rs. 1,33,821/- (TVS Apache 200 Race Edition 2.0 Carb ABS)
As we move along with time, the era of 150cc street-fighter motorcycles has now moved on to the 200cc category
Hero MotoCorp was the first to get something in the 200-300cc segment, it was the Karizma and it made quite a buzz back then. But since the update after the ZMR, people have been more focused on the commuter offerings from the world's largest 2-wheeler manufacturer. After a long wait, Hero MotoCorp finally enters the street-fighter 200cc segment with the Xtreme 200R. I rode this motorcycle a few months back on the Buddh International Circuit and was desperate to ride it on the road. Last week I got the motorcycle for a few days and couldn't help myself to put it right into a comparison test with the TVS Apache 200.
Motor Quest: The Xtreme 200R is a brand new motorcycle which takes a lot of cues from the younger Xtreme Sports. The TVS Apache 200 4V got a Race Edition 2.0 update this year which includes a lot of changes. New graphics all over, an introduction of slipper-clutch and finally the bike is shipping with dual-channel ABS.
Styling - With the race edition update, the Apache 200 looks more flashy with the gloss black colour scheme and red graphics. It looks sharp and sleek while still being fresh. The Hero Xtreme 200R looks muscular and bulky as compared to the Apache 200. Beefy tank shrouds and the healthy body design from the front to the rear give it a fresh appeal too. The Xtreme also gets a similar colour scheme, however, there is more of red than black and the bikes look contrasting to each other. Both the motorcycles have a similar design for the 10-spoke alloy wheels, however, the Xtreme gets a thicker front tyre. The Apache 200 gets a sleeker double-barrel exhaust which goes very well with the design against the stubby exhaust on the Xtreme 200R. Both the bikes get LEDs but only on the tail-light.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear - The instrument cluster on the Apache 200 is a complete digital unit, however, the ABS tell-tale light has some functions now. It still looks fresh and displays a lot of information to the rider like trip details, top-speed recorder, lap timer, 0-60 km/hr timer and even a clock. The digital tachometer looks good and the shift-light is placed right where the redline starts. The instrument cluster looks modern unlike the one on the Xtreme 200R.
The instrument cluster on the Xtreme 200R has been lifted from the Xtreme Sports with slight changes to it. It is huge as compared to the one on the Apache and the analogue-digital combination has started to look slightly old. The display also misses out on a gear position indicator, shift light, 0-60 km/hr timer and a top speed recorder. The switchgear quality on the Xtreme is decent and it gets a choke on the left. While the switchgear quality on the Apache feels slightly better as it has a better finish too.
Ergonomics - Both the Apache 200 and the Xtreme 200R have a very similar seat height. However, the seating posture is different on both the bikes. Shorter riders are more comfortable on the Apache while they have to sit slightly leaned in due to the clip-ons. Taller riders, on the other hand, will prefer the Xtreme's seating posture as they would sit more upright due to the handlebar. Pillion comfort on the Apache is also much better than the Xtreme but the rider and pillion have more space to move around on the Xtreme. The seat cushioning is just perfect on the Apache while one would need to get used to the softer but indifferent cushioning on the Xtreme 200R.
Performance - If we check the numbers, the Apache 200 has more performance to offer than the Xtreme 200R and when put to test, it is just the case we expect. The Xtreme 200R, however being 2.5 BHP and 1 Nm less than the Apache 200, has a very strong mid-range. From 4000 to 7000 RPM, the throttle is very responsive and the engine feels very lively. However, the Apache has a great mid-range too but when compared to the Xtreme, the 4-valves of the Apache give it a better low-end and top-end punch. The Xtreme runs out of breath very quickly while it hits the ton in 14.76 seconds which is 1.5 seconds slower than the Apache 200. TVS has an advantage with the oil cooler too as the Hero here is air-cooled and does not have much to offer. But the refinement levels on the Xtreme 200R are unmatched even with the latest Apache 200 being extremely refined.
Both bikes have a throaty exhaust, yet the Apache sounds better than the Xtreme due to the dual-barrel exhaust
The Xtreme returned a real-time fuel efficiency of 35 km/l and I have seen a similar number on the Apache. The clutch, however, feels light on both the motorcycles even though the Apache is equipped with a slipper clutch. The gear shifts are very crisp on the Xtreme 200R, only if the gears were any taller, it could match the speed of the Apache 200. While both the motorcycles here have a carb unit, the Apache gets FI in other variants, yet the Xtreme does not get it even as an option. NVH levels are very well contained on both the motorcycles, yet vibrations can be felt on the Apache 200 at times. However, there is just a tiny buzz on the handlebar when pushed to the limit on the Xtreme 200R, it's very smooth.
Riding Dynamics - The different ergonomics of both the bikes matter a lot as these 200cc motorcycles are suitable for different kind of riders too. The Xtreme 200R comes with a Diamond frame and this allows a good amount of space for the rider to get around the motorcycle. While the Syncro Stiff chassis of the Apache 200 makes it very suitable for corners and gives it a decent straight-line stability too. However, if you are any taller than 6 feet, you won't find a comfortable spot on the Apache. Here, the Xtreme 200R comes into play as taller riders can lock their knees to the tank. They can find a comfortable spot, although it might not be as confidence inspiring as the Apache.
The Apache 200 is sharp and flickable while the Xtreme 200R is more of a comfortable commuter bike
The Apache 200 get only Remora tyres with the ABS variant while the Xtreme 200R gets only MRFs. Both the tyres provide decent grip and enough confidence in the wet as well as dry. The front tyre on the Xtreme is, however, thicker than the Apache while both have the same size rear tyre. The Xtreme, however, manages to be more manoeuvrable in traffic too as the Apache has a larger turning radius. The brakes on the Apache have better feel and feedback than the Xtreme 200R. The Apache also gets a dual-channel ABS while the Xtreme gets only a single-channel ABS. However, the Apache has better mirrors so even with a jacket on, the rider can see what's behind.
Verdict – The price difference between the top-of-the-line Apache 200 and the Xtreme 200R is almost Rs. 25,000/-. For that extra money, you get a lot of tech and hardware on the Apache. However, if you are a tall person, finding the Apache comfortable would be very difficult. The Xtreme is very suitable for all kind of riders and it portrays to be a very simple motorcycle. It trumps over almost all the 150-160cc Japanese street-fighter motorcycles. While it also becomes the easiest way to upgrade to the 200cc segment. Although, the Apache 200 isn't the latest motorcycle but with the tech and styling, it is a very fresh motorcycle while the Xtreme 200R is the latest addition to the 200cc category and it is the most accessible 200cc motorcycle in the market right.