Not too long ago, we tested the KTM RC 390. Boy, what a machine it was! It was extremely fast, and it corners with such finesse and precision, as though its life depended on it. We’ve said it before, and we’re reiterating it again – the RC 390 is nothing short of a revelation for Indian biking enthusiasts.
There is a slight problem though. As good a sports bike the RC 390 is, the power on offer is intimidating for beginners. The character of its engine and transmission means that it is more suited for riding on open roads, than trundling along in city traffic. So, what if you wanted a bike that looks just as cool as the RC 390, handles just as brilliantly but is relatively better for city use?
Fret not, for KTM has just the bike for you. Enter the RC 200, the RC 390’s bratty little brother. It combines the sprightly 200cc motor from the Duke 200 with a chassis derived directly from KTM’s Moto3 racers. Wondering what it’s like to ride one? Let’s find out!
The RC 200 is one gorgeous motorcycle. The peculiar headlights may have polarized opinions, but nevertheless, it looks extremely fetching, especially in this combination of matte black, orange, and a hint of white. In fact, we think it looks better than the RC 390!
As is the case with all KTM motorcycles, the RC 200 feels solidly put together. Black anodized aluminium is used in abundance, along with high-quality plastic for the panels, both of which contribute to the premium look and feel of the bike.
The RC 200 makes its racing DNA clear with its extremely-sporty ergonomics. The foot-pegs are placed further towards the rear than on the Duke 200, and the handlebars are set really low. This posture will let you to tuck behind the fairing to improve high-speed aerodynamics. You can also shift your weight around more easily, allowing for precise control when cornering.
When you ride the RC for the first time, your wrists and back will tend to hurt for a few kilometres. After a while, you’ll get used to it, and it won’t feel as tiresome. You will still tend to take a few more breaks than usual when on a long ride
In the city, the riding posture is only bearable as long as traffic is sparse. Filtering through a peak-hour gridlock is probably the last thing you’d want to do on a bike like the RC 200.
A feisty 200cc single-cylinder engine that loves to rev its heart out, and a close-ratio six-speed gearbox; couple both and you get a sweet combo that never ceases to excite. Initial acceleration is very snappy, with 100kmph being disposed in under 10 seconds, but the best part, is the abundance of torque throughout the rev range. This offers the engine superb flexibility; it is possible to ride along sedately at 35kmph in 6th gear, and then accelerate all the way to 135 kmph effortlessly, without shifting down! It is this nature that makes the RC200 a hoot to ride in the city, and on tight, twisty back roads.
All this performance might give one the impression that the bike is a fuel guzzler, but surprisingly, it isn’t. On our test, which included a lot of enthusiastic riding on the highways and crawling along in traffic, the RC200 managed to deliver an average of 35 kmpl. This is a very commendable figure, given the power the engine produces.
Handling & Ride Quality
RC stands for ‘Race Competition’, and the bike stays true to its name. The chassis is set-up so well, making it easy to precisely meter in the right amount of inputs required. It is very forgiving in nature, and doesn’t punish you for making corrections in the middle of a turn. This character inspires a lot of confidence, allowing the rider to quickly devour corner after corner, effortlessly.
Unfortunately, the stiff suspension set-up means that the RC can never win the “Most Comfortable Ride” award. Each and every imperfection on the surface is transferred to the rider, making it discomforting to ride over rough roads.
Braking duties on the RC 200 are taken care of by a set of discs on both wheels. The front gets a four-piston caliper for better efficiency, while the rear gets a single-piston unit. This set up is very powerful, and offers excellent braking performance, helping to rein the bike in, with ease, even from triple-digit speeds.
However, ABS was sorely missed on the RC 200. While the bike’s tires offer sufficient amount grip, they are easily overcome by the strong brakes. This results in wheel lock under very hard braking, especially at the rear. The presence of ABS would have certainly helped in this case.
The RC200 comes equipped as standard with a digital multifunction display, akin to its siblings. Apart from the usual speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauge, it hosts a number of useful features, including a gear indicator, an upshift light, and a clock. The bike also comes with projector headlights, and LED lights all around.
At Rs 1,66,738 (ex-showroom, Delhi), we feel that the RC200 is priced reasonably for what it offers. Had it come fitted with ABS for the same price, it would have been real good value for money.
The KTM RC200 is one of the best bikes available in India for riding enthusiasts. It offers super-cool styling that is guaranteed to turn heads, brilliant dynamics that’ll have you conquering corners like a MotoGP racer, and exciting performance that’ll spice up even the most mundane of rides. Looking for a sportsbike under Rs 2 lakhs? The RC200 is our weapon of choice from the sub-200cc performance bike arsenal.
|Power||25 bhp @ 10,000 rpm|
|Torque||19.2 Nm @ 8000 rpm|
|Chassis Type||Steel Tubular Space Frame|
|Brakes||Front:Disc, Dia. 300mm
Rear:Disc. Dia 230mm
|Suspension||Front:43mm dia. upside down telescopic forks
Rear:10-step adjustable monoshock
|Fuel Tank Capacity||10|