Updated Bajaj Pulsar NS200 Or TVS Apache RTR 200 4V: Which Sporty Commuter Has Enough Zing?
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Updated Bajaj Pulsar NS200 Or TVS Apache RTR 200 4V: Which Sporty Commuter Has Enough Zing?

Reviews by Team Drivio | Apr 05, 2023

Let’s see how the updated Bajaj Pulsar NS200 fares against the evergreen, the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V. 

  • The Apache RTR 200 4V’s 197cc engine makes 20.8PS and 17.25Nm. 
  • It also managed to deliver a mileage of 47.61kmpl in the city, against the Bajaj Pulsar’s 40.84kmpl.
  • Bajaj has tuned the Pulsar NS200 to make 25.5PS and 18.5Nm from its 199.5cc engine. 

For the better part of the last decade, if you wanted a motorcycle that had enough poke without being overwhelming in day-to-day situations, you would be looking to get something from the 200cc segment. 

And today, you’re spoiled for choices in this segment. But given the KTM 200 Duke is expensive and that the Hero Xtreme 200R isn’t on sale that leaves you with the Bajaj Pulsar NS 200, and the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V to choose from. 

So, which is the best bike in this segment right now? Is the Pulsar still useful? Have the recent Pulsar updates made it better? Let's see which bike offers the best combination of performance and utility.

Bajaj Pulsar NS200 Or TVS Apache RTR 200 4V: Design & Features

FeaturesBajaj Pulsar NS200TVS Apache RTR 200 4V
LED HeadlampNoYes
Fully-digital ConsoleNoYes
LED indicatorsNoNo
Riding modesNoYes
Alloy wheelsYesYes
Split seatsYesYes
Bluetooth connectivityNoYes

When you consider that the only updates the Pulsar NS200 has received in its nine years of existence have been mandatory emissions bits and countless paint schemes, it's easy to be disappointed. There is no LED lighting, full-digital console, or gear position indicator! The matte finish isn't as nice, with the back-lit switches looking tacky and being difficult to operate.

However, the two simply cannot compete with the RTR's incredible feature set. The LED headlights are fantastic, the dash is larger, and the layout is improved with more legible fonts. It also does a good job of providing useful data on the go. It includes a lap timer, top speed recorder, and even a memory for your best 0-60kmph acceleration run. 

TVS' trademarked SmartXonnect Bluetooth technology allows for call/SMS alerts, turn-by-turn navigation, and the ability to review the ride's data at the end. The ride modes are a bit gimmicky, and you should stick to Sport because the other two make the bike feel un-RTR-like.

Preload adjustment for the front fork is unheard of in this segment and simply allows you to fine-tune your ride to your preferences. Dual-channel ABS is available as an option, which Bajaj doesn’t have on the NS200. Heck, the Apache even gets span-adjustable levers to expand the range of adjustability available.

Bajaj Pulsar NS200 Or TVS Apache RTR 200 4V: Engine & Gearbox

SpecificationsBajaj Pulsar NS200TVS Apache RTR 200 4V
Engine199.5cc liquid-cooled engine197.75cc oil-cooled engine
Maximum Power24.5PS @ 9750 rpm20.8PS @ 9000 rpm
Maximum Torque18.74Nm @ 8000 rpm17.25Nm @ 7250 rpm
Transmission6-speed5-speed

Both motorcycles are clear about what they want to accomplish. The Pulsar's repertoire does not include city slicking. With six gears, it may be the most powerful of the bunch, but all of that power is generated right at the top of the rev range. With short gear ratios, you have to work the gearbox a lot to keep it in its sweet spot.

With rising fuel prices, one of the most important features to look for in a motorcycle is fuel efficiency. However, it is not the deciding factor for this category of motorcycles. You're entering a sporty class, and the Apache does an excellent job of balancing the excitement and sensibility that one expects from a 200cc motorcycle. 

The RTR 200 4V has been updated with a new engine tune that provides a wider powerband and a meatier mid-range. It doesn't put as much strain on the transmission as the Pulsar, but it's also not as tractable as a Honda Hornet 2.0.

Bajaj Pulsar NS200 Or TVS Apache RTR 200 4V: Suspension, Tyres & Brakes

SpecificationsBajaj Pulsar NS200TVS Apache RTR 200 4V
Front suspensionInverted forkTelescopic fork
Rear suspensionGas-charged monoshockMonoshock
Front tyre100/80-1790/90-17
Rear tyre130/70-17130/70-R17
Front brake300mm disc270mm disc
Rear brake230mm disc240mm disc
ABSDual-channel as standardDual-channel as optional

The Apache also has the most comfortable ride of the two. Its preload-adjustable suspension at both ends is superbly tuned to absorb any road imperfections. However, it feels a little too reactive over concrete surfaces, and you end up bobbing around in the saddle. 

The only real drawback to the RTR in the city is its riding posture. While your upper body is nice and relaxed, your lower half, especially if you're on the larger side, can feel cramped. This is due to the high-set sporty footpegs.

In this regard, the Pulsar is quite pleasant. You get a wonderful sense of command over the motorcycle the moment you sit on it and reach for the handlebars. The seat cushioning is firm but absorbent, the texture is grippy, and the slim tank makes it easier to straddle the bike. Even the taut suspension isn't that bothersome. 

It isn't as supple as the Apache's suspension and doesn't soak up big bumps as well, but it feels more predictable and stays composed in all situations. Even over sharp bumps, the bike never feels like it's yanking you out of your seat.

Bajaj Pulsar NS200 Or TVS Apache RTR 200 4V: Dimensions

DimensionsBajaj Pulsar NS200TVS Apache RTR 200 4V
Length2017mm2020mm
Width804mm790mm
Height1075mm1050mm
Wheelbase1363mm1353mm
Ground clearance168mm180mm
Kerb weight158kg152kg
Fuel tank capacity12-litres 12-litres
Seat height807mm800mm

When you show both bikes a set of corners, one clear winner emerges: the Apache. For 38 years, TVS has followed the "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday" philosophy, and while it may sound a little cliched, there's no denying the RTR 200's handling package.

The split-cradle chassis has been racecourse honed, instilling incredible confidence in the rider to carry significantly more corner speed than the other two. Chasing the Pulsar up Lavasa's twisties, the Apache was able to brake later, carry significantly more corner speed, and remain composed throughout the bend. 

Its grippy TVS rubber adheres to tarmac like a leech and never loses traction. Mid-corner bumps are gracefully absorbed, never unsettling the ride. And if you decide to make mid-corner corrections, it does so quickly and without hesitation.

Bajaj Pulsar NS200 Or TVS Apache RTR 200 4V: Price

PriceBajaj Pulsar NS200TVS Apache RTR 200 4V
Ex-showroom DelhiRs 1,47,347

Rs 1,40,920 (Single-channel ABS)

Rs 1,45,970 (Dual-channel ABS)

The TVS Apache RTR 200 4V retails for a sticker price of Rs 1,40,920 for the single channel ABS variant. We recommend you spend the extra Rs 5,000 and go for the dual-channel ABS trim, as you can never be too safe on our extremely unpredictable roads. 

The NS200, on the other hand, costs Rs 1,47,347 for both the paint schemes it is on offer for. 

Verdict

The raw and brash nature of the Pulsar does have its own appeal. It lacks the finesse of the Apache, but it does have the youthful Pulsar spirit that lives on even after nearly a decade. All things considered, there's no denying that the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V remains our top pick in the 200cc naked segment. 

It screams value for money when you consider what it brings to the table in terms of convenience, excitement, and bragging rights. It's an excellent bike for honing your riding skills, and it'll even make you smile on your way home after a long day at work.