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2017 KTM RC 200: First Ride Review


Are the new year 2017 tweaks to the KTM RC 200 worth their while?

 

2017 KTM RC 200

The KTM RC twins embody the Austrian bike-maker’s racing pedigree and history. The company’s recent foray into MotoGP underlines its devotion to making motorcycles that excel both on the road and race track. The ‘ready to race’ RC 200 is an eminently affordable entry-level sportsbike that you can ride to the track directly from the showroom. Launched in 2014, the RC 200 with its accessible power and razor sharp handling, has proved to be the darling of youngsters and track-day enthusiasts.

The updates

 

2017 KTM RC 200

With the next iterations of the Duke 390 and 200 around the corner, the updates should last until the arrival of the next-generation bikes. The bigger KTM RC 390 has been given a substantial revamp, while the RC 200 makes do with minor tweaks. The KTM RC 200 gets new, white graphics that make the bike appear larger and a set of bigger mirrors. 

 

 

2017 KTM RC 200

 

The wheel hubs are bigger though the 17-inch wheel diameter is retained, and the alloy spokes are smaller and more rigid. The plastic shroud around the rear monoshock guards the shock absorber from muck and debris thrown up by the rear wheel.

 

 

2017 KTM RC 200

 

 

The saddle gets better quality cushioning. The rest is identical to its predecessor including the top-spec cycle parts. The 199.5cc liquid-cooled and fuel-injected motor is now BS IV compliant with an identical class-topping power output of 25.4PS at 10,000rpm and 19.2Nm at 8000rpm.

The ride

 

2017 KTM RC 200

 

We were invited to ride the new RC twins Bajaj Auto’s full-fledged test track at Chakan, which features some technical corners and a 1.1-kilometre straight. The RC 200 felt at home on the track. The trellis frame that helps keep the weight at a low 137.5kg (dry), is exceptionally stiff. The bike has a smaller rake for sharper steering response. The top-spec cycle parts are similar to the RC 390’s. The 43mm WP front fork and WP monoshock rear set up on the stiff side translate into exceptional on track agility and flickability.

2017 KTM RC 200

The 300mm front brake is clamped by a four-piston radial calliper, while the rear is a 230mm unit. The Bybre brakes wield a strong bite and exceptional feel, definitely the best in the segment. Tyres define a bike’s on track performance and the MRF Zappers on the RC 200 deliver both on the road and track. That said, you’ll need stickier premium for the RC 200 to deliver as a track tool. The Metzelers on the RC 390 are a revelation, enhancing corner speeds, lean angles, outright grip and boosting overall rider confidence.

 

 

2017 KTM RC 200

 

The 200’s KTM engine is even more frantic in nature. A bit of a bother on the streets, the engine comes into its own on the track. The motor is very responsive and quick to rev up. The rev limiter though cuts in too sharply and can be an issue when you are leaning into a corner. We managed to hit a speedo indicated 136kmph in sixth on the long back straight before the rev limiter cut in. Overall, the RC 200 is physically demanding with its super committed riding position and an edgy high-strung motor that keeps you on your toes on the race track.

Summing it up

 

2017 KTM RC 200

The RC 200 is still the best performer in its class and still delivers the most involving riding experience. The facelift makes it look fresher, bigger and will appeal to the track enthusiasts. With its stiff suspension and committed riding position, it is not really meant for daily use, but it’s your ticket for the twisty stuff. At Rs 1.71 lakh, the RC 200 remains the most competent entry-level sports bike, until the new edition arrives.


More on KTM RC 200

KTM RC 200

Rs. 1.79 lakh Onwards

Ex-showroom, Delhi
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