The Orange Rocket – KTM RC 200

What’s appreciable about the KTM RC 200:

  • Aggressive fairing design with sharp edges gains attention from everyone on the way.
  • The free revving motor takes the bike to 100+ kmph speeds in almost no time. The speed and agility do not fail to impress.
  • The uniquely styled Boomerang shaped DRLs add to the premium look.
  • Dual projector headlamps have sufficient illumination and spread.
  • Rear seat is beautifully cast to match the overall looks and merge into the reat cowl. You have to touch the seat to realise that it actually is a seat and not just a cowl.
  • The visor saves the rider from the wind blast.
  • The heat management is well done.
  • The vertical lined tail lamps and the underseat grab rails add to the character of the bike.

What could have been better: 

  • The quality of switch gear should have been better than mere plastics.
  • Lack of ABS and slipper clutch on a sport bike is a snag.
  • The forward biased riding posture can be extremely demanding in traffic and long rides.
  • The pillion seat is uncomfortable and since it has a considerable height, it transfers the pillion’s weight to rider’s wrists.

Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen abbreviated as KTM launched the RC 200 in India in September 2014, post the success of Duke 200 and the Duke 390 in the Indian market. This bike was aimed at giving the audience a taste of what is it to be on a track with a track tool. The RC 200 can be seen as a fully-faired racer/sport sibling of the streetfighter Duke 200 with minor changes. The bike is priced at a good price point of INR 1,77,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi). It outperforms its competitors – Bajaj RS 200  and Yamaha R15 in terms of performance like a piece of cake. To test the capability of the bike in terms of the trackability and touring ability, we rode the bike on the Kasaraghats and further on the Nasik highway. We are thankful to Mr. Lalit Kamble for letting us do an intensive testing of RC 200.

Looks & Aesthetics

The bike looks mean and aggressive. Thanks to its full fairing and spoiler with graphics which clearly define the purpose even when its at stand still. The fairing covers the engine almost completely but leaves the orange powder-coated steel trellis frame to be exposed which beautifully merges under the rear seat assembly. The radiator is well protected with an additional grill over it. The pillion seat is smartly designed to give an impression of it being a cowl but it’s actually functional. The pillion grab rails are basically vertical slits under the seat which takes some effort to hold on and is not comfortable for long hours at all. The alloy wheels are painted in orange but the quality of the rims could be improved as there have been many complaints of the alloys getting bent or cracked. The indicators are integrated in the RVMs in the front and have sleek design at the rear. They have good visibility. Overall the fit and finish is above average but there is an annoying thing – buzzing sound from the fairing which is difficult to neglect. The 2014 variant had a black and orange colour scheme and the 2017 version comes in white and orange colour scheme only, leaving no scope for colour choice. The 2017 version of RC 200 did not get any mechanical changes apart from the colour scheme and wider rear view mirrors.

The bike measures 1978 mm in length, 688 mm in width and 1098 mm in height. It has a wheelbase of 1340 mm which gives stability at high speeds. The ground clearance of 178.5 mm is appreciable in this segment and the seat height is 820 mm. The arms are stretched while riding so the shorter riders will definitely have some issues. The fuel tank capacity is only 9.5 litres. Considering a mileage of about 35 kmpl, the touring range is 330 kilometers. But 2.5 litres is the reserve capacity which further brings down the touring range to 210 kilometers. This is something undesired if you are on a long ride. But considering it a track bike that’s something you can live with but how many of us use a bike for the track?

The bike has Boomerang shaped DRLs which are bright enough even during the day time. The unique design of DRLs make them a USP of RC series. The dual projector headlamp which has very good illumination. The high beam is a thing to be loved. It can light up the road to a sufficient distance so that you can enjoy the ride in the nights as well. The high beam is really strong and assists well at speeds over 100 kmph in the dark but is not recommended.

The fully digital compact instrument console has the right amount of brightness. It indicates the fuel level, temperature, overheat warning, neutral, high beam, low engine oil level, gear indicator, two trip meters and an extra trip meter which comes to life when you are on low fuel. The panel shows time, average speed, real time mileage, the riding time and distance to service which is a class leading feature. Lastly but the most importantly the rpm meter redlines at 10500 rpm and reads 1500 rpm at idle.

The bike has a three piece handlebar similar to one on Yamaha R15. The handlebars are wide enough but the low setting induces pain when braked hard, especially with pillion rider. The low clip-ons become a nightmare if you are stuck in a bumper to bumper traffic situation. The bike comes with back-lit switches but the quality of switch gear is a bit disappointing. The rear view mirrors were revised from the earlier model and they now provide a very wide view and there is no vibration of them even if mounted on the fairing.

 

Moving towards the rear portion of the bike, RC series have a unique pillion seat assembly and exhaust. The bike’s appearance may mislead into thinking that there is no seat for the pillion. It indeed gives a super-sport look. The bike has step up seat assembly. The rider seat is wide enough but thin and gives a forward biased riding posture which is apt for a sport segment motorcycle like this. However, in traffic, this could be a real pain. The pillion seat is cleverly cast into the bike’s body to look like rear cowl. There are no dedicated grab rails but there are slits underneath the seat which function as grab rails. The tail light is also a distinguishing feature. The upswept footpegs fold into position and align with the foot rest support which is directly attached to the frame. These are comfortable both for the riders as well as the pillion and have sufficient width. The front footpegs enhance the crouched back posture for the rider.

 

It gets a vertical line shaped tail light which is bright enough. People often wonder where the exhaust is, we point towards the bottom of fairing and say there it is. The underbelly exhaust smartly molded in the fairing helps in keeping the CG of the bike low. The bike gets 110/70 – 17 MRF REVZ tubeless tyre in the front and 150/60 – 17 MRF REVZ tubeless tyre in the rear which provide decent grips.

 

Engine, Performance & Ride Quality

The fairing houses the engine and the radiator. The bike has a fuel injected, single cylinder, 199.9 cc engine which churns out a massive 25.83 PS @ 10000 rpm and a 19.2 Nm peak torque @ 8000 rpm. The short 6 speed gearbox which will keep you smiling throughout the ride. The clutch is light and manageable even in traffic. However, a slipper clutch would have been a cherry on the cake. You can attain speeds over 130 kmph and comfortably cruise at 110 kmph before your back gives up. The power delivery is not linear, it actually comes like a sucker punch after 6000 rpm and will definitely get you if you are not careful. With such a powerful motorcycle, it was expected that ABS would come as a standard but that is not the case.

The front 300 mm disc with 4-pot calipers and rear 230 mm disc with 1-pot floating caliper help in taming the beast. The brakes are from Bybre and reliable. The majority of stopping power comes from the front brakes but the absence of abs can be felt sometimes. The braking system definitely needs some work. The suspension system consists of non-adjustable 43 mm USD forks from WP in the front and a WP adjustable monoshock suspension which gives you a hard ride as they are tuned for track. The seat is too thin for the rider and at times may hit your crouch area if you miss a speed bump. The bike feels at home in the uphill terrain. It is exceptionally stable on the straights too due to its aerodynamic design. With the power figures and razor sharp handling, this bike provokes to wring the throttle and ride faster.

Our Verdict

KTM RC series is often addressed as ORANGE ROCKET & there is absolutely no exaggeration in saying so. It’s a bike for the speed/racing enthusiasts who are looking for a track bike. The bike is superb when the acceleration and handling are concerned. The bike gets all the attention it deserves due to its aerodynamic, aggressive fully faired design. We would not recommend the bike for long distance touring and for commuting in the bumper to bumper traffic because the forward biased riding posture may take a toll on rider’s back and wrists. Although people have taken this orange rocket to check the heights of Leh-Ladakh, it totally comes down to a point that do you have the guts to take your bike to those heights?

 

We have uploaded a video of walk-around the bike and a ride on KTM RC 200 which clearly shows the bike’s performance and agility in city and on highways.

Walkaround – https://photos.app.goo.gl/yOmC9y8oD7hun9mj1

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