The snarling RTR has been a hot favourite around the office. You just have to love its in-yer-face orange colour with the lovely racing stripe, a la Ducati Monster.
It’s been the steed of choice for art editor Ellared, who, after exiting the office when the moon is high, doffs his cool new AGV lid, punches the starter button, and rewinds 20 years of his life.
I’d been itching to sling a leg over it and hit the highway, and with Ellared’s permission, did just that. City riding doesn’t provide the Apache an opportunity to show just what it can do. The rorty engine feels gruff at town speeds, and the wide front tyre gives it a heavy feel. The compact seating feels cramped, more so if the rider’s ferrying a heavy back-pack. And the petal front disc grabs at the slightest touch.
“How’s the bike running?” I asked as he handed me the keys. The look in Ellared’s eyes was like that of a father giving a bride away. “She’s fast, really fast.”
The next morning the RTR finally, after three months of city life, had its first proper outing, a 400km loop which mixed four-lane highway, some undulating two-lane roads and dusty village tracks.
Exiting Mumbai before sunrise, the RTR felt buzzy while cruising at an indicated 80kph. The vibrations through the handlebars and footrests were mildly irritating. The vibes aside, it felt totally unstressed, like an athlete out for a stroll.
Once we’d dispatched the megapolis, I allowed the RTR to cut loose. Suddenly, this was a very different animal; gone was the flat throttle response and grabby brakes. The higher revs reduced the vibes a bit and made the mirrors more usable. The compact seating made so much more sense now. Flat-chatting down the smooth four-lane highway, the RTR scythed through the light early morning traffic with ease. Slowing from tonne-up speeds, its potent brakes felt good.
This bike feels faster than most models this size and, indeed, it is. The top end has much more fizz, and you can embarrass a lot of other bikes. Even on the twisty stuff, the Apache was more than game.
This is a sweet companion for out-of-town weekends. Riding back to Mumbai the following evening, the RTR’s blazing headlight allowed for good pace on the highway, and the flaming orange made sure I was very visible, which is so vital for a biker’s safety.
It was ridden hard and ridden far, and yet the RTR didn’t punch a hole in my wallet, returning 41kpl. Ellared, of course, has managed a more respectable 44kpl, and that too riding in Mumbai city.
As it pinged and cooled in the parking lot that night, I patted its tank affectionately. We’d bonded. Ellared, of course, wants it back.