200cc bikes have become the casual city commuter of choice for many in the present decade after the invasion of various affordable 200cc to 250cc bikes in the Indian market. More the options, better the competition and customers benefits. Let us set aside the powerful KTMs and R15s which are more contoured for the enthusiast riders and look into the naked street riders – Yamaha FZ25, Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS, TVS Apache RTR 4V ABS which have surprisingly a few new first in class features. Also, they remain to strike a perfect balance between the power and price. But which among the three will get the crown as the best city commute motorcycle in 2018? Let us see for ourselves.
Top 200cc+ City Commuter Bikes
Yamaha FZ25 is the highest capacity motorcycle of the three and easily the most muscular too. You can tell by its looks it has the real naked bike looks with hoodless headlamps, bulk front section to a narrow tail. The design is clearly from the higher capacity motorcycle in the same FZ series. Engine employed is fuel injected 249cc air-cooled engine with a max power of 20.9PS at 8000 RPM. The engine as nice and torquey in the low and mid-range with max torque of 20Nm coming out around the 7000 RPM. The engine feels vibration free, speeds to 60 in an amazing 3.77 seconds and takes 10.33 seconds to reach 100 KmpH.
It gets a 17-inch alloy 100/80 in the front and 140/70 tyres in the rear. Both the wheels get disc brakes as standard which is a good thing for a powerful bike. The front has a larger 282mm disc and the rear gets a 220mm disc. On the front is the usual telescopic suspension and the rear is an adjustable mono-shock suspension. The suspension is little soft, ready to take bumps and a little lacking on confidence putting through corners. That is how the bike is purposed to – city rides which often requires comfort ride over a pothole than cornering.
The aggressive head of the Yamaha FZ25 houses LED headlamps which illuminate decent enough. The digital speedometer console is small and still shows all the information. The seating position is up straight which is ideal for city commutes and the seats of both rider and the pillion is comfortable for long rides. Fuel tank capacity is 14 litres and the real-life fuel economy ranges somewhere around 35 Km/l.
Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS
The Indian manufacturer was, in fact, one of the first in the segment. Though Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS first came out in 2012 it stopped production midlife to come with a more refined and better-looking pulsar in 2017. Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS share engine with the more demanding KTM Duke 200 but is tuned down to offer better fuel economy while still being an able city rider.
Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS is run by a 200cc 4-valve Liquid cooled engine from KTM. Maxes out a power of 23.5 PS at 9500 RPM and torque of 18.3 @ 8000 RPM. One of the powerful engines in the segment and the power delivery at the high end is tremendous for a 200cc bike. The second gen Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS got rectified the vibrations from the first gen and feels a lot more refined.
The body styling is very attractive and reminds of a muscular wolf. The design itself was a hit, the new dual colour body styling adds to it. The handlebars are usual pulsar type clamp on handlebars but still offers a comfortable ride position. The front has 100/80 and rear gets 130/70 tubeless tyres over 17inch alloys. Both the tyres are equipped with disc brakes for the good. You can get the optional ABS variant but only at the front.
The perimeter frame on the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS gets telescopic front and mono-shock rear suspension which is good for city rides and moderate for tracks. 0 to 60 KmpH takes 4.86 secs which is good nonetheless for a 200cc motorbike. Average city mileage of 36 KmpL combined with 12L fuel tank makes is a mediocre tourer.
TVS Apache RTR 200 4V ABS
Another pioneer in the segment that is well crafted to suit the city rider with good fuel economy and adequate power. TVS have been making bikes in the 200cc segment for a while now but this one was quite a leap ahead even at the time of release in terms of refinement and fine-tuning. It kept on upgrading the bike from time to time with features like ABS, Slipper clutch, etc. By the way, TVS Apache RTR 200 4V ABS is the only bike with a slipper clutch and a dual channel ABS in this price segment.
TVS Apache RTR 200 4V ABS has 200cc 4-valve oil cooled engine which outputs 20.7 bhp power at 9,000 rpm and an 18.1 Nm torque at 7,000 rpm. There is also a fuel injection variant on sale with same specs and slightly higher power delivery at 21 bhp but that doesn’t come with the ABS combination as of now. The engine is so well refined and steady until 110 KmpL which is easily above the highway cruising speeds. Offers a punchy low-end and midrange torque and falls short on the high-end.
The body has remained the same throughout all minor upgrades but the styling and paint job has changed from time to time. The body looks the least attractive of the three with not enough naked sportive bulks. Instead looks like a normal bike with sharper styling all around. The fuel economy is surprisingly better than the competitors around 39 Kmpl and the fuel tank can hold up to 12 litres which qualify to be a tourer. The 5-speed gearbox with the slipper clutch is one of the best things about the bike and feels very effortless to drive through the city traffic.
The suspensions are between soft and hard balancing riding comfort and control. You get to choose between TVS or Pirelli tyres. Both are of the same dimensions – 90/90 in the front, 130/70 in the rear with disc brakes of 270mm and 240mm respectively. Both wheels get ABS which is great for the price. Ground clearance at 180mm is also the best in class and serves well even in the worst of roads.
What is the Best City Commuter in the 200cc to 250cc segment?
There is not gonna be a clear winner of the three. After all, every bike has its own positives and downsides. So, we will pick the ideal choice of the three and will help you identify the best motorcycle for your needs.
TVS Apache RTR 200 4V ABS is our choice for this segment. The reason why is it has got tons of features with a few first in class features like dual channel ABS and slipper clutch, adequate power and punch and the good fuel economy all for a very compelling price around 1,18,000 INR. Definitely not the best looking of the three but the safest, feature rich and value for money machine.
If you are swept off by the muscular design of the naked wolf, Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 be prepared for the single channel ABS. Everything other than that works fine with Pulsar NS. You get an almost complete package for the cheaper price.
At this point, you might be wondering for not choosing the Yamaha FZ25 as the best in the segment. The reason for not choosing it the best is the comparatively less fuel economy, absence of ABS and the price itself. It doesn’t make the motorcycle bad by any means but doesn’t match the competition. If you are one old-school Yamaha fanboy and want a muscular looking naked bike with the trust and build quality from Yamaha to do the commute for you, FZ25 is the way to go and have in mind the shortcomings too.