KTM Philippines invited us for their launch plus track day of the RC 200 on the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC) last March. After the initial launch concluded, a full-on track day ensued with KTM owners and the media alike eager to try out the supersport in its natural habitat.
BRC is a midsize track, unlike Clark International Speedway where you can take a break between corners, BRC was more suited to the size of the RC 200 with its slower corners and its flat-out straights. It felt like the 390 would have done better, but the 200 wasn’t too shabby either. For a first ride on the bike, KTM chose its venue pretty well to highlight all the good points of the RC 200, so here are our first impressions of the brand new #EverdayRacer from the Ready to Race brand.
We all knew going into the event how the all-new RC 200 looked like thanks to several international reveals and even an accidental one from KTM themselves. However, in-person it was a whole different story. We initially thought that the new RC 200 was a little chunky up front and a little thin in the rear, but in the metal, the bike seems well proportioned when looking at it from the front quarter. KTM still uses plastics to complete the look and reduce weight, but there are metal elements that give you a more stable feeling when you mount the super sport.
For starters, we’re glad to report that the fuel tank now comes in at about 13 liters of capacity. The previous RC 200 and 390 both had a capacity of just a hair under 10 liters, which made it a bit of a challenge to take on long distances. On top of that, the tank was so much wider and now came with flares to help riders lock in their legs while cornering. Other than that, the new RC 200 got a wider front end that helped give it a more muscular appearance and serve the functional purpose of providing riders with a nice place to tuck in away from the wind blast. Tucking in, the tank also served as a nice perch for a full tuck.
On top of that, you also get plenty of goodies that were previously aftermarket options in the prior RC 200s and 390s. We can expect that KTM will also include these pieces on the new RC 390 once it’s introduced in the country. As such, the RC 200 comes with foldable rear brake and shifter levers which will help it resist breaking should you crash on track or should you drop the bike. Furthermore, you also get a new headlight module that’s still halogen but covers a bigger surface area. It’s not a projector anymore, but the reflector should net greater visibility due to the extra surface area. Also, the handlebars are fully adjustable allowing you to tailor your riding position, and the accommodating alcantara upholstery keeps you in place during your cornering sessions. It’s quite a shame that the RC 200 didn’t come with adjustable levers, but perhaps KTM could equip the larger-displacement 390 with them. Other than that, the model’s pretty Ready to Race from the factory, but perhaps some of the demo units on the track were more ready than others.
We’d have to preface this section by telling you that KTM Philippines equipped two out of the four testers with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsas, and then the other pair had the standard tires that’ll come with every RC 200. We asked KTM why did they decide to introduce a different set on the other pair, and the brand’s reply was “why not?” If you’re serious about racing anyway, the RC 200 will benefit from a better set of tires, but to the model’s credit, it did quite well on the stock set.
Power is provided by a 199.5cc single-cylinder engine that’s been revised for 2022. The small thumper of a motor still produced decent amounts of power and put it down smoothly through the six-speed manual gearbox. KTM has been using this engine for quite some time now, but it still holds up when compared to other small sportbikes in the market. The 200cc single punches well in the low RPMs, but to get the most out of it, you need to rev it out to the middle of the RPM range otherwise the engine feels a little choked in the upper ranges at around 8,000 to 10,000 RPM. Still, the engine pulled well enough, but it was still a 200cc single and a rather impressive one at that with 26 hp.
The bike’s WP suspension was and still is one of the gold standards in the segment. The 43mm fork tube diameter is only matched by other bigger motorcycles from competing brands. Even some 650ccs don’t go up this big in the front fork tubes. This means that the RC 200 has can be modified without changing the tubes and the bike presents a great upgrade path for serious track junkies. However, the front forks are already good out of the gate given how it managed to return feel and give us good damping on BRC, a track that is known to be a little bumpy. The rear suspension is also WP and it is a mono-shock with preload adjustment. It was equally as sublime as the front forks. The front brakes are also revised being lighter along with the rest of the chassis and the wheels themselves. KTM managed to shave a lot of unsprung and sprung weight, allowing the RC 200 to be lighter on its feet. Handling whether slow or fast is improved, and the bike turns in quickly and in a hurry. Comparatively speaking, unless you’re taking the new RC 200 to the limit, the difference between it and the outgoing RC 200 is minimal for the average rider. More experienced riders will take notice, while track veterans will feel the difference.
It may seem that the RC 200 got a facelift, but all of its improvements are notably new and purposefully done. While it still has the same engine, it’s a totally different motorcycle when you look at its fuel tank, chassis, and even its electronics package. KTM is also positioning this as an #EveryDay racer, which is a fair position for the RC 200 to be in given how a lot of Filipinos enjoy commuting on a sporty bike quite a lot.
For the price of just P198,000, the RC 200 is very competitively priced in its segment. Other motorcycles in its class may come close to the specifications of KTM’s supersport, but there are added refinements and fewer compromises for you to make if you are serious about cornering fast and in a hurry.
At the end of the day, the RC 200 gave us a lot of smiles per mile on the track. However, if the 200 is already this good of a motorcycle on the track, it makes us even more excited to attend the launch of the RC 390.