Thirty-five years! For an automaker with an enviable track record in motorcycle racing arena for nearly four decades in India, there will be a lot of stories to share for sure. Eventful tale of the decades flew past, jaw-dropping instances of daredevilry and all those instances that send the adrenaline gushing through your body. But TVS Motor Company chose a different path altogether.
Instead of taking us down the memory lane, and making us sit through powerpoint presentations on the milestones they passed by, followed by a gala launch at a posh hotel in a metro, TVS Motors invited us to Madras Motor Racing Track (MMRT) at Irungattukottai near Chennai.
The Chennai-headquartered two-wheeler manufacturer introduced the Apache RR 310 at the track. We got the first taste of Apache RR 310 as Akula 310 concept at Auto Expo 2016. Then the company took sweet two years to come up with the road-going version.
In many ways, the Apache RR 310 is not just another motorcycle for TVS. It is company's foray into premium motorcycles and also a significant first step to the burgeoning affordable supersport category of bikes. More importantly, it is the grand culmination of what TVS has learnt from the motorsports participation in the past 35 years in India. It is the most passionate project of TVS till date. The Apache RR 310 got to be perfect in all aspects. Is it? Here is what we think after the track ride experience at MMRT.
Sporty and cohesive design
No matter how much engineering and R&D goes into a motorcycle, chances are high that people would snub it if it lacked visual appeal. TVS is well aware of this and the Apache RR 310 is definitely a stunner.
The Apache RR 310 carries identical silhouette of the Akula 310 while the designers have improved the overall stance. The bi-LED projector headlights and windscreen have been integrated neatly into the fairing. There is no dramatic creases or ducts upfront and that makes the motorcycle look clean up front.
The supersport character of the bike is evident from the side angles. The fairings are not overdone and it neatly gels with the overall design of the Apache RR 310. TVS has not added any graphics over the fairing and that just adds the richness. Especially in the Racing Red coloured bike in which the blacked-out cycle parts and contracting trellis frame colour complements the overall stance of the bike.
Rear-end looks more purposeful with Ducati Panigale-ish tail end. The fairing end looks like shark fin and that lends dramatic bit in design along with the LED tail lamp with a standout design. Overall, the Apache RR 310 has all the ingredients that make it a true supersport motorcycle. And TVS has been careful not to overdo it.
Cycle parts and features
Being the first premium motorcycle of TVS, the Apache RR 310 boasts of an array of features. The vertical instrument cluster, though it looks quirky, gives loads of information and displays a speedometer, tachometer, gear position indicator, a fuel-efficiency read-out, range and a clock. True to a race-bred motorcycle the display also shows average speed and 0-60kmph timings. There is also lap timer which you can set on the move by pressing the headlight pass switch.
The motorcycle runs on 17-inch alloy wheels along with 110/70 section rubber at the front and 150/60 section at the rear that gives the motorcycle a big-bike stance. A 41mm KYB USD fork up front and a preload-adjustable monoshock at the rear do the suspension duties. The Apache RR 310 is equipped with petal discs at both ends- a single 300mm disc at the front with a radial calliper and a 240mm disc at the rear. Standard dual-channel ABS is also part of the package
Other features include a conventional-sized exhaust end can, which is sportily raked and well-finished. The overall fit and finish of the motorcycle are impressive and it also has top-notch switchgear. The motorcycle also boasts of high-quality paint finish, plastics and fitment of panels.
Engine and transmission
The supersport motorcycle is powered by a 312cc, single-cylinder engine that churns out 34hp of power at 9,700rpm and 27.3Nm of torque at 7,700rpm mated to a six-speed gearbox. The liquid-cooled engine which is assisted by an oil coolant and an oil/water heat exchanger is the same unit that powers the BMW G 310 R in the international market. However, TVS has done the tuning in a different way and it has a higher top speed than the BMW counterpart. TVS claims a top speed of 160kmph and 0-60kmph acceleration time in just 2.09 seconds for its flagship product.
How does it feel like to ride?
There is a lot of hard work and insight that has gone in here. With TVS speaking so much about its 35 years of racing experience, the Apache RR 310 ride experience is satisfying enough to justify the claim.
Despite having a supersport design, the Apache RR 310 doesn't have an aggressive riding position. It has an engaging and ergonomic package but not a demanding one which will be spot on for everyday riding. The 810mm seat height is another aspect that should keep most riders comfortable.
The motorcycle is built for performance and it does the job quite pleasingly. MMRT offers enough twists, turns and straights and Apache RR 310 excelled in all these. The motorcycle is cruise steady and comfortable even at three digit speeds and the throttle response is precise. The harmony of engine, transmission and throttle will give a lot of confidence to the rider to push hard. The gearbox is simply fantastic and makes for clean and crisp gearshifts.
The controlled ride of the Apache RR 310 and flickability is worth mentioning here. The Apache RR 310 is happy to change the position with ease. Lap after lap, as my pace, increased it helped me lean more at corners even though I am not a professional racer.
In the flat track of MMRT, the suspensions have little to do. The small undulations in the track was not a problem for the bike. However, the real-world experience might be different. Having said that, the suspension geometry is well calibrated and hence we believe, it will be able to handle the regular road conditions conveniently as well.
Overall, the handling and ease of riding will put a smile on your face while riding the Apache RR 310. The motorcycle has the precise amount of everything to be a supersport motorcycle and it immensely benefits from TVS's 35 years of motorsporting experience.
The bottom line
If mileage and price decide your buying, you might have to wait till TVS reveals the fuel efficiency figure. It is priced at Rs 2.05 lakh (ex-showroom) and at that price point, will you be able to find a direct competitor? That says it all.
Affordable supersport motorcycle segment is where many passionate riders will put their money on. For those, the Apache RR 310 is a compelling case. The motorcycle is a good mix of track machine and everyday bike. The design, ergonomics, engine and power, ride and handling and in price, the Apache RR 310 set a benchmark. As they foray into superport motorcycle segment, TVS has done a commendable job with the Apache RR 310.