We first saw the concept at the Auto Expo; they called it the Akula. Then we saw the BMW G310R the naked bike made at the TVS facility in India. But what we’ve seen now is the most beautiful piece of machinery yet from TVS. The company’s foray into the premium sports category for the first time ever could not have been better timed or for that matter better designed, that’s the perfection the TVS has tried to achieve with the Apache RR 310. It’s a major milestone in the 35-year-old journey of TVS Racing that started with a modest 50cc mopeds racing around. With this the most powerful product from its stable yet, TVS is aiming to give you a bike that used all seven days of the week; for commutes to office or for having fun on a track as we experienced at the Madras Motor Race Track, Chennai.
The way it’s been designed the RR 310 can put many bigger bikes to shame. Apart from the dimensions the attractive fairing, the twin projector lamps and the sleek tail lamps all make this one stand out. A vertical speedo cum tachometer has also contributed to a narrower fairing. It also houses a lap times as well as a 0-60 kmph timer that will make a racetrack its natural habitat. It also tells you the engine temperature and the exact amount of fuel remaining in the relatively smaller 11 liter fuel tank. The fairing is threepiece which means if one part breaks only that part needs to be replaced. For the time being only two colour options are available, namely matte black and red. What also catches your eye are the cool graphics of the Indian flag colours housed nicely on the windshield. This one is easily a rare machine where it is at par with the concept if not better when it comes to looks. Indians want fully faired bikes that look much bigger than they actually are and don’t cost a bomb and TVS seems to have figured this out really well.
Soon we were all geared up and ready to hit the track in the new Apache RR 310. The Chennai track offered a great chance to understand the bike and that we were riding it here also showed the confidence TVS has in their latest produce. The Apache RR 310 runs on a 312 cc liquid cooled single cylinder engine that churns out 34 PS of maximum power. The bike also gives an impressive torque figure of 27 Nm at 7,700 rpm. What hasn’t been seen before in India that this bike gets is reverse inclined architecture for the engine. So the air intake happens from the front while the exhaust placement is on the rear. This makes the air feed direct which translates into the impressive figures we just mentioned. The bike is at ease at both lower and higher rpms so much so that it almost attains the top speed with up shift still to go. Acceleration is decent to begin with but it is the mid range where you enjoy this Apache the most. The refined engine means that there are hardly any vibrations until the bike is nearing red line. TVS has still not revealed mileage figures of the Apache RR 310.
Ride & Handling
The stiffer Kiyaba setup when compared to the BMW G310 points to the racy characteristics of the bike. The 41 mm upside down front forks in gold finish also contribute to a racy appearance. Some undulations at the Chennai race track did give us some idea that this is a bike that gives good ride quality. A lot of feedback from TVS racers has ensured that there’s hardly to complain about anything when it comes to track dynamics. There are 17 inch alloy wheels and the bike becomes the first to use Michelin street sport tyres sub 500cc bike in India. These also contribute to a great ride. The trellis frame used here ensures the bike remains agile even in the most demanding situations. Long hours of testing in a wind tunnel seem to have done wonders to this one. And this despite the somewhat low paced foot pegs and slightly overweight kerb weight of 170 kgs. The bike is forgiving and gives you time to correct mistakes made during cornering. But be careful while braking hard. But having said that, a dual channel ABS is a great addition to this motorcycle. Clip on handlebars and a wide front seat which provides a lot of cushion also help in longer comfortable rides.
It would be unfair to call this one a BMW G310 with a fairing as this one has a different character and despite a common heart, a lot sets them apart. A price of Rs. 2.05 lakh (ex-showroom) will help TVS a great deal in gaining a good market share in the segment. It’s great to see a capable set of wheels coming from a home grown bike maker that has in it to take on the big boys from the East and the West.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars