In an Indian’s guise
Takes to the track like a predator in the open ocean
TVS Motors’ leap into the larger displacement performance segment has been in the news ever since it unveiled the Akula concept at the 2016 Auto Expo. The buzz around the bike based on the concept has been fed by various news — TVS’ partnership with BMW Motorrad, the shared engine with BMW’s own G310R, and of course the prospect of the TVS bike being sportier. When the company recently teased the motorcycle, albeit with a different name, the excitement reached fever pitch. The covers have finally come off, and we headed to the track to put some time on the new TVS bike’s saddle.
That TVS decided to go with the ‘Apache’ nomenclature makes sense. After all, the brand, in its various iterations and models, has been a successful product and is at the centre of TVS racing. But make no mistake, there’s little apart from the name that the Apache RR 310 shares with its smaller displacement siblings — this is a motorcycle with a very different appeal and aesthetic. Here are our first impressions after a few laps on the MMRC track.
Looks and design
‘Akula’ means shark in Russian, and we didn’t have to google it because TVS started the briefing with this titbit. The Akula concept was called so because the design was inspired by the deep sea predator, and while the shark was later replaced by the name of the Indian warriors, you can still spot the resemblance.
The RR 310’s silhouette is streamlined, with the headlamp and cowl modelled on a shark’s head. The twin tail profile of the motorcycle is a takeaway from a shark’s V-shaped tail and even the hot air deflectors are inspired by the fish’s pectoral fin. The headlamp assembly, side cowl, and tank cover assembly, though being different modules, fit together and look like one seamless unit. The tank cover stands out with its curvaceous looks and TVS’ sprinting horse mascot on either side with an RR 310-emblazoned badge on the top. The windshield looks like a no nonsense unit — short and functional. Thin, arrowheadshaped indicators flank the front and rear. The split headlamp is a Bi-LED projector with automatic headlamp ON. Gold-finish telescopic front forks add some bling to the looks. The RR 310 sports a vertical speedometer, which TVS said was for better visibility — something that became evident during the ride. Its shape resembles a hexagon and it’s an all-digital display, with all the usual readers such as speed, rev, ODOmeter, gear indicator, etc. In addition, it also has a side-stand warning, lap information display, and launch timing (0-60 kmph) for those stints on a track. There is a set button on the right and a hazard lights activation button on the left. The aluminium-forged clip-on
The vertical instrument cluster is information-loaded
handlebar with the right-biased key fob look unmistakably made for racing.
The motorcycle is built on a trellis frame with a reverse-inclined engine (mounted at 180 degrees facing backward). This ensures a longer swingarm and shorter wheelbase. The reverse-inclined engine is said to make the bike more agile. Seating position is very sporty, with the rear-set footpegs. The RR 310 and the BMW G 310 R share the same platform. The TVS bike’s aero package, electricals, clip-on handlebar and other sub-components are all different from the BMW bike. The only shared parts are the powertrain, the trellis-frame and the swingarm, with some minor tweaks for the sporty positioning.
The 312 cc engine is a single-cylinder, fourstroke, liquid cooled unit, making 34 PS of power at 9,700 rpm and a maximum torque of 27.3 Nm at 7,700 rpm. The rated top-speed is 160 kmph. Compared to the BMW bike, the slightly higher rating for the shared engine in the RR 310 has been achieved by changing the final gear ratios, enabling taller gears. The bike defin- itely feels fast off the block. Some very useful torque makes itself available at the mid-rev range, reflecting in the launch time (which TVS claims is 2.93 seconds). It is mated to a sixspeed transmission that is slick shifting with easy downshifts — something that is useful on the track. The gearbox is also said to have negative back rack gears to ensure that there are no false-neutrals.
The TVS RR 310 felt assured on turns and corners and maintaining balance was not a problem thanks to the 50:50 weight distribution.
Lean-ins felt effortless and the bike responds
Good grip The Apache RR 310 gets 110/70 R17 and 150/60 R17 front and rear tyres respectively