TVS Apache RR 310

The new TVS flag­ship can be both: the calm, and the storm

Bike India - - CONTENTS - STORY: ANOSH KHUMBATTA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: SAURABH BOTRE

The versatile new TVS flag­ship shines through the Bike In­dia test

It was two years ago at Auto Expo 2016 that we got our first glimpse of the Akula 310, a full-blown sport bike draped in car­bon-fi­bre with that racy red trel­lis frame peek­ing through, built to show­case what TVS have learnt from 35 years at the race­track. The com­pany re­cently un­veiled the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of that bike, of­fi­cially chris­tened the TVS Apache RR 310, and our Ed­i­tor got to spend a day with the new mo­tor­cy­cle at the race­track (you may read his first im­pres­sion in the Jan­uary 2018 is­sue of Bike In­dia). Now, for this in-depth road test re­view, I spent a cou­ple of days rid­ing the RR 310 in and around Pune, on the high­way, and in the hills to find out what it’s like in the real world.

The sharply styled red mo­tor­cy­cle had been parked in the Bike In­dia garage for a cou­ple of weeks be­fore I could get down to rid­ing it and, apart from a few ca­sual glances, I hadn’t re­ally taken a good look at her in the in­terim. When the time fi­nally came to spend some time with and eval­u­ate this mo­tor­cy­cle, I rolled her out into the sun­light for the first time and was im­me­di­ately im­pressed by what TVS’s in­house de­sign team have cre­ated.

That wide fair­ing is care­fully shaped and looks pur­pose­ful when viewed from the front, with those bright BI-LED head­lights, eye­brow-es­que po­si­tion lights and the pair of air vents on ei­ther side of a white rac­ing stripe that con­tin­ues on to the tank and the tail sec­tion. The beau­ti­fully sculpted tank is flat and broad on top and then ta­pers to­wards the seat to make room for the rider’s knees. An asym­met­ri­cal groove runs up from the seat, for­ward and around the left side of the fuel filler lid, adding a sub­tle dose of char­ac­ter, con­tin­u­ing to­wards the smart black and gold ‘RR 310’ logo at the front of the tank, right be­low the ma­chined top yoke of the triple clamp, which in it­self is a work of art. The cock­pit com­prises a nar­row LCD dis­play, fea­tur­ing a large speed dis­play at the top and a gear in­di­ca­tor at the bot­tom. Sev­eral other pa­ram­e­ters, in­clud­ing fuel level, coolant tem­per­a­ture, odo, two trip me­ters, av­er­age speed, clock, range to empty, am­bi­ent tem­per­a­ture, a lap timer, and fuel ef­fi­ciency can be dis­played stacked be­tween the speed and gear in­di­ca­tors, and along the right side of the tall dis­play is a ver­ti­cal bar-type tachome­ter. The tell-tale and warn­ing lights find space above and be­low the dis­play, and I loved the large shift light, placed just right of the speed read­out. The dash does seem some­what tightly packed and takes some get­ting used to be­fore you can read it at a glance.

The ag­gres­sive and edgy de­sign, full of care­ful creases and folds, fits in per­fectly with the racy im­age of this bike. It is the re­sult of ex­ten­sive wind-tun­nel test­ing by TVS to re­duce drag at high speed, cre­at­ing what is prob­a­bly the most stream­lined mo­tor­cy­cle in its class. The rear sub­frame is shrouded in a wide tail sec­tion that, when viewed from the side, splits ver­ti­cally into two sharp ends to­wards the rear, vaguely mim­ick­ing a shark’s tail fin, and is em­bla­zoned with a sticker re­mind­ing us of TVS’s 35-year rac­ing her­itage. Closer to the ground, the strik­ing, ligh­weight al­loys are shod with Miche­lin Pi­lot Street tyres that have been de­vel­oped spe­cially for the RR 310. This is a stun­ning mo­tor­cy­cle from just about any an­gle, and TVS need to be ap­plauded for the fan­tas­tic

When you switch from re­laxed to ag­gres­sive rid­ing, the Apache RR 310 makes the switch with you

build qual­ity and at­ten­tion to de­tail that has been be­stowed on this bike The over­all fit, fin­ish and qual­ity of paint and plas­tics are im­pres­sive, and com­ple­ment the modern de­sign.

I got to spend a few days with the RR 310 through Pune’s un­re­lent­ing traf­fic, rid­ing to work and also tak­ing the bike out for a cou­ple of late night cruises around the city. What struck me was the mo­tor’s re­laxed and flex­i­ble na­ture and its ca­pa­bil­ity to put­ter along smoothly in sixth gear with­out knock­ing even at 40 km/h. Bar­ring a bit of clat­ter from the val­ve­train, the en­gine re­mained smooth at cruis­ing speeds, with torque in re­serve to make a quick over­tak­ing ma­noeu­vre with­out the need to down­shift. When mak­ing my way through traf­fic at a re­laxed pace I usu­ally found myself in one of the top three gears at any­where from 20 to 50 km/h and, with strate­gi­cal­ly­placed vents within the fair­ing to di­rect the en­gine’s heat down and away from the rider, my legs were never sub­jected to an un­pleas­ant warm draft. The rider tri­an­gle is typ­i­cal of a sport tourer, with the clip-ons po­si­tioned for­ward but not low enough to be over­ly­commit­ted and the foot-pegs low enough to keep the rider’s knees re­laxed over long dis­tances. The 810-mm high rider’s seat is flat, long and wide, leav­ing the rider enough room to move around and find his, or her, ideal rid­ing po­si­tion.

The bike feels light once on the move and com­fort­ably darts through traf­fic, while sud­den changes in di­rec­tion are ex­e­cuted with­out the slight­est fuss. The sus­pen­sion feels firm yet for­giv­ing and keeps the bike planted over bumps and rough bits, with­out the twitch­i­ness and drama I was ex­pect­ing. The ex­cel­lent er­gos, com­bined with that wide torque spread and well-tuned sus­pen­sion, make this an ex­tremely easy bike to live with on a daily ba­sis, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing com­fort in an at­tempt to be more fo­cused.

Hav­ing spent a cou­ple of days us­ing this bike as a daily com­muter, and rather im­pressed by its agility and ea­ger­ness to change di­rec­tion at city speeds, I couldn’t wait to take it into the hills and show it a set of cor­ners; so I headed out to my favourite twisty road to see how much fun I could have. When you switch from re­laxed to ag­gres­sive rid­ing, the Apache RR 310 makes the switch with you. The over­square en­gine, smooth and re­laxed at low revs, be­comes louder and some­what rorty as revs swiftly rise, with a lin­ear pull all the way to the lim­iter, just beyond 10,000 rpm. The liq­uid­cooled sin­gle is placed as far for­ward as pos­si­ble, with the cylin­der tilt­ing back­wards to achieve the de­sired weight dis­tri­bu­tion and mass cen­tral­iza­tion and, in a first for this seg­ment, the RR 310 gets a re­verse fac­ing cylin­der-head with the in­take and throt­tle body fac­ing for­ward, and the ex­haust com­ing out of the rear of the en­gine. This lay­out al­lows air di­rectly into the en­gine via ram air in­duc­tion, al­low­ing in a greater vol­ume of air when at speed and also sim­pli­fies the ex­haust rout­ing to the can­is­ter.

The 312-cc pow­er­plant, de­vel­oped by TVS in con­junc­tion with BMW, makes a healthy 34 PS at 9,700 rpm and spins up sur­pris­ingly quick thanks to the low in­er­tia of­fered by the

light crank­shaft and fly­wheel. Peak torque is 27.3 Nm at 7,700 rpm, although, by this point in the rev range, a slight buzzi­ness starts to creep in at the foot-pegs; al­beit not in­tru­sive enough to take away from the en­joy­ment of this mo­tor­cy­cle. Some vibes are ex­pected from a sin­gle-cylin­der bike and the RR 310 is ul­ti­mately a lot more re­fined than the com­pe­ti­tion. TVS have got the fu­elling spot on and on-off throt­tle tran­si­tions are smooth and pre­dictable, with no jerk­i­ness at any point in the rev-range. The en­gine is mated to a sixspeed gear­box that works flaw­lessly in all con­di­tions, with pos­i­tive shifts whether go­ing easy in the city or slam­ming up through the cogs hastily on open stretches of high­way.

With the city now far be­hind me and the road snaking up into the hills, the Apache RR 310 started show­ing me its mis­chievous side. TVS Rac­ing play an ac­tive role in the de­vel­op­ment of the com­pany’s road bikes and the RR 310 is a shin­ing ex­am­ple of this de­vel­op­ment at the race­track. The flat sur­face of the fuel tank al­lows you to prop­erly tuck in be­hind the wide screen, and the spa­cious seat al­lows easy move­ment for­wards, back­wards or when hang­ing off the side of the bike into a cor­ner. The lightweight-yet-stiff steel trel­lis frame and bolted-on alu­minium swingarm work ex­tremely well with the in­verted KYB car­tridge-type fork up front and KYB monoshock unit at the rear to en­sure scalpel­like pre­ci­sion when hunt­ing apexes. Sud­den changes of di­rec­tion are dis­patched with hardly any ef­fort and the mo­tor­cy­cle al­ways feels com­posed, planted and sure-footed. The sus­pen­sion, though pli­ant enough to soak up road ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties, never feels im­bal­anced or wal­low-prone, while mid-cor­ner bumps do lit­tle to un­set­tle the mo­tor­cy­cle, even when leaned all the way over. Brak­ing per­for­mance is ex­cel­lent and fade-free, thanks to the 300-mm petal disc up front gripped by a ra­di­ally mounted ByBre four-pis­ton caliper and sup­ple­mented by steel-braided brake lines. The rear wheel gets a 240-mm petal disc and a sin­gle-pis­ton ByBre caliper.

I was soon div­ing from apex to apex, with the feel­ers un­der the low-set pegs be­ing steadily ground down, but the ex­cel­lent chas­sis never once felt even close to the limit and the Miche­lins in­spired con­fi­dence while ex­it­ing cor­ners with the gas wide open. I would se­ri­ously con­sider a switch to higher, rear-set foot-pegs if I were to ride this bike at a race­track, to un­lock greater lean an­gles and re­ally ex­ploit the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of this sub­lime chas­sis.

The TVS Apache RR 310 proves that a sharp-han­dling, ca­pa­ble, sporty mo­tor­cy­cle does not need to be un­ride­able around town. This is a versatile mo­tor­cy­cle that will ap­peal to a wide range of bik­ers, from the sport tour­ing crowd look­ing to cover long dis­tances on the high­way tucked be­hind the fair­ing to week­end war­riors look­ing for their next weapon to tame the twisties, and even the im­age-con­scious crowd who just want an at­trac­tive, fully faired mo­tor­cy­cle in the garage to ful­fil their boy racer dreams. TVS def­i­nitely have a win­ner on their hands, and the tri­colour in the cor­ner of the wind­screen is a re­minder that this awe­some mo­tor­cy­cle is built in In­dia by an In­dian com­pany; some­thing our bik­ing com­mu­nity can be truly proud of.

Euro 4 ex­haust isn’t too bulky, and sounds nice at high revs

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