TVS Apache RR 310 Review – Words: Syed Shiraz | Photos: Himanshu Sharma
Let’s face it. If you wanted to buy a fully faired sportbike in the 2 to 2.5 lakh rupee bracket, your options started with the always-calm CBR 250R and ended with the forever-angry RC390, with absolutely nothing in between. Until now, that is. And that’s the TVS Apache RR310 review for you in one line. But don’t mistake that statement as one describing the placement of the RR310 by TVS, because it isn’t.
See, TVS launched this motorcycle not just as a direct competitor to the RC390, but also to encroach upon the territory shared by the R3 and Ninja 300, while also preventing a few unsuspecting first-time buyers from buying the most unreliable motorcycles in the world still being manufactured by RE. Snatching away all the sales from the Benelli 302R (whatever one or two units it does every leap year, if it’s lucky) should be a given as well.
And even if TVS had none of this in mind, the fact remains their RR310 is up and against not only everything priced around 2.5 lakh rupees on road, but the aforementioned more expensive machinery too. Yes, contrary to what you might believe, there is a section of riders who, upon not getting what they want within their budget, either extend their budget right away or save for it and then take the plunge. And you thought it was easy for a manufacturer to enter such space? Let’s see if TVS have succeeded or is it just a classic case of popping the champagne too early.
TVS Apache RR 310 Review: Design, Instrumentation, and Build Quality
Good Lord! This is an outrageously gorgeous motorcycle! TVS have outdone themselves with the RR310. In fact, it is so beautiful that it compels me to conclude that the phrase “looks are subjective” is an excuse us auto journalists make when we do not want to truly describe an ugly motorcycle. If all reviews were absolutely honest, you’d never find that phrase in any of them. Then, for example, you’d read that the Himalayan looks like a cross between a crowbar and a tongue-and-groove plier. It’s another matter altogether that these tools, unlike the bike, work every time.
Okay, I digressed. The point is that even before the bike’s core function, utility, or its adeptness (or the lack of it) at its intended purpose is talked about, its design, if discussed, should be described as it is. So, when a motorcycle is beautiful, there are no two ways about it, and the same is the case with ugly motorcycles. The YZF-R15 V3 is a beautiful motorcycle; so is the V2, and so is the RR310 – there’s nothing subjective here, period. However, even a visually impaired person can put his hands on the Himalayan and determine that not only it is an ugly bike, its quality is degenerative too. Nothing of that sort with the TVS RR310 as the overall fit & finish and build quality of this motorcycle is exemplary.
But there are a few bits that I didn’t like. For starters, though there is nothing wrong with the switchgear quality, it just felt a touch lower as compared to the rich feel of the rest of the bike.
Also, the two buttons on the dash behave like stubborn government employees, who have to be really pushed hard into getting the work done. Lastly, though there is no manufacturer that can claim zero parts-sharing, the clutch and front brake lever yokes shouldn’t have had the holes for the mirror stalks originally designed for the RR’s BMW cousins. TVS have smartly covered the holes up (our test bike was missing the right side cap), but it’s an afterthought that should have been avoided at the design stage. I am nitpicking here, and that’s about the only three things I can put my finger on quality wise while the bike is stationary.
Design wise, I strongly feel the exhaust could have been designed better, and what’s that beak protruding beneath the base of the rear number plate holder? When viewed in profile, according to a friend, it makes the tail section looks like a dragon sticking its tongue out.
Moreover, the instrument cluster’s shape seems to have been inspired by a certain part of female anatomy to me. It’s just me though, I guess, as I didn’t hear anyone else talking about the cluster in a similar fashion. But in the same breath, let me also tell you that I didn’t see anyone going weak in their knees over its design either. Perhaps they were too gobsmacked to look beyond the astonishing exterior.
But why have a vertical unit anyway? I would have understood if there was a lack of space for a big horizontal unit, but here a lot of real estate lies wasted. Something like the Duke 390’s screen would have looked and served better. Yes, I said “served better”, because right now the tacho counter is almost useless.
Everything else is near perfect though, especially the speed and gear position indicator readouts. And then you have every boyracer’s dream checklist incorporated in it as well that comprises a high speed recorder (which displays the highest speed achieved), 0-60 km/h timer, lap timer, and Tinder, amongst many other features such as a range indicator (distance to empty), clock, side stand indicator, etc.
Okay, Tinder is not included, but your chances of being right swiped will certainly increase on this one, I reckon.
TVS Apache RR 310 Review: Ergonomics
What would you think of a motorcycle’s riding position, whose design reminds you of some of the most committed supersport machines on sale right now? You would naturally assume that it would also be similarly extreme, right? Well, you wouldn’t be more wrong! TVS clearly know that come what may, the RR would invariably see more time on the road than on the track, and that is why they have cleverly raised the clip-ons, without making them look ungainly, while the footrests are not aggressively set towards the rear too. The result? A fairly comfortable sport-tourer riding position from a machine that looks like a 600 cc supersport!
The 810 mm high seat is a tad on the higher side for my five foot frame though, but everyone from 5’3” onwards should be able to manage just fine, provided they do not have a disproportionately shorter inseam. I don’t, but I still had to opt for my thick-soled boots (yes, I got them fabricated, but they’re still a work in progress).
The saddle is broader than I expected, but people with big derrieres will love it.
And what about the pillion seat, you ask? Well, to put things into the best possible perspective, this time we got along the Punisher, also known as the R15 V2, and the results were surprising! Take a look at the pictures below.
Looking at these pictures, the first impression is that the R15 has been unnecessary ridiculed for its high pillion seat as the RR’s tail is a smidgen higher! However, while getting on it is as cumbersome for the pillion as on the R15 V2, the seat itself is a tad better than the Punisher’s. I asked my aforementioned friend about the pillion comfort on the RR as compared to my V2’s, and she said that if she were to give a 5.5/10 to the Yammie for pillion comfort, the RR would get a 7.2/10.
But enough of static discussions now; let’s start the bike!
TVS Apache RR 310 Review: Engine Performance, Ride & Handling
Thumb the one-touch starter button and the RR wakes up like a Duke 390 that has been taking a 0.5 mg Alprazolam tablet daily. What I mean here is that while it sounds eager, its rev counter and aural activity is neither as frenetic as the KTM’s, nor as boring as a Havells table fan on swing. It has just the right amount of character that makes you feel good about the fact that you’re riding something purposeful. And while it doesn’t shout its presence, a quick blip is enough to subtly warn the masses around you at a stop light to not come too close for comfort. Most would be wary anyway, mistaking it for a 600 cc sportbike. And they would not be disappointed when the lights turn green…
Because releasing the light action clutch in a jiffy with a handful of revs gets the front wheel up gracefully. You back off for a millisecond to bring it down, and then go berserk again, albeit a bit progressively this time. By the time you reach the third gear of the precise shifting six-speeder, you wonder whether you’d jumped the light because there’s nobody around you. So you slow down for a few seconds to double check if that’s the case. But then you see traffic catching up in your rear view mirrors, and you shoot off again cleaning the unnecessary trails of guilt with a steady stream of 27.3 Nm of torque and a heady rush of 34 PS of peak power.
This is a fast bike, and a damn involving one at that, but it never gets unpredictable or threatening. You’re involved in having fun, and not in continually trying to avoid getting it out of shape. In our conditions, this is all the power you need. Check the short video below to find out how the RR fares in the 0-60, 0-100, 0-120, and 0-140 km/h sprint and also the top speed that I could manage.
The results, in case you couldn’t follow, are:
0-60 km/h in 2.8 seconds
0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds
0-120 km/h in 9.8 seconds
0-140 km/h in 14.8 seconds
Top speed achieved: 166 km/h
Please note that once the bike’s display showed a 2.6 second 0-60 km/h run too, but I haven’t been able to find that video yet. The moment I find it, I shall update it here and notify all of you via our Facebook page. Until then, 2.8 seconds it is, which is still better than the 2.93 seconds claimed by TVS.
You may have also noticed that progress up until a little over 160 km/h is effortless. Thereafter, it’s your mother’s blessings and the size of your cojones.
And it’s easy to ride slow as well. How about 20 km/h in 3rd and 30 km/h in 4th sound to you? Yes, the RR 310 can do all of that, which means that you would need the 1st cog only while starting from a complete stop. What makes matters easier further is the fact that the RR feels much lighter than it really is! So while the dimensions give you a proper big bike feel, taking the bike off its side stand and trundling along in traffic makes you grin sheepishly. And that grin stays there, thanks to the wonderful turning radius of the RR 310 – this is something I had never imagined I would someday say for a fully faired sportbike!
The ground clearance is great too as you would have already noticed by now in a number of pictures above.
But all’s not good, of course. TVS have not been able to cure their Achilles heel – vibrations. Ideally, vibrations should have been non-existent in what is a TVS-BMW motor, but, sadly, that’s not the case.
The vibrations start at around 4,000 rpm, which in 6th gear translates to around 70 km/h on the speedo. At this point, you can feel them in the seat and tank, but nowhere else. Honestly, most might not even notice, especially the thick skinned. But from around 95 km/h onwards, the vibrations will make their presence felt, via the footpegs as well, to all sorts of riders, which will be an issue for people aiming to tour on this bike. That’s a pity as otherwise the motorcycle is supremely stable on highways!
But it’s not a deal breaker as not only will it cause you to abide by the speed limit on most expressways, but also compel you to take more breaks, thereby keeping you and the bike safer. Moreover, it will also keep you from attempting those stupid runs like the Saddle Snore (ya I know that’s not what it is called) that a certain association of butts pioneered in Trump’s land much before he came to power. Jokes apart, you can tour on this motorcycle. The clip-ons, being almost devoid of vibrations, do help.
But this is a motorcycle that is best enjoyed ridden hard in the twisties! The handling is sublime and diving in and out of corners takes zilch effort. Plus, every corner entry is preceded by the glorious (for a small capacity four-stroke single) noise the RR makes on aggressive downshifting. Picture this: you’re approaching the first corner of your favourite set of twisties at over 100 km/h in 6th gear. You brake hard and downshift to third, not because you need to, but only because you want to have the maximum drive out of the corner, and also because you want to hear that beautiful motor sing!
You do that, lean the bike into the corner, hit the apex, and throttle out while picking the bike up, and repeat! Oh sweet heavens, I can do this all day!
I couldn’t test the tyre grip and brakes in the wet, as the rain gods took a longer vacation this year, but the RR 310’s set up performed nicely in the dry. The ABS is a bit more intrusive than I would have liked though, which hints at a less than ideal grip from the tyres. Nevertheless, I experienced zero hairy moments under all sorts of spirited riding I could perform under the purview of my riding ability, so you should be okay too unless you venture outside the scope of your riding skills.
I almost forgot to tell you about the RR 310’s best in segment feature, other than its design – its suspension! This is how every sportbike’s suspension should be in the Indian market. It’s neither that soft to be all over the place in a corner, nor hard enough to shake your tooth fillings out on rough stretches. The compression and rebound tune is just perfect! This is a motorcycle that might compel my friends in CAT A media to also include awards on the lines of “Best Suspension” in their bid to please all manufacturers to get more ads and free rides/drives.
Did I miss anything? Yes, fuel efficiency, headlight effectiveness, and heat management. I should have said this earlier when I talked about vibrations, but since it’s better late than never, I shall share it now. This bike came to me after being much abused by quite a few of my compatriots in Delhi. Therefore, do keep in mind that a customer’s carefully run-in RR 310 will be at least a notch better than the findings and observations in this review. That’s why I am willing to ignore the sporadic noise coming from the drive chain as well.
And I also didn’t do the bike any favour by living near the redline more than 90 per cent of the time. Despite that, the RR 310 gave me 29.92 km/l (let’s round it off to 30 km/l), which is brilliant for such a potent package. On a tankful, expect a range of fun-filled 300 km with the low fuel light glowing up at around 250 km.
Coming to the headlamps of the RR 310; well, they are bright, and the throw is good too but the spread is underwhelming.
Mind you, the RR’s headlamps are still at least four times better than some of the big bikes’ we’ve tested! You’ll know which ones if you’re our regular reader; if you’re new, you may check our big bike reviews, and you shall know. Yes, unlike most, we do highlight the negatives as well; that too brutally.
That word reminds me to tell you that these are the worst Delhi summers we’re experiencing right now, and though it’s natural for every sportbike to cross 100 degree Celsius in such weather, the RR was considerate enough to not burn my legs, thanks to a hot air deflector in the fairing that channels the hot air downwards, and not towards the rider.
It’s not a marketing gimmick; it really does work, and a big pat on TVS’s back for this.
TVS Apache RR 310 Review: Verdict
The buyers of this motorcycle don’t actually need a verdict as they will buy it for its looks alone. These folks will remove Apache decals and paste Ducati on it, and if it that makes them happy, then why not? Then there are people who understand motorcycles. They already know that the design is just the cherry on top, and will buy it more for its functional attributes, which, in case you didn’t understand in more than 2,600 words up until now, are:
Best-in-class build quality; beautiful suspension tune that provides the RR the best ride and handling balance in its segment; a strong and tractable motor that neither leaves you wanting for power at any time, nor hunting for a lower gear in traffic, while still sipping less fuel than its competitors and sounding good at the same time; the best seats and heat management in its segment; ABS; proper big bike feel yet lightweight in, er, feel; short turning radius; generous ground clearance; bright headlamps, and, again, that oh-so-gorgeous design.
The crux is, minor issues notwithstanding, the TVS Apache RR 310 is the most sorted fully faired motorcycle in the sub 3-lakh rupee segment.
Also Read: 2018 Yamaha YZF-R15 V3 Review