The TVS Apache RR 310 embodies the first offering resulting from the technical collaboration between TVS and BMW Motorrad. We had a first ride on the Chennai racetrack. Here is how it fared.
Story: Aspi Bhathena
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
We have been waiting for over a year to ride the RR 310, having seen it as a concept, Akula, at the Auto Expo in 2016 and, now, finally the wait is over. This is the first product from the technical collaboration between BMW and TVS. The RR 310 shares the same platform as the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS. Although the Indian made BMW bikes have been launched internationally nearly a year ago, we in India will get them in June next year.
With BMW taking the naked and adventure route, TVS have gone for the fully faired super sports form. The fully faired sports bike is the product of TVS’ 35-year-long racing experience and heritage, and the benefit of their racing experience shows in the product.
I have witnessed TVS Racing from day one when they made a humble beginning, racing the 50-cc moped, to the modern times when they have become a powerhouse of motor sport, taking on challenges such as the toughest motor sport event in the world, the Dakar Rally. At the launch I was speaking to TVS R&D President Vinay Harne when he reminded me how he had come and spoken to me for the first time in 1983 at the Sholavaram race meet. The R&D team at TVS is the most enthusiastic lot I have interacted with to date and have always been willing to listen to the suggestions that I made over the past decades.
The Apache RR 310’s aerodynamic design comes from the shark. The designers at TVS have put in a lot of hard work to make the RR 310 the most streamlined motorcycle in its class with the best COD (coefficient of drag). The bike has an aggressive stance with twin LED headlamps at the front. The full fairing and the step seat complete the super sport look. The upside down (USD) front forks with radial brake caliper with 300-mm petal disc rotor, the aerodynamic front mudguard and the five-spoke wheels with a cast alloy swingarm add to the look of this motorcycle.
The liquid-cooled DOHC four-valve motor is over-square. This short stroke engine has a bore of 80 millimetres and stroke of 62.1 mm and delivers 34 PS at 9,700 rpm and 27.3 Nm of torque at 7,700 rpm. The engine splits horizontally and has white metal shell bearing for the connecting rod and the main bearings. This is like a car engine. It makes the engine compact and increases the rigidity of the crankcase. The engine is tilted backwards with a reverse cylinder-head with the intake at the front and the exhaust exiting at the back, as in the Yamaha TZR 250 of the late 1980s. The front facing intake port helps in ram air induction to increase the air-flow in the inlet port at high speed. The power is delivered via a wet multi-plate clutch and a six-speed gearbox. The engine unit is tilted backwards for better weight distribution.
The engine is housed in a tubular trellis chassis with a bolt-on sub-frame as in the KTM bikes. Today the best handling motorcycle on the Moto2 grid is the trellis-frame KTM. The front USD forks are a cartridge-type unit by KYB and the rear suspension has a die-cast aluminium swingarm with a KYB monoshock unit with monotube floating piston technology. Stopping power is provided at the front by a 300-mm petal type disc rotor and a radial four-piston Bybre caliper. Rear braking is taken care of by a 240-mm petal disc rotor and Bybre caliper. The final contact between the RR 310 and the tarmac is provided by Michelin 110/70 R17 front and 150/60 R17 rear tyres.
The instrument panel is all-digital unit with a vertical rpm display, speedometer, temperature gauge, fuel level indicator, gear indicator and an on-board computer that provides lap times and race diagnostics. All the lights are LED, from the BI-LED headlamps to the rear tail-lamp.
The build quality of this motorcycle is top class right from the slotted top yoke of the triple clamp and the quality of plastics to all the switchgear, foot-pegs, and the gear and brake levers. Indeed, the die-cast swing is a piece of art.
The seat with its 810-mm height and its contoured shape as well as the well-placed clip-ons that are not too high nor too low prevent wrist ache during slow city riding. The foot-pegs are on the low side, thus making them comfortable for road use. The three axis points — handlebar, seat, and foot-pegs — are spot-on to give you a relaxed riding position.
Now it was time to see what the RR 310 was capable of and what better place to do it than on the Chennai racetrack? A gentle push on the starter switch fired the engine to life with a little clatter from the valve gear before settling down a high idling speed of 1,700 rpm. This high idling engine rpm is due to the very light crankshaft and flywheel weight. Exiting the pit-lane you can feel the linear power delivery all the way to the rev limiter. Just after a couple of corners the 310 inspired so much confidence that I started pushing the bike from the first lap itself. This is something I normally don’t do, but it was due to the confidence the bike inspired in me that I could push it from the word go. I had my knee down round all the corners, starting from C1 all the way round even on the negative-camber C3.
The only thing I would change on the bike for the racetrack is raise the foot-pegs by at least two-and-a-half inches. The bike is very tractable and is capable of pulling from 45 km/h in sixth gear with a 100-kg pillion on board. The gear shift is very light and positive and did not have a single false neutral. The Apache RR 310 is one of the best handling motorcycles I have ridden — it is in the same league as my racing RS125 Honda and that says a lot for a street-going motorcycle. The only negative is the valve clatter when you start the bike. TVS have really cracked the code with this fantastic motorcycle.