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Koteswor-Kalanki Expressway: 7 a.m.

Well before the newly built eight-lane roads roar and rage, adding to the noise of a bustling city, we find ourselves in the presence of a splendid machine. One that unleashes an arsenal of smirks and smiles from anyone who rides it. Trying our best to keep our manners intact, we slice our path through exit signs and road markers; in pursuit of our own moment of zen amidst the madness of the slowly awakening streets; seeking solace in the company of this machine crafted to impose…

Every once in a while, we come across a product that chiefly excites our passion and yet can only truly be measured by the one who experiences it. One such machine is the red-hot TVS Apache RR310, the most advanced and exclusive offering in the TVS Apache stable and a testimony to the company’s Racing DNA. And here we attempt to elucidate our experience with it.

First things first; is it a faired BMW G 310 R?

It’s true that the RR 310 is the first motorcycle co-developed with BMW Motorrad, alongside the BMW G310R. It carries over the powertrain, suspension unit, chassis, brakes and the radials from the BMW, but TVS has added its own expertise to the mix thus creating the company’s first ever fully-faired sports bike.

In this sports bike obsessed nation of ours…

the RR310 makes a strong case for itself with its supersports DNA. The styling really makes this motorcycle look like a bigger-capacity bike. You wouldn’t know it was a sub-500cc motorcycle by looking at it, and nothing about the styling suggests this is an entry-level supersports.

You’re immediately struck by the size of this motorcycle. Maybe it’s that fairing or that aggressive stance which belies the 310’s stature and urges you to believe it’s a 650. The aggressive silhouette which is aided by a raked-high tail helps to further impose that illusion.

The design of the RR 310 is based on the Akula Concept which won the ‘Best Concept Bike of Auto Expo 2016’ at New Delhi, India. The motorcycle’s ‘Mass-Forward and Minimalist-Tail’ design is a break free from the usual monotony.  It’s undeniably sporty with that bi-LED twin projector headlamps, tall windscreen, RAM air intakes, and racing stripes. The sportily-raked exhaust has a polished aluminum end caps just like the ones on the BMW twins.

Other aspects such as the gill vents inspired by Sharks (Akula means Shark in Russian) and the patented deflector cowl within the fairing give it lots of charm. There’s also a ‘RaceSpec’ sticker slapped on the red trellis frame imitating a certain Italian. The RR 310 gets all-LED illumination for the blinkers, the bi-LED projector headlamps, pilot lamps, taillights and even the lamp for the license plate.

Crafted for power…

With key inputs and feedbacks by the TVS Racing Team, it’s hardly surprising that much of the RR 310’s development has come from the company’s 35 years of racing heritage.

And TVS has left no stone unturned to throw in all its considerable technical expertise and racing knowledge at the RR 310.

Like in the BMW G 310 R, the engine is a reverse-inclined DOHC unit. Hence, it tilts backward and has the exhaust header emerging from the rear benefitting better weight distribution.

The water and oil cooled engine come paired with a six-speed gearbox. It also features a rotating counterbalance shaft in front of the single-piece crankshaft to reduce friction and increase performance efficiency. It also makes use of lightweight KS cast pistons which get Nanofriks coating Bosch’s latest closed-loop EFI system and a hydraulic cam chain tensioner. The compact layout of the engine also facilitates an ideal power-to-weight ratio and performance efficiency.

Let’s spice things up.

Although the RR310 uses the same engine as the BMW G310R, TVS has tweaked the engine in terms of acceleration and fuelling by using its own custom ECU. Similarly, the final drive is different as the RR uses 41 teeth rear sprocket opposed to the BMW’s 40. Wring the throttle and everything happens in a rather satisfying manner.

The six-speed gearbox is an enjoyable system to use with accurate and direct shifts and no mid-neutrals. The clutch lever is light and throttle is responsive.  The delivery is far more civilized and less stressful than other bikes in the same segment. This engine has a thoroughly enjoyable mid-range. You have to work at it to get the best from it.  The motor reaches triple digits easily without running out of breath. However, vibrations start to creep in after 6000rpm.

Having said that, the RR310 is not as fast as lightning, but it is blessed with a character. It is not dramatic but rather intimidating. It’s fast enough when you want it to be but it’s also calm and composed if you want to realistically use it for daily use. TVS claims a top speed of 160 kmph and acceleration from 0-60 kmph in just 2.9 seconds.

What is it like to ride?

Tested in a wind tunnel, the TVS Apache RR 310 boasts of a segment-leading drag coefficient of 0.26, for excellent aerodynamics. The bike sits on a lightweight trellis frame with higher stiffness for excellent dynamics. And you can count on this to keep everything composed.

The stability of the bike will appeal to riders of all sorts. The handling inspires confidence and the bike feels well planted on the roads. The RR310 offers excellent handling through various features, including the upside-down front suspension, a rear KYB monoshock with monotube floating piston technology, and a two-arm aluminum die-cast swing arm.

Similarly, the longer swingarm and a shorter wheelbase compared to the BMW’s calls for an immensely agile and a stable machine. There are considerable vibrations that you will feel through the handlebars and footpegs, which do take some time getting used to.

Braking is spot on, firm and adequate enough for the speeds that you will be achieving.

A dual-channel ABS system governs both the 300mm front and 240mm rear, petal-type discs. A Bybre four-piston caliper clamps down the front disc. The ABS is reassuring when it comes to hard braking. The Michelin Pilot Street tires (front: 110/70, rear: 150/60, R17s) are consistently grippy for everyday road conditions.

While the spec sheet reveals a relatively small fuel tank of 11 liters, the bike is surprisingly economical. Despite spending much of the time blasting across the city, the bike returned an impressive range.

Out on the twisties…

Despite being on the heavy side at 169.5 Kg, the RR310 loves to chase the apex. The extremely well put together front end really inspires confidence and allows you to take corners with excellent steering control.  The amount of confidence and feedback it offers is impressive when you really push it hard. The bike will help bring out the best in your riding, and you will have a tremendous time while doing it.

The Rider’s Triangle

The RR 310 sports a fully-faired, sporty design with superior ergonomics to ensure maximum ride comfort. Despite providing a racy clip-on handlebar, the rider’s triangle is not scooped forward too much. Although the bodywork allows for a more race-like stance, riders can snuggle easily with less obtrusion from the fuel tank and fairing.

This thoughtful design makes the bike comfortable even for long distance riding. For those who are new to sporty riding, the ergos gets adjusted easily after a few hours in the saddle. The Mass Centralised Layout of the bike means a low center of gravity for uncompromised handling and agility. Hence, the RR310 is an extremely easy bike to flick through city traffic or to beat highway speeds.

For your comprehensive post-ride analysis…

A vertical instrument cluster acts as an interface between rider and machine. You get almost every possible information related to the motorcycle from the instrument cluster. It displays the speedometer and engine speed, a lap timer, a top-speed recorder, 0 – 60 timer, average speed recorder, a digital engine temperature gauge, diagnostic lamps, trip meters, a shift light, gear indicator, clock, real-time fuel economy, average fuel economy, and remaining fuel level.

Far more impressive than we expected it to be…

All in all the RR310 is a well put together package which would make an ideal step up from the 200cc class. Beyond its drop-dead-gorgeous looks, it is a red-hot machine which offers a whole new level of excitement in terms of accessible performance, everyday practicality and affordability. Whether you are commuting to work each day, or clocking in the kilometers through the highways on weekends, it makes for a very sensible, practical, everyday supersports bike.

Cutting to the chase, the RR310 has definitely upped the ante in the sub-500c class with its superior performance, riding dynamics, and expressive design. It is a great bike for budding sports riders, as well as commuters. Excellent job by TVS in so many ways.

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