On a racetrack, there is one major difference between driving a car and riding a motorcycle. When a car approaches a turn at high speeds, it leans to the outside of the corner, struggling to hold its path of travel. A motorcycle, on the other hand, leans smoothly into the corner. Cornering, then, becomes a symphony of meticulous movements, instead of a clumsy roll. This is precisely what I experienced riding the new TVS Apache RR 310 on the Madras Motor Race Track in Irungattukottai, near Chennai, last week.
What is Apache RR 310?
It’s the largest engine capacity motorcycle made by TVS Motor Company. ‘RR’ in its name stands for ‘Race Replica’. And the motorcycle, indeed, is one. TVS says it’s inspired by the company’s 35 years of track racing experience.
Does it look like a racing bike?
The design, in fact, is one of its strongest points. It looks every bit a racing motorcycle, yet the design is not over the top, and won’t repel a daily commuter who wishes to buy this machine.
How else does ‘racing experience’ reflect?
In multiple ways. For example, superior aerodynamics—it’s got the best-in-class coefficient of drag (0.26) to achieve maximum downforce, minimum wind blast and higher top speed. Also, it’s got something called ‘gill vents’ on the sides, which channel hot air away from the engine and shield the rider’s legs from engine heat.
The speedo-cum-tachometer, too, is race-inspired. It has a vertical layout and shows 18 racing tell-tale diagnostics, and a comprehensive post-ride analysis. The motorcycle is fitted with LED twin projector headlamps, and it rides on Michelin Street Sport tyres (the first sub-500cc motorcycle in India to use these tyres).
Which engine powers it?
TVS, in collaboration with BMW Motorrad, has developed a new engine—the 312cc, single-cylinder, 4-valve, liquid-cooled unit that produces 34bhp of peak power (at 9700rpm) and 27.3Nm of torque (at 7700rpm). The engine is mated to a six-speed gearbox.
How fast is the motorcycle?
Its claimed top speed is 160kph. It can accelerate from 0-60kph in just 2.9 seconds, and 0-100 in a little over 7 seconds. That makes it quicker—at least till speeds of up to 100kph—than many powerful cars, such as entry-level BMW and Audi cars. On the track, I easily touched speeds in excess of 140kph.
How is the ride like?
While it’s extremely quick initially, as the numbers show, once the motorcycle crosses about 120kph, power delivery slows down. At such speeds, it doesn’t appear as ‘eager’ to accelerate as it does initially. However, on city roads, you won’t want to ride at such high speeds (the law doesn’t allow it, anyway).
Is it comfortable to ride on?
On a racetrack, it’s not possible to experience how comfortable a motorcycle would be in daily riding conditions. But it promises to be comfy. One, the riding angle is such that there is some amount of load distribution on the shoulder, which leads to good steering control and good low-back comfort. Two, the seat profile is sculpted for ease of sliding around. Three, the suspension is tuned by KYB, the American company famous for shock absorbers. Four, the rear suspension is monoshock. Five, the engine layout is such that there’s low centre of gravity, leading to better handling.
What is its fuel-efficiency figure?
We don’t really know the exact fuel-efficiency figure of the motorcycle; it’s not mentioned in the brochure
Which bikes does it compete with?
KTM RC 390, Benelli 302R and Kawasaki Ninja 300 are its major competitors, and all are more expensive. Next year BMW Motorrad will launch its G310R in India (developed in collaboration with TVS Motor Company), which will also compete with Apache RR 310.
How much it is priced?
It’s priced Rs 2.05 lakh, ex-showroom (prices will vary from state to state). TVS has said that deliveries will start by the end of December. To begin with, it will be available at 52 showrooms across 40 cities in India.