The past year that we had with the TVS Apache RR 310 has been an interesting one. The first fully faired and 300cc bike from TVS had a lot of expectations riding on its muscular shoulders. After close to a year, the bike did deliver on those expectations on most counts but missed out on a few. Here’s a roundup of the hits, misses and the memorable moments with the Apache RR 310 over the past year.
TVS has nailed it with the design. The sharp lines and muscular bodywork makes it look quite similar to a Triumph Daytona. The size too is just right: it feels as large as a 600cc supersport, a big draw. Build quality too is quite good as is fit and finish. After eleven months of riding, the front fairing has started to buzz around the instrument console but that's about it. The bike was extremely reliable, with not one part coming loose or failing during our long stint with it.
For starters, you have LED lighting all around. That's something you don't see even on bikes with twice its cubic capacity. The instrument console is feature-packed but I personally felt like it was overkill. It has close to 15 bits of information like four trip meters, average speed, 0-60kmph time -- heck, even a lap timer. That's all good but the problem lies in the way you access the information. You have two buttons on either side of the console, one of which is used to turn on hazard indicators. So, effectively, you have only one button to navigate, to cycle through and reset data. And the button requires a lot of pressure to depress, leaving you with a sore thumb just after one cycle. Maybe the next update could see a more intuitive and easier way to navigate through the instrument console. Oh, and also a more legible rev counter.
The RR 310 has a riding position that sits between sporty and commuter. Plus, the seat has a lot of space to move around. So you can easily cover long distances without taking a break, as we found out. This is a sportbike and as such, the design means it has a short and sharp tail section with no protruding grabrails. So it isn't exactly luggage-friendly. Same with the angular fuel tank which with a tank bag strapped on would make it difficult to properly lean on the bike and make for an awkward seating position. The saving grace, though, is the indentations on the pillion footpegs and rear number plate holder that allows you to hook on your saddlebags.
The Apache RR 310 has one of the best suspension setups around, that achieves a good balance between ride and handling in a non-complex setup. The ride quality is fantastic. It feels pliant over broken roads and soaks up bumps without transferring judders to the rider or pillion irrespective of the speed. It handles quite well and given stickier tyres should be able to manage serious speed in corners. And the handling hardly changes even with a pillion or luggage on board.
The problem lies in the way it behaves in mid to high revs. For starters, there are a lot of vibrations and resonance from the motor from 6000rpm onwards. And due to the gearing, these vibrations sit right at the cruising speed spectrum i.e. 80-100kmph. It makes riding the bike tiresome. You can get used to the vibrations (I did) but you are always left wanting for refinement and a bit more poke from the motor. To their credit, TVS has been constantly working on quelling the vibrations, the latest update being thicker handlebars and larger bar-end weights. Existing customers too received these updates from the dealership free of charge. It also could benefit from better fuelling at idling revs as you have to slip the clutch a bit to get going.
This is one department that we have been disappointed with. Despite having radial calipers and sintered brake pads, the brakes lack initial bite and feel. They do have a strong bite but the ABS too cuts in too early and does not instil confidence. In contrast, the BMW G 310 twins had better brakes. Mind you, they run the same hardware with the exception of the petal rotors and a different ABS unit. This is something TVS should look into in their next update for the bike. The tyres too feel lacklustre. They get the job done but miss out on outright grip.