You won’t find many people on the internet who would go to bat for the newly-launched BMW G 310 RR in the current scheme of things, but here’s a rather interesting take from an existing TVS Apache RR 310 customer.
Wraps have finally come off BMW Motorrad’s worst-kept secret – the new G 310 RR. To the untrained eye, the G 310 RR is BMW’s most-affordable fully-faired motorcycle in the world, and that makes it VERY desirable for obvious reasons. However, for those in the know, the G 310 RR is just a re-badged TVS Apache RR 310 – albeit, it’s pricier and offers fewer features than its Indian counterpart.
Now, given the difference in price between the two (the base BMW is 20,000 dearer than the corresponding Apache, while the Race Style is a whopping 35,000 more), it’s a no-brainer that the TVS version offers better value for your money, and it’s also the better overall package of the two. Considering all of the above points, only a mad and ignorant person will think of buying the BMW over the TVS…and I’m one of them...
Objectively speaking, I do believe that it makes no sense to splurge over twenty grand for the lesser Apache RR 310 that is the G 310 RR. You see, you aren’t just paying an extra premium for the BMW badge here. You are paying a lot more when you consider that the G 310 RR misses out on a couple of goodies compared to the Apache RR 310. For example, the BMW version comes with Michelin Pilot Street rubber instead of the Michelin Road 5 tyres on the TVS. It may not make much of a difference to many, but the Road 5 is much superior to the Pilot Street, and having tested both tyres, I can confidently claim that it makes a world of a difference in the way the bike rides and handles. In addition to that, the BMW also doesn’t get Bluetooth connectivity like the TVS. And just to rub it in a little more, BMW doesn’t (yet) give you the option of fitting fully-adjustable suspension on the G 310 RR, which is available with the Apache RR310 under TVS’ BTO programme.
Another thing that bugs me about the new G 310 RR is that BMW has done the bare minimum to differentiate it from the RR 310. It’s just got new badges and new paint schemes, that’s it! Quite lazy from BMW, to be honest. I believe, they could have tried something new here – maybe, re-profiled the headlamps at the very least. Or, better, they could have gone for something like the asymmetrical design of the first-gen S 1000 RR here. That would have been so cool! But they decided to make no effort at all and decided to leave everything as is. And that means the G 310 RR doesn’t look any different from the Apache RR 310. It doesn’t have an identity of its own.
So, why am I still in favour of buying the G 310 RR over the Apache RR 310 despite feeling short-changed? The answer is simple – it’s a BMW!
Let me break it down further for you. When you shell out the extra cash for the G 310 RR, you aren’t just paying for that BMW roundel on the fairing. You are paying that kind of premium to get into the BMW ecosystem. From sales to service, everything is going to be BMW about the G 310 RR, meaning it’d be a bit pricey but it’ll also make you feel more special and privileged. And I say this from my experience of owning an Apache RR 310, where I’ve had my share of goods and bads with TVS.
Mechanically, my motorcycle has never let me down even once, and, truth be told, the quality of periodic maintenance/repair jobs that have been carried out on it is more than satisfactory. However, what I don’t quite enjoy is the overall service experience. And that’s to say that it still feels very TVS in that regard. To give you some perspective, my first bike was a 2010 TVS Apache RTR 180 and I only parted ways with it three years ago. Long story short, I’ve been a loyal TVS customer for more than a decade, and I’ve been to many TVS service centres in the past. Now, though, after all these years, every time I go to get my RR 310 serviced at one of the authorised TVS service centres, I can’t help but feel that TVS hasn’t moved the game forward for its aftersales department as they’ve done with their products. Sure, you’ve now got dedicated service bays for the RR 310, but you still have to wade through a sea of Jupiters/XLs/Ntorqs/Apaches to get in there. And there’s always quite a ruckus. To be frank, I don’t want to sound pricey here, but when you buy a premium product, you expect premium services and a bit of special treatment to follow throughout the ownership period. But that hasn't been the case with the Apache RR 310 so far. If you’re struggling to understand my point, here’s a quick analogy. Think of your flying experience with Vistara vis-à-vis Indigo. They both use the same make Airbus planes but wouldn’t you say the service experience is poles apart? Make no mistake, I’m not saying that Indigo is bad, but it’s just that Vistara pampers you a little more for the extra premium you pay.
The other thing is the service costs. For some reason, a lot of people out there have this misconception that the RR 310 is ‘cheap’ to maintain. Well, going from my experience, I can tell you that it’s nearly as pricey to maintain as a BMW (compared to the G 310 R) if not more. People often tend to forget that the Apache RR 310 is a BMW in TVS’ clothing and not vice-versa. And that’s why you shouldn’t expect TVS’ spare parts/consumables to make any less of a dent in your pocket compared to the BMW. Not to mention, the service intervals for TVS are 5,000km/6 months as opposed to 10,000km/12 months for the BMW. That said, TVS is now offering 5 years standard warranty with the RR 310, while BMW offers it for only 3 years. In any case, BMW will be more expensive to maintain than the TVS, but I don’t think there’s a night and day difference in the running costs of the two.
And, last but not the least, as awesome as TVS is – and I really mean it – there’s also no denying the fact that BMW is a more alluring and desirable badge to many. It may not mean anything to a lot of ‘sensible’ folks out there but, I believe, a lot of people would get their kicks by saying, ‘Yeah, that’s my BMW!’ after owning a G 310 RR. It’s the world’s best-selling luxury automotive brand for a reason, you see...