On the face of it, it’s the same old Apache RR 310, just with a BS-VI update. But after taking it out for a spin, we realised that nothing could be further from the truth!
If there’s a motorcycle that makes me feel like a veteran auto journo, it’s the TVS Apache RR 310. And I say that because in just over three years (of my five-year career), I’ve seen and reviewed three versions of the motorcycle. And I also happen to own the first and original version from 2017. It makes me feel like I’ve been around for a long time, and, unarguably, an expert on the matter. Jokes aside, the Apache RR 310 receives updates quicker than a politician changes their stand these days. And this brings us to the latest version, or the 2020 Apache RR 310.
Now, the new model is the BS-VI compliant version, which was necessary. But there’s more to it. In fact, there’s a heck of a lot more to it! We managed to get our hands on one recently, but instead of treating it as just another new bike, I’ve decided to review this new motorcycle from the perspective of an existing owner.
There’s no change in terms of design, and I’m perfectly fine with it. The RR 310 is an astonishing looking motorcycle as it is – a perfect combination of style and elegance. Why fix something that isn’t broken? However, to make it look ‘2020’, there’s a new dual-tone paint-job on offer – titanium black, to be precise. The lower-section and fairing are finished in gloss black, whereas the tank has a matte finish. The combination works very well, but I somehow don’t find myself warming up to the loud ‘Apache’ logo – I prefer the full gloss black paint finish of the 2019 face-lift instead. But that’s not available any more – the only other colour option is red.
The party piece of the 2020 Apache RR 310 is its new 5-inch colour TFT display, which replaces the digital console of the old bike. Now, it looks vibrant and is lag-free and quite crisp in its operation. Not to mention, it’s packed to the brim with features – there’s Bluetooth connectivity for your smartphone, turn-by-turn navigation, on-board diagnostics, call alerts, and the works. It also records ride data, which can be viewed on your smartphone via an app. Compared to the old bike, the new display is miles ahead, and it definitely makes the RR 310 feel very, very premium.
The powertrain is the same 312cc single-cylinder motor, but it’s now BS-VI compliant. Is there any drop in power output? Well, yes, there is! In fact, there’s a big drop – when you pick up your spanking new bike from the showroom, it’ll only have around 26 horses as opposed to 34 of the old one!
That’s right, but there’s a catch. You see, the RR 310 now comes with a ride-by-wire throttle, which allows the bike to have four different riding modes – Track, Sport, Urban, and Rain. The riding modes can be swapped-on-the-fly via controls on the left switchgear, and it’s quite intuitive.
In Urban and Rain mode, the engine is restricted to 25.5bhp and develops 25Nm of torque, while in Track and Sport mode, the motor will be fully unleashed to deliver 33.5bhp and 27.3Nm – and this means that essentially power and torque outputs of the BS6 version remain the same.
But wait, there’s still more to it. You see, the other two modes – Track and Sport – can only be activated by the service centre once the running-in period is over, which TVS says is any time after you complete 1,000 – 1,500kms. So, what this means is that all new bikes will only have Urban and Rain mode at the time of the sale, with restricted power output.
However, you might think that TVS is trying to pull a Volkswagen here, but that’s not the case. The company has homologated the motorcycle for both power outputs, meaning that even in unrestricted modes, the engine meets the BS6 emission norms.
Coming to the performance, it’s more or less unchanged – strong mid-range followed by an even stronger surge of power towards the top-end. However, in comparison to the old bike, the new version is much more refined – the throttle response is super crisp and there are hardly any vibrations at idle. It’s only when you cross 7,000rpm, it starts buzzing a bit. Overall, though, it feels much better. I also have to say that in Track mode, the throttle response is a bit snappier and more responsive. The bike now feels more aggressive during hard riding, which I quite enjoyed around the racetrack. Like in the old bike, the six-speed gearbox is smooth and also comes clubbed with a slipper clutch.
The chassis, brakes, and suspension remain unchanged. But it’s got a new pair of shoes. Instead of the Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres of the old bike – which were heavily criticized for their lack of ‘feel’ and grip by owners – the new RR 310 comes shod with Michelin Road 5 tyres. And they make a world of a difference!
From an existing owner’s perspective, the new tyres showcase the true potential of the RR’s chassis. You can now push the bike harder around corners, and it just grips and sticks to the tarmac without throwing any surprises. In fact, it feels a lot more stable and confident in quick direction changes. Because of grippier rubber, there’s more feedback from the brakes, too. The ABS is less intrusive than before, and that’s because it has been calibrated differently for different riding modes. The improved grip levels are also a factor.
I don’t want to sound like a biased owner, but I’ve never really said anything bad about the RR 310 – I’ve always loved it for the kind of all-round performance and utility it offered. That said, I absolutely hated the engine vibrations on my bike, and I’ve been quite vocal about it. The thing is, TVS has carefully listened to owners’ inputs and has addressed them. And while it usually takes other manufacturers 5 – 6 years to iron out such glitches, TVS has done that in just over two years! Put simply, the 2020 Apache RR 310 is what the original bike should have been in the first place!
More importantly, with all the improvements and new features, it only commands a premium of just 12,000 rupees over the outgoing model. And that’s the only thing that infuriates me – I wish I could have waited a little longer to buy the 2020 RR 310.
- 2020 TVS Apache RR 310
Engine: 312cc / Single-Cylinder / 4 Valves / Liquid-Cooled
Power: 33.5bhp @ 9,700rpm
Torque: 27.3Nm @ 7,600rpm
Price: ₹2.40 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi)
X-Factor: The 2020 Apache RR 310 is what the original bike should have been in the first place – it’s more complete than ever!
• Perfect all-round sportsbike
• Stunning design
• Too early to say