Shivank thinks the 2021 TVS Apache RR 310 is the best sports bike that money can buy in India. And before you dismiss it as a mere opinion of a fanboy, hear him out.
There are a few things that are certain in life – death, taxes, and the launch of a new TVS Apache RR 310 every year. Honestly, I’m not kidding. Since its launch in 2017-18, the RR 310 has been updated every year – the first update came in 2019, which was followed by the 2020 model, and now keeping the family tradition alive is the 2021 version, which just has been launched.
So, why does TVS keep on updating the RR 310? Let’s answer that simply by stating some facts. The 2017-18 RR 310 always felt like an incomplete product – it was more of a prototype than a final production model. TVS refined the package in 2019, which made it better, but the issues weren’t completely gone. It wasn’t until the 2020 or BS6 update that TVS turned the corner and made the RR 310 a complete motorcycle – something that it should have had been in the first place.
When I got to know about the new 2021 version, I wasn’t expecting much – there was no way you could better the 2020 version, or so I thought. However, TVS has pulled a rabbit out of the hat with the latest iteration of the bike. And I must say that after riding the 2021 RR 310 recently, I’m in awe of what TVS has achieved with its flagship product. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the 2021 Apache RR 310 is the best sports bike that you can buy in India. Unpopular opinion as it might be, but allow me to explain...
Change is the only constant
Three updates in three years is a clear indication of the fact that TVS takes the feedback from its customers and critics quite seriously. Not to mention, the company is also quite quick on its feet in addressing the complaints and shortcomings of the product. The 2020 version was near perfect, but then it left some enthusiasts wanting more – it wasn’t aggressive or racy enough, they said.
TVS decided to answer that by coming up with a unique ‘Built to Order’ initiative for the RR 310 in India (more products will be added later). Think of it as an online configurator, which allows you to pick and choose performance parts for your RR 310. However, and here is the interesting part, instead of being bolted on at your local dealer, those parts will be factory-fitted. The best thing is that TVS is offering some serious options here, including fully adjustable suspension, more aggressive riding position, and so on.
There are two performance kits on offer – Dynamic and Race. The Dynamic kit adds a fully-adjustable front fork (20-step compression & rebound and 15mm pre-load adjustment) and a rear suspension (20-step rebound and 10-step pre-load), along with an anti-rust brass-coated chain. The Race Kit will get knurled and raised foot-pegs (by 30mm) and revised clip-on bars – lowered and pulled back by 8 and 5 degrees, respectively. On top of this, you can now have your RR 310 in a racy TVS Racing livery – it looks gorgeous in the flesh, trust me.
The standard version has also received some minor updates over the 2020 model. For instance, it gets a new exhaust (design + sound), digital storage for documents in the TFT display, overspeed indicator, dynamic rev limiter, and a day trip meter.
A World of a Difference
Now, the bike that we tested at the MMRT (Madras Motor Race Track) was the fully-kitted out version, which means it was fitted with both Dynamic and Performance kits. And those add-ons definitely enhanced the dynamic abilities of the motorcycle.
For the first session, we kept the suspension at its base setting of 10-10-10 for the front compression, front rebound, and rear rebound, respectively. These are the standard settings that the regular version of the bike comes with. Just like before, I didn’t find anything to complain about here – the RR 310, even in its supposedly neutral suspension settings, handles beautifully. It’s precise, predictable, sure-footed, and flows around corners beautifully. It’s a hugely forgiving machine too, so for learners, it’s a perfect tool for building confidence.
The revised ergonomics allow for a more focused riding position, but it’s in no way uncomfortable or wrist-breaking. Plus, while cornering hard, you no longer have to worry about scraping pegs, as there’s more clearance now. That said, I do wish the pegs were a little more rear-set. In some of the corners, like the C2 or the fast-flowing section between C6 and C7, I found myself grating my boot against the tarmac while leaning. A more rear-set setup would have helped. But then, you’ve to remember that 90% of the riders won’t ride the bike like that on public roads, and in that sense, the new riding position is just right.
After three laps, we pulled back into the pits, and this time, the suspension was adjusted for racier settings: 2-8-2. Right off the bat, the difference was evident – the front end firmed up because of reduced compression damping, and there wasn’t excessive nose-dive under hard braking like it was in the base settings. However, the reduced rebound damping, especially at the rear, made the ride jarring while going over the undulations of the track. Sure, the bike felt fully dialed in, but it was a little too much for me, for I could feel every imperfection on the tarmac – the bike was simply too reactive to even the smallest bump on the track.
For the next session, I increased the front compression damping to 5 and the rear rebound to 4, without changing the front rebound. This made the whole riding experience much, much better. It was neither too firm nor squishy like the standard setup. Around fast-flowing corners, the stability was superb and confidence-inspiring – I even managed to get my knee down (yay!) at C10 without trying too hard.
I never thought that adjustable suspension is needed on a motorcycle like the RR 310, but the adjustability it brings to the whole setup is quite impressive. There’s a clear difference in the way the bike behaves. And the more time you’ll spend tinkering with the settings, the better results you’ll have, both on the track and the road. TVS says that an amateur rider can improve their lap time by 3 seconds with the right suspension adjustments. And it doesn’t just work one way either – on the road, you can also adjust the suspension to be plusher. It’s a great value addition. The whole point is that it introduces you to the subtle nuances of motorcycling – something that’s otherwise reserved for high-end machines.
In terms of engine performance, the bike is unchanged from the previous model. The 310cc is markedly refined, but it does buzz at higher rpm. The ride-by-wire throttle is crisp and peppy in track mode, and the engine never runs out of steam at any point in time. Between mid and high revs, like from 4,000rpm to 8,000rpm, it is the most responsive. What’s more, the new exhaust finally produces deep and bassy noises like that of the RTR 200 – a small but much-needed update.
The brakes offer strong bite just like before, and the ABS in track mode is less intrusive. But I still find the brake lever to be a little too long for my liking, and the feedback is also a bit mushy.
TVS has simply outdone itself in coming up with the 2021 RR 310. It has created a product that’s too hard to be faulted. And that’s why I said in the beginning that it’s the best sports bike that you can buy in India. Think about it. The RR 310 is simply gorgeous. You can ride it virtually every day. The engine has more than enough poke for all occasions. It’s packed to the brim with features. And now, with the introduction of adjustable suspension, it now feels right at home on the racetrack. Plus, it can also happily double up as a comfy sports tourer. I can vouch for this, for I have done multiple over 1,000-kilometre rides on the original RR 310 – it’s comfortable and supremely enjoyable. Tell me which bike can do all of this? Really, it’s the range of abilities of the RR 310 that none of its rivals can match.
Sure, it has become a little more expensive – the base price is up by 5,000 – but the kit that’s on offer is priced quite reasonably. The 2021 TVS Apache RR 310, then, is all things to all people.
Having said that, I’d like to add that it isn’t yet the best version of the Apache RR 310, and you shouldn’t buy it. I say wait for the 2022 update, for TVS will definitely find some way or the other to better it and make us critics look silly again. Right, TVS?
- 2021 TVS Apache RR 310
Engine: 312cc / Single-Cylinder / Liquid-Cooled
Power: 33.5bhp @ 9,700rpm
Torque: 27.3Nm @ 7,600rpm
Price: ₹2.59 lakh (Ex-showroom)
Dynamic Kit: ₹12,000
Race Kit: ₹5,000
TVS Racing Livery: ₹4,500
X-Factor: Race-bike, sports tourer, comfy commuter and what not – the 2021 Apache RR 310 is everything rolled into one.
• Optional Kits