BMW's baby RR is a fast, exciting and desirable motorcycle. But, should you really be paying a hefty premium for that BMW badge when its TVS twin, the Apache RR 310, offers a lot more at a lower price? We scratch our heads to find the answer.
There’s a new BMW in town and straightaway there’s a big problem with it. The said BMW is none other than the all-new G 310 RR. And the issue is that it’s neither 'all-new' nor a BMW. Well, yes, it won’t take a genius to figure that the G 310 RR is essentially a TVS Apache RR 310 in a fancy frock. In fact, even the frock here is identical – it’s just got a premium badge, that’s it. What’s changed dramatically, though, is the price, for this look-rich Apache RR 310 commands a hefty premium of up to Rs 35,000!
So, is there any reason to buy the G 310 RR over the Apache RR 310? Or are you being short-changed simply for the BMW badge?
I’d be lying if I said the G 310 RR looks any different from the Apache RR 310. Every crease and every panel on it are identical to that of the TVS. What’s new, though, is that it gets different paint options, loud BMW badging, and that premium BMW roundel on the fairing. You also get a big G 310 RR moniker on the tank. The variant you see here comes finished in ‘Race Style’ livery, and there are no two ways about it – it looks stunning in the metal. The quality is typical BMW – the paint sheen is no different to what you get on the S 1000 RR or R 1250 GS.
You can’t deny that this motorcycle – whether you call it a G 310 RR or Apache RR 310 – is an attractive-looking sports bike. The proportions are perfect, and it’s got a racy design. Plus, there’s no bad angle to it. However, I do feel it could do with a slightly different design than that of the TVS. They could have re-profiled the headlamp, used a different fairing, or done something differently to give it its own identity. Right now, you can’t help but see it as an Apache RR 310 with a BMW wrap job.
Say what you may, though, it grabs a lot more eyeballs than the TVS. You literally get real thumbs-ups from onlookers. It’s quite maddening how it turns heads in traffic. And this is one of the redeeming features of this motorcycle – the ego boost and the special feeling you get while riding it. Frankly, the Apache RR 310 can’t quite deliver that.
As for the other features, the colour TFT display is pinched from the Apache RR 310, although it comes with BMW ‘Make Life a Ride’ graphics. Unlike the Apache, there’s no Bluetooth connectivity, meaning you can’t hook your smartphone to the system for utilities like turn-by-turn navigation and call notifications. You do, however, get four riding modes – Urban, Rain, Sport and Track – just like the TVS.
BMW’s baby RR features the company’s familiar liquid-cooled 312cc single-cylinder engine, which already does duty in the G 310 R, G 310 GS, and, of course, the Apache RR 310. The motor develops around 34bhp and 27Nm of torque and is paired to a 6-speed transmission, which gets a slipper-and-assist clutch.
Performance-wise, there are no real surprises. The engine behaves in exactly the same manner as it does in the RR 310. The low- and mid-range are solid, and there is a strong surge at around 6,000rpm. At low speeds or in traffic, this motor is super tractable, as the spread of torque is linear. The motor isn’t highly strung, meaning you don’t have to rev the nuts off to pull a quick overtake or exploit a gap in traffic. However, if you do decide to chase the redline, you’ll notice a strong kick at around 6,000rpm, which gets headier as the revs climb up to 10,000rpm. It’s as if the engine gets a second wind from mid-to-high rpm.
However, what you won’t quite enjoy – like in the TVS – is the engine’s gruff nature. Even though both TVS and BMW have made huge strides in reducing the NVH levels of this motor in the past few years, it’s still not the most refined engine out there. Vibrations are present throughout, and the engine sounds quite coarse as soon as the tach hits 6,000rpm. Compared to the G 310 R or G 310 GS, the RR feels more vibey because of its committed riding posture. Since you’re putting more weight/pressure on your wrists and footpegs, even the slightest buzz from the clip-on bars is felt easily.
The four riding modes work as marketed – in Urban and Rain, the throttle response is subdued, and the top speed is limited to 125km/h (136 speedo-indicated). In Track and Sport, the power is fully unleashed. I must add that it’s a little too aggressive in Track mode.
The G 310 RR uses the same trellis frame and suspension setup – KYB upside-down front forks and a mono-shock at the back – as the Apache RR 310. This means that its riding experience is vastly similar to that of the latter. As we have always maintained, every motorcycle on BMW’s G 310 platform has this delectable ride-and-handling balance. If you want to ride these motorcycles hard around bends, the chassis and suspension tuning is such that they don’t flinch or disappoint. And if you’re using these motorcycles for your everyday commutes, you will find that the suspension is pliant and more than capable of absorbing bumps and tackling bad roads without feeling stiff or bone jarring.
The G 310 RR is no different. Like the Apache, the baby RR is a sharp-handling motorcycle, and it's also hugely forgiving. Its turn-ins are quick, but the bike never feels nervous or twitchy. Side-to-side transitions are fluid, and the mid-corner stability is simply exceptional. On a tight and twisty road, you get the sense that you can easily keep up with bigger multi-cylinder motorcycles – that’s the kind of confidence boost it gives you when you push it in corners.
Ride it over bad and broken roads, and you won't be able to believe how absorbent the suspension is. The ride isn’t hard-edged, which is usually the case with a motorcycle that handles this well.
Now, let’s talk about the bits that BMW has conveniently skimped on. TVS offers the Apache RR 310 with adjustable suspension (optional) under their built-to-order or BTO programme. BMW doesn’t feel the need for it. That makes sense, as for 95% of the buyers, it won’t matter because, as you read above, the standard setup is perfect for our roads. However, if you’re serious about your spring rates and cornering speeds, it’s a great option to have, especially considering the price (+Rs 12,000) at which TVS offers it. On a day-to-day basis, though, I’m not sure if I’d miss the adjustable suspension.
Another area where BMW has cut corners is the tyres. You see, the Apache RR 310 comes shod with Michelin Road 5 tyres, while the G 310 RR gets Michelin Pilot Street rubber. Now, the Road 5s aren’t just superior in every single way but also help you unlock the true potential of the G 310 RR/RR 310’s chassis. The Pilot Street tyres, on the other hand, are simply sub-par in comparison. They don’t talk to you in the way the Road 5s do, and when you start pushing the motorcycle, they don’t offer the same (high) grip levels or feedback. In wet conditions, too, they don’t perform as well, and under hard braking, they tend to squirm and screech quite early on. Again, in everyday riding, the tyres do the job just fine. But when you want to have some fun, these tyres are quick to show their limitations.
The brakes offer a strong bite, and you get good feedback from the lever. In Track and Sport modes, the ABS is the least intrusive, which is great because ABS used to kick in a little too early on the earlier Apache RR 310s (BS4).
So far, we’ve established that the G 310 RR is identical to the Apache RR 310, except for a couple of things. Like, it gets fewer features, there’s no adjustable suspension, and the tyres are inferior. And if all that doesn’t leave a sour taste in your mouth, its pricing definitely will. The G 310 RR costs 20,000 more than the corresponding Apache RR 310, whereas the Race Style variant that you see here costs a whopping Rs 35,000 more (Rs 2.99 lakh, ex-showroom). So, put simply, not only is it not as complete as the bike it’s based on, but it’s also quite pricey. And for what joy? The BMW badge? Technically, yes. You pay the extra moolah for that BMW roundel. But, truth be told, it goes way beyond the badge.
There are a few things worth mentioning. You see, as a product, the Apache RR 310 is without a doubt more complete and offers better value for your money, so, logically, it’s the bike to buy. However, with the BMW, you get a more premium ownership experience, and you feel a lot more special wherever you ride it, or even when it’s parked in your driveway. And, at the end of the day, it’s a damn good motorcycle. There’s more stuff like service, spare parts, warranty, etc., and we’ve discussed it in detail here: Unpopular Opinion: Here’s Why I’d Buy the BMW G 310 RR over the TVS Apache RR 310
As for cynics who call it a TVS in BMW’s clothing, well, here are some hard facts – the 310's platform was originally developed and engineered by BMW. And once they were done with that, they chose TVS as their manufacturing partner. In return, TVS used the same platform (engine, frame, and the works) to launch their own product, which was the Apache RR 310. So, if you think about it with a cool head, the G 310 RR is more BMW than TVS.
In the end, it all boils down to your personal preference, as both of these bikes are more or less the same and are damn good at what they do. It’s just that the BMW gives you more mileage in terms of brand value, whereas the TVS offers you a heck of a lot more at a lesser price but without any bragging rights or the ego boost that comes with owning a BMW.
- BMW G 310 RR
Engine: 312cc / Single-Cylinder / Liquid-Cooled
Power: 33.5bhp @ 9,700rpm
Torque: 27.3Nm @ 7,600rpm
Price: ₹2.99 lakh (Ex-showroom)
X-Factor: The baby BMW RR is a perfect entry-level sports bike with an unmatched brand appeal.