TVS Apache RR 310 BTO first ride review
TVS launched the Apache RR 310 back in 2017 and the bike has been constantly updated with features like a slipper clutch, better tyres and tweaks to the engine to smoothen out the vibrations. Last year’s update was quite comprehensive with ride-by-wire with four riding modes, sticky Michelin Road 5 tyres and a 5-inch colour-TFT display which made the RR better both on and off the racetrack. Now, TVS have gone and given their flagship yet another update which includes a revised exhaust, more features in the instrument cluster, and the new Built To Order (BTO) platform that enables the buyer to spec their Apache RR 310 with fully-adjustable suspension, a Race kit and a handful of aesthetic updates. How has this improved on the already excellent RR 310?
Built To Order
BTO is TVS’s latest platform through which a buyer can book, spec, order and track the delivery of their bike and it starts with the RR 310. Accessed through a web configurator or via the TVS ARIVE app on your smartphone, BTO lets you spec the 2021 Apache RR 310 with four extras over the standard bike. This includes the Dynamic kit costing Rs 12,000 which consists of adjustable suspension - 20 clicks of compression and rebound damping plus 15mm of preload on the front while on the rear you get 20 clicks of rebound damping and 10 clicks of preload. Then there is the Rs 5000 Race kit which includes knurled rear-set footpegs, lowered clip ons and a brass coated chain. The third is livery inspired by TVS’s One Make Championship race bikes which in my opinion looks absolutely stunning and costs Rs 4500. And finally the fourth option is red painted alloy wheels for Rs 1500. You can also customise the visor with a race number of your liking. TVS has announced that the Race kit and (shortly) Dynamic kit will be available for existing Apache RR 310 owners as well, the prices for which will be announced soon.
New on the 2021 Apache RR 310
BTO customisation options aside, the 2021 TVS Apache RR 310 has received a few small updates, including a revised exhaust system which has been slightly upswept to allow for more lean angles and has also been tuned to sound better. Which it does! The next update is to the 5-inch colour TFT screen. TVS has added features like a day trip meter which gives you a summary on your entire riding day, an overspeed indication and a dynamic rev limit indicator which warns you when you over rev a cold engine. The most interesting feature of the update, however, has to be the ability to store documents like your registration and driver’s license and display it on the instrument cluster whenever a cop stops you to check out your snazzy, liveried RR. Finally, there’s the new wave bite key which also doubles as the adjuster tool for the new suspension kit. But apart from this, the RR 310 remains unchanged in terms of engine outputs and design.
Out on the MMRT
All of our first rides of the RR 310 have been on the Madras Motor Race Track and it’s no different with this 2021 update, reinforcing the strong link between TVS Racing and their road bike program. The bikes we rode were specced with both the Race kit and the Dynamic kit and I’ll start with the benefits of the former. The altered rider’s triangle courtesy the new rearsets and lowered clip ons are apparent the moment you mount the bike. And it definitely works in the setting of a race track. The position is immediately more committed and you can properly hug the bike, ensuring none of your inputs are lost in translation. The knurled pegs are nice and grippy so you don’t need to worry about your foot sliding off, even in the wet. TVS claims that the raised foot pegs have opened up an extra 4.5 degrees of lean. Sounds about right. The setup makes you feel like you are putting the fabulous Michelin Road 5 tyres to much better use, extracting much more of its potential. And despite the ergonomic changes, the RR 310 hasn’t become an uncomfortable bike by any means. One odd bit however is the lack of adjustable clutch and brake levers. And these aren’t available as an option in the BTO page either. This is definitely something TVS should look into adding, and quick, considering even the RTR 200 4V gets ‘em.
Onto the suspension setup. If specced, the RR 310 now deploys fully-adjustable Kayaba suspension at both ends and boy do they work. To set perspective, we rode a couple of laps of the MMRT with TVS having set up the suspension to mimic the setup on the outgoing bike and then for the next few laps, we rode the bike with TVS’s race setting. The difference was huge. The bike immediately responded better to my inputs and felt a lot more planted. It still wasn’t perfect because it was a generic setting that wasn’t set according to my (extravagant) body weight. But after a couple more laps, some back and forth with the engineers at TVS and a few turns of a screwdriver, everything started coming together. I was able to push much harder without the bike squirming under me. The bike was way more stable and confidence inspiring and, heck, it even enabled me to pop my knee-down cherry. The bike has definitely become sharper and more dynamically focussed. Now, fully adjustable suspension is not something you just slap on and expect to dramatically improve your lap times. You have to spend some time with it, play with the settings, get an engineer to help you to set the sag and once you do that, the rewards are priceless. And for Rs 12,000 as an add on the Dynamic kit should be a no-brainer.
Well, not really. We were riding the bike in Track mode exclusively, cause duh, race track. But the throttle response was extremely twitchy hampering the otherwise splendid experience. At high revs, when you get back on the throttle after rolling off momentarily to correct your line, the bike becomes pretty twitchy and in some cases this even unsettles the bike. This however should be an easy fix considering that it is a ride-by-wire throttle system. The brakes too aren't the best in business and could do with more initial bite and progressive feedback. Another issue which I’m hoping is a pre-production niggle, is the average switchgear quality and plastics that didn’t feel up to the mark.
Summing up, the 2021 TVS Apache RR 310 BTO is a great update and an excellent stone into the world of supersports for someone looking to get a proper balance of both comfortable touring/cruising and proper committed track riding. And with the BTO kits, the versatility of the RR 310 is just further accentuated. At Rs 2.6 lakh ex-showroom for the base RR 310 and then the add-ons which you can’t miss, the bike is slightly on the pricey side but definitely worth it for someone looking for the thrills it definitely offers. And, not to forget, you get the TVS Racing stamp of approval!