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New tyres, more features, better connectivity and BS6 trickery – enough to better the already brilliant TVS Apache RR310 on the road? Time to find out
We have ridden the TVS Apache RR310 and its various updated versions several times till date. We’ve had it as our long-term test motorcycle, we also did a comparison test with it, pitting it against the likes of the KTM RC 200 and 390 and the Kawasaki Ninja 300 among others (The RR310 was the winner). And more recently we tested the latest BS6 iteration at the MMRT, Chennai. But this time, TVS has lent us the keys to the same BS6-equipped motorcycle for a thorough road test. Let’s refresh our memories first. What’s new on the RR310 BS6? There’s now the new ride-by-wire throttle which brings with it new riding modes, a Bluetooth-enabled digital instrument console, GTT+ (Glide Through Traffic) and most importantly– new tyres. We already know that the RR310 strikes the perfect balance between being a road-friendly tourer to a track-ready machine. So what value do the upgrades really bring to the table?
Visually the bike remains exactly the same except for the addition of the grey colour. Aesthetically, it still looks fresh and very sporty. So, let’s just skip to what’s new here. Get astride the RR310 and the 5-inch TFT display, or a ‘Race Computer’ in TVS’ speak, is hard to ignore. The display is bright and crisp and the dedicated control cubes on the left handlebar make toggling through the menu effortless. Using these control cubes, you can switch between the riding modes – Urban, Rain, Sport and Track for which there are distinct, individual graphics. Connect your smartphone to the integrated SmartXonnect system using the TVS Connect app and you can access data like your best 0-60kmph and 0-100kmph times, top speed and riding pattern graphs among others. The navigation, just like on the RTR 200 4V and the Ntorq that we previously reviewed, remains inaccurate. The map data is picked up from MapMyIndia which itself isn’t something ideal in the first place. You’d be better off with your smartphone then. However, the riding modes aren’t really gimmicky, especially when it comes to braking but more on that later. Let’s talk about the riding experience first.
Twist your wrist and the RR310 reacts with urgency. The throttle is extremely sharp, especially in Track mode, and the RR310 feels like it’s eager to chase the horizon. There’s ample low and mid-range punch and overall power delivery is very linear. In Track and Sport modes, the system deploys all of its 33bhp and 27.3Nm of torque. Despite the BS6 upgrades to the engine, these power and torque figures have remained identical. Although, Urban and Rain modes do restrict power and torque to 25bhp and 25Nm and the difference is noticeable. These modes are great to use while puttering around town and you’ll barely miss the additional power unless you find an empty stretch of tarmac. The throttle also reacts in a more progressive manner in these modes, but it’s safe to say that TVS has tuned the ride-by-wire for predominantly sharper responses. The gearbox is slick and shifts very positively. We have already tried the GTT feature on the RTR 200 4V BS6 but on the RR310 you get GTT+ which works well for all the six cogs, unlike on the RTR. Release the clutch slowly and you can cruise at 37kmph in the sixth gear in Urban or Rain modes and forget the worries of shifting gears in slow moving traffic. It works really well. TVS says that it adds to the ridability on highways. We second that.
Moving on, no changes have been made to the suspension setup as such except for the forks being tweaked slightly for better front-end feel. The ride still strikes a great balance between ‘comfort’ and ‘sporty’ and the agility is excellent as well. As Abhishek had mentioned in the first review, the RR310 is now sharper than ever, limited only by its grinding feelers. But that doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable over bad roads. The RR310 doesn’t shy away from potholes and no road undulations unsettle it. Most of the credit goes to the Michelin Road 5 tyres which replace the Pilot Sport for good. As aforementioned, I have been riding the RR310 in rain and the tires provide excellent wet weather grip. The tyres are rather sticky when the RR310 is leaned in as well and they do add to the braking as well. I rode the RR310 on wet roads the entire week and the Rain mode especially came in handy with its maximum ABS intervention and progressive power response. ABS is least intrusive in Track mode but overall, the stopping power is great and the brakes shed speed really well.
So, with the BS6 upgrade, is the Apache RR310 better on the road than before? Yes, this is how the RR310 should have been from day one. The ride-by-wire throttle adds plenty of oomph to the overall performance and the riding modes add great versatility. The TFT display too is a welcome move and so is GTT+. My only grouse would be how the engine feels stressed beyond 8000rpm, but it’s not really a deal breaker and something we can live with. For pure unadulterated performance, the KTM RC 200 and 390 are still the best motorcycles in this space, but if you’re looking for a better overall package, something that’s easy and fun to ride in everyday traffic and enthralling to throw around corners on a racetrack, the TVS is definitely worth a dekko.