The Indian motorcycle market is taking a turn for the better with several offerings in various segments. You name it and they’ll have it - 150, 250, 300, 400, 600 and so on. A growing number of Indian motorcyclists want more than just a big mileage figure and are happy to accept dopamine-releasing performance and it’s alright if it drinks more fuel. A lot of these learnings for sporty street bikes come from the racetrack and TVS Racing has 37 years of experience on the subject and is slowly but steadily incorporating those learnings on its mass-market products. Reader, meet the new 2019 edition of the TVS RR310 - it likes the racetrack but would love to be your everyday motorcycle as well. So, what does the new RR310 offer? A simple answer to it is that it now comes with a slip and assist clutch. Has it made any significant changes? We found out at the Madras Motor Race Track (MMRT) in Chennai.
If you happen to own a TVS Apache RR310 or have ridden it, you’re aware of most of what the 2019 edition rides like. However, now that there’s a slip and assist, you can downshift really quickly before entering a corner without unsettling the ride much. Though it’s not every day you’ll ride on a racetrack, it has its benefits in the real world too.
To explain what a slip-assist clutch does, one needs to be familiar with what engine braking is. To put it simply, when you’re at a fast pace for example in third gear and accidentally or intentionally downshift to first, the engine tries to slow down the motorcycle on its own accord by bringing down the RPMs. This can be dangerous as the wheel is already spinning at a faster pace and can cause the rear wheel to lock and hop, or lock and slide. This can particularly be a tricky situation if the tyres have dirt under them or water or snow.
A slip and assist clutch allows the wheel to spin relatively freely and makes the transition from a higher gear to a lower one relatively smoother. Besides this, the pull on the clutch lever of the 2019 RR310 feels rather light and should be comfortable for prolonged use in city traffic. This is mostly what the slip cam of the slip and assist clutch assembly deals with, the assist cam helps improves torque carrying capacity. Torque is what gets a vehicle moving and if that is improved, one can expect a quicker start off the line.
On the new RR310, the initial response from the engine has the grunt and if you get your gears right - it can deliver a properly quick start off the line. To add to the changes on the new model, the gearshifts can now be really quick if you want them to be - just a tap on the clutch does it.
The addition of a slip and assist clutch has made the Apache RR310 more forgiving and safe. However, at the end of the day, I’ll only say that it is all about understanding your motorcycle and how it responds in different gears, various speeds, on corners, and in emergency situations which all comes to you in time by spending more time on the saddle. And if there’s going to be tech that helps enable younger buyers to be better riders - it is most welcome.
2019 TVS Apache RR310 continues to be powered by the same engine which it shares with the BMW Motorrad’s G310 siblings with similar power figures. Vibrations in mid and higher RPMs remain but are slightly controlled now. The suspension set up is stiff enough to tackle quick directional changes on a racetrack, though it feels a bit squishy on the undulations mid-corner, of which there are a couple on MMRT. Fret not, however, because this means there’s ample travel in the suspension and is good news for its ride comfort on real-world roads.
The price point at which the TVS Apache RR310 is sitting, I’d say it makes a good buy as it offers a great blend of street riding and if you’re a healthy rider without back problems, you can take it long distance as well - it’ll be great fun on mountain twisties. And it doesn’t end there, you can take this motorcycle to a racetrack in its stock form. If you’re thinking ‘Will I ever even ride a motorcycle on a racetrack?’ I’ll say why not. It’ll be one of the most brilliant ways you can think of spending your Sunday - BIC (Budh International Circuit) does open track days, y’know.