TVS boasts about its racing history quite a lot and for good reason too. They made a little moped cross 100 km/h back in the 80s and today TVS holds its one-make championship and also participates in what is considered the most challenging motorsport today, the Dakar Rally. So, after years of experience in racing, some of the learnings must have trickled down to the company’s road products, yes? Anything can be ridden on a race track and but not everything deserves to be on a race track. The RTR has been adored by boy racers but now, but TVS now has something that absolutely shines on a track, the 2021 TVS Apache RR 310.
The RR310 was first launched in 2017, stepping into new territory while lifting the RTR fans’ expectations from sporty commuters to a fully-faired sports motorcycle that looked its part and could head to a track in stock condition.
With every model that TVS rolled out for the RR310, they introduced an upgrade that did translate into improved performance. The first model had too many vibrations which were tended to, it was added with a slip & assist clutch, the BS6 version offered better refinement and a longer feature list, and now it has the option for suspension tuning that suits a track.
TVS has been using race-spec RR310s for its championships. These bikes have a custom exhaust, they’re lighter and most importantly, the suspension set-up is tweaked. TVS now offers this ease of suspension adjustment with the 2021 model. There is a 20-step adjustment for the compression and rebound damping on the KYB forks (and 15mm of preload adjustment) and a 20-step adjustment for the rear shock as well.
To say the least, it makes a tremendous difference in how the motorcycle responds on the track. Having ridden the standard suspension setup and one tweaked for the track back-to-back, the difference was all the easier to tell.
The simple reason why race machines have stiff suspension is that a suspension’s job is not just to compress while braking or cornering (or to just absorb undulations when on the street) but also to push the wheel back to the tarmac quickly so as to maintain traction and speed (this is where the rebound adjustment comes in handy). A soft suspension would result in a lethargic response from the vehicle in question.
Now, with the race-fit suspension, the RR310 definitely feels more agile, promising a sharper response on corners and minimal (or no) dive while braking. Even without any tweaks to the powertrain, it can perhaps clock quicker lap times now. This (available in the Dynamic kit), plus the Race kit which offers race ergonomics with handlebars and footpegs that create a more committed riding stance, the RR310 is now two steps closer to becoming the race machine it is capable of being. We’re waiting for more of such upgrades from TVS for the RR in the future. How about a lighter race exhaust?
Engine – 312.2cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled
Power – Sport & Track mode: 34 PS at 9,700 rpm
Urban & Rain mode: 25.8 PS at 7,600 rpm
Torque – Sport and Track mode: 27.3 Nm at 7,700 rpm
Urban and Rain mode: 25 Nm at 6,700 rpm
Throttle by wire
Slip & assist clutch
Brakes – Front: 300 mm
Rear: 240 mm
Suspension – Front: Inverted telescopic forks
Rear: Two arm aluminium die-cast swingarm, monoshock
Tyres – Front: 17″ 110/70 Tubeless Michelin ROAD 5
Rear: 17″ 150/60 Tubeless Michelin ROAD 5
Ground clearance – 180 mm
Seat height – 810 mm
Kerb weight – 174 kg
Fuel tank – 11 litres
5″ TFT instrument cluster with Bluetooth connectivity
– turn-by-turn navigation
– phone notifications, etc.
The tale so far
So, what all is new on the 2021 model? The Dynamic kit takes care of the adjustable suspension, the Race kit adds the sportier riding position, the TFT instrument cluster has new features like Digi Doc (to store vehicle docs) and Dynamic Rev Limiter, there are accessories to choose from and the race colours are interesting, especially since you can add a racing number of your liking on the front.
TVS have also introduced a ‘Build To Order’ platform that lets a customer customise their motorcycle on a web configurator or the app called TVS Arrive. Or if you like, don’t bother with any of this and get a standard bike that remains the same as before. With 34 hp and 27 Nm, the engine offers the most punch in the middle of the rev band. The brakes, as before, are spot on.
The 2021 model really just adds a lot more choice for a customer. While the performance on the track is genuinely impressive, I can’t help but wonder if a street rider needs the option to firm up the suspension. And the kits will take the price higher as well. The base price is now Rs 2,59,990 (ex-showroom). To prepare it for the track with the full package, if you must, you would shell out at least Rs 17,000 more (Dynamic kit – Rs 12,000 and Race kit – Rs 5,000) and if racing colours are added, they’re priced at Rs 4,500 (Race Replica graphics) and Rs 1,500 (red alloy wheels).
But to me, it isn’t about how many of these kits TVS sells, but the fact that the kits are available for anyone who’d want them (even for the older models – 2017 and later). TVS is doing what a motorcycle manufacturer should be doing, sharing its experience from the track with its customers that will hopefully make more young riders in India look at motorcycle racing as a career to pick.
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