The TVS Apache RR 310, the flagship motorcycle from TVS Motor Company introduced a new era of engineering and performance in product development for the Indian two-wheeler manufacturer. With sharp styling, excellent build quality and loaded with features, including a race-tuned slipper clutch, the RR 310 offers an excellent do-it-all motorcycle, for the daily commute, touring and even for racetrack duties. Now, in 2020, TVS has had to update the engine to meet the upcoming BS6 emission regulations, with a slightly higher sticker price.
So, the new 2020 Apache RR 310 not only meets the BS6 norms, but also gets significantly updated, with new features, and new technology, including new tyres, developed in association with Michelin, which are said to offer better grip and handling than before. To sample how different the new bike is, we spent a day hustling the new Apache RR 310 around the Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai, and we have to say this, it's the same bike, but still feels like an updated model with significant improvements, both on the features list, as well as in how it feels around a racetrack! More on this, below!
The Apache RR 310's design overall remains the same, as do the dimensions and hardware. But now it's available in an attractive new "titanium black" colour shade, in addition to the standard gloss red shade, with a blacked out lower fairing. But the most differentiating change on the feature list is a new electronics system, powered by a new throttle-by-wire system, with a choice of four riding modes - Track, Sport, Urban and Rain, with two engine maps.
Track and Sport have the same engine map offering full power, while Urban and Rain have both power and torque restricted. Along with the riding modes are three different levels of ABS settings, developed in association with Bosch, with Rain mode offering the most intervention, while Urban and Sport share a common ABS setting, optimised for quick response with minimal brake lever effort. Track mode, on the other hand, optimises the brake response for late braking into corners. What is also new are the dual-compound tyres, developed in association with Michelin, called the Michelin Road 5.
The new electronics suite can be accessed through a brand new, full-colour, 5-inch TFT instrument panel, designed by TVS, and developed by Continental. The console offers a long list of new information, including a Bluetooth-enabled SmartXonnect system which offers smartphone linking, and displays in-depth post ride analysis and race telemetry including gear shifting points, best lap time, service reminder, as well as performance indicators like top speed, fuel consumption and more. The left switchgear is new, with what are called the control cubes to easily navigate between the riding modes, as well as through the multi-information race computer. Everything else remains the same, including the frame, suspension and cycle parts.
How does it ride?
Heading out into the track, what's immediately apparent is that the 2020 TVS Apache RR 310 feels smoother than the outgoing BS4 model. Throttle response is smooth and predictable, and the vibrations associated with the first generation model seem to be a thing of the past. Accelerating and redlining through the gears, you can still feel some vibrations on the seat at high revs though, but not enough to give us reason to make any complaints. The race-tuned slipper clutch offers you the liberty of downshifting aggressively, and even clutchless upshifts, if you feel the need to do so.
But what has significantly changed is how the new Apache RR 310 feels around corners. The new Michelin Road 5 tyres offer superb grip, and the confidence to push the bike harder, and tighter around corners. The result is grippier performance, offering more confidence to the rider around corners. It definitely feels more flickable now, and gives you the sense of being more in control of the 2020 RR 310, than the outgoing model.
The engine remains the same, and output also remains more or less the same, but now it gets two different engine maps. In Track and Sport mode, the 313 cc, reverse-inclined, single-cylinder engine puts out around 34 bhp at 9,700 rpm, with the same 27.3 Nm of peak torque kicking in at 7,700 rpm. But in Urban and Rain mode, the engine's power is restricted to 25.5 bhp at 7,600 rpm, with 25 Nm of peak torque coming in now at 6,700 rpm. The ABS settings offer different levels of intervention as well, and although it wasn't easy to differentiate how different the ABS intervention in different settings is, it still offers confident and safe stopping power, even in the wet.
The final word
The updated 2020 TVS Apache RR 310 gets a price tag of ₹ 2.40 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India), a premium of ₹ 12,000 over the outgoing model. Apart from being BS6-ready, what the RR 310 now gets is a significant step-up, with the ride-by-wire throttle, four riding modes, as well as full-colour instrument panel which certainly makes the RR 310 feel more premium than ever. The Apache RR 310 always has been a well-engineered, sharply-styled motorcycle high on quality and performance. The updated 2020 model just makes the RR 310 that much better, making it feel even more premium than before, and well worth the hike in price. It's actually quite a likeable and desirable motorcycle, as an all-rounder which can be fun to push around a racetrack as well!