Why buy it?
- Engine performance
- Loaded with features
- Balanced ride and handling package
Why avoid it?
- Engine has vibrations
- Design lacks originality
The TVS Apache RTR 310 is the naked streetfighter version of the RR310, a motorcycle that everyone in the BikeWale team has come to like. Now, on the face of it, the RTR 310 is a very appealing motorcycle. It is priced aggressively, has an attractive design, and packs features that are unheard of in the segment. And it is clear that TVS wants to take some share out of the sales of the KTM 390 Duke and the BMW G 310 R. But, does the motorcycle offer an equally good performance?
We tested the Apache RTR 310 in the urban jungle of Bangkok and at the Thailand Circuit Motorsport Complex, and here’s what we found out.
The Apache RTR 310 looks every bit sporty and aggressive from any angle you look at it. Be it the low-slung LED headlamp, the extended tank shrouds or even the sleek and slender tail section, everything seems to have a sense of aggression to it. But, even one glance is enough to tell you that the overall styling is familiar, and seems to draw some styling resemblance from the likes of the KTM 390 Duke and the Ducati Streetfighter V4. Nonetheless, the overall styling is quite likeable and sure to turn heads.
The overall fit and finish is commendable, with no ill-fitted panel gaps or rattling whatsoever. Even the paint quality and switchgear exude a sense of premium feel. That said, the RTR 310 is available in three paint schemes – Arsenal Black, Fury Yellow, and Sepang Blue. I personally liked the Sepang Blue colour over the yellow and black options.
With an accessible seat height of 800mm, you can easily flat-foot on the motorcycle if you are 5’7” tall or above. The ergonomics are spot-on, and the slightly rear-set footpegs and the wide handlebar offer a sporty yet comfortable rider’s triangle.
If you thought the KTM 390 Duke is the epitome of features and tech wizardry in its segment, then TVS has hit a home run with the equipment list on the Apache RTR 310. The motorcycle comes equipped with segment-first features like cruise control, climatic control seats with heating and cooling functions, and a six-axis IMU with dynamic stability control that offers safety features like cornering ABS, cornering traction control, cornering cruise control, wheelie control, rear lift mitigation and more.
Then, the motorcycle also gets a five-inch instrument cluster with GoPro controls, music and telephony control, smart helmet device connectivity, and turn-by-turn navigation. You also get LED lighting all around and five ride modes – Urban, Rain, Sport, Track, and Supermoto.
The TVS Apache RTR 310 is powered by a reverse-inclined, 312.2cc, liquid-cooled motor that produces 35.08bhp at 9,700rpm and 28.7Nm at 6,650rpm. Now, these figures are roughly 1.6bhp and 1.4Nm more than the Apache RR310, courtesy of the lighter forged aluminium pistons.
Cranking up the motor, and as you get going, the engine offers punchy performance off the line. Although the motor offers good low-end torque and decent tractability, it offers excellent mid-range and top-end performance.
That said, vibrations start to creep in as early as 5,000rpm. Although the vibes aren’t bothersome at 5,000rpm, it starts to get uncomfortable between 6,000rpm and 7,500rpm. Vibrations can be felt at the pegs, seat, fuel tank, and at the handlebar. This somewhat spoils the riding experience as you are doing between 85-120kmph at these rpms, and this is where you’d want the motor to feel relaxed and vibe-free. Surprisingly, the engine feels smooth post 8,000rpm when you go upwards of 130kmph.
The gearbox works like a charm and it shifts through the gears precisely. Even the clutch action is light, and changing gears in city traffic isn’t much of an issue. That said, the first three gears are too short, and I’d have liked it if the ratios were slightly spaced out. Another highlight is that the bi-directional quickshifter works well without any issue, both during clutch-less upshifts as well as downshifts.
Another area where the RTR 310 scores highly is in the ride and handling department. The motorcycle is quite flickable and changes directions telepathically. It’s like point-and-shoot. Even on the race track, the motorcycle carves its intended line effortlessly and is very quick to do the side-to-side shimmy around chicanes. Adding to its positives are the grippy Michelin Road 5 tyres that offer superior grip and allow you to push the bike to its limits.
If you thought the handling prowess would come at the cost of its ride quality, you’d be mistaken. The setup is slightly softer than the Apache RR310 and it offers a borderline plush ride quality. Although the roads in Bangkok were extremely smooth, the suspension absorbed the odd surface undulations without any issues. Even while going over bridge expansion joints or the sudden dips in the roads, the rear didn’t throw me off the bike, which is quite commendable. Plus, the cherry on top is the availability of the optional adjustable suspension, which allows you to further tweak the setup as per your needs.
Finally, the brakes too worked well with the front brake offering a decent initial bite, but very good progression and lever feel. The rear brake, however, felt non-existent and could do with more stopping power. The ABS calibration is spot-on too, and doesn’t intervene unless you perform panic braking.
So, should you buy the TVS Apache RTR 310? Well, quite frankly, you should. The RTR 310 is an excellent package if you are in the market to buy a 300-400cc motorcycle. It offers engaging performance and an excellent balance between ride and handling. Moreover, its long list of segment-first features can even put a KTM 390 Duke owner to envy. Then, you can also opt for the adjustable suspension via the BTO program, and customize the setup according to your needs.
On the downside though, the engine feels very vibey especially between 6,000-7,500rpm, making it uncomfortable to cruise between 80-120kmph. This is surprising because this is the ideal cruising speed on Indian roads for most riders.
All said and done, the Apache RTR 310 is a very enticing motorcycle if you are upgrading from a 200cc, and are looking for a sporty bike with a lot of features. Given its starting price of Rs. 2.43 (ex-showroom), the Apache RTR 310 undercuts the KTM 390 Duke and the BMW G 310 R by a huge margin. And, even if you choose the fully loaded variant with the BTO kit, the RTR 310 not only offers more features and tech, but an excellent value-for-money proposition.
Photography by TVS Motor Company