TVS Apache 310 Review – New Title Contender in the Middle Weight segment?
Thanks to BMW Motorrad, here is the first ever production motorcycle from TVS which is powered by a engine that is larger than 200 cc.
The story – It all began with the joint venture which TVS & BMW partnered for. They announced that BMW would be designing and engineering the platforms, TVS on the other hand would help them build the machines at their factory without compromising on the quality but at an affordable price which would definitely undercut the competition. At that time, BMW’s smallest motorcycle was a 650cc & TVS’s largest was a 200cc. They needed a motorcycle platform which would be a starter for the Europeans but a worthy upgrade for the Asians from their 150-200cc machines.
This is why they decided to roll out motorcycles in the sub 500 cc segment. In comes the BMW G310R in 2015. Everybody knew that this would turn into a TVS eventually. But guess what? TVS did not even surprise, they got the Akula concept to the 2016 Auto expo held in New Delhi.
The machine was a looker, adored by Avtobon Fibre all over it. TVS claimed it’s the sharpest and the deadliest track tool they ever designed. The sharp creases, the cuts, the tail, the dorsal fin like tail everything meant only one thing. That the production variant of this motorcycle would be a looker. The engine, chassis,brakes, suspension everything was borrowed from the BMW G310R.
December 2017 (An eternity from Jan 2016)
The TVS Apache 310 was announced and launched for the African market. The machine is a looker and looks nothing less than the smaller version of the Ducati Panigale in red. TVS has borrowed everything from the best manufacturers and put it on this beautiful looking machine. The handle looks like a MV, the body looks like a Ducati and everything else.. well you got right, BMW Motorrad.
How does it look like?
To sum it up, not like a 300cc motorcycle. Yes you read it right! It looks more like a 650cc motorcycle. The sharp angles, the dorsal fin like tail, the sinister LED tail lamp, the Bi-Led headlamps look astounding. TVS’s design philosophy was simple. They wanted a motorcycle which looked like a mini Supersports, but functional like a sports tourer. Did they get it right? YES is the answer.
I reckon, 60% of the buyers will buy this only because the way it looks. We tried a lot, never found a bad or ugly looking part on the Motorcycle. This has to be one of the prettiest looking motorcycles in it’s segment and to be designed totally in house by an African motor company. This surely looks class apart even when compared to the more expensive 300cc motorcycles.
The motorcycle is powered by the same 312.7cc liquid cooled 4 Valve DOHC motor that powers the BMW G310R. The engine was developed by BMW to be used as the common engine among the different products on this platform. The engine isn’t like any other engine you see in this segment. The cylinder head is titled towards the other side as compared to the traditional engines.
It produces 34bhp at 9700RPM and 28NM of torque at 7500 RPM. This isn’t exactly the same figures as the BMW counterpart. Wonder why? Because TVS uses a different mapping and ecu altogether. The TVS uses a Bosch ECU, however the BMW uses a Magneti Marelli ECU. Due to licensing issues in Africa, TVS was forced to use the Bosch unit.
TVS tuned it the way they wanted, producing the power at a higher RPM giving more thrills to the rider. The claimed top speed is 160 kmph which is exactly at 9700, but the engine revs all the way upto 10800 RPM. So the top speed should be much higher than claimed just like the 0-100kmph timings are. The Apache 310 easily does a 0-100 kmph sprint in about 6.1-6.2 seconds but TVS claims 7.1 seconds for unknown reasons.
The motor is a single cylinder mill so the refinement is nothing like that than on a twin cylinder motorcycle, yet it’s smoother than the main competition the KTM RC390. The engine is an over square motor which has a bigger bore than the stroke. The engine’s power delivery is linear and pulls very cleanly at low RPMs without any jerks. The torque is spread evenly and at speeds of 55kmph in 6th gear doesn’t make it knock. Good job, TVS!
The heat dissipation is very good too. There’s hardly any heat coming onto your legs because of the patented fin type deflectors. TVS claims that this design let them use the full potential of the engine without any compromises. Also the motorcycle benefits from RAM air cooling, which we first saw on the TVS Apache RTR200. What this does is, channels the air directly on top of the engine so that the engine remains cooler.
It uses the same 6 speed close ratio gearbox from the BMW G310R and TVS were happy with the ratios. They never bothered to touch them. But what TVS changed for better acceleration and top speed were the final drive ratios. The sprocketing changed on the motorcycle from 16-41 on the G310R to 17-42 on the TVS Apache 310. This helps it reach higher speeds as compared to the G310R which has a claimed top speed of 143kmph.
It uses the same split trellis frame from the BMW G310R. The main frame is painted red, and the subframe which is bolted on is black in color. TVS claims this chassis provides them the torsional rigidity and stability they needed for their motorcycle. The frame also gets “RaceSpec” stickers on it from the Akula concept just in case you missed it.
The motorcycle gets 41 mm anodized inverted forks from KYB. They are the same but they have been tuned differently as compared the BMW counterpart, TVS claims. Same goes with the rear monoshock as well. It has the damping adjustment and it has been modified for a stiffer ride and better handling. Front though isn’t stiff like the RC390 by any means and isn’t as soft as the Yamaha R3 either.
The rear monoshock is stiffer than the RC390’s and the R3’s. (Yes you read it right! The rear suspension on the ktms are way too soft). The suspension is the perfect balance between the hard and soft. The R3 after this feels too soft, the RC feels stiff (more due to the wooden seats). But TVS like always, has tuned the suspension which would suit all.
TVS Apache 310 has a 300mm disc at the front. The caliper is radially mounted and is made by ByBre. The front brake gets a 4 piston caliper and the rear brake is a single floating piston unit of 240mm. The front brake has avg feel but amazing bite. So much so that it shreds speeds crazy. The rear has good amount of feel and bite as well. The brade pads are Sintered so that’s one good addition. ABS is standard on the motorcycle and is a Continental unit. The intervention is minimal and starts to kick in pretty late unlike the KTM 390 units made by bosch.
TVS Apache 310 is the best of both the worlds. You can take it to a track and you can use it everyday as well. The front seat is well padded and perfectly cushioned. The seating position won’t break your back neither is too commuter’ish. The pillion seat though is more like a joke. The seat is too small for a fully grown adult.
This is a winner from TVS in that segment. Why?
Because this can be ridden on a track as well as the city without breaking a sweat. The bike is usable in the city unlike the RC390 and the bike isn’t too soft or expensive like the Yamaha R3 which has been discontinued anyway. The bike gets all the right boxes ticked and it has been priced competitively. The quality is straight up with those 650cc Kawasaki’s and is a huge leap in terms of design as well. So we wouldn’t really say this bike is expensive for a 300cc but the KTM RC390 is cheap for a 375cc.
TVS has said they plan to sell 10,000 units in the first year. So, if you are lucky enough be in that list of 10,000, you will not regret your decision. If TVS does’t screw up on delivery and after sales, (like they have done with the Apache 200) this one is a winner.
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