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2022 KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310 Touring Test Comparison Review: The Best All-rounder Is…


Just how good is the new orange supersport in the face of its Indian rival?

We’ve already put the KTM RC 390 through its paces around a track as well as checked how good of a daily runner it has become. The only logical bit left for us to test out is its touring capabilities. While we could do a solo run, a ride is best enjoyed with a buddy. So, we brought along one of its familiar foes, the TVS Apache RR 310, and went about chasing down the monsoons. The findings that emerged did genuinely surprise us.

Horsepower Counts

 

KTM RC 390

TVS Apache RR 310

Engine

373.3cc single

312.2cc single

Power

43.5PS at 9000rpm

34PS at 9700rpm

Torque

37Nm at 7000rpm

27.3Nm at 7700rpm

It should come as no surprise that the RC 390 is the quicker of the two bikes. 10PS and 10Nm more helps it reach respectable highway speeds far quicker than the RR 310. It also has more capabilities higher in the rev range, which is where the Apache starts to run out of breath and isn’t able to keep up.

Acceleration

KTM RC 390

TVS Apache RR 310

0-60kmph

2.78s

3.03s

0-80kmph

4.42s

4.8s

0-100kmph

6.49s

7.31s

30-70kmph in 3rd gear

3.65s

4.07s

40-80kmph in 4th gear 5.13s 5.22s

But what does come across as a big surprise is just how easy and calm the mile munching experience is on the KTM. At 100-120kmph, the RC doesn’t feel buzzy any more. The vibrations are far more controlled, with just little sensations felt at the pegs and a bit around the tank. Even overtaking trucks or moving obstacles takes just a twist of the throttle, the RC surging ahead in no time.

The Apache makes you work a bit. You will have to shift a cog down to get past the same road obstacle quickly. And then the buzziness emanating prominently at the bars and the tank make you want to roll off a bit and take things in a calmer manner.

This becomes a bit more of an issue with the BTO package as the bars are pulled inwards and hence the rider feels a lot more of the vibes. Mind you, these engine vibes are nowhere as harsh as the first gen model but the KTM seems to keep you in a more chilled out zone. And that’s saying something.

Continuing this theme of staying in the chill zone, windblasts are deflected in a much better manner on the RC 390. So, the ugly face does have its upside, yeah? At 120kmph, there is very little wind resistance felt, which wasn’t quite the case on the RR. You do get a bit more wind noise inside the helmet and it’s then that you appreciate just how aero efficient the KTM is.

 

KTM RC 390

TVS Apache RR 310

City fuel efficiency

25.89kmpl

33.1kmpl

Highway fuel efficiency

31.22kmpl

34.45kmpl

Fuel tank capacity

13.7 litre

11 litre

If you are someone who isn’t too bothered by fast commuting and prefers settling into a smooth rhythm, the RR’s frugalness will appeal more to you. It is almost 6kmpl more fuel efficient than the KTM. And during the course of our shoot, where we weren’t riding to seek out good efficiency but were more interested in having a good time, the difference does shrink down to around 3.5kmpl. The larger fuel tank of the RC 390 would enable you to extend your riding stints, though.

Sharp Handlers

Once we did turn off the wide six-lane roads for the Western Ghats, the ride became even more memorable and the bikes came into their element. Both bikes have competent chassis and great hardware that provide the rider with great confidence in pushing the bikes hard into corners.

The RC 390 does its best to show why it is such a revered bike in the sub-400cc supersport class. On the new bike, the rider doesn’t have to struggle or force it into bends. It goes around bends with great finesse, providing great feedback and confidence to go harder each time you approach a corner.

That, though, was in the dry. When things start to get a little tricky, which is what we were hoping for on the ride, the tyres simply don’t match up. They break traction, causing your heart to skip a beat or two. And it is here that the RR 310’s super grippy Michelin Road 5s help the bike claw back some advantage.

With the RR 310's Michelin shoes, you aren’t worried about grip levels as much. The tyres are better suited for a wider range of activities and conditions, especially for Indian roads. There is a bit of heaviness in the steering and a bit more road noise but nothing that would cause major discomfort. It complements the RR’s handling package well and even manages to zip past the RC when the rain gods unleashed their full fury.

The KTM makes up for the lack of outright traction with electronic rider aids like lean-sensitive traction control and cornering ABS. In the massive downpour, the traction control intervened sensibly, making sure the experience was never abrupt or jittery. Plus, having cornering ABS on hand made sure that even in panic braking situations, the RC never felt out of shape.

Braking

KTM RC 390

TVS Apache RR 310

100-0kmph

48.22m

50.09m

80-0kmph

30.81m

31.44m

Speaking of which, despite the not-so-great Metzeler H-rated tyres, the stopping power on the RC is incredible. The bite is fierce and it doesn’t take much effort to bring the bike to a halt in an instant. In contrast, the RR 310’s braking system isn’t that powerful. The lever feedback is promising, allowing the rider to modulate the braking process well, but it is still just a notch below the RC in our books.

Comfy Cruising

Touring in India comes with its own sets of challenges, the primary one of them being the poor road conditions that one does stumble upon. So, when the roads did turn out to be full of craters (yep, not potholes but large craters), is when you would think these two bikes would struggle. But that surprisingly again wasn’t the case.

Both of these bikes handled bad roads pretty well. On the RC, you could go over the really bad stretches of roads without much care. The revised suspension tune makes sure that the rider isn’t frazzled when they encounter bad road surfaces. The rear end does have a slight extra sensitivity that makes it a tad bit bouncy over the sharper bumps, but hey you can tune that out to a great extent by spending a good afternoon twiddling with the rebound settings.

But having said that, the range of flexibility offered by the fully-adjustable components on the RR 310’s BTO package is incredible. You can find the right settings for your weight, riding style or riding scenario. It has just the right balance between suppleness and sportiness to make you feel at ease over any sort of road obstacles.

These two being supersports come with the obvious committed riding postures and there’s no escaping that. On the RR 310 BTO, the lack of leverage offered by the Race kit handlebars does reduce your comfort levels over long distances. You don’t grip the tank as well as you can on the RC and thus, end up putting the entire weight of your upper body on your wrists.

The RC surely has a bit more aggressive forward-arching upper body stance. The seat height is taller and the pegs are fairly rear-set. But you don’t end up complaining about the posture as much because it feels very natural. The seating area is quite spacious and the seat texture fairly grippy. And the flatter pillion seat meant that loading luggage wasn’t that much of a problem.

While the RR did allow us to route luggage loops beneath the pillion seat, the area isn’t flat. As a result, the tail bag continued to slide forwards, eating up into the rider’s seating space and thus locking him into one spot.

The Best Is…

Both! Confused? Let me put you at ease. The KTM RC 390 now costs Rs 3.13 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), while the TVS Apache RR 310 is priced at Rs 2.65 lakh. At these price points, these two bikes now have carved out their own segments: sub-400cc and sub-300cc. And both of them are the top dogs of their own class. There isn’t a way we can justify spending roughly Rs 60,000 more to get the RC 390 or vice versa as both offer unique riding experiences that buyers will appreciate.

Personally, I would have the RC 390 and am willing to shell out more for the extra performance, features and electronics. The tyres are an easy fix. What does sell me on the bike is the higher performance threshold that it possesses. For my riding capabilities, I feel the RC 390 will keep me engaged for longer.

The RR 310 is still a great bike for those stepping up from the likes of the Yamaha R15 v4 and stuff. It has the right balance of poise and performance that will teach you well without scaring you silly. And the jump up to the RC 390 does feel significant.

So, the decision is pretty clear, right?

2022 KTM RC 390 Video Review

2022 KTM RC 390
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