TVS Apache RR 310 BTO Review: Tailored To Your Needs

  • Nov 21, 2021
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How does the BTO package enhance the Apache’s real-world rideability?

The TVS Apache RR 310 is quite an underrated motorcycle. Yes, its first iteration was far from perfect, and its harsh persistent vibrations still give us nightmares. But credit where it is due, after two serious updates, TVS managed to cure the issue to a great extent, making it a polished all-round sports machine. Earlier this year, TVS introduced the Built To Order (BTO) programme, with the first bike on which it was applied was the Apache RR 310. After putting the bike through its paces around the MMRT, where it passed with flying colours, we really wanted to check what sort of improvements the BTO kits bring about to the RR 310’s real-world rideability. And more importantly, how you too can go about finding the right suspension tune for yourself.

No Performance Gains
We are pleased to report that the RR 310 remains just as sprightly as its 2020 model. Given that there are no changes to the engine tune, fueling, ride modes, kerb weight or gearing, we aren’t surprised that the RR 310 returned identical acceleration and roll-on acceleration times as the 2020 model. And we are glad that TVS has somehow found a way to continue to equip the RR 310 with the super grippy Michelin Road 5 tyres, which live up to the chassis’ handling potential way better than the previous Pilot Sports ever did.

BTO Kit Number 1 - The Race Kit
Cost: Rs 5,000
Must-have: Maybe

The kit comprises new clip-ons that have been pulled five degrees inwards and slope downwards, and the new knurled footpegs are raised 30mm higher than the stock ones.

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For sport riding enthusiasts, the Race kit does work quite well. The sportier riding stance lends a better connection with the motorcycle. Even the raised footpegs help you carry serious lean angles, never once grazing tarmac, which wasn’t possible with the stock setup.

For commutes, though, by pulling the clip-ons inwards, the controls might be closer to the rider but the leverage on offer has reduced. It takes just a bit more effort to change directions. Plus, wrist aches become more prominent when you spend long hours in the saddle.

BTO Kit Number 2 - The Dynamic Kit
Cost: Rs 12,000
Must-have: Absolutely!!!

As part of the Dynamic kit, you get a fully adjustable 43mm KYB USD fork, preload- and rebound-adjustable KYB monoshock and a brass-coated drive chain. The advantage of having the fancier chain becomes obvious as there is far less chain noise now, and the chain is not only more durable but looks cooler too.

The suspension on the other hand introduces the freedom to suit the bike’s handling. You can find the right settings that work for your weight, your riding style, and your environment.

The USD gets 25 clicks each for rebound and compression with eight notches to set the preload. The monoshock has 20 clicks for rebound and 10-step preload adjustment. Primarily, once you set the preload right for yourself, you should not be tweaking that much. Get it right once and you are pretty much sorted for all riding scenarios, except when you have luggage or a pillion on board, which is when you want to dial in a bit more preload.

In order to adjust the front fork you need a flat-head screwdriver and a 14mm wrench while the monoshock requires the same screwdriver and a special toothed wrench. In order to know what each term means and how it actually alters the suspension tune, we shall be doing a story on Zigwheels pretty soon. For now, here are my preferred suspension settings:

Right Preload Setting
For my 90kg frame, I found the best setting for the front USD fork to be at the midway point with four notches visible. And at the rear, the preload was set at fifth from the lowest. This was a good starting point for me to start tuning the other two aspects of the suspension.

Sport Riding Setting
Front Compression: 18 clicks from softest
Front Rebound: 16 clicks from softest
Rear Rebound: 12 clicks from softest

Considering that I am on the heavier side, I have to dial in a little more compression and rebound to handle my weight. Out here in the twisties, it is better to have a slightly taut suspension tune to give you better front-end feel. And boy does it hook into corners, leaving you with such great confidence. But you don’t want to dial it up too much, else the bike will easily get unsettled when you stumble upon any mid-corner bumps.

Commuting And Touring Setting
Front Compression: 13 clicks from softest
Front Rebound: 13 clicks from softest
Rear Rebound: 10 clicks from softest

While the sport riding settings didn’t translate into a jarring ride in the urban jungle, it was a bit too firm for my liking. Sharp bumps filter through pretty easily, leaving you wishing for a slightly plusher ride. Hence, by tuning out the suspension, I was able to attain a flat and composed ride. At these settings, the RR 310 remained composed, soaked up most bumps and never tossed me off the seat even over the larger speed humps.

BTO Kit Number 3 - The Racing Livery
Cost: Rs 4,500
Must-have: Not really

Full disclosure: I liked the livery on the ‘TVS Arive’ app but in the flesh, it just seemed a bit too much. I much rather prefer the stealthy look.

Anything Missing?
Why, yes: span-adjustable levers. Given that there’s so much scope of adjustability, this small feature would’ve made the experience far better. And it isn’t like TVS doesn’t provide it on its other motorcycles. The Apache RTR 200 4V and even the RTR 160 4V Special Edition receives these levers. Plus, even the BMW G 310s have adjustable levers. So, it shouldn’t be difficult to get these straight from the factory, right?

Worth Rs 2.81 Lakh?
With all the BTO bells and whistles, the asking price of the Apache RR 310 is pushed up to Rs 2.81 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). It does feel a bit pricey but you can definitely live without the race livery. But for the price, there is no other sub 400cc supersport that offers this combination of sophistication, adjustability and fun and in fact, you would be hard-pressed to find it in a segment higher as well!

Yes, there’s the impending launch of the 2022 KTM RC 390, which promises to be more accommodating than its predecessor and will certainly be faster than the RR 310. However, will it deliver on the adjustability and value-for-money front as well as the RR? It really might be a hard ask as TVS has nailed it perfectly.

TVS Apache RR 310 Video Review

TVS Apache RR 310
TVS Apache RR 310
Rs. 2.72 Lakh
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