TVS Apache RR 310 OMC Race Bike Experience: Unbelievable But Equally Humiliating

  • Apr 29, 2022
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You need to be a champion in order to race this bike. Then how in the right mind did TVS think it was cool to let us noob journos have a go on one of their prized racers?

It is important to have a good partner in life because a good partner will not only improve you but also make your adventures more enjoyable. And the new adventure that TVS is embarking on, which involves conquering global lands, it hopes that Petronas can be the good partner for it. The two companies have come together to bring in their own racing expertise to make TVS Racing even more successful.

You can head here to read more about what road riders can expect from this partnership but because the relationship is primarily for motorsport activities, TVS couldn’t help but give us a taste of what’s in store for the 2022 season. And the first major upgrade would be given to the Apache RR 310.

A Look At The Beast

Not only has TVS been improving the RR 310 that it sells for road usage on nearly an annual basis but its racing iteration has also stayed potent and highly competent for experienced racers to satiate their thirst for speed. I had the chance to ride the one-make RR 310 four years ago, and since then, there’s quite a lot that has improved on the bike.

Previously, it was more of a “scrap all the unnecessary bits needed for road homologation purposes and bump up the performance slightly” and off the racers went. Now, though, TVS has tinkered with nearly everything aside from the chassis and swingarm.

For starters, the motor pushes out 25 percent more power than the stock RR 310, so around 43PS. The powerband is also quite restricted to the higher revs, like you would expect on a race bike. It is still grunty but you will reap benefits only if the motor is singing its heart out to the max. And boy does it sing! That freeflow end can is super loud for a single, forcing you to put in some ear plugs if you don’t want to go deaf by the end of the day.

While there are no actual changes to the chassis, the frame has been lowered on the retuned USD forks by a good 50mm or more. This makes the rake incredibly sharp, the wheelbase even shorter and with the extremely round tyre profile, promises phenomenal agility.

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The tyres have been jointly developed with TVS Tyres for the OMC bike. They are softer and definitely grippier than what you get in the market and are leagues better than the Michelin Pilot Sport radials that the first RR 310 OMC bike had. Even the rims have sleeker spokes, making them significantly lighter. Lastly, while the brake calipers are borrowed from the road bike, the pads have a fiercer bite. And since it is a race bike, no ABS!

Session 1: Making A Fool Of Myself

Donning a race suit becomes a task in the Chennai heat. You huff, puff and somehow manage to jiggle your way into the leathers. I was slowly getting cooked like dum biryani while waiting my turn to hop on to the bike. No amount of hogging the fan can cool you down. The scorching sun was doing us no favours. And inside the helmet, it starts becoming unbearably hot.

My turn finally arrives. I swing my leg over the seat, narrowly avoiding hitting the GoPro mounted on the tail. It feels familiar, not tip toeing at all. But then I go to reach the lowered bars. Trouble starts. I have to overextend. I try to find the pegs. They are far too high and far too rear-set. I have to remind myself: this isn’t the RR 310, this is the RR 310 OMC! From my view, I have a massive void with just the slimmest brackets holding up the ultra light fairing, no speedometer, no cladding, no headlight. Nothing.

I follow one of TVS’ star riders out of the pits. It starts off easy. We make it around the first couple of corners, the bike showing off its friendly foundations well. However, as we made it around the big bowl, I was instructed to carry on, and find out what it is really capable of. And boy was I making schoolboy errors one after the other! I was turning in too quickly, running on to the kerbs, squirming about everywhere. If the bike could speak, it would be like who is this buffoon who cannot even get through the corner properly.

A couple of laps in, I finally sort my entry. But that was just the start of my troubles. It is so important you lock yourself on a bike. Here though, the tank cover is made of the same flimsy plastic that the fairing is made of, which means when I tried locking my outside leg, the cover was flexing.

What wasn’t also helping matters was its glossy texture. Glossy surface = slippery = lack of adhesion between the plastic and the leathers. It was literally a rodeo for me but on two wheels.

The session ending couldn’t have come in sooner. I was aghast at how far I would have to step up to even make the bike controllable for an enjoyable ride.

Session 2: Getting To Grips With It

A couple of tips from TVS’ Jagan and Powerdrift’s Shumi, I ventured out for the second session. Determined to not make a fool of myself again, I started pushing myself and the bike responded well. Like Miles Morales in Spiderverse, it was just all about taking the leap of faith, which in this case is keeping the right hand pinned to the max.

The RR smiles. The leans start getting lower, the chicken strips slimmer and my uneasiness on the motorcycle reduces. I finally get to enjoy the flowing characteristics of the MMRT, with cleaner lines and lots of knee dragging to boot. Latching onto the bike is still a challenge but you start trusting the rubber to save your skin.

And yet the motor gives you little scares. It has that sweet zone where it goes boom, pulling hard to the very soft rev limiter. There are two ways to get to that zone, though. The nicer way is where you keep the revs high and continue to dish out max horsepower or the not-so-nice manner – you could call it the road rider approach – where you let the revs die down as you enter a corner and then get on the gas quickly.

The latter usually ends up making the bike twitchy which, as I found out, wasn’t a pleasant feeling, especially when you consider that the South India INRC rally just took place around the track, where messrs Gill et al spewed a ton of dust onto the tarmac. A highside was avoided and the only thing bruised was my ego.

Session 2.5: Chennai Heat Wins

Ultimately, the Chennai heat overpowered my lust for track time. I was drained in the two 20-minute sessions and I just couldn’t muster up more than a couple of laps in the last one. I knew I had reached my limits. The RR scoffed. A lap of tracking for the videographer was the final one and I called it quits at around 2pm, knowing full well that I needed to also fulfil my journalistic duties that the Ed had sent me out there for in the first place.

The Good Partner

So, there I was in the TVS pit box. Hogging the cooler, gulping down glucose drinks, and trying to lower my heart rate after that HIIT session. “Was it worth the humiliation?” I thought to myself. A hundred times yes. Because it is rare that we get to have a go on race machines, especially ones that make you look utterly stupid. And yet, if you ask me, would I want to be humiliated again? The answer remains the same.

Having said that, the RR 310 OMCs will deserve better partners, ones that are racers, champions and not noobs like myself. And there’s much to look forward to for them as well. The Petronas-TVS Racing partnership is only going to make the bike faster, there’s a strong likelihood that quickshifters will be introduced and the racing is just going to get more serious.

TVS Apache RR 310 Video Review

TVS Apache RR 310
TVS Apache RR 310
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