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In December 2017, TVS had invited us to MMRT to test ride their latest offering, the TVS Apache RR310 based on the 310 cc, reverse inclined single-cylinder engine coming out of their partnership with BMW. The new motorcycle showed great potential as an all-rounder. As a racetrack machine and as a mile muncher on the highways, which we found out during our #tRacingTheRoots campaign where we rode 4000 kms from Delhi to Chennai and also racing on all three race tracks in India, BIC, MMRT, and Kari, on two RR310s. The sales didn’t go exactly as planned by TVS though, due to some issues with the first few batches. But the good folks at TVS didn’t let this setback discourage them and they kept improving the bike.
Some time ago, the Apache RR 310 received free upgrades like fatter bar end weights and a rubber lining under the windshield, both aimed at reducing the vibrations, a new roller for the chain to improve chain life, and an ECU update to smoothen out the engine and also to prevent stalling in the lower revs. And now, a couple of days ago, we were invited by TVS to test ride the 2019 model of the Apache RR310 which has received a major upgrade in the form of an assist and slipper clutch. Here’s what we could make out of our outing at the MMRT.
Text: Sunil Gupta
Photos: TVS Motors & Sunil Gupta
Mr. Meghashyam Dighole, Head of Marketing – Premium Segment, TVS Motors, talking about the new Apache RR310
Explaining the functioning of the slipper clutch before the media ride!
First things first, what remains the same is the overall design derived from their Akula concept. The looks of the bike remain the same and the bike still appears to be bigger than it actually is with the front biased design. The engine still makes 34 PS of peak power at 9700 rpm and 27.3 Nm of peak torque at 7700 rpm. And it handles just as well as it used to, before the latest slip-assist clutch upgrade. You can read our full review of the TVS Apache RR310 here when we rode it for the first time.
The most prominent visual change you will notice in the 2019 model is the introduction of a new color called Phantom Black, which is essentially a metallic black with a strip of silver running through its center. The subtle use of red adds to the overall charm of this new color scheme. Apart from this, the bike will also be available in the good old Racing Red. The matte black version has been discontinued.
Now, the most significant upgrade that the 2019 TVS Apache RR310 brings to the table is the slip and assist clutch. What a slipper clutch does is that it primarily mitigates the effect of engine braking on the rear wheel. In simpler words, if you suddenly downshift 2-3 gears while riding at high speed, you will notice that the rear wheel locks up and loses the grip due to the sudden difference of speed between the rotation of the wheel and the engine speed, which may result in destabilization of the bike and maybe, a crash. A slipper clutch is designed to prevent that from happening. The functioning of the slipper clutch mimics the effects of partially engaging the clutch in case of an over-rev and tries to match the engine speed with the wheel speed so that they remain in sync.
The assist function works in a similar fashion but in the opposite direction. It puts pressure on the pressure plates during acceleration to transfer the power from the engine to the wheel. As a result, you need less clutch plates in the assembly, which results in a lighter/smoother clutch. TVS claims that, on the new RR 310, you need to apply 20% less force on the lever to engage the clutch. TVS also claims that they have tested this new system for about 200 hours at race tracks to reach the correct composition, besides using their own experience in racing motorcycles for 36+ years. Hence, the slipper clutch badge that the bike gets on the bodywork has the prefix ‘RT’, which means Race Tuned’.
The effect of this new clutch system was quite evident while riding the motorcycle on the race track at MMRT. We downshifted rather violently on a couple of occasions on one of the straights, shifting down to as low as the 3rd gear while riding at 100+ kmph. That is something which could have catastrophic effects on a motorcycle with no slipper clutch. But on the new RR 310, it didn’t bother us, or the motorcycle much. The rear never seemed to give away and remained in line without any noticeable chatter or hopping.
This technology is immensely helpful in race conditions where quite often you are required to downshift rapidly while riding at high revs, and the slipper clutch would help the riders do just that without destabilizing the bike, even if you downshift mid corner to get that extra drive while accelerating out of it. However, it would be an equally useful feature in real-world conditions, especially in cities where the traffic requires you to upshift and downshift quite frequently. The lighter clutch due to the assist system would make you apply less pressure on the clutch, which would make your ride more comfortable even in peak traffic conditions.
The 2019 TVS Apache RR310 with slipper clutch is available at a price tag of INR 2.27 Lakh (Ex-showroom Delhi), which is about INR 4000 dearer than the previous model. So overall, this critical new upgrade has made this already potent package even more desirable. And the best thing is that the existing owners of the Apache RR 310 can get their bike retrofitted with the new slipper clutch system as well by paying around 4K. So in case you are looking to buy an entry level premium sports bike within a budget of 2-3 lakhs, we would suggest that you visit your nearest TVS showroom to take a test ride of the new Apache RR310 before making a decision.
2019 TVS Apache RR310 Technical specifications