THE Indian motorcycle industry might have come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years but it still lags behind its European and Japanese counterparts when it comes to preventing spy shots of new bikes.
As a result, the TVS Apache RR310S – which was previewed as the ‘Akula’ concept bike – has been photographed on test multiple times. Its launch is believed to be fast approaching, and TVS has now patented its design. While the resulting image isn’t terribly sharp, it does show a road-going Apache RR310S devoid of the gaffa-taped disguise used on the previously-spied prototypes.
Why does an Indian-market, 313cc, single-cylinder bike matter to anyone outside that country? Because it’s basically a BMW G310RR, should the Bavarian firm opt to offer us such a machine. The engine, frame, swingarm, forks, brakes, wheels, controls… they’re all identical to the existing BMW G310R, which is already built in India by TVS.
Even the Apache RR310S’s styling has overtones of BMW. The V-shaped indentation between the headlights is reminiscent of the S1000RR’s frontal air intake, for instance.
At the moment there’s no indication of whether BMW will offer a rebranded version of the Apache in the European market, although it would give the firm an instant rival to KTM’s RC 390 and to Japanese bikes like Kawasaki’s Ninja 300 and Yamaha’s R3. It could even form the basis of a bike to compete in the World Supersport 300 championship, although its single-cylinder engine might put it at a disadvantage to twin-cylinder rivals like the R3 and Ninja.
On the flipside, the European market for these smallish sports bikes is still fairly small, particularly compared with the Indian one. So BMW’s decision to prioritise models like the G310 GS for Europe makes sense. But once there’s a ready-made sports model available, powered by a Euro4-legal engine and using components that are already stocked by BMW dealers worldwide, the argument against offering it here becomes harder to forge.