Hello again! If you're like me, and you've been following the developments for TVS' new bike. You'll know it was making news for all the right reasons. TVS teaming up with BMW to make a sub 400cc bike, for the Indian market! After Spyshots and Cover stories the bike was finally unveiled. The fit and finish were the best ever for a TVS. Once the test rides started, I couldn't wait to go ride the bike! Here's what transpired on the day of the test ride.
DISCLAIMER: All the Opinions written are purely my own, I got the bike for 30 minutes and a maximum of 4 km of riding inside the city. Needless to say, I am no expert and everything written here should be taken with a grain of salt.
It's definitely a looker! The fat tail section with the 35 decal (the 35 decal is commemorating TVS' 35 years in racing) or the big side panel with the fins for air flow. The gold Kayaba forks, TVS racing decal on the engine case and the shine of the exhaust pipe tucked between wheel & the sub-frame. The All Digital Dash, giving you all the info you'd need at a quick glance (not a fan of the vertical layout). All of these combined, give the bike a premium and big bike feel.
- BRAKES AND HANDLING
I won't bore you with the technical specifications, those details you can google easily. But, I can tell you how the bike stops and feels. The front brake is the best part of the bike, it feels good and ABS intervention is minimal. It stops quick but there is noticeable front fork dive which can be unnerving. The rear brake felt spongy at the start but as I rode it back to back it got better but ABS intervention was noticeable on the rear brake. Handling of the bike, in the city, is really good. It filters and flicks through traffic with ease, taking U-turns will not be an issue.
- HEAT MANAGEMENT
The bike, even after a lot of people thrashed it in the city, did not get hot enough for it to be annoying while riding in traffic. The fan kicks in and stays on even after you've turned off the bike, the heat is directed away from the rider's legs.
Since this engine was jointly developed with BMW, I was expecting it to be refined. But the vibes do persist, they start the moment you turn on the bike and get noticeable at 5k rpm. The bars, fuel tank, and the pegs vibrate and it is very noticeable. If you're a tourer, these vibrations will not be your friend for the road.
- FUEL TANK
The fuel tank is 11 liters, and if you're touring, you will find it lacking. Constant fuel stops will be a ritual when you own this bike. The fuel tank also hits your forearms when taking a U-turn and it got annoying.
If you're someone upgrading from a 150cc bike, you will find the power adequate. But as time progresses you will find it boring and yearning for more power.
At 2.7 lakhs on road in Bangalore, its asking a lot for what it's offering. Here are the alternatives to the bike and their prices (on-road)
a) KTM Duke 390 2017 (2.96 lakhs)
a. TFT screen, Bluetooth connect, KTM road-side assistance, Better tyres, More power, Ride by wire throttle, Bigger metal fuel tank, slightly better pillion comfort. All for 30k more.
b) Bajaj Dominar 400 (1.96 lakhs)
a. Ergonomics more suited for Touring, Slightly bigger fuel tank, Slightly more power, Fewer Vibrations, 70K less than the Apache rr310
Although it's the best bike from TVS to date. There are a lot of places where it's lacking, and it should be worked on more before it can take challenge the KTM at its own game. I advise you to go take a test ride and see if it's the right fit for you. For now, the only thing that will be sweating apart from the KTM is you (jk) :p