KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310: Two Sports Bikes Compared
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KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310: Two Sports Bikes Compared

Reviews by Team Drivio | Mar 13, 2024

On paper, the KTM RC 390 is a lot more powerful than the Apache RR 310

  • The RC 390’s 373cc engine makes a solid 43.5PS and 37Nm
  • TVS has tuned the RR 310 to make a respectable 34PS and 27.3Nm
  • That said, the RC 390 is a solid Rs 46,000 more than the RR 310

The correct approach to kick-start your motorcycling journey during your formative years is to begin with gentler, small-displacement machines and gradually progress up the cubic capacity ladder as you hone your skills. Within this trajectory, the 300-400cc segment symbolises a pivotal stage for Indian motorcyclists – marking the transition into more serious terrain. If you're eyeing a sportbike within this category, two prominent contenders are the KTM RC 390 and the TVS Apache RR310. These bikes have been engaged in fierce competition for several years, with both receiving recent updates, notably

KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310: Designs

Both these bikes stand as the flagships in their respective line-ups, equipped with top-notch features to match their market position. The Apache received a significant update with its BS6 version, boasting a Bluetooth-enabled TFT display, four riding modes, and ride-by-wire. Meanwhile, the RC also sports a Bluetooth-enabled TFT display but lacks riding modes. However, it compensates with an ABS mode allowing rear-wheel system deactivation, along with added features like traction control, cornering ABS, and a bi-directional quick-shifter.

The quick-shifter may not always deliver seamless shifts, especially at lower RPMs, but it performs admirably at high speeds and full throttle, offering convenient gear changes most of the time.

TVS gains an edge in quality and finish, with premium materials and impeccable build quality across the bike, surpassing the KTM in this aspect. While the RC boasts sturdy construction, some areas feel slightly plasticky, with less precise panel gaps. Visually, the Apache exudes conventional elegance, while the RC 390 stands out with its bold design, attracting attention and inquiries wherever you go.

KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310: Engines

SpecificationsKTM RC 390TVS Apache RR 310
Engine373cc engine312cc liquid-cooled engine
Maximum power43.5PS34PS
Maximum torque37Nm27.3Nm
Transmission6-speed6-speed

You've probably heard it said before, and you'll keep hearing it until electric vehicles dominate the scene: nothing beats engine size. The Apache has long been at a disadvantage in this department – a 60cc difference results in a significant shortfall of almost 10hp and 10Nm compared to the KTM. Naturally, the RC is notably faster. However, when you push them to their limits, the gap isn't as huge as the numbers suggest, both on paper and in real-world scenarios. The KTM is just over 1 second quicker to reach 100kph, but in most everyday situations, the Apache can almost keep up, albeit with a bit more effort required from its engine. For daily use, though, the RC's engine feels more robust, effortlessly delivering speed.

Apart from their similar performance, the engines have distinct characteristics. The Apache excels in city riding, with a smooth bottom-end making it hassle-free. It's also smooth at low RPMs, but vibrations become noticeable as speed and revs increase, particularly in the higher range. Throttle response could be better, especially in Sport and Track modes, where it feels jerky at times. However, Urban and Rain modes offer smoother operation, albeit with reduced power. On the upside, the lower power output makes the Apache noticeably more fuel-efficient.

The RC's engine, being a big single, is thumpy at idle and slightly juddery at low RPMs in high gears. But beyond 5,500rpm, it smoothens out and remains so until the redline. While the delivery is more linear now, it's still not as tractable as the Apache off-idle, with the mid-range being its sweet spot. Gearshifts feel smoother on the KTM, aided by the bi-directional quick-shifter, which, although not always perfect, works well enough, especially at higher RPMs and full throttle, providing a convenient riding experience.

KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310: Suspension, Tyres & Brakes

SpecificationsKTM RC 390TVS Apache RR 310
Front suspensionInverted ForkTelescopic Fork
Rear suspensionMonoshockMonoshock
Front tyre17-inch alloys110/70-R17
Rear tyre17-inch alloys150/60-R17
Front brakeDisc BrakeDisc Brake
Rear brakeDisc BrakeDisc Brake
ABSDual-channel ABSDual-channel

Both of these bikes excel at devouring twisty roads, providing a thrilling ride experience. They are agile and handle with precision, instilling confidence from the moment you hop on. However, they approach cornering in slightly different ways.

The Apache boasts quick steering, effortlessly leaning into corners and feeling incredibly nimble. On the other hand, the KTM offers more feedback through the front wheel when leaned over, providing added confidence during aggressive riding. Both bikes come equipped with tyres that offer excellent grip, even in wet conditions. However, when pushed to the limit on the track, the Michelin Road 5 tyres on the Apache outperform the KTM's Metzeler M5 tyres.

KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310: Dimensions

The performance prowess of the RC 390 has never been in question, but its usability and everyday comfort have been areas of concern in the past. However, KTM has addressed these issues in its latest iteration. Firstly, riders now find themselves seated in a noticeably more upright position compared to the previous RC model. 

Despite this adjustment, the posture remains slightly more aggressive than that of the Apache, even when equipped with the optional Race kit. The handlebars on the KTM require a bit more reach, and taller riders will appreciate the increased roominess of the RC, which now offers better accommodation than the RR.

Furthermore, significant improvements have been made to the RC's seat, with enhancements to its shape, size, and material, making it superior to that of the Apache. Consequently, despite the slightly forward-leaning riding position, the RC 390 proves to be the more comfortable choice for extended rides. In contrast, the TVS Apache positions its handlebars slightly closer to the rider, and its lower seat height makes it more suitable for shorter riders. However, the Apache's tank is challenging to grip with the legs, and its slippery seat tends to push the rider forward when decelerating.

While neither bike is ideal for two-up touring, both feature pillion seats suitable for short city rides, provided the passenger doesn't suffer from vertigo. The RC's pillion perch has seen significant improvement, eliminating the need for passengers to uncomfortably squat as before.

KTM RC 390 vs TVS Apache RR 310: Price

PriceKTM RC 390 TVS Apache RR 310
Ex-showroom DelhiRs 3,18,173 onwards Rs 2,72,000

TVS has priced the Apache RR 310 at Rs 2.72 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. And while that is quite a competitive price tag, the RR 310 hasn’t impressed us a lot. The RC 390, on the other hand, costs Rs 46,173 more than the Apache. While the price hike is steep, we think the RC 390 is worth it. The RC 390 is truly that much more of a bike as well. 

Verdict

Given that the RC has embraced elements of the Apache's design philosophy, we anticipated a closely contested comparison between these two motorcycles this time. The substantial price gap between them should have made the decision-making process quite challenging. The TVS Apache RR310 maintains its strengths and remains a well-rounded package offering excellent value for money, particularly considering the position of the KTM in the market. 

However, with the introduction of the 2022 RC 390, KTM now holds a clear advantage in most aspects, including somewhere the RR previously excelled. The updates to the Austrian bike have enhanced its everyday usability without compromising its performance, even on spirited rides.

The premium it commands, almost Rs 50,000 more than the base-spec Apache and about Rs 30,000 more than the fully equipped BTO version, may raise questions about fairness. However, in my opinion, the answer to whether it's worth it is a resounding yes.