Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Ben's Corner #3: Akula Races Past Dominar

When it comes to performance-oriented bikes, Bajaj has been ruling the roost for a good-one-and-a-half decades now. Both Hero Moto Corp and TVS Ltd had challenged the legacy of the brand but, eventually failed. When Bajaj partnered with Austria's KTM, the gap widened further. In line with Bajaj's strategy, TVS collaborated with BMW Motorrad of Germany and everyone expected a game-changer from the duo. But, again, their first product, BMW G 310R produced lower power than its direct rival KTM Duke 390. So, there was not much of a hope on TVS' version of the bike, Apache RR 310S a.k.a. Akula.

TVS Apache RR 310S
New revelation:

But to everyone's surprise, Apache RR 310S, likely to be launched by August, has garnered hype as TVS is testing it fully camouflaged in every nook and corner of the country. Spy videos of the bike are doing the rounds on the Internet. But around a day ago, a video released on YouTube crossed 30,000 views in a day. The video is nothing but a Bajaj Dominar rider trying to chase down an Apache RR 310S on a test. Dominar 400 is Bajaj's version of the Duke 390 and the current champion in the segment.

Apache is, indeed, fast:

The Dominar rider was on a road trip from Bengaluru to Munar when he spotted the bike. The greatest part to note is during the entire stint, he was not able to keep up with the Apache even at speeds excess of 150 kmph. At one time, he is seen close to the Apache, cruising at 155 kmph on the speedo. All of a sudden, the Apache rider starts to rip open the throttle. Even before the Dominar reaches 159 kmph, the Apache is out of sight. This video has developed a lot of controversy with the comment section flooded with Dominar fans claiming the video to be fake, developed to tarnish the legacy of the bike and TVS fans dancing merry.

Things to look into:

Bajaj - Dominar 400
Before coming to a conclusion, there are various aspects to look into. The Dominar was a production bike and Apache, a test bike. Usually, manufacturers test their offerings in the highest state of tune. They also try out different ECU settings to extract maximum performance without compromising on fuel efficiency. Secondly, the Dominar rider on the video said he weighs 80 kg and had a 30 kg luggage on the back while chasing the Apache (too much weight directly affects performance). Thirdly, the Dominar rider had installed knuckle guards and a big windshield visor which cause too much aerodynamic drag.

Reasons:

Only the production version of the bike can give a clear conclusion as to who would win the performance battle. But it's clear Apache is likely to offer serious performance unlike TVS' past offerings. Though the Apache theoretically produces lower power than the Dominar, it gets ram air intake system and full aerodynamic fairing giving it a blasting top-end power. Above all, Apache RR 310S gets the much needed BMW heart. If the production version of Apache is faster than Dominar, it will be Himalayan achievement for TVS as it will be the first time a TVS bike is faster than Bajaj since 2009.

Judgement:

According to my prediction, Dominar vs Apache 310 is going to be the next big battle. Whoever wins the battle, the end beneficiaries are enthusiasts.

- S Ben Raja,
Chennai, May 23, 2017

The above review/analysis is completely the perception of S Ben Raja alone. This does not reflect the views of two or more people or a community. Queries and criticism shall be addressed to the writer only. This author is correspondent for an English daily working on auto beat stories for over a year. Reach him at benraja4@gmail.com.

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