You might be forgiven for thinking that the Internet is producing TVS Akula, aka TVS Apache RTR 300 RR S, spy shots faster than TVS is making actual Akulas or BMW G 310 Rs at their facility in Hosur. As you know TVS and BMW Motorrad have a cooperation agreement under which the Germans are working on small 200-500cc single-cylinder motorcycles that will appear in TVS- and BMW-avatars. The BMW motorcycle is the G 310 R and the G 310 GS which have been seen but so far not ridden. The TVS Akula was revealed as the TVS version of the motorcycle from the same platform. Both motorcycles are awaited but the wait is proving to be a long one. The G 310 R (and GS) launch dates are "No comment" while TVS only says that the Akula - they like the name but it isn't final - will be out before 2017 runs out.
The BMW G 310 R - let's start there since it is closer to the Akula than the taller GS model - is powered by an oversquare counterbalanced single-cylinder engine that is liquid-cooled and fuel-injected. The 310cc engine is mounted back-to-front and is fed from the front, and the exhaust exits the cylinder block at the back. Peak power is 34PS at 9,500rpm, redline is at 10,500rpm and it makes 28Nm at 7,500rpm. For Euro IV, the G 310 R gets secondary air injection. The BMW G 310 R frame is a steel trellis with a cover over the swingarm pivot. 41mm upside-down forks, preload-adjustable rear monoshock and a very long swingarm complete the picture of the motorcycle.
The TVS version is based on the same platform but it isn't known at this point how the engine or chassis is being tweaked to achieve the differences in feel, ability and role-related aspects (naked premium European bike versus Indian-made sportsbike). It stands to reason that the TVS, as a sportsbike, should feel more urgent than the G 310 R in nature, offer a more committed - lower bars, pegs set further backwards - riding position and pay less attention to pillion comfort. In fact, if you look close, you will note that the rubber-coated footpegs on the Akula are placed at the same height as the G 310 R relative to the swingarm pivot but about 2 inches rearward. This changes the subframe to a short one and the TVS hangs the pillion pegs off the bolt-on subframe unlike the G 310 R.
What is visible is a vertical all-digital dash which is an unusual design choice. Expect TVS to use a coloured backlight - our bets are on blue - on this black and white LCD screen. A shift light is prominently visible while an array of warning and tell-tale lights are across the top. Behind this is an intricate top triple clamp to which are mounted clip-on style bars. The bars appear to be cast as a rod that ends in the clamp which is mounted above the tops of the gold-coloured upside-down forks. That plus a small rise in the actual bar-rod suggests that you will sit canted forward but not too much. As in more RS200 than RC200.
Also visible is basic switchgear that looks well-made - quality is a well-known TVS attribute. We do wonder how the fairly large spread of plastics will be articulated around the dash area - there's a large swathe of surrounds ahead of the leading edge of the tank. The stubby but tall screen should prove effective at speed. The tank is sculpted but large, and there's an asymmetric crease that runs to the left and around the flush-fit gas tank cap.
The fairing actually is matched well to the tank in terms of volume - it's a big one. The top-front of the fairing is pretty wide and the headlights - projectors with LED DRLs - are set wide. A substantial central air intake - superfluous on a 310cc single from a function standpoint - could easily be slotted between the twin head lamps. Odds are one projector will be a low beam and the other a high beam.
The fairing's tip extends quite a way forward, and the top of the front fender isn't too far ahead of it. This makes the sides of the fairing look big, and the TVS Akula 310 is going to look substantial, especially in lighter colour schemes. The tail unit, similarly, is wide and it hosts a split seat on a sleek panel that has a rather ornate rear light cluster and at front, faux vents, probably in matte black in the final version.
Below the bolt-on subframe is a substantial hugger including a large upright piece that looks like it will keep the majority of road grime off the rear suspension. Above the hugger, though, is another body panel that we are not sure is there to serve what purpose. But there are many panels in the design so maybe the final design will be a busier design than the clean and sleek carbon-fibre Akula Concept from the 2016 Auto Expo.
At the bottom of the bike are five-spoke alloy wheels wearing Michelin Pilot Sport tyres - the French tyre maker is the OE supplier of choice for BMW Motorrad. This doesn't necessarily mean the TVS Akula will come with Michelins, though. TVS tends to work with TVS Tyres for its bikes, and the optional Pirellis on the Apache RTR 200 4V were a first for the company. But all the spy shots, so far, have Michelins on the bike.
As you know, the launch date for the BMW G 310 R is still unknown with TVS still not revealing its launch intentions. We expect the engine to be in the same state of tune as the BMW R 310 GS, but TVS will surely use final drive gearing to achieve performance more suited to the TVS' intention of being a sportsbike. That said, it looks like the Akula is going to be a relatively gentle sportsbike in riding position terms which is good because it widens the appeal of the bike. Expect ABS as standard. And now, we continue to wait for both BMW Motorrad and TVS to launch and sell us their much-awaited 310cc motorcycles.
Photos by Vikram Singh & Harsha Bhat