While most comparisons be it cars or bikes, are apples to apples sort of a thing, we thought why not do things a little differently and compare apples to oranges, quite literally. That's because, we have the TVS Apache RR 310 in bright red and the newly launched Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X in orange. Sure, they might not be natural rivals but in a rapidly evolving two-wheeler market, the lines between preferences are more or less blurred and these two also fall in a similar price bracket as well.
Also Read: Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X Review
What is the purpose of these motorcycles?
Right! The TVS Apache RR 310 is a fully-faired, entry-level supersport while the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X is a retro-cruiser. The RR 310 is meant to go fast, while looking good and has tonnes of features while the Thunderbird 500X is more of a machine meant for relaxed, laid-back riding. Both motorcycles are primarily meant to be ridden within the city, but if it is a long distance ride that you are looking for, the Thunderbird of course will be much more comfortable, thanks to the relaxed ergonomics.
Also Read: TVS Apache RR 310 Road Test Review
Which one's better looking?
Hmm! If you park these motorcycles together, the RR 310, undoubtedly, will attract more eyeballs. It looks purpose-made, with the fairing, the fins and those deadly looking twin LED projector headlamps. The bike's clean lines and not so busy design gets our vote over the Thunderbird 500X, which retains the current Thunderbird's design albeit, with a few changes. The seat and the rear grab-rails are different, the bike gets alloys and tubeless tyres now (a first for a Royal Enfield bike), the handlebar is now flatter and of course the new colour options. Sure, the Orange does pop out while riding in traffic, but the RR 310, it's a sexy motorcycle, period!
What about features?
It is the RR 310 which takes the round away from the Thunderbird 500X. TVS has loaded the RR 310 with features. There is only one variant of the RR 310 on sale and it gets dual-channel ABS, a vertically stacked fully digital instrument console showing oodles of information, LED projector headlamps, upside down forks at the front and Michelin Sport tyres. The Thunderbird 500X has a projector headlamp but misses out on ABS and digital gauges.
What about the engine specifications?
Both motorcycles have completely different riding dynamics and characteristics. The RR 310 makes more power at 33.5 bhp at 9,700 rpm while the Thunderbird makes 27.2 bhp at 5,250 rpm. The power on the Thunderbird 500X is more accessible in the lower revs while the bike makes significantly more torque and at much lower revs, which is 41.3 Nm at 4,000 rpm. In comparison, the Apache RR 310 makes 27.3 Nm at 7,700 rpm. The RR 310 gets a six-speed gearbox, while the Thunderbird 500X has a five-speed unit. Fuel efficiency of both motorcycles is similar too but the Thunderbird gets a 20-litre tank as opposed to RR 310's 11-litre fuel tank, giving it a range of 600 kilometres roughly, which is almost 260 kilometres more than the RR 310's range of 340 kilometres. So, for the touring inclined, the Thunderbird 500 X gets more range and the Apache RR 310 will require more frequent refills.
|Parameters||TVS Apache RR 310||Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X|
|Displacement||312 cc||499 cc|
|Max Power||33.5 bhp at 9,700 rpm||27.2 bhp at 5,250 rpm|
|Max Torque||27.3 Nm at 7,700 rpm||41.3 Nm at 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed manual||5-speed manual|
|Front Brake||300 mm petal disc||280 mm disc|
|Rear Brake||240 mm petal disc||240 mm disc|
|Kerb Weight||169.5 kg||197 kg|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||11 litres||20 litres|
|Fuel Efficiency||28 kmpl (tested)||30 kmpl (tested)|
|Price (ex-showroom)||₹ 2.05 lakh||₹ 1.98 lakh|
And the performance?
Both bikes are as different as chalk and cheese! The RR 310 loves to be revved and ridden hard. It's a performance bike after all, and with the all the power coming in late, the higher end of the rev range is where the fun lies. Acceleration is brisk, and the Apache RR 310 can leave the Thunderbird 500 X far behind on a neck and neck comparison. Plus, with its superb handling and committed posture, the RR 310 will not feel out of place on a racetrack either. Taut handling and grippy Michelin tyres make the RR 310 a delight around corners, be it on a twisty road or even around a racetrack. So, if you're the sporty kind of rider, the Apache RR 310 will delight you no end, and its superb handling will improve your riding skills and make you more confident of pushing the bike harder around a racetrack.
The Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X is a world apart! It is a torque monster no doubt, but it is at its happiest doing 85-90 kmph on straight roads. Sure, with the revised ergonomics and styling, it's targeted more at the daily rider on the urban commute, but the Thunderbird 500X feels more eager to turn and take corners than any standard Royal Enfield, including the standard Thunderbird. But there's a downside; just as you are about to enjoy leaning the bike around a corner, the terrible screeching sound of the footpegs scraping the tarmac kind of robs the bike of its handling abilities. But show it a broken road, and this is where the Thunderbird 500 X shines! It has a plusher ride of the two. Bumps, potholes and broken roads are shrugged off and the bike remains planted and in composure in a straight line. The Apache RR 310 too has a plush ride, for a supersport that is. But compared to the Thunderbird 500X, it has a slightly stiffer ride. It's not uncomfortable really, and definitely not a deal-breaker.
On a straight road, the Thunderbird 500 X can hit 120-130 kmph and retain those speeds, but the vibrations and stressed engine will make you lower the revs and come back to a more manageable speed where the bike feels happier. And in case you need to shave off speed in a hurry, the brakes will leave you wanting for a lot more. They lose the bite, progression and feel at the front lever, and you will need to plan your braking manoeuvres in advance. So, the Thunderbird 500 X gets no marks in the braking department.
But where the Thunderbird 500 X tops out in terms of speed, that is where the Apache RR 310 will begin stretching its legs, and lungs, and will easily hit over 160 kmph, before you run out of road. Of course, such speeds aren't advisable on public roads, but on a long straight on a racetrack, you can certainly explore the full capability of the Apache RR 310's performance. The dual-channel ABS works like a dream, and even if a little more feel on the front brake lever is desirable, the RR 310's brakes are adequate and offer sure-shot stopping power.
Our comparison of these two bikes did spring up a surprise though. And in the end we realised that both bikes have another characteristic in common - vibrations! The engines of both the RR 310 and the Thunderbird 500X are vibey. On the Thunderbird 500X, it could be described as 'character' and yes, you can't really explore the full capability of the bike because the vibrations and poor braking will make you want to back off the throttle. But the Apache RR 310 also has a vibey engine, and between 4,000 and 8,000 rpm, the vibrations are maximum, which kinds of mars the riding experience, especially when riding around town. On the highway, or even at a racetrack, you may not notice the vibes too much, because you'd be so busy admiring the engine and handling of the bike, but it's a vibey engine and that is a bummer!
Verdict and pricing
The Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X is priced at ₹ 1.98 lakh (ex-showroom) while the TVS Apache RR 310 is priced at ₹ 2.05 lakh (ex-showroom). Both motorcycles are a world apart from each other and sure, have different target audiences. But with the pricing being so close to each other and so many new offerings coming up every year in the 200 cc - 400 cc segment, the customer is kind of spoilt for choices. For the quintessential Royal Enfield fan, the Apache RR 310 may not even come up for consideration, but for someone thinking of upgrading from a 160-180 cc motorcycle, budget could be a prime consideration across different makes and models, and this is what this comparison tries to address.
Between the two, our pick would be the Apache RR 310, because of its superb build quality, well-rounded practicality and great value for money. However, if you are someone who likes to take to open roads every now and then, and is a Royal Enfield fan, the funky Thunderbird 500X sure makes for a good deal.