Horses are some of the most beautiful animals on the planet, and everyone likes them. However, more often than not they stink, tend to have a temper, are easily rattled, can bite, and if you’re at the wrong end, kick you into low-earth orbit. I suspect these are some of the reasons why fedup ingenious humans took to designing two-wheeled horses that other impressionable humans started buying in droves. And like their four-legged inspirations, motorcycles today are registered as many different breeds. In the Indian context, the company that finds itself farriering the most diverse stable is TVS, with a breadwinning workhorse at one end and a flagship thoroughbred at the other.
The TVS XL100 Comfort and the Apache RR 310 are as far apart as two-wheelers made by the same company can be, the former being the only moped sold in India. Yes, it doesn’t have pedals, but calling it a step-through is less charming. Plus I like thinking that the past tense of ‘mope’ can also be a cheerful object. The XL is a 38-year-old idea, now polished with the grace and refinement of the modern era. It is BS6-compliant and has fuel-injection to boot. The RR 310 is a BMW made by TVS, and its BS6 version is a shocking improvement over the older one. However, the roots of all those TVS Racing badges on the RR 310 go back in time to the XL.
Riding the XL into a heavy downpour, I thought of the time I rode one of its two-stroke ancestors, a racing moped, at the Madras Motor Race Track near Chennai. I was far from a suitable jockey for it, and proceeded to burn its clutch till it started smoking, but not before I’d scared myself on the 110-kph machine in a manner befitting an overweight prey animal. However, this time around, the XL reassured me with its 60-kph refinement; it could probably go faster, but there was no point. Quite a swing away from its racing heydays, then. However, it brightened up a dreary monsoon day with its fantastic blue self, and that was good enough for me.
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