The BMW G310 R and G310 GS are BMW Motorrad’s entries into a segment that is overrun by KTMs and REs. Many motorcycle companies have made their entries into the segment but have hardly managed to put a dent in the market share of the two ruling brands.
The entry of BMW may herald the augment of better motorcycles in the sub 500cc category and that would be a very exciting prospect for the huge mass of bike enthusiasts in this
The BMW 310R is a good looking machine, no doubt about that. Right from the gold-trim front forks to the beefed-up look upfront which tapers into a slim behind it is aesthetically a motorcycle that catches the eye and keeps the eye hovering on it. It is available in three skin colors – Cosmic Black, Racing Red, and Pearl White Metallic Motorsport.
Even though the overall looks are quite attractive, on closer inspection a few things that could have made it better come to mind. The most obvious being the lack of a side panel which leaves the innards exposed. The headlight assembly could have used some color highlights to make the whole front much better looking. The coating of the engine casings and the footpegs mounting assembly doesn’t go with the richness of the rest of the bike and are dull compared to everything else.
As soon as you get on the G310 R the first thing noticed is the ride quality. Rich is the word. The 41mm upside-down fork with 140mm travel and mono-shock with 131mm travel in the rear with preload adjustability will take anything the city can throw at it with ease and comfort. Potholes, breakers, undulations you name it but you will hardly notice as you go over them.
The upright riding stance offered by the G310 R is definitely advantageous for city riding. Along with a wide handlebar, this makes for a ride that keeps stress from the arms. Very comfortable! The seat is low at 785mm height and that makes the 310R a good bike for shorter people. Even riders 5.4 feet tall handles the bike very comfortable with feet fully planted on the ground. The seat is of comfortable foam and shaped quite well but this applies mostly for the shorter people. For the taller lot, it tended to snag the rider deep into it and one may inadvertently find oneself hunching over the handlebar, especially around corners. Also, the handlebar feels too close to the rider if the rider is tall. The frontward weight concentration of the bike makes the sporty feel of the bike become a manifest reality. Bobbing, weaving and leaning on the 310R is absolutely fun!
Braking is outstanding with the 300mm disk up front and Bybre 4 pot radially mounted caliper giving an excellent progressive feel to the braking. Even the rear single-pot floating caliper with 240mm disk does its job stopping the bike very well.
The 313cc 4 valves single cylinder motor with DOHC has a front-facing intake, meaning the engine block is quite close to the seat and the exhaust bend pipe is right below the seat. Surprisingly, very little heat is felt at the legs pointing to a very good liquid-cooled system. The downside of this configuration is the vibrations which are felt the most at the crotch. In fact, at high rpm, it could be quite distracting. Power output is 34PS@9500rpm and 28Nm@7500rpm of torque but the low-end torque is quite inadequate at times and may leave the rider in the lurch especially in start-stop traffic. Once the engine crosses 4000rpm its all fun and the fast rev will probably satisfy most city slickers. Its six-speed gearbox shifts smoothly, though the clutch feels little hard. The exhaust note is very muted and many times every sound the engine makes can be heard quite clearly. The top speed and fuel mileage claimed by BMW is 143kph and 30kmpl respectively. With its 11 liter tank that’s a fair range of 330 km for any urban rider.
The 310R gets Michelin Pilot Street tires 150/60-R17 in the back and 110/70-R17 upfront. Excellent grip on both dry and wet tar but it loses this sure grip on loose gravel and mud. Ground clearance is adequate at 165mm and will not scrape on most of the stupidly made breakers. The kerb weight of 158.5kg, though seeming a little on the heavier side does not feel really heavy once astride the motorcycle. Pillion seating is not very comfortable and
confidence-inspiring as it gives the feeling of being right on the edge and instinctive reaching for the grab handle is not successful most of the time due to its placing being less than intuitive. The rear mudguard has an opening right in the middle of it through which water and mud get sprayed onto the back of the pillion. The headlight illumination is just average and sometimes feels wanting.
The display unit is a small LCD unit which displays the bikes speed, engine RPM, fuel level, time and gear indicator. Apart from the usual things it has a date indicator. Quite superfluous, but perhaps useful to some who tend to forget the date. It also has the usual idiot lights beside the LCD. Among these, there is a neutral gear indicator which is a duplication of the gear indication on the LCD. The low fuel light is also unnecessary as there is a fuel level indicator on the LCD. Instead of all these lights, a larger LCD would have been ideal. Even better, a TFT screen. The switchgear is amazingly smooth to operate and looks properly rich.
Overall the BMW G310 R is a sweet bike which pleases the eye and will be lots of fun to ride. The ride quality is fabulous given the superb suspension and braking. The low-end torque is wanting but once over 4000rpm it will be enjoyable riding. At 2.99 lakh ex-showroom, it does seem pricey but having a BMW in one’s garage cud be worth that tag for many enthusiasts.
This is one fun bike I have to say. From the first moment I laid my backside onto the seat my wrist just twisted and twisted at the throttle as if it had lost its connection with my mind. Sleek to look at, the GS has all the signature looks of the other BMW GS bikes. Again the finish is the same crisp and stylish one that is seen on the G310 R as it shares many parts with the 310R like engine, exhaust, seat, brakes, switches, etc. But we found the sitting to be much more comfortable on the GS due to its upright seating position.
The G310 GS gets the same engine tune as the G310 R which is strange because for a purported off-road capable adventure bike low-end torque is one thing that is both treasured and revered. Though I must say that the GS stalled only once for every 3-4 times that the R did. Somehow the engine did not feel as sluggish in the low revs as that of the 310R, maybe due to the more relaxed vertical riding position. The handlebars on the GS are wide and give good control and nimbleness to an otherwise large looking bike that weighs in at 169.5 kg. It takes turns very well and the 150/70 r17 front and 110/80 r19 holds the road well thanks to the legendary Metzeler Tourance rubber. The braking is good and progressive with suspension travel being 180mm for both front and rear. The rear monoshock is preload adjustable. Switchable ABS is a feature that will be very useful when trail riding in particular.
A word about the suspension, it has a long-travel and is very soft. This translates to it being good on the offroading part but on the roads it gives you a wallowy and bouncy ride. A little adjustability on the front suspension would have gone a long way on this bike. Furthermore, standing up on the bike while on the trails would make one slouch over the handlebar a little which puts more weight on the front. Nothing that a pair of handlebar risers couldn’t solve. The headlight assembly is not geared for bumps as it starts to jitter with the undulations of the road.
The stock bashplate is made of plastic which was quite surprising at first. On inspection, we realized that it was not done for cost-cutting but rather because it is mounted into the oil sump. Banging it into the trail would just damage the plastic bashplate or even rip it off but if a metal one is used it could damage the oil sump. And that would be quite tragic. Nevertheless, for mild to middling offroadling this motorcycle will glide across much of the terrain easily. The seat height is 830mm and a 5.8-foot person can easily flatfoot it. The G310 GS has 220mm of ground clearance which is enough for any kind of riding. Pillion comfort is better than the G310 R because of the molded stock fitted luggage-carrier grabrail behind.
Engine heat is well managed and does not fry the legs even in peak traffic. A better low-end torque is sorely missing especially off the road. It’s really not practical to keep a bike at such high revs all the time. Engine vibrations from the pegs and lower tank area are quite palpable and distract or even irritate the rider at times. The accessories list is short and could have included many things to mitigate or even eliminate some of the shortcomings of the bike. The GS is available in 5 color options: Cosmic Black, Cosmic Black One, Racing Red, Racing Red Non-Metallic and Pearl White.
In summary, the G310 GS is one of the more affordable adventure tourers out there which can also be taken off the roads, even though it’s not a hard-core offroader by any standards. The suspension needs a little work because dual-purpose motorcycle needs an adjustable suspension, period. For city riding, this bike will give oodles of fun and even support the once in a while dash over the mud and gravel. A buyer would probably have to spend a little more on aftermarket parts to make the bike more worthy of the adventure tourer label. Shelling out 3.99 lakhs ex-showroom already seems a formidable task but having a BMW parked outside one’s house is a sweet feeling!