Here’s your first review of one of the most highly anticipated new bikes in a very long time – in India and in Europe. Built at TVS’ Hosur plant, this little naked motorcycle is what the manufacturer from Munich will be using to foray into the cut-throat small motorcycle segment.
The entry of BMW into the small motorbike segment highlights the importance of this segment in the future of motorcycling – clearly indicating the fact that this is a space that’s growing not just in India, but in Europe as well. And the new G 310 R may be the smallest offering by BMW Motorrad, but it’s living proof that a manufacturer doesn’t have to give up on its DNA even when developing an entry-level motorcycle.
Designed in Germany, manufactured in India – with its production quality wholly controlled by the BMW team – the G 310 R looks much more striking in the flesh than in pictures.
HEART OF THE MATTER
Its aesthetics are clearly inspired by the manic S1000R, so design wise it’s quite appealing. The fit-and-finish is impressive too. You can, however, tell that the components and materials used are chosen keeping in mind a certain budget. Even then, everything is very well assembled and the end result is quite desirable. But what really catches our attention is the engine – a 313cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder mill with a four-valve configuration. The maximum power output stands at 33.5bhp @ 9,500rpm, along with a peak torque of 28Nm. The engine has a peculiar architecture though, as the cylinder is sloped towards the rear by 18-degrees and its head is rotated by 180-degrees, with the exhaust turned backwards.
Here are some of the innovative solutions that are worth highlighting – the valve-train incorporates finger followers, like on the racy S1000 RR, and does without an anti-vibration countershaft in order to improve thermal efficiency. And, indeed, it seems like the G 310 R seldom needs a refill – with an 11-litre fuel tank and a claimed fuel consumption of 3.3 litres per 100 kilometres (30km/l), this street naked can even double up as an occasional tourer. It’s priced quite competitively as well in Europe, and for a bike carrying the BMW logo on its tank that’s quite a tempting prospect. Add to that the fact that it’s priced lower than some of the other 300-400cc motorcycles with similar levels of performance, it starts to make even more sense.
IN THE CITY
With a saddle height of 785mm, the G 310 R is friendly for bikers of all shapes and sizes – although the large seat base could be a problem for short riders. The riding position is quite natural since the handlebars, seat and foot pegs are spaced in a balanced ratio, allowing for a comfortable posture and yet giving the rider a bit of an aggressive stance that’s usual for a naked. Pressing the starter button brings the small single-cylinder to life with a feeble sound, amplified by a pretty voluminous exhaust. When you finally slot the gear lever into first, you quickly discover what this little BMW has to offer. Riding through the long and congested boulevards of Munich, the agility of the 310 doesn’t go unnoticed – it turns in with full confidence, the clutch is light and the throttle response deliciously crisp. Consequently, it is possible to indulge in a potential slalom around the tidily aligned cars in traffic. It’s so neutral and light that even the least proficient riders will be able to exploit and appreciate its capabilities. Slicing through chock-a-block traffic or taking tight U-turns is done effortlessly with just a hint of steering closure. Short gearing and linear torque delivery combine to ensure ample performance within the confines of the city. Even in sixth-gear, with speeds as low as 45km/h, the engine accepts acceleration without any protests. Another highlight of the powertrain is that it feels utterly relaxed while ambling around in the city – keep it in third or fourth gear, and it can cope with pretty much every situation. You won’t be disappointed when you leave the city though, since even at high speeds the engine feels refined and unstressed. Oh, and most importantly, the on-board computer shows fuel consumption figures to the tune of around 3.5 litres per 100 kilometres.
While making an effort to harness its dynamic qualities, we discovered a pleasant vigour to the engine, which, despite developing a maximum power of only 33.5bhp, loves to be revved hard and delivers punchy acceleration at medium speeds. Above 8,000rpm and till the limiter, it feels even sweeter. Also, the short-geared transmission plays along beautifully, offering quick and fluid gearshifts.
WHEN THE GOING GETS TWISTY
The BMW G 310 R’s chassis is stellar, and compliments the engine’s characteristics. Ergonomics are such that it neither feels undersized nor oversized. What about dynamics? The brakes are as powerful as required, but to get maximum brake force the front brake lever has to be squeezed with strength. ABS works perfectly without causing any troubles. The mono-shock, which seems soft at times, manages to control the vertical movements of the rear wheel in a confidence-inspiring manner around bends. Supported by a 650mm long swing-arm, the G 310 R plunges into bends in an enthusiastic manner. Changing directions is quick and easy astride this baby BMW, thanks to its light front-end.
Everything works perfectly, at least until the time when we hit an irregular stretch of road. This is one circumstance where the G 310 R loses some of its sheen. It’s not uncomfortable though, since the combination of a softly calibrated rear shock and the well-padded seat ensures that you don’t feel the stress of even a full-day’s ride. All told, the total package feels remarkably well suited for the job – barring one or two issues. For example, because of the finger followers in the valve-train, the engine vibrations are constantly apparent from 4,000rpm onwards. Apart from that, though, we have to say that the BMW G 310 R is a seriously competent product that will give its competitors a tough time around the world – and, if priced competitively, certainly in India as well!
- BMW G 310 R
Engine: Single Cylinder, 313cc bore x stroke 80 x 62.1mm, liquid-cooled, compression ratio 10.6:1, double overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder, electronic injection with a 42mm throttle body, wet sump lubrication.
Transmission: Chain final drive, wet multi-disc clutch, 6-speed transmission.
Chassis: Steel tubular trellis frame; non-adjustable 41mm inverted fork; aluminium swing-arm with adjustable damper.
Brakes: 300mm front disc brake, 4 piston radial mount calipers; 240mm rear disc brake, single piston caliper; ABS.
Tyres: Front tyre: 110/70-R17; Rear tyre: 150/60-R17.
Dimensions (mm): Length 2,005mm, Width 849mm, Wheelbase 1,374mm, Saddle Height 785mm, 11-litre tank, Kerb Weight without fuel 158.5kgs.
Specifications: Power - 33.5bhp @ 9,500rpm; Torque - 28Nm @ 7,500rpm
Colors available: Black, White, Blue.
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