BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS Review: First Ride

By Arup Das | on July 20, 2018

The first time we saw the BMW G 310 R was at the 2015 EICMA Milan bike show. Then came the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo with a lot of anticipation surrounding the launch of this most affordable BMW motorcycle. Unfortunately, the naked bike was only unveiled and later on BMW explained that the company's focused on first setting up exclusive BMW Motorrad dealerships and service network. As logical as that sounded, we couldn’t hide our disappointment and after a couple of years, BMW was back making headlines by unveiling their most compact adventure bike, the G 310 GS. With patience running thin, BMW’s India-partners, TVS, decided to throw a curve ball by announcing that they will launch their sports tourer, the TVS Apache RR 310, which is powered by the same BMW 313cc engine, before the end of the year 2017. And now roughly six months later, BMW, has decided to go boldly where no other premium two-wheeler manufacturer has ever gone before and breached this final frontier with the launch of the G 310 R and G 310 GS. BMW has managed to surprise everyone by pricing the G 310 R at Rs 2.99 lakh and the G 310 GS at Rs 3.49 lakh, ex-showroom pan India respectively. Being a made-in-India product manufactured by TVS at their Hosur plant in Karnataka, are the two sub-500cc bikes truly a BMW product or is this simply an affordable route to enter this segment in India as well as globally? We find how these two motorcycles actually fare?

BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS Review

Two of a kind

The idea behind introducing an entry-level adventure or a naked street bike is to ensure that daily commuters or even new riders get an opportunity to explore the unknown off-road trails or discover the urban jungle with a small yet powerful enough lightweight motorcycle that is comfortable, maneuvers easily and most importantly it is affordable yet be your neighbour’s envy but more so your pride.

BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS Review

A quick walk around the G 310 R and the simple and uncomplicated design does make it look like a shrunk S1000R, which is a good thing. As mentioned earlier, it was unveiled roughly 3 years ago, therefore, it’s starting to show its age. Trust BMW to come up with a smart solution by recently introducing the new Racing Red colour just before the India debut to give it a much-needed Botox shot. The fit-and-finish, paint quality, the handlebar and the switches are all top drawer stuff. Not to forget, the BMW logo on the fuel tank certainly does give the G 310 R an air of sophistication.

BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS Review

The G 310 GS, on the other hand, looks every bit like a BMW adventure tourer with its typical beak-like front design, a small windshield on top and of course the eye-grabbing massive luggage rack in the back. Sadly, we did feel BMW missed a trick or two as both the entry-level G series bikes don’t come with LED headlights, which is available in the RR 310. The German manufacturer could have also added a slipper-clutch, which the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V Race Edition now boasts off.

Both the BMWs are built on the same trellis frame chassis like the RR 310, but as similar as they both appear on paper, their nature couldn’t be more different. Sure, they use the same 41 mm upside-down front fork and rear monoshock suspension, but the GS offers an increased travel of 180mm at the front and rear end while the R has 140 mm of suspension travel in front and 131 mm at the rear. Even though both the bikes’ tyres have an identical width of 100mm in front and 150mm in the rear, the R uses 17-inch wheels at both ends while the GS towers down upon its sibling with 19-inches in the front and 17-inch in the other end.

BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS Review Digital Instrument

As impressive as both the bikes look, their digital instrument cluster comes across jaded and simple. This is where we miss the KTM's TFT screen. The speedometer is smack in the middle, gear indicator on the right, the fuel gauge on the left and the tachometer running across below across the screen. On top of the speedometer is where the trip meters are housed and with the help of a button on the left side below the digital display, you can change the display to a fuel range, fuel economy and even temperature.  

Heart and soul

Both the GS, R and the RR 310 are all powered by the same 34bhp 313cc with 28Nm of torque. The engine provides a linear pickup, but its mid-range power around the 6000rpm is where the power starts to kick in. In the RR 310, we had noticed that once it crossed the 6,000rpm mark one could feel vibrations from the foot pegs, seat and the fuel tank. Thankfully, we just felt a niggle once the R and GS crossed the 6,000rpm mark. The engine did feel refined for a single cylinder and the exhaust note has quite a sporty snarl. As our seat time with both the bikes was limited, we will only get to know how they actually behave once we do a thorough test.  

BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS Review

Marauder or Goliath?

Swing your leg over the G and the low 785mm seat height pampers you with ideal support. With an aggressive riding stance and with the knees tucked in, it feels sporty without compromising on the comfort. Ride the naked bike in low speed and it tends to snap back at you as the throttle response tends to get jerky. Once it goes past 5,500-6,000rpm mark then it's more at ease and is a happy trooper. Unfortunately, we didn’t come across too many corners, but the few that we did, the chassis showed its class. Just a slight nudge, it would respond instantly and remain solid as a rock without creating any doubts in your mind.

The GS provides a tall commanding position and the seat squab is even more comfortable than the G. As it has more suspension travel, it carpets any pothole that comes in the way. Even though both the bikes come standard with dual-channel ABS, GS gives you an option to disable it when you hit the dirt tracks. Due to its nature, design and additional girth, the GS manages to corner without a fuss, but it needs some breathing space when it comes to tight turns. Unlike, the R, the GS doesn’t bite back when you are cruising in low speeds. It steadily purrs away.

BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS Review

Final take

It’s been a long time coming but BMW’s entry-level G series is finally here. The G 310 R has the nature of a hooligan yet it behaves itself and lets you know that you’re the master. In terms of handling, it is stable and confident in the corners, though the engine could have had more grunt. It is ideal for commuting in the city and the sporty riding stance does not take a toll on your back. The GS, which is my pick, is all about comfort while being able to ride over any obstacle the concrete jungle can throw at you. It’s not a hardcore off-roader but it holds its own on dirt trails. What impressed us further is that the vibrations were down to a minimal. Yes, the pricing is at a premium and many scoffers might get all cynical with this, but the quality is true to what one expects from BMW. The only barrier is that one will have to get over is that fact that the motorcycle is made in Hosur.

  • BMW G 310 R
  • BMW G 310 GS

Engine: 313cc / 4-Valves / Single-Cylinder / Water Cooled

Transmission: 6-Speed 

Power: 34bhp @ 9,500rpm

Torque: 28Nm @ 7,500rpm

Price: ₹2.99 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India)

X-factor: The BMW badge of course, not to mention bike’s sporty stance and handling.

Pros           
• Class-leading fit-and-finish  
• Immaculate in corners 
Cons
• The engine could have more grunt
• Monochrome TFT display

Engine: 313cc / 4-Valves / Single-Cylinder / Water Cooled

Transmission: 6-Speed 

Power: 34bhp @ 9,500rpm

Torque: 28Nm @ 7,500rpm

Price: ₹3.49 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India)

X-factor: Tall & imposing, but comfortable as well. And it appears to be built like a tank.

Pros           
• Taller suspension set up ensures softer ride 
• A mild off-roader that's impeccable on tarmac  
Cons
• Expensive

Tags: BMW G 310 R BMW G 310 GS BMW

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BMW G 310 R [2018-2019] Model Image
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