BMW G 310 R  Review
How much better is the bike now? Have the issues been fixed which had plagued the outgoing model? And, can it outdo the accomplished KTM 390 Duke? We try to answer all these questions in this detailed review of the new BMW G 310 R BS6.
We recently spent some time with the new BS6 edition of the BMW G 310 GS and liked the motorcycle for several reasons. You can read our first ride review of the bike here. Now, what you see in these pictures is the latest iteration of its naked street bike version, the G 310 R. Similar to its ADV sibling, the G 310 R has also received a host of updates. It gets a revised styling, new features, slightly changed hardware, and of course, BS-bound alterations in its 313cc engine. And most importantly, the motorcycle is significantly cheaper than its BS4 derivative.
All of it gives rise to a few questions – How much better is the bike now over its predecessor? Have the issues been fixed which had plagued the outgoing model? And, does it have what it takes to outdo the profoundly accomplished KTM 390 Duke?
We try to answer all these questions in this detailed review of the new BMW G 310 R BS6.
This is an area in which the G 310 R continues to be a typical BMW. The fit and finish levels of the bike are neat and leave no room for complaints. The quality and fitment of plastic panels are top-notch and the paint finish is also upmarket. Even the switchgear is solid and the buttons operate with no fuss at all.
Talking about its looks, the G 310 R was already a good-looking motorcycle but BMW still revised its styling, making it more muscular and sharper. It actually looks like a bigger bike and draws plenty of attention on the road. The headlamp boasts more angular contours and the fuel tank section looks beefier with added panels. It also gets new LED lighting with a DRL strip sporting ‘BMW LED’ lettering at the centre. If all of that isn’t enough, the motorcycle comes in three new swanky colour options and the one you see here is the Cosmic Black shade.
Swinging a leg over the G 310 R is effortless even for shorter riders because of its 785mm seat height. And talking about its seat, BMW has made slight changes in its design which means even well-fed riders won’t have trouble settling in. Once you are on the bike, you sit in a comfortable position but slightly bent forward which adds a pinch of sportiness. The handlebar is pretty wide and that gives a great amount of leverage while steering. With a kerb weight of 164kg, it is around 5kg heavier than before but remains easy to manage and move around.
Before touching upon the performance aspect, let me get this out of the way - the exhaust note and sound of this engine is quite rough and mechanical. We had said this for the G 310 GS as well. Although it gets raspy and sporty at higher speeds, I didn’t find it likeable at slow speeds.
But when you start riding the G 310 R, its lively performance overshadows the gruff sound in no time. The motorcycle has a good grunt between 3,500rpm to 6,000rpm which makes it quite sprightly to ride in the city. But the real fun lies beyond 6,000rpm where the G 310 R goes darting ahead with a profound urgency and keeps on pulling up to its redline.
Go aggressive with your throttle inputs and it reaches 100-110kmph of speeds fairly quickly and even there you have enough power on tap for easy overtakes. However, anything faster than 110kmph puts noticeable stress on the engine and mild vibrations can be felt on the footpegs and the handlebar.
It can also handle traffic duties fairly well due to its tractability. I could keep going at about 35-40kmph in fifth gear which means you don’t need consistent shifting. And even after spending a long time in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I couldn’t feel any heat being dissipated on my thighs.
The G 310 R is also very impressive in the way it handles. It feels very agile, light on its feet, and has a sharp steering response. That makes it a hoot to ride in the city. Even on the highway, at higher speeds, it switches lanes and changes directions with great poise and stability. Take it around tight corners in ghats and this motorcycle shines brightly there as well. It tips into corners with ease and holds its line pretty well.
And when you encounter rough roads, the G 310 R doesn’t get upset there as well. The ride is not as plush as its ADV sibling, but it is fairly composed. At controlled speeds, elements like small speed bumps, potholes, and road joints are bottomed out cleanly. The suspension doesn’t easily bottom out either.
Everything about the G 310 R sounds so good so far. But what plays spoilsport here is its extremely clunky gearbox. You need to apply a considerable amount of pressure to change gears, especially at slow speeds. As for the clutch, although BMW has included a slipper clutch now, it still feels quite heavy.
If we were to find more faults, the G 310 R could also do with better tyres. The Michelin Pilot Street radials feel decent on dry tarmac but as the surface gets a little slippery, these rubbers tend to lose feel and grip very easily. As for the brakes, the front and rear disc do a good job of shedding speed with an abundance of progression and feel, but they certainly need a better initial bite.
Full-LED lighting, adjustable levers, slipper clutch, ride-by-wire throttle. Thumbs up for all these updates. But what’s disappointing is the fact that the LCD console has remained unchanged. And that means no smartphone connectivity, no turn-by-turn navigation, and no other fancy bits. These features are available in more affordable bikes today.
Nevertheless, the existing LCD consists of all the basic stuff like speedometer, tachometer, fuel level indicator, fuel range figure, fuel consumption, odometer, two trip meters, a gear position indicator, a clock, and an engine temperature indicator. The information is spread in a clean layout and all of it is easy to read on the go.
It’s also worth mentioning that the illumination from the new LED headlamp has a very short throw. Even high beam lights up nearly as much road ahead as low beam. But there’s no denying that it looks premium and fancy.
In our fuel efficiency test, the G 310 R managed to return around 30.2kmpl. That means its 11-litre fuel tank will deliver a range of around 332km which is acceptable from a bike with this displacement and performance.
Fitness of Purpose
The BMW G 310 R makes for a worthy upgrade for those moving from a 150-200cc motorcycle and looking for something premium. Its closest rival, the KTM 390 Duke, is unarguably several steps ahead in terms of performance and technology. However, the engine of this baby beemer is more relaxed in the city, it has better ride quality and is also a notch more comfortable.
To sum it all up, the BMW G 310 R is a good motorcycle but still slightly away from being great. There are a couple of rough edges like a clunky gearbox, the crude character of the engine, and an outdated LCD console. Further, it could also do with grippier tyres.
But, there are a lot of aspects which are extremely likeable about it such as its agility, its ride quality, comfy ergos and the torquey engine that is not only enjoyable in the city but also on the highway. And above all, it is priced at Rs 2.50 lakh (ex-showroom) which makes it around Rs 50,000 cheaper than its BS4 counterpart. The maintenance cost will be slightly higher than its KTM rival, no doubt, but BMW says it has made sure that the bike is cheaper to own now.
Photography by Kapil Angane
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