It was in 2018 that BMW stepped into the world of small-capacity adventure tourers with the G 310 GS. And back then when we rode it, we quite liked it for its comfort, good performance, solid build quality, and the visual appeal. However, it had a few downers and the biggest of them was the substantially hefty price tag.
But with the BS6-bound changes, BMW has also slashed the price of the bike to a surprising extent! The German bike maker has even added several new features to its kitty, bestowed it with mild styling revisions and, not to forget, introduced swanky new colour options. All this has definitely made the G 310 GS BS6 much more attractive and desirable than its BS4 version on paper.
Now, in order to find if it actually feels any better in the real world, we spent some time with the motorcycle, comprehensively scrutinising it in every scenario possible.
We have always liked the design of this baby beemer, mainly because it is inspired by the iconic R1250GS. It looks tall, muscular, and imposing. This new Rallye colour scheme, in particular, looks really striking with the red coloured frame and cool graphics. BMW has also revised the shape of the headlamp and side panels to give that extra edge to its design.
Speaking of quality, it is a typical BMW, exuding solidity and an upmarket feel. Components like the golden USD forks, the handlebar clamp, the engine guard, and the luggage rack at the rear, everything looks built to last. And then the paint finish on every component is top-notch and there’s no hint of fading or chipping at all.
BMW has incorporated a handful of new elements in the G 310 GS BS6 and we take a look at them first. The list of modern features in the G 310 GS is longer now and it has finally received LED lighting all around. And the headlamp deserves special mention here for its great spread, may it be in low or high beam. Moreover, the DRL strip at the centre looks neat and so do the V-shaped LED turn indicators.
Other latest inclusions are the adjustable brake and clutch levers, a ride-by-wire throttle, and an assist and slipper clutch. And then the most important revision has been done to its 312cc engine which, despite being BS6 compliant, continues to produce 34bhp of power at 9,250rpm and 28Nm of torque at 7,500rpm. It comes mated to a six-speed gearbox.
As for the components which have been retained, it continues to be underpinned by a tubular steel trellis frame. It still rides on a 19-inch front and a 17-inch rear alloy wheels shod with Metzeler Tourance rubbers. Soaking up undulations are the same upside-down forks and a monoshock which have been tweaked for a better ride, but more on that later. Stopping power comes from a 300mm disc up front and a 240mm rotor at the rear. Lastly, the LCD instrument cluster has also been left untouched.
The BS6 model of the G310GS not only looks and feels good but it’s also a likeable motorcycle out on the road. One of the reasons for this is its strong performance. There’s oodles of grunt in the mid-range, roughly between 4,000-8,000rpm and that makes it fairly fast in the city. Overtaking requires just a slight twist of the throttle, which by the way is quite crisp now, thanks to the inclusion of the ride-by-wire tech. And when you flick it around, it isn’t as agile as its street bike sibling, but it responds with a decent amount of enthusiasm. What would have made its city ride better is a lighter clutch. And most importantly, the six-speed gearbox feels pretty clunky to operate.
Once you’re out on the highway, it’s instantly evident that this bike is not meant for high-speed touring. It feels the most comfortable between 90-100kmph, and post that, vibes become noticeable on the handlebar and footpegs. Although the buzzing is not really bothersome, you will not want to push it beyond 100-110kmph, since the engine starts to feel annoyingly gruff after that.
The minor vibes and gruff nature of the engine can actually be dealt with because of the level of comfort the G 310 GS offers. It gives you a feeling of being in the bike because you’re sitting on a scooped seat, with the bulging tank ahead of you. And the overall riding stance is truly forgiving, even if you ride it from dawn till dusk. Standing up on the pegs isn’t much bothersome either. However, installing a handlebar riser would make standing up and riding a more relaxed affair, especially for taller riders. In its stock form, the handlebar is placed slightly low.
Another aspect that takes care of your comfort is the amazingly plush ride quality. I had no trouble taking on the pothole-ridden roads of Mumbai as the GS handles them with utmost plushness and stability. The suspension setup is tuned well enough to absorb most of the undulations and doesn’t bottom out for the most part.
And when you take the beaten path, the dampers can take on a decent amount of thrashing. I tried going fairly fast through rough terrain comprising of stones and dirt and a lot of dips and crest, and the GS went on soaking up almost everything. The 220mm of ground clearance also helps in preventing the underbelly from scraping or hitting the ground, unless you go all bonkers off the road. But it’s wise to be careful on low traction surfaces as the Metzeler Tourance tyres loose grip at times, which are otherwise brilliant on the road. While the GS can handle mild trails and broken roads efficiently, it’s clearly not an outright off-roader and exemplifying this fact is the presence of alloy wheels.
The G 310 GS would have been more fun on trails if it had an option to switch off the ABS on the rear wheel. And switchable ABS is only one of the few things it lacks. For today’s times, even the tiny LCD looks quite dated. A Bluetooth-enabled TFT console would have made it more modern. Nevertheless, the existing dash has all the necessary bits like speedometer, tachometer, fuel level indicator, fuel range figure, fuel consumption, odometer, two trip meters, gear position indicator, and engine temperature. Another downside is its 11litre fuel tank that is quite small for a bike focused on touring.
The BMW G 310 GS might have a few niggles but the positives truly outweigh them. It is a bike which you can tour on comfortably without having to worry about bad patches. And you can also have some fun around mountain twisties, while I also don’t see any problem in commuting on it every single day. And when the off-road enthusiast within you needs to be pampered, the GS does a good job of handling mild trails.
Having said all that, something that’s truly admirable about the G 310 GS is its price. With an ex-showroom price tag of Rs 2.85 lakh, it is around Rs 65,000 cheaper than the previous BS4 counterpart. And that’s definitely great pricing considering you get to flaunt the premium BMW badge sitting proudly on the motorcycle. Now, that also means higher service and spare part costs than its closest rival, the KTM 390 Adventure, but I would say that’s just the premium you pay to brag the BMW logo.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi
BMW G 310 GS Right Rear Three Quarter