BMW G 310 GS First Ride Review

07 January 2019, 06:47 PM Neil Nair

Introduction

 

Pros: Comfortable seat, good mid-range torque.

Cons: Not very affordable, gets a clunky gearbox, limited off-road ability.

The BMW G 310 GS is the entry ticket for those wanting to be part of the highly-acclaimed GS club. And in that sense, the G 310 GS is War Machine to the Iron Man-like R 1250 GS. It borrows styling cues like the beak-like structure, chiselled fuel tank and tank extensions from the latter.

Heck, it even looks like one in this particular shade of black.  However, the baby GS is much more accessible and can be considered as an everyday bike. But can it hold the title of being an ideal adventure-tourer? We rode the bike through all possible road conditions to find out. 

Quality

The build quality of the G 310 GS will remind you of its four-wheeled cousins - robust and built to last. And this is after a considerable amount of thrashing off-road. However, I couldn't help notice the exposed headlamp unit which wobbles unpleasantly at high speed or on bad roads. Apart from that, the other components on the bike have decent quality. 

The switchgear feels tactile and premium and so do the handgrips. While the quality of paint on most of the bodywork is good enough, the paint on the luggage rack tends to scuff off when getting on/off the bike or when loaded with a bag. 

Comfort

The G 310 GS sits on a 19-inch front wheel that lends it a tall stance and is intimidating to look at, but with a seat height of 835mm, a 5'7" rider wouldn't be cursing his stars. BMW has also done well with the ergonomics of the G310 GS for touring. The bike offers a wide handlebar and slightly rear-set foot pegs. Complement that with an accommodating seat and your bottom immediately feels at home and most importantly, even after a long haul. The seat offers more than enough cushioning and room even for bigger riders.

BMW G310GS

BMW G310GS

4.6(7 ratings)

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 3,49,000

On the contrary, the ergonomics of bike while standing up on the pegs for riding off-road, is a bit…well...off. The tank isn't very supportive to the thighs and one feels compelled to adjust every now and then. Now, the GS is vibe-y after 80kmph, especially at the handlebars. While that may not be a deal breaker, its fly screen does not offer a whole lot of wind deflection so cruising above 100kmph becomes a chore after a while.

The GS is equipped with inverted front forks and a linked-type, preload adjustable rear monoshock. The front suspension offers long travel, but the fast damping results in a bouncier, unsettled ride on longer stretches of bad roads. Over deep potholes, the springs tend to bottom out on both ends. The G 310 GS, however, trots effortlessly over minor bumps and undulations like a jolly little pony. 

Performance

The G 310 GS is a bit of an introvert initially. The bike feels sluggish, especially if put through extreme off-road conditions. But as the 313cc, single-cylinder motor scales the rev band and gets comfortable in the mid-range, the G 310 GS is as enthusiastic as it can get. With a smooth throttle response, the bike pulls to 9500rpm and is capable of clocking a top speed of around 134kmph.

Now, the major downside to the G 310 GS's enjoyable engine is the clunky gearbox and its tendency to stall. So expect angry stares and horns blaring behind you when it happens in peak hour traffic. A few cuss words too, if you are lucky. But once you manage to move off, the G 310 GS is a delight in traffic. It is agile and willing to tip in on command, thus negating its intimidating presence. 

If you disregard the nasty nose dives and the sensitive dual-channel ABS system announcing its presence each time you go hard on the brakes, the G 310 GS's braking hardware actually offers commendable bite and progression. What’s more, the ABS system can be switched off to the rear wheel at will, thus allowing you to indulge in sideways fun. However, the G 310 GS cannot be pushed hard off-road as it rides on alloy wheels. On the plus side, the wheels are wrapped in high-spec, Metzeler Tourance tyres, similar to a few bigger capacity ADV bikes, which offer excellent grip on gravel.

Technology

The bike offers an LCD screen that displays basic information like a speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, tachometer, gear indicator, clock and so on. There is the switchable dual-channel ABS too and that's about it. It currently misses out on LED lighting, but this is likely to appear whenever the bike is updated. So the G 310 GS might not offer an array of features and electronics its bigger siblings are known for, but it has enough to get the job done. 

Fuel Efficiency

The bike returned an average of 35.6 kilometers per litre in our fuel efficiency test. With the G 310 GS's fuel tank capacity of 11-litres, you'll be good for 391kms without stopping for fuel. While the bike did return a good efficiency figure, the small tank limits its long-distance touring ability. 

Fitness Of Purpose

As I mentioned earlier, the G 310 GS is an aspirational product aimed at newer riders wanting a premium brand. The sole purpose of the entry-level adventure touring motorcycle is to introduce customers into the BMW adventure-touring family. And this introduction demands a cost of Rs 3.49 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi), which isn't very affordable. With the ADV segment still in its nascent stage in India, the GS doesn't have many rivals apart from the Kawasaki Versys X-300 which costs Rs 4.69 lakhs; a premium of almost Rs 1.10 lakhs over the GS.

Our take

The BMW G 310 GS is more of a touring motorcycle that wouldn’t mind exploring a bit of the path untaken. The bike, however, is held back from its full off-roading abilities due to the alloy wheels which unfortunately cannot be swapped with spoke wheels as of now. It feels out of place in extreme off-roads, but handles gravel and slight mud trails with ease.

On the other hand, the bike packs quite a punch when in the mid-range, just perfect for cruising speeds. Overall, the G 310 GS would be a wonderful buy if only it would have been priced better and not threatening to be so heavy on the wallet. 

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

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