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BMW G 310 GS Launch Ride Review

06 August 2018, 08:18 PM Vikrant Singh

Introduction

We have already ridden the other small capacity BMW. Called the G 310 R, it's a well thought out street motorcycle, even though we can't say the same about its pricing.

This, the G 310 GS is even more expensive. It costs Rs 4.3 lakhs on the road in Mumbai. 

But, unlike the R which has the KTM 390 Duke to make it look ordinary and pricey, there's nothing like the GS on the market. Yes, there's the Kawasaki Versys X-300 but it costs a ridiculous Rs 5.5 lakh on the road rendering it pointless in this context. And let's not bring up the Royal Enfield Himalayan here, because, well, it's a completely different proposition. And from the looks of it, it's still trying to dig itself out of the hole created by the first batch of Himalayans.

What is the 310 GS?

It is well known that when it comes to motorcycles BMW is synonymous with the R1200GS. It is THE round-the-world motorcycle; also credited for bringing in the moolah for the German bike maker across markets. 

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BMW G310GS [2018-2019]

BMW G310GS [2018-2019]

  • Displacement313 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported28 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)33 bhp
  • Kerb Weight169.5 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 3,49,402

But India still isn't a big bike market. Sure, we will get there, but until then, someone must reap the benefits of the adventure motorcycle fad. 

Enter the G 310 GS. Based on the 310 R, it gets longer travel suspension, a bigger 19-inch front wheel, higher ground clearance, more upright seating ergonomics, and a switchable rear ABS. Additionally, it has a taller seat height. And, it weighs more than the R as well.

Is it any good on the road?

Well, for starters, it's certainly not as much fun to ride on as the naked 310 R. It feels lazier and heavier to handle, and it is also more cumbersome in traffic or while hanging U-turns. Moreover, even though it has a longer travel suspension, the GS can't match the R's more comfortable ride quality. There's more dive under braking, and the front feels vaguer after riding the R.

But, because you sit higher on the GS, it offers a better view upfront. And with it, more confidence. It also feels happier, and strangely, less vibey and busy at 100kmph in 6th. Now, the longer travel suspension might not be as well damped as on the R, but it can take a beating. And it handles the unseen big bumps, deep potholes and unmarked tall speed breakers without putting the fear of god in you.

I'd certainly pick the GS over the R if touring was on my mind, because for everyday commute duties or going up a switchback over the weekend, the R is certainly a better fit.

Is it better off-road then?

Oh yes, and by a mile compared to the 310 R. It is easier to stand up and ride; no worries about hitting anything thanks to the higher ground clearance; and it has better off-road centric tyres in the Metzellers Tourance. 

The revised ergonomics also allows you to keep your weight off the handlebar. And that, in turn, allows the front to do its thing of sliding and flapping around in dirt. The weight distribution meanwhile feels alright; not great, but workable. 

What isn't workable though, is the play on the rear brake which makes it difficult to use. And then there's the GS engine's irritating characteristic of stalling. We saw that on the R as well, but on the road, in the city, all you get is a few dirty stares and lots of honking if you stall. Off-road, because one relies so much on power to get out of sticky situations, the GS' shutting off issues caused me to almost crash on a number of occasions.

 

But that apart, I can certainly see myself taking the 310 GS up some trails. It’s also easy to slide around on power in the dirt. And, with that robust suspension, you can jump this thing to the stars as well! 

Clearly, there's some fun to be had here.

Conclusion

Now, the G 310 GS has a lot of motorcyclists interested. I know of owners of Bullet 500, Dominars, Impulse and even Himalayan wanting to know if the GS is a great motorcycle so that they can upgrade to it.

To them I have to say, it's not great. Yes, it is good. It can tour, it can go off-road, and you can be silly with it. Plus, it is built solid. However, it has niggles – significant ones that keep it away from being the default choice. 

Worth a look in then? Absolutely, just like the 310 R.

Photography by Kapil Angane

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