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.