Small displacement motorcycles are all the rage these days, and with a good reason. New riders can jump into this sport without breaking a bank, and seasoned riders can enjoy a return back to the essential basics of motorcycling. The sub-500cc BMW motorcycles first appeared as a concept bike at the Milan show back in late 2015, this production version is truly a historic bike for BMW – the first BMW roadster below 500cc, and also the first BMW motorcycle to be manufactured outside of Germany. With the G310 R, BMW has strived to keep the price low, at Rs.2.99/- lacs ex-showroom Delhi, including ABS, but kept the build quality up to the German company’s usual high standards. Everywhere you look on the G310 R, from the welds on the frame to the castings, you see the quality that is not common at this price point. Let’s take a closer look at this new addition to the BMW family.
Design & Styling
Being a small capacity single cylinder motorcycle, the BMW G310 R isn’t cheap to own. The design of the bike was engineered in Munich, Germany by the experts at BMW and the motorcycle is built at TVS Motor Company’s Hosur automobile plant in Tamil Nadu, India. The G310 R is BMW’s very first smallest offering, to be built outside of Germany under BMW’s supervision. A big company like BMW wouldn’t risk their reputation just to make some money. There is nothing to be worried about and one can tell just by looking at the quality and detail on the G310 R. So is the price justified? Well, you get the unmatched BMW quality, excellent fit, and finish, a steel tubular frame, you get ABS as standard, 41mm USD forks finished in gold. Beautifully designed 17-inch alloy wheels, clear lens trapezoidal headlamps, all LED tail-lamp and an all-digital multi-information display.
The fuel tank is well-sculpted and the center of the tank is finished in matte black with the ‘R’ right in the middle, and the BMW badge proudly sitting on either side of the tank just completes the overall design. The seat height is low at 785mm, making it easier for shorter riders to handle this beautiful piece of engineering. The seat is wide, well cushioned and supportive, making it very comfortable, to say the least. It’s a one-piece seat, a rear sight these days, making the pillion seat even more comfortable. The G310 R looks beautiful and well built from top to bottom, and from any and every angle possible. None of the pictures will do justice to this particular motorcycle. You have to see this bike in flesh to believe, how beautiful and well made the baby BMW actually is.
Engine, Ride & Handling.
First let’s go over the specs real quick, as the name says G310 R, this motorcycle is a 313cc single cylinder which pumps out a decent 34 PS of maximum power at 9,500 RPM and churns out 28 NM of torque at 7,500 RPM. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox with the chain as the final drive. Those are not big numbers, but this bike doesn’t need big numbers, as the G310 R weighs only 158.5 kilograms with all the essential fluids topped up. The bike is extremely compact, it’s very light and nimble, it moves on a dime, the handlebar is narrow, and you can split lanes and cut through traffic like a hot knife through butter. And the 313cc motor is quite frugal too, returning an average fuel consumption figure of around 35kmpl when ridden normally. Usually, single cylinder engines tend to vibrate a lot, however, BMW actually has incorporated a countershaft inside that reduces the vibrations of the engine throughout the rev range. Not much in motorcycling feels better than getting back to the basics, and here the G310 R is a home run. With a kerb weight of only 158.5 kilograms, the G310 R is non-threatening to new riders, but very flickable for experienced riders. Likewise, the clutch pull is very light, and engagement is linear and predictable. The suspension and ride quality needs a special mention.
The G310 R soaked up all the bumps and creases easily. Even though the suspension travel is low when compared to the G310 GS, it never bottomed out in the worst of situations thrown at it. When the suspension is so good, it automatically translates to better handling. The bike is rock steady even at speeds above 120kmph. The Michelin pilot sports tyres are grippy and well suited for Indian roads. The only downside is the ABS, which we felt a little too intrusive even under normal braking. Speaking about the brakes, the 300mm disc up front and a 240mm disc at the rear did an excellent job of bringing the bike to a halt without any drama at any given speeds. There is no way you can turn off the ABS on the G310 R, BMW has reserved that option only for the GS, as it serves a different purpose altogether. It’s a good thing when viewed from a safety point, however, seasoned riders might miss the fun of riding the G310 R with the ABS turned off completely.
This bike is for two categories of people; the first category is obviously the new rider, who is new and doesn’t really know what he/ she wants on a bike. They only want their bike to be light, fast and easy to ride. The second category is the commuters or those that live in big metro cities and don’t want to take the car or the public transport to go across town; this is the perfect motorcycle. The BMW badge just adds to the oomph factor. Ignoring a few shortcomings when compared to the KTM 390 Duke, which is the direct competition to the G310 R in terms of price, capacity & features. The KTM offers more features for an on-road price of almost three lakhs. For instance, the KTM offers a full-color TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity and an option to switch off the ABS, slipper-clutch, ride-by-wire and one-touch starter motor switch. However, if you can live without all the bells and whistles, that the competition has to offer and if you want a ‘no frills’ motorcycle with top-notch quality components and has the mighty ‘BMW’ badge on it. The G310 R is the right motorcycle for you.