BMW G 310 GS: FULL TEST


Alan Cathcart | October 12, 2017

Accessible Adventures

One of many largest little bikes in current reminiscence is lastly right here. That is the German designed, Indian-built BMW G 310 GS.

It is perhaps small, however the G 310 GS is a BIG deal to BMW and the rising markets it’s attempting to infiltrate.

As promised, BMW Motorrad has begun increasing its vary of various fashions primarily based on its new G 310 single-cylinder entry-level platform, which made its market debut final yr with the G310R roadster.

This represented the primary fruits of its partnership signed in April 2013 with TVS, which manufactures the bikes in India at its manufacturing unit close to Bangalore. Maybe inevitably, subsequent up is a GS model, and after debuting finally yr’s EICMA Milan Present, the G 310 GS is now in manufacturing, prepared so as to add to the 4000 examples of the G 310 R that TVS could have manufactured in India by the tip of this yr.

Due to the huge contribution to BMW earnings which its R 1200 GS best-selling Boxer twin makes globally in all its varied guises, the German firm’s administration is kind of understandably hyper-concerned to not threat devaluing the long-lasting GS trademark with a badge-engineered 313cc bauble, whose major benefit is that it’s low cost.

BMW G 310 GS

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Pictures by Daniel Kraus

“Making a small-capacity GS single that lives as much as the model values is without doubt one of the most difficult issues we’ve but needed to do,” admits BMW Motorrad’s Head of Automobile Design, Edgar Heinrich. However earlier than assuming that position in 2012, he spearheaded the design of each the R 1150 GS and R 1200 GS, in addition to quite a few different key BMW Motorrad fashions.

Using the results of his and his workforce’s efforts in northern Spain for 2 full days, masking 380 miles in going from sea degree at Barcelona to greater than 7500 ft in altitude to go to the impartial principality of Andorra, climbing excessive up within the Pyrenees Mountains to cross over them into France, then again once more to Barça, raised the cost-to-performance bar to ranges that bikes with 3 times the capability and twice as many cylinders may battle to achieve.

That additionally included some good stretches of off-road driving on a motorbike that has real go-anywhere functionality, as long as it’s bought a fairly exhausting floor below the Metzeler Tourance tires that come fitted as normal on the five-spoke cast-aluminum wheels.

And after driving the G 310 GS long and hard for 2 full days in difficult situations, I’m frankly far more impressed with its all-round functionality than I ever thought I’d be. Common readers will know that I’m a fan of avenue singles, fairly other than having street raced them for thus a few years. Besides, I’ll admit that once I noticed the route that BMW was proposing I ought to comply with aboard a budget-priced single-cylinder avenue enduro made in India with only a 313cc engine to vault the Pyrenees Mountains on, I used to be inquisitive about how nicely it could carry out, in addition to just a bit uncertain.

However I used to be additionally enticed by the problem of spending a 200-mile day consistently gaining altitude, with a number of diversions off-road to discover the Catalan countryside through rugged unsurfaced cart tracks. These led me to find fantastically un-spoiled medieval villages all however shut off from the skin world—albeit festooned that week with red-and-gold striped Catalan flags and bunting within the run-up to the fracas of the independence referendum-that-wasn’t.

BMW G 310 GS
BMW’s mini GS actually has the genes, and will discover favor with an enormous array of riders.

Experience All Day

The mini GS has the identical engine platform as its G 310 R sister mannequin, with an an identical degree of tune. It delivers 34 bhp at 9500 rpm with a ten,500 rpm limiter, and most torque of 21 ft-lb at 7500 rpm, plus it has a curb weight of 373 kilos totally loaded with 2.9 gallons of gasoline—24 kilos greater than the R-model roadster, with the identical gasoline load.

The tubular metal chassis is identical, too—though the GS appears to have a larger sense of substance about it than the R-model. However whenever you come to climb aboard you understand that, at 32.8 inches excessive its seat is 1.9 inches taller, thanks partly to the longer-travel suspension, so it’s finest for a 5’10” tall rider to make use of the footpegs to hop aboard simply. There’s a selection of aftermarket seats to decrease or raise the driving place, and the 0.5-inch decrease one might make the bike extra snug for feminine riders, who’re a key goal buyer of BMW’s for this new mannequin.

This taller stance additionally delivers a notably extra spacious driving place, thanks additionally to the broader, flatter one-piece handlebar mounted on 2.3-inch risers, and the lower-mounted footpegs—which aren’t, nonetheless, low sufficient to turn out to be a problem when it comes to floor clearance.

I predict this bike will turn out to be a favourite with couriers and anybody else who rides in cities, not simply because it’s low cost to purchase and economical to run—claimed gasoline consumption is identical because the G 310 R at 70 mpg—and there’s a massively sturdy forged baggage rack fitted as normal on the bike.

However the taller stance additionally permits you to see forward over automobile roofs, so you possibly can plan your path to finest benefit. Along with a cleverly designed, well-sculpted twin seat seemingly that includes a restful squab that you could relaxation your decrease again in opposition to when driving (in reality, it’s the entrance of the fairly spacious stepped passenger seat pad), the G 310 GS proved improbably cozy on an all-day journey, thanks maybe most of all to the entire absence of vibration from the little DOHC four-valve engine.

This has a single gear-driven counter-balancer, which does its job to perfection—the Ducati Supermono I used to race was beforehand the smoothest single I’d ever ridden, however the a lot less expensive G 310 GS matches that, even at increased rpm. It has no vibes in any respect, zilch—not via footrests, seat or handlebar, even when approaching the ten,500 rpm limiter, after the white shifter gentle within the sprint begins flashing at 10,000 rpm to remind you to shift up.

BMW G 310 GS
Correct-sized baggage rack will likely be music to traveler’s ears.

The one draw back of the small-capacity motor is that you simply do must rev it fairly exhausting to construct any sort of pace—it’s fairly completely happy to plonk alongside slowly in visitors or sightseeing, however if you wish to get any form of acceleration you have to hold the revs up above the 6000 rpm threshold, when engine speeds begin to decide up noticeably extra well.

Doing that entails utilizing the gearbox fairly exhausting, however the GS has rather well chosen ratios, in addition to a clear, exact shift motion and a really gentle clutch. BMW has improved this on the GS in comparison with the R-bikes I rode final yr, and the shift motion is now Japanese high quality. This makes it no hardship driving the little BMW in visitors or slender, densely-packed streets, like within the previous part of the nation’s capital Andorra la Vella, or in any of the Catalan hill villages we explored alongside the best way. The G 310 GS is aware of the way you select to journey it, so if you happen to work the gearbox exhausting and use a number of revs it does ship attractive efficiency that exceeds expectations, contemplating how small the engine is—however it’s additionally completely happy simply loping alongside gently at sluggish speeds off the cam. It’s a motorbike that’ll enchantment to riders of all ranges of expertise and ability, and can make every of them be ok with how they’re driving it.

BMW G 310 GS
Entrance brakes are okay, however the fork is approach under-damped.

Use The Momentum

The digital gear counter on the sprint is your passport to driving this bike nicely. Nonetheless, sustaining hard-earned momentum is comparatively easy, because the mini-GS BMW’s dealing with is sweet, particularly by the requirements of its capability class. In contrast to on the R-bike, the entrance rim is a 19-incher carrying a 110/80 tire, although the rear’s nonetheless a 17-incher with 150/70 rubber. This leads to a fairly lengthy 58.2-inch wheelbase for a 313cc single—46mm longer than the G 310 R’s, in reality. This not solely contributes to the sense of substance you get when trying on the G 310 GS within the steel—this isn’t a toy bike like many others with comparably small engines, particularly these made in China—but in addition helps it dwell as much as these GS household genes in making it appear secure and planted on the freeway, greater than you count on a 313cc bike to be.

Suspension is kind of completely different on the GS than the G 310 R, whereas nonetheless sourced from KYB/Kayaba’s manufacturing unit in China, and the steering geometry is rangier, too, presumably in BMW’s seek for larger stability. Effectively, they discovered it: the GS was super-stable spherical tight sweepers descending from Andorra into France—or quicker ones climbing via the rolling Catalan hills. The non-adjustable 41mm the wrong way up fork is about at a 26.7° rake with 3.8 inches of path, and affords a rangy 7.0-inch of front-wheel journey. This is able to be welcome for off-road use in addition to in dealing with tough street surfaces, coupled with the identical 7.0-inch wheel journey from the direct-action KYB cantilever rear monoshock, additionally non-adjustable.

BMW G 310 GS
The switchgear is just a little funds, as is to be count on for the base-model GS.

Nonetheless, the chosen suspension settings entrance and rear are fairly mismatched. The rear finish is fantastically arrange, with an excellent sense of management—you possibly can really feel the shock doing its job beneath you, and it’s particularly nicely damped in ironing out the tough street surfaces you get within the mountains, after a winter freeze corrupts the smoothness of the street.

Not so up entrance, although, the place the longer-travel fork is woefully under-damped—it’s okay on easy surfaces, however present it a dip within the street, or worst of all squeeze exhausting on the entrance brake lever to get it to cease, and it dives like a soccer participant in search of a penalty. Should you then run throughout some street rash with the fork compressed that makes it worse, since you’ve used up all of your damping. It’ll make the GS really feel skittish, and go away the in any other case wonderful entrance Metzeler—which warms up faster and has higher suggestions than the Michelins fitted to each G 310 Rs I’ve ridden—scrabbling for grip over bumps. That occurs in any hard-braking state of affairs, however doing so coming down into France on the chilly facet of the mountains the place roads had been nonetheless slippery after in a single day chill, revealed the efficacy of the two-channel Continental ABS fitted as normal on the G 310 platform, which is switchable for off-road use.

It did its job once I all however locked the entrance wheel a few occasions, which on a dry floor shouldn’t ever occur—the one 300mm entrance disc is nearly enough to cease the little BMW from excessive pace, at the very least with simply the rider aboard. Add baggage and/or a passenger and it could be marginal, so that you’d must make good use of the 240mm rear disc with a floating twin-piston caliper.

BMW G 310 GS
“I’m wondering if they’ve my jamón plate prepared?” Sir Al ponders one in every of life’s nice issues.

That single entrance disc is gripped by a four-piston ByBre (Brembo’s Indian subsidiary) radial caliper through metal hoses, and the combo is nearly as much as the job of stopping the BMW and its solo rider at pace. However you have to additionally use the rear brake exhausting for panic stops, and also you don’t get the sensation there’s a lot in reserve, plus the non-adjustable lever is positioned slightly far-off from the grip, so folks with smaller arms, particularly girls, might discover this off-putting. BMW must spend the additional {dollars} and make it adjustable.

BMW G 310 GS
The Cosmic Black colour scheme is a bit more stealth than the “take a look at me!” Racing Purple.

Euro Thrashing

The BMW has gentle, impartial steering however feels planted in a straight line—it provides no impression of being a nervous, light-weight package deal, even when it modifications route very simply, aided by the great leverage from the vast handlebar. Our return journey from Andorra included a short spell of freeway journey which briefly ushered up the homologated high pace of 89 mph, as displayed on the BMW’s digital Continental sprint, with the tach studying simply nudging the five-digit phase because the small shifter gentle began flashing. But at that engine pace and all others the 313cc single motor felt fully unstressed and, extra to the purpose, vibration-free—the one counterbalancer does its job to perfection. Cruising at a pace of 75 mph introduced up simply 7500 rpm on the digital tach working throughout the underside of the sprint.

The G 310 GS is a superb visitors instrument, because of the oil-bath clutch’s gentle lever motion, whose linear take-up combines with the ideally mapped fueling to constantly provide easy departures from cease indicators or visitors lights with out threat of stalling. Working the clutch is gentle and untiring, making driving the BMW in metropolis streets a real pleasure—your hand gained’t cramp up doing so, though backside gear may be very low, and clearly chosen for when a passenger is carried.

BMW G 310 GS
Even for an early manufacturing bike, construct high quality seems to be as much as par.

You quickly discover it’s higher to begin from a cease on degree floor in second gear if you happen to’re by yourself, without having to slide the clutch a lot. Just like the G 310 R, this’ll be an amazing bike for novices or comeback riders, just because it’s so very simple to journey, with not one of the jerky, harsh pickup from a closed throttle of at the very least one main competitor.

The BMW exudes a visible degree of high quality that’s frankly sudden in such a low-cost product manufactured offshore. Solely the plastic switchgear seems to be cut-price—the remainder of the G 310 GS parts look very BMW, with prime quality alloy castings and solid triple-clamps, an LED tail gentle, and an excellent paint job, and on this early manufacturing mannequin at the very least, construct high quality seems to be good. This marriage of Jap manufacture with Western design and construct values is a cheap, inexpensive BMW, not an inexpensive one.

BMW G 310 GS
With these alloy wheels, you’re not going to be doing main off-roading however this sort of caper is ok.

No Doubt About It

BMW and TVS have joined forces to supply a bike that’s self-evidently a BMW, however made in India largely to the requirements of its Berlin manufacturing unit. Simply as with the G 310 R, there’s an trustworthy sense of producing high quality concerning the mini-GS, coupled with dynamic refinement in use—the engine is fantastically fueled, appears robust for its capability degree, and feels primarily un-burstable. Whereas keenly priced, it completely conforms to BMW’s model identification when it comes to efficiency, manufacturing high quality, and styling. Its rivals reminiscent of Honda’s CRF250 Rally, the Suzuki V-Strom 250, the brand new Royal Enfield Himalayan 400, and particularly the Kawasaki Versys X-300, have all bought hassle on their arms, particularly as BMW has strengthened its R&D again workplace prior to now 18 months through the recruitment of a pair of key former KTM executives to steer the G 310 growth workforce.

Andreas Wimmer was KTM’s challenge chief for all avenue singles, from the 125 Duke as much as and together with the 690 mannequin vary, and was answerable for working with Bajaj on the startup of KTM manufacturing in India. He’s been at BMW for nearly three years, and has now been joined there by his former boss at KTM, Jӧrg Schüller, the Austrian agency’s former Product Supervisor. These guys are heavy hitters in product growth, and the acquired data they create to the social gathering of working with an Indian accomplice will likely be invaluable in growing the BMW-TVS partnership nonetheless additional.

Okay, so what’s subsequent?!CN

BMW G 310 GS

SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 BMW G 310 GS

MSRP:

TBA

Engine:

Single-cylinder

Energy:

34 hp @ 9500 rpm (claimed)

Torque:

21 lb-ft @ 7500 rpm (claimed)

Displacement:

313cc

Bore x stroke:

80 x 62.1mm

Compression ratio:

10.6:1

Exhaust:

1-1

Transmission:

Six-speed

Chassis:

Tubular metal body in grid construction w/ bolted rear

subframe

Entrance suspension:

41mm typical fork.

Rear suspension:

Single shock absorber operated by BMW Paralever

Entrance wheel journey:

4.9 in.

Rear wheel journey:

7 in.

Entrance brake:

Bybre 4-piston caliper, 300mm disc; ABS

Rear brake:

Bybre single-piston caliper, 240mm disc; ABS

Entrance tire:

110/80 R19

Rear tire:

150/70 R17

Steering head angle:

63.3°

Path:

3.8 in.

Wheelbase:

58.2 in.

Seat peak:

32.8 in.

Gasoline capability:

2.9 gal.

Weight (Curb, claimed):

373 lbs.

Colour:

Cosmic Black, Racing Purple and Pearl White metallic

 

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