There are two kinds of motorcycles in the world.
The first is the kind that demands respect from the rider and any insolence on the part of the rider will result in a spanking. The second kind is one that is much more friendly. One that feels familiar even if it's the first time you have swung your leg over it. The G 310 R from BMW certainly falls in the latter of the categories.
It is an amazing time for motorcycle enthusiasts. The latest crop of two wheeled machines have more performance than ever and at prices that are more affordable than ever. BMW Motorrad takes things to a whole new level and with the G 310 R, buying a brand new BMW motorcycle is no longer a biker’s wet dream.
We had the cheapest bike BMW Motorrad has on offer today for almost a week, within which we put it through its pace to see what the little bimmer was made of.
Design and Build Quality
The BMW G 310 R may be made in the TVS factory alongside the Apaches, but it is done under the keen and watchful gaze of the Bavarian boffins with ze beachtung (attention) to detail and quality control that they are known for. Build quality shines through in every aspect of the bike, right from obvious things like the beautiful paintwork to more subtle things around the points of interaction like the switches and footpegs.
The G 310 R looks like a freshly hatched S 1000 R, especially in the HP Motorsport colour scheme. We however had the Racing Red colour and that too turned heads in all parts of town. On the looks front then, the little BMW is undeniably beautiful without looking like it's trying too hard. Let’s put it this way: the G 310 R may not grab eyeballs like some other bikes on the market today, but once you see it, it's hard to look away, especially when someone spots the BMW logos on either side.
That being said though, there are some things that would be appreciated considering the price. It's 2019 and a standard halogen headlight just doesn't cut it anymore. Even the Bajaj Dominar which undercuts the G 310 R by almost ₹ 1.5Lac gets an LED lamp setup. Yes, we get that the bimmer is a premium product and is priced accordingly, but this is a premium feature that somehow got forgotten in the planning stages.
Swinging your leg over the G 310 R for the first time is one joyous affair. The 785 mm seat height is low, inviting and supremely plush. Extremely non intimidating for riders just starting out. The seating posture too is designed for relaxed and stress-free riding and not prioritising the aggressive stance you see on other bikes in the segment.
And that feeling of relaxed, almost cruiser-ish riding continues, while you ride it sensibly. It will quite easily pootle around town at 25kmph in 4th gear without a single complain. Come next bit of open road though, drop it down a gear and cranking the throttle a bit promptly awakens the beast within. It is at this time that all the high-performance components fitted to the G 310 R start to make sense. Dumping its bank of 28 NM of torque at 7500 rpm, the bike can accelerate like a little bullet and can certainly take you by surprise considering how calm and collected it usually is. Keeping the machine composed while under hard acceleration and braking are the steel frame upside-down forks on the front and the swing arm mounted spring strut on the rear which incidentally does a most fabulous job of filtering out the crater filled roads of Mumbai.
While on the subject of the lean, mean streets of Mumbai and its less than ideal conditions for automobiles, the G 310 R did perform admirably well. It’s extremely agile, making directional changes at the drop of a dime. Absolutely ideal to cut through the horrendous traffic plaguing Mumbai lately. When the traffic halts altogether though, the small turning radius allows you to seek out and exploit the tiny gaps that lead you to the front of the queue, almost taking on the maneuvering attributes of a small scooter.
Heat management in these conditions is also better than most with the fan kicking in pretty soon to keep the heat levels in check. Overall the bike managed to keep cool even in the most gruelling of conditions and admittedly dealt with it better than we did.
Speed shedding duties on the G 310 R are undertaken by a 300mm disc on the front and a 240mm disc on the rear, with 2 channel ABS fitted as standard. On road, that translated to ludicrous stopping power and it never lost traction even under the hardest of braking.
With the G 310 R, BMW has created an extremely capable machine that inspires confidence. Unlike the KTMs it won’t egg you on to push and extract more performance, but will certainly welcome it if you need it.
We would go so far as to say that for someone who knows how to ride a motorcycle but is looking to buy their first one, the G 310 R would be an ideal candidate due to its beginner friendly ergonomics and linear power delivery.
The BMW G 310 R ticks a whole bunch of boxes for people considering a new bike. The single cylinder engine is buttery smooth upto around 6500 rpm, at which point you do tend to feel the vibrations on the foot pegs. But it's nothing that will leave you numb or shattered after a long ride. For the folks who want a bit of attention but not in a way that looks like they want attention (complicated we know), the G 310 R is subtle while being the centre of attention on the road on most occasions. An aspect that takes the back seat while considering a new bike is literally the back seat, and we can assure that pillion riders will be perfectly comfortable even after long rides.
We can keep praising the little BMW for all the things it gets right. But it’s not perfect. The main issue is the price and everything that it gets wrong (of which there aren’t too many), kinda stem from that one point of contention. We have already mentioned that the G 310 R does not get the modern LED headlights, but here are some other things it misses out on. There is no colour TFT display, but we do get a pretty decent horizontally stacked, information packed, digitally hacked instrument cluster. The G 310 R does not have the option to turn off ABS that its sibling, the G 310 GS does. It does not even have some of the features that its direct competitors do like a Slipper Clutch and Ride-By Wire throttle. And we are not even going to mention that it can’t compete in terms of outright power either (well, guess we did mention it after all).
Keeping the shortage in power aside, we would have paid the premium in a heartbeat if it had the other features we mentioned. And guess what, we would still pay the premium without those features,(but maybe not in a heartbeat) just for the logos on either side. And that’s probably the whole point.