BMW G310GS review: Should you buy one?

Technically, the answer is a yes or no in most cases and even I have a definitive answer. However, may be I am not the intended clientele for this motorcycle or perhaps I may be not judging it from an ultra rich person’s perspective. To give you an explanation about my answer (I still haven’t given the definitive answer), here are a few points that I have listed out. These will be useful to you should you plan on buying this entry-level adventure tourer motorcycle from BMW. So, lets get started with this BMW G310GS review in India with the good bits.

Styling of the BMW G310GS

This is a plus point for the motorcycle and it looks smashing. More often than not, the visuals are what pull a customer into the showroom. While waiting for the test bike to be readied, I noticed that there were at least 4-5 enquiry calls and two walk-ins. That’s a good sign. The adventure tourer form, which is still new in the Indian market, is a good place to start with. The headlight, the windshield, instrument cluster, seating stance and all contribute massively to the presence of the bike on the road. Did I mention that the quality of materials used also feels top notch.

Ground clearance, suspension and ride quality

The golden upside down forks in the front look good but are a tad stiff when compared to the rear monoshock. We understand that this improves the suspension feedback to the rider. Even with two porky people on-board, the BMW G310GS didn’t bottom out anywhere. Neither did the vehicle scrape on any speed breaker. This will be something adventure tourer enthusiasts will be looking for. The high seating position is also a boon in traffic while the sturdy side stand can easily help you get onto the bike.

The ride quality itself is decent though some more softness in the suspension will be appreciated.

Efficiency

In our tests, the GS310 returned close to 37kmpl in the city and 42kmpl on the highway. These are good numbers for a tall motorcycle. The overall range that one can expect from this 11 litre fuel tank is 270km.

Brakes

The BMW G310GS brakes work wonderfully. There are disc brakes on both ends with dual channel ABS. For the GS, BMW has given a switch on the left side of the handle bar. What this does is switch off the rear wheel ABS. To activate this, before starting the motorcycle, long press the switch and the ABS light stays lit up even when you’ve started riding the motorcycle. To cancel this, switch off the ignition and start the motorcycle again. This comes in handy if you want to perform a trick or two off-road.

BMW badge

Perhaps the biggest reason for buying this motorcycle should be the BMW badge. Up close, that is a biggest draw for the company. Anyone who has saved a bit in his life will definitely want to splurge money (Rs 4.36 lakh on-road) on a premium 300cc bearing the BMW badge. This is for those who will consider the upcoming Xpulse 200, Versys X300 as well as the Himalayan to be mainstream.

Now, we move onto the bits that can be improved on this motorcycle

Engine refinement and gearbox

This engine, as experienced in the Apache RR310, is hungry for revs. There is not much action happening, say, below 6,000rpm. We (around three different people, one of whom owns an adventure tourer) ended up stalling the motorcycle numerous times on our test ride. Plus, the motorcycle has taller gear ratios. This means using second gear in traffic becomes an overkill. Engine refinement too can be improved as there are noticeable vibes even on the pillion seat with the waves creeping in through the foot pegs.

The 6-speed gearbox also offers clunky shifts. We understand that the gearbox becomes a slightly easy-to-use unit after some miles are put on the motorcycle. Our test unit had done about 2,700km and unofficially, we heard that around the 5k mark, the gearbox tends to smoothen out. BMW could have also added a slightly lighter clutch action. Perhaps rope in a slip and assist unit?

Is a bit tiring to ride in the city

Due to the constant throttle wringing, the GS becomes a tad tiring to ride in the city, similar to how KTMs end up. This is where it will spend the maximum time of its life. Plus, the slightly heavier clutch pull means fatigue will set in early. The top speed of the motorcycle is pegged at 143kmph and we managed to hit a speedo-indicated 130kmph. Updates done to the RR310 recently seem to have solved the vibrations issue as well as the low speed stalling. Perhaps BMW might also be looking at something similar.

All in all, there definitely are better options than the GS in the market and might I add, more affordable too. However, if its a premium adventure beginner adventure tourer that you’re looking at, there is nothing better than the BMW G310GS at the moment.

So, back to the question of whether you should buy one or not, I choose the latter. If you are someone who will keep the motorcycle for more than five years and doesn’t want to upgrade soon, the GS doesnt make sense. The underlying idea behind the GS was to introduce the upper middle class to an affordable BMW. It is clear that perhaps after a year or two, these owners will become competent enough to handle the bigger and more powerful offerings from BMW. That is when they will want to trade-in and upgrade to something like a 750GS. It all stays within the family and that looks like BMW’s intention here.

Images by Donald DSouza

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