2018 BMW G 310 GS road test review
Big weight on small shoulders. If there was a sentence to describe the BMW G 310 GS, this could be it. After all it bears the iconic GS badge that, for years, has signified motorcycles with incredible go anywhere capabilities. Now, the baby GS you see here is not as capable off-road as its bigger capacity siblings, evident by the absence of wire-spoke wheels. So, if you are looking for a proper off-road capable machine, the G 310 GS isn't going to pass muster. But don't just ride past it yet, because, there's a lot more to it than what one might think.
Styling and ergonomics
The G 310 GS' styling bears a clear inspiration from the bigger GS motorcycles and its remarkable to see the designers manage to come up with a proportionate design, despite the disadvantage of scaled down size. The small headlamp, identical to the G 310 R, has been well integrated and the quintessential GS beak is just the right length. The large fuel tank is shaped appropriately to grab hold of with the knees, while standing and riding, and I like how the tank extensions have been seamlessly incorporated. The rear end is minimal with a handy luggage rack to stow a saddle bag or attach a top box.
There's nothing to complain of as far as fit and finish goes. As is the case with the G 310 R, the G 310 GS is put together quite well and should last the test of time.
Engine and performance
BMW chose to use the same 313cc engine with similar outputs (34PS/ 28Nm) as the G 310 R's mill, and if you are wondering if the motor may feel inadequate for the size and additional weight, it is. Power delivery is crisp and what you instantly notice that it doesn't feel as urgent as the G 310 R.
But that's not to say that the G 310 GS is a slouch. The bike managed a 0-100kmph sprint in 7.1s which is only a tad slower than its street fighter sibling. But, the issue with sticking to the same power outputs and gearing as the G 310 R is that the engine feels busy past the 110kmph mark. For an adventure tourer, an engine should ideally rev at a calm rpm and if high speed touring is your thing, the G 310 GS feels inadequate above 130kmph. For those interested in fuel economy, the G 310 GS returned 32.5kmpl in the city and 37.2kmpl on the highway.
Ride and handling
This is where the G 310 GS shines. The GS rides higher than the G 310 R and has longer travel suspension. Front and rear suspension travel is a generous 180mm and this coupled with the soft set up results in fantastic ride quality. Ride this baby GS over broken roads and potholes and you'll notice how easily it soaks everything up. The plush ride quality is a big plus on our roads and this coupled with the relaxed riding position makes it a good tourer. Take the bike off-road and the same, absorptive nature ensures that you can maintain a fair clip on the trails. What also helps in this regard is the 19-inch front wheel, however, you'll have to be careful not to hit a deep crater, since wire spoke wheels are not part of the package.
The G 310 GS is a capable in the corners as well and the dual purpose, Metzeler Tourance tyres offer good feedback. Part of the confidence while attacking corners comes from the brilliant chassis and there's absolutely nothing to fault with it.
Another strong point of the G 310 GS are the brakes that are progressive and offer good bite. In our tests, the bike came to a standstill from 80kmph in 3.1s.
It's just wrong to assume that the G 310 GS is a full blown GS, like its elder siblings. While it has decent off road ability, it's not close to the better equipped GS'. What this baby GS actually is, is like a street bike on silts. It's easy to handle in the city, the ride quality is great and it'll tour effortlessly, if 110-120kmph is the speed you'll maintain. And it can also manage a little bit of off- road riding, mostly trails. For that and the lure of the BMW badge, the G 310 GS makes sense for those who are specifically looking for an entry level adventure tourer.
Images by Anis Shaikh