2018 BMW G 310 R road test review
As far as adages go, the term "Don't judge a book by its cover" is what comes to mind after a spin on the BMW G 310 R. To many, this baby BMW may seem overpriced for what it offers, especially after comparing it to its orange nemesis from Austria. But a motorcycle is not only about spec sheets and price lists, no? It's primarily about the way it makes you feel. So what feelings does the BMW G 310 R evoke? Let's start by the way it looks.
Styling and Ergonomics
The G 310 R is a compact machine, built to tackle the cut and thrust of city traffic so as far as dimensions go, it is spot on. The feeling from the saddle is that of a compact yet focused motorcycle There are minimal body panels with most of the plastic body work concentrated over the metal fuel tank and the cover that hides the cylinder head and radiator. Personally, I love the sharp lines on the tank and the resultant knee recesses that let you hold on to the bike.
In fact, the ergonomics are superb and I love how the heavily scooped out seat let's the rider sit snug into the bike. It's almost as if the rider is the missing part of the Jigsaw puzzle that completes the G 310 R. The wide handlebars and slightly rearset footpegs put you in the quintessential streetfighter riding position, and its this focus that I really like. The only niggle I can think of is that the brake lever is angled a bit too far away. A set of adjustable levers would have been great to take care of that. As far as quality of materials as well as fit and finish is concerned, the G 310 R sets a new standard for India made motorcycles.
Engine and performance
The 313cc, reverse inclined, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine produces 34PS at 9,500rpm while 28Nm of max torque is available at 7,500rpm. At city speeds, the motor is quite calm and tractable. You can potter around in high gears and the engine goes about doing its business without any sign of protest. Vibrations also are at a bare minimum and not bothersome at any point. What's also remarkable is the throttle response. It's crisp and precise which allows you to dial in just the right amount of power.
Out on the highway, the motor comes alive post 5,000rpm but at the same time acceleration is linear. 0-100kmph comes up in 6.8s and if you are the kind that likes to cruise between 100-120kmph, the G 310 R works like a charm. But, beyond that, the motor starts to lose steam alongwith a slight increase in vibrations felt through the seat and handlbars . The fact that there's considerable wind blast to contend with as well means the G 310 R is not the ideal choice when it comes to touring at a fast clip. As far as fuel economy is concerned, the bike was pretty impressive, covering 35kmpl in the city and 39.5kmpl on the highway.
Ride and handling
The G 310 R employs a lightweight, trellis frame with 41mm USD forks at the front and an adjustable monoshock at the rear. It's the combination of these parts that make the G 310 R a delightful machine to ride. BMW has done a superb job of setting up the suspension, managing to find the balance between plush and absorbent but adequately stiff for handling.
So, while riding over over undulations and potholes the G 310 R remains composed but what's really impressive is the way the G 310 R handles. In the city, the 1,374mm wheelbase and wide handlebars makes the bike a cinch to flick through traffic and when you encounter a set of corners, the BMW shines and how. That said, the stock Michelin Pilot Street tyres are good up until you get closer to the edge, and then there's a sudden drop in the amount of feedback that's being transmitted. That robs you of the all important confidence to fully exploit the full potential of the incredible chassis. I think a set of Metzeler Sportecs or even the Apollo Alpha H1 (that we are currently testing on our long term TVS Apache RR 310) are up to the task, if you really want to ride the G 310 R hard.
The 300mm front brakes are incredible, offering great progression and feedback as well. During our tests the bike came to halt from 80kmph in 2.8s flat and it did so without any drama.
There's no escaping the harsh reality that the G 310 R commands a big premium for the BMW roundel that it wears. Rs 3.71 lakh OTR Mumbai is a lot for this format of a motorcycle but for the money you get access to a quality product from a manufacturer that is revered for the build and precision of its motorcycles.
In the city, which is the G 310 R's home ground, it is an absolute blast to ride. If that's where you plan to stick to for most of the time, this little BMW will blow you away with its ability to remain calm at everyday traffic pace and play along when you've decided to turn the wick up. Overall, the G 310R is a motorcycle that just feels good to ride and that might just make you overlook the price tag.
Images by Anis Shaikh