Adam Waheed was one of the first people I followed in earnest when I started dabbling with motorcycles, so it was a pleasant surprise when I got to meet him at a BMW motorcycle launch in the past because his positivity and passion for two-wheelers is contagious. Adam has just spent some time with the new BMW G310GS, and he’s kindly offered to share his thoughts with you:
2018 BMW G310GS First Ride
by Adam Waheed
BMW joins the entry-level adventure-touring motorcycle segment with its perky G 310 GS ADV bike.
What I don’t like:
Photos by Kevin Wing
BMW wants everyone to ride a motorcycle. It proves so by introducing the much anticipated encore to its peppy and affordable G310R naked bike, with GS-badging, in the G310GS ($5,940). Featuring R1200GS-like styling in a svelte package, this is a GS for everyone and now there’s no excuse not to make every ride an adventure.
Designed in Munich but built in India by TVS Motor Company under the careful eye of Motorrad engineers, the 310GS features a 313cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine. The 80mm cylinder bore and valve angle is identical to BMW’s rowdy S1000RR four-cylinder superbike.
The engine wears a four-valve double-overhead cam-equipped cylinder head and inhales fuel from the front of the engine, discharging combustion gases from the rear, à la Yamaha’s YZ250F and YZ450F motocross bikes.
This makes for a compact design, reducing components while also allowing engineers more freedom in chassis design and engine placement. With a full tank of fuel, the G310GS weighs 374 pounds – still light but 25 pounds more than the R. Water-cooling, fuel-injection, and electric start make for everyday reliability and ease of use.
The counter-balanced single puts power back to a Metzeler Tourance-shod 17-inch alloy rear wheel through a manual six-speed transmission and chain final drive. The transmission moves through each of its six cogs without fuss and has low and appropriately spaced gear ratios. This makes the most of the engine’s modest, but still practical torque (21 lb-ft peak at 7500 rpm).
A cable-actuated clutch augments power and makes for easy launches from a stop. Lever squeeze is neither too wispy, nor too stiff, further boosting this GS’s quality feel.
With 35 horsepower on tap at the crank, according to BMW, this GS isn’t going to set the YouTube world on fire during drag races. The engine does however have enough pep to out accelerate most LA drivers when the traffic light turns green. Yes, it can run up to around 100 mph but things get a tad buzzy at that speed. Keep the freeway jaunts to a minimum and you’ll be a happier G310 rider.
Near perfect throttle response is a boon for all riders – especially those looking to begin their riding career.
Engine vibration is present in the controls at higher rpms, but I wouldn’t deem it excessive, like other Indian-built motorcycles I’ve ridden in the last few years. BMW Motorrad is renowned for its growling engine character and pleasing exhaust note, so it’s a bit of a let down that the tone of this single is a tad mundane.
Rider aids, including traction control and adjustable power modes, are absent. However, BMW was wise enough to permit the rider to disable ABS, if desired, say if you’re riding off pavement and you desire manual rear (and front) brake control. [Editor’s Note: This is indeed wise, as it was one of my few complaints with the competing Kawasaki Versys-X.] A strong, but not overly so, radial-mount front brake and stainless-steel brake lines are also nice touches.
Contrary to the 310R, the GS version gives over seven inches of suspension travel front and rear. It also rolls on a larger diameter 19-inch five-spoke hoop up front so it looks the part and yields some extra off-road chops.
As expected, the suspension is a bit too spongy for hard core off-roaders. But it will have you kicking up roost and performs acceptably for what it is. What would you expect for an entry-level bike that costs six grand? On pavement, the springy suspenders mask a degree of handling prowess we remember with the G310R last year. Then again, all-around on/off-road versatility is the name of the game.
Due in part to the longer suspension and larger rim, seat height is two inches higher. A lower option is also available as is a higher version with added “comfort”, according to BMW.
Like its brother, it sips fuel from a 2.9 gallon tank. During our ride we noted a MPG average in the low-60s courtesy the tasteful LCD dash display. The readout is not only functional but looks pleasing, too — serving as the command center for the motorcycle’s vitals. Speed, tachometer, gear position indicator, clock and trip functions are all there. Oddly enough, the only thing missing is ambient air temperature.
There’s also a handy indicator that lets you know when its time for service. Speaking of service, maintenance is few and far between, with scheduled oil changes every 6,200 miles following the initial 600 mile service. Another fun fact: BMW ditched its traditional Torx fasteners for mechanic-friendly metric hardware.
Despite the increase in saddle height, I wouldn’t deem it as being short rider challenged. Instead, its super slim waistband makes for a shorter reach to the ground. A wider aluminum handlebar affords a more commanding stance and has a road-pleasing rearward sweep making it more cozy for consecutive days in the saddle. On the flip side, its bend is less pleasing in the standing position, at least for this six-foot tall rider.
It’s easy to note that the baby GS gets styling cues from its boxer twin sibling. The beak-like front wheel cover extends into the forward fairing which proved surprisingly effective at blocking the cold morning air during our wet, all-season ride. The saddle is supportive and well proportioned – no complaints there. Passenger accommodations appear decent, too. Fit and finish appears improved versus the 310R I rode last year with zero orange peel on any painted surface.
In typical GS fashion, the 310 is outfitted with a rack platform that can be used to secure cargo. Of course, the Bavarian brand offers hard luggage as an accessory. There’s also a GPS and separate handlebar-mount if you prefer to navigate that way. You can also look the part with signature riding gear – though it’s a tad expensive, aside from the attractive Venture Grip boots.
For the money, there’s no question that the G310GS is a decent bike. But will it be for everyone? If you’re new to riding, with a taste for adventure, or a current GS rider that wants another bike for his or her significant other to tag along with, then this six thousand dollar GS is a machine to consider. Ride it weekly or just every once in a while – either way you won’t lose.
Engine Type: 313cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 4-valve
Bore x Stroke: 80.0mm x 62.1mm
Compression Ratio: 10.6:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection
Ignition: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed; multi-plate clutch
Final: Drive Chain
Suspension / Front: 41mm inverted fork; 7.1-in travel
Suspension / Rear: Single shock, adjustable spring preload; 7.1-in travel
Brakes / Front: Single 300mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Brakes / Rear: 240mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Tires / Front: 110/80-19
Tires / Rear: 150/70-17
L x W x H: 81.8 in x 34.7 in x 48.5 in
Seat Height: 32.9 in
Wheelbase: 55.9 in
Trail: 3.9 in
Maximum Ground Clearance: TBD
Fuel Capacity: 2.9 gal
Fuel Economy: 71 mpg (claimed)
Wet Weight: 374 lb
Warranty: 3 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Colors: Pearl White Metallic; Racing Red: Cosmic Black