Photographer, Videographer, Writer, Motorcycle Racer, Dakar Rally Finisher and BRAKE Magazine's big dog, Llewelyn really likes to do things involving motorcycles. He also likes bicycles, coffee, pop punk and making horrendous puns.
The BMW G 310 GS is the German giants first sub 600cc motorcycle in a very, very long time. It also marks the brands first stab at the hugely profitable Indian market. Having built a bike for a different market and the delivered it to Western audiences, it was always going to be interesting to see how it stacks up.
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The G 310 sure is an interesting bike. It’s not a more powerful version of CRF 250 Rally that the hardcore of adventure community want but it does have a lot going for it. Firstly, it’s just 165kg’s full of fuel. That’s pretty damn light next to the competition at this end of the price range. It’s packing a respectable 180mm of suspension travel, switchable ABS and a surprisingly high seat.
It does fall short with cast wheels, lack of luggage options and an exposed sump but after market solutions to all of those are imminent. It’s also a very exposed bike, with little wind protection, small footpegs and 19/17 inch wheels. It’s not a hardcore adventure bike and BMW aren’t selling it like one. It’s a street bike with a comfort level on the dirt that a lot of other bikes don’t have.
“The 310 GS is currently the best option of the bunch”
On road it’s lively, fun and has bags of personality. It’s not a KTM RC 390 and it’s not intended to hustle as fast as possible. The suspension is excessively bouncy if you push the limit but it can be hustled around well. The whole bike feels fantastically light, almost to a fault and the soft suspension makes the cornering confusing but on the whole the G 310 GS is a fun machine. The engine is a screamer and makes most of it’s forward motion at high RPM. You can ride a tall gear around town without issue and it’s buttery smooth but it struggles to pull past 5000RPM. Quick accelerations need a gear change to get the engine back into the meat of the power.
Off road is a similar story. It’s fantastically nimble and under suspended. The G 310 GS likes to be ridden gently, loved and kept away from bumps. The engine works well, is smooth and easy to ride. The only faults are the lack of inertia from the light flywheel and the vague clutch. Those two traits make more technical riding harder than it need be and as such the G 310 GS can be easy to stall if you’re not on the ball. The standing position is also surprisingly good however the bars are a low bend, which for 6ft+ riders may require a little riser.
The BMW G 310 GS is not a perfect bike. It could easily be elevated to a totally stunning machine with a few little changes in the design department but used in the areas it performs well, it’s a damn fine bike. The Himalayan seems more solid and rounded for a long trip and the CRF 250 Rally is better off-road but if you’re after something peppy, fun and easily dominated around town or on weekend rides, the 310 GS is currently the best option of the bunch.
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