Built in India, designed by BMW, and on sale in the UK – the new BMW G310R may be the cheapest BMW motorcycle currently on sale, but it certainly doesn’t feel it when you ride it.
And let’s face it, when can you call £4450 cheap!
Just look at it for a start. Rather than looking like the poor relation of BMW’s bigger bikes in the range, the BMW G310R is every bit a proper, grown-up naked BMW even though it can be ridden on an A2-licence. We picked it up from BMW’s secret press bike bat cave in Northamptonshire, and parked up next to GS adventure bikes, Baggers, and R Nine Ts it looked every bit as if it belonged there.
It may be built in India, but the quality control and design is very much controlled by Germany. Every little detail of the bike has been thought through carefully, right down to the angled BMW badge proudly displayed on the head stock. The quality compares well to rivals like the Indian-built KTM 390 Duke and the attention to detail shines through.
The BMW’s A2-friendly 34bhp, 313cc, single-cylinder motor itself is actually the reverse of most traditional motors. So, it means you get the exhaust coming out of the back and the inlet at the front. BMW say it helps with better weight distribution and also allows the motor to fit snugger in the frame, allowing designers to make a more compact bike. It’s certainly light, weighing in at 158.5kg fuelled and ready to ride.
It’s not the most exciting bike in the world, but what motorcycle with 34bhp is? No, don’t answer that question. We all had to start somewhere right, and this BMW is certainly a giggle. The gearbox is a bit lumpy, and there’s a long span reach to the clutch lever but on the move it makes decent pace, is easy to ride for new riders, with plenty of steering lock and some low-down grunt.
Get it out of town and it reminds me very much of 400cc and 250cc Japanese bikes of the Nineties. Not in the way it rides, they were all race replica and four-cylinders, but in the way it makes you feel invincible.
The non-adjustable chassis is light and agile, the front brake works just about well enough, and you find yourself not shutting off for corners. The Michelin Pilot Street tyres may not offer the most grip, or feeling, because they are definitely desinged for mileage more than outright grip, but there’s no real power to disturb the rear tyre either, so you end up literally leaving bikes for dead on greasy back roads while they struggle to get power down. Just ask fellow bike journalist Jon Urry who was following on an R Nine T Racer!
The G 310 R is comfortable for me over a tank at least, and I’m six foot four. Normal size humanoids should be just fine. In fact, I’d have no bones about riding this bike some 200 miles to Wales, right now. It will sit at 70mph on a motorway easily, and top out just over an indicated 100mph, although BMW only claim 88.8mph, we managed to get it hitting the rev-limiter in top gear showing over 100mph! On a test track, of course…
Even when thrashed we managed to get 67mpg during my time with the bike. More suitable riding styles will see the little Beemer top a claimed 85mpg and give a 200 mile + tank range.
If I was young (er) and wanted a 300cc bike to take me to work, and that I could ride for fun at the weekend, then I wouldn’t go far wrong with this BMW. It’s stylish, quick, good looking and great value for money. The kind of bike you could learn to ride on then discover a whole new world of motorcycling for a long time after purchase.
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