The first thing that you notice or rather ogle at, when you look at the BMW 310 GS is the way it has been styled. It’s a beautiful entry level adventure touring motorcycle with a signature front beak, well structured body elements, and a tall imposing stance that urges you to get on and take-off leaving a trail of dust behind as you do it.
It shares plenty of functional elements with its sibling – the 310R and yet they look worlds apart with the R being specifically styled for the streets and the occasional highway, but this isn’t really about the R. This is where we tell you about the GS and what makes it special.
Styling and Appearance
The moment you get on the motorcycle, your heart starts racing with anticipation of the experience you’re about to go through. It’s no monster we’ll tell you that, but right from launch to shifting into second and then third gear, the GS has a very controlled and purposeful gait that instils confidence even in less experienced riders.
Everything about the bike is visually perfect, to the extent that its middleweight cousins from other manufacturers just might get uncomfortable. Experiencing the saddle reinforces the belief that it is a well built motorcycle, and the fact that its assembled in India somewhat makes us proud. The tail is adorned with your standard issue luggage rack and the way it is styled is what completes the adventure tourer look with a premium feel. The engine underbelly protection is however slightly questionable and might need to be replaced with a custom aluminium or fabricated metal bashplate since you would most certainly not want to be worrying about having your sump caved in by the unseen rock or sudden lump in the terrain while you’re busy attempting to tame it.
The digital console is shared bits and screws alike, with the 310 R and has read outs for a fuel guage, gear indicator, trip meter and range. Again, the very letters GS in the name sort of demand a full colour TFT screen so that the sunlight falling on it does not pose a problem visually, when stealing a brief glance at the vitals as you’re rough-roading on your favourite patch or exploring some new mountainside.
Power and Performance
Overall engine performance is the same as its sibling, the 310 R and also the TVS Apache 310 RR – which shares its engine with the two BMW twins. The engine construction is slightly unconventional with the single cylinder leaning away from the front end and toward the centre of the bike. This is done to shorten the front rake angle and bring the wheel closer in towards the body allowing the telescopic long travel forks to dish out better command at the handlebars even on the bumpiest of surfaces.
Like mentioned earlier, the 310 GS is not very torquey and certainly doesn’t compete with the likes of the Duke 390, but that’s exactly what it doesn’t aim to do. Being an adventure tourer isn’t specifically about the power, its about stability, handling and overall ride experience across varying characteristics of the terrain. Be it the highway, the quiet getaway trail disappearing into the woods, the not so traffic infested city streets or even the road to Spiti valley, the GS will take them all.
At 313 cc the motor puts out 34 bhp at 9500 rpm and 28 Nm of torque at 7500 rpm. The mid range is where the GS begins to behave like a BMW – controlled and purposeful. However in the low range, one needs to be an experienced rider to be able to keep the momentum while going off road, and tackling tough variations, loose soil and rocky paths. Gravel and mud are quite easy in comparison with a well timed twist of the wrist and downshift to get one out of tough spots.
Ride, Handling and Stability
In the saddle, even the shortest of riders, get a very clean, clear view of the road ahead and the smallest of the details of the immediate terrain around the bike when in motion. The rider gets to sit upright but without the pressure on any single point on their spine. The seat and the rear suspension distribute the load all across the back and down to the calves and knees so that the rider feels at one with the bike, and stand-on-peg manoeuvres are more fun than ever. Potholes and broken patches aren’t really your everyday worry as the GS will simply glide over them without a second thought or glance. This brings us to a not so tiny issue. The small 11 litre fuel tank is the only reason why the longest of journeys would have 300 km checkpoints for refuels even with the rider and bike being all the more ready to keep going. There’s something about the engine incline and of-course the fact that its designed and manufactured by BMW, that even through day long cruising at speeds of 120-130 kmph, the motor refuses to heat up and cause any functional trouble. That being said one has to become a little comfortable with the way the clutch is released in perfect collaboration with the throttle upon launch or the engine will stall.
The nineteen inch front wheel and the seventeen inch rear come clad in adventure spec Metzeler Tourance tyres that offer a fairly decent grip – with a bit of mindfulness required from the rider as to what extremes the bike can be pushed to. That being said its important to understand that not every idiot with a camera and a youtube channel can give you an opinion that would do justice to what the GS is really about. Adventure touring – or even engaging with a motorcycle that has been built for the purpose, is mostly about balance and how “at one” a rider can be with this kind of motorcycle. While there’s plenty of reviewers who would be happy to take the GS apart, what most of them fail to understand is that it’s an entry level adventure bike – with the purpose of simply introducing adventure touring enthusiasts to the possibilities of this segment and training them in the art of getting off the road and making their own.
At three and a half lakhs, we agree it’s a little pricey. but given the segment and the fact that it comes from the connoisseurs of riding and driving pleasures alike, we won’t complain too much. It doesn’t have any competition at the price that it comes and if you’re really looking at upgrading from a smaller motorcycle to savour the pleasures of long distance touring, and taking that long sought trip to the mountains, the 310 GS will definitely not disappoint. It will in fact, ease you into the higher class of motorcycle riders with a light, comfortable and yet firm grip on your hand.