Earlier BMW launched its first sub 500cc motorcycle in decades in the form of the G310R. Given the success of the BMW big bikes you could ask the question why the need for the smaller machine. The answer in short, is the fact that literally millions of small bikes are sold worldwide annually and BMW wants to tap into this market. In most cases though these small machines lack sophistication and are frankly wanting on every level of performance, including engine, handling and braking performance.
Enter the G310R with a brand-new power train and chassis. As can be expected from BMW the G310R has premium components all round. With features like an upside-down fork, a 4-pot brake caliper up front with ABS and a 25KW single cylinder motor the G310R feels amazingly good. When riding most of the smaller bikes one tends to feel that they are training bikes for working your way up to a real machine. Not so with the G310R.
The G310R feels like a machine that one can live with every day. The power delivery is surprisingly smooth and linear. In other words the motor delivers enough grunt from lower down in the rev range but is surprisingly responsive when you need more power. Being a tall person, I expected the riding position would be a squeeze at best, but even with my 1.95m frame I was comfortable with both the foot levers in a natural position for my feet.
All this speaks about the overall rideability of the G310R and this is where it truly stands out. If you have ever taken a small capacity motorcycle onto a freeway you will know how scary it can be when you lack the horsepower to either run with the traffic or accelerate past slow vehicles. To my surprise this was where the G310R was unexpectedly capable of comfortably running at highway speeds and has enough punch if you need to pass.
In conclusion, although the G310R is built in India the quality is top notch and the package works well for the purpose it was designed for. This is a fun, practical and good looking machine that is not only for the rider that would like a BMW but also for the current BMW owners that find the big R1200GS too heavy for every day commuting in peak traffic. As it makes sense to run a small bike as a run around, BMW can finally now offer that option to their customers. The running cost on the G310R is low, but you still get the premium feel. At R62 990.00 it is not exactly cheap but given the product it is also not overly expensive.
I for one can only hope BMW gives us a GS derivative of the G310 as this would be a great of the beaten track machine to compliment the R1200GS tourer in the garage.
Malan Struwig is a member of the UltimateDrive Media team.