Having conquered the big adventure motorcycle segment, can BMW’s baby soft-roader, the G 310 GS, do the same for Class 2A bikers in Singapore?
Photos: Leow Ju-Len, Derryn Wong
The BMW R 1200 GS is undoubtedly the world’s most popular adventure bike – no surprise, given it’s also the bike that invented the segment, as the first modern iteration of an adventure bike as we now know them.
Naturally BMW wants to translate big GS sales into bigger GS-sales, and that’s exactly what the G 310 GS aims to do. It’s the second model in the single-cylinder G 310 line-up, following the G 310 R roadster model, and looks to induct riders into the GS cult and onto bigger, Boxer-powered things thereafter.
As discussed in our review of the first of the G 310 models, the BMW G 310 R roadster, it marks BMW’s entry into the sub-400cc, Class 2A licence-legal class that also currently includes the Ducati Scrambler Sixty2.
The BMW G 310 GS adds various elements to ‘adventurise’ itself, including the very distinct beak-like mudguard that immediately calls to mind its bigger brothers, obviously R 1200 GS, but also the mid-weight F 850 GS as well.
Like a crossover or SUV, styling is a very important element here, and the G 310 GS looks far larger than its cubic-centimetres imply, and there’s no mistaking it for anything but a member of the GS genus.
Taller suspension and standard half-dirt tyres complete the look, though spoked wheels would have been a nice touch to complete the dirt-tough image. Those who have a phobia of tall seats needn’t worry, the 835mm saddle height is quite easy to manage, a fact made more so by the very plush suspension.
Once you’re up there the position is classic GS – taller than the roadster, with a commanding view of the road ahead – though the handlebars are a tad lower than fully upright. The instrument panel, same as on the G 310 R, is clear, informative, and simple.
You can’t call any sub-400cc bike fast, and the G 310 GS is no different. But its smooth single-cylinder engine is far more GS twin-like than thumper, from its exhaust note to running nature.
While it hasn’t a lot of low end shove – likely because the GS is heavier than the R – it revs freely, and holds 90km/h on the highway at a manageable 5,000rpm. Above that, the vibes get more intense – just like the F 800’s – but they’re far less than that of a old-school dirtbike’s, thanks to the counterbalance shaft.
Compared to the roadster the GS less agile, it feels more deliberate during cornering, and takes a day or two of getting used to.
Experienced riders who’ve tested the G 310 GS point the finger at the standard-fit Metzeler Karoo 3 tyres, though we also feel the soft front suspension contributes to a vague front end. The way the front end compresses on braking also hides the effectiveness of the single-disc Bybre brake system.
The upside of this is that the G 310 GS can straightline speed humps and tackle road imperfections with barely any pause.
Though it we were to buy a G 310 GS, the first things to do would be to fit better road-biased tyres, a larger rear sprocket, and stiffer front springs. Not expensive modifications at all, but something for newer riders to take note of.
So if you’re a 2A biker in the market for adventure, should you get one?
Before the Age of Modern Adventure bikes, newbie motorcyclists would inevitably choose a small-capacity scooter, streetbike or dirtbike (or ‘scramblers’ as they’re popularly, and incorrectly known).
The G 310 GS changes that by adding an authentic BMW adventure bike to the mix. It’s not the first small adventure bike to market, the Derbi Terra has been around for a long time, but let’s be honest, there’s little brand recognition there.
The G 310 GS’s only true, non-Japanese competition in this arena is the Ducati Scrambler Sixty2, which is aimed at a more hipster, less dirt-willing crowd.
If you’ve no intention to graduate to a full Class 2, must have an adventure bike with a blue-and-white roundel on the tank, then the answer to where your adventure begins is patently obvious.
BMW G 310 GS
|Engine||313cc, 4V, single-cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke||80mm x 62.1mm|
|Max Power||34hp at 9500rpm|
|Max Torque||28Nm at 7500rpm|
|Agent||Performance Motors Limited|