The new BMW G 310 GS has been one of the most highly anticipated motorcycles in India. With more Indians joining the adventure riding bandwagon, the mini-GS couldn’t have come at a better time. If you’ve owned a BMW motorcycle (or know of someone who has), you’ll be aware that the German steeds have a certain reputation to maintain — be it their build quality or their rock-solid reliability, and that is something the brand did not want to compromise when they got into an alliance with India’s TVS Motor Company to build the G 310 range. In fact, they even stationed a few of their top German executives in India to oversee operations.
One of the executives, over a cup of coffee, explained that the BMW quality is not easy to understand unless one has spent years working with this German premium car and motorcycle brand. This was perhaps one of the reasons for the delay of the G 310 bikes in India. And now that TVS have managed to match the desired quality, production is in full swing. The G 310 range, which was initially planned for emerging markets like India, has received an overwhelming response globally… so much so that the factory is struggling to keep up with it! This says a lot about the fast-evolving manufacturing finesse and standard of Indian companies. We’ll come back to the quality of parts in just a bit, but first let’s talk about the baby GS’ design.
The 310 GS looks like a scaled-down version of the BMW R 1200 GS. You can’t miss the tall front, a distinct beak-like fender and a small windscreen above the shapely headlight. The narrow rear design is accentuated with a well-finished metal luggage rack, completing the characteristic adventure tourer stance. BMW Motorrad is also selling accessories like top-cases and tank-bags, which not just help in lugging things around but also complete the ‘adventure’ character of the bike. A plastic belly pan protects the engine and even the radiator comes with some plastic armour.
Take a closer peek and you will be privy to the intricate craftsmanship and fine details that BMW brand is renowned for. Like the finish on the handle-bar mount or the tiny BMW logo on it. The switches and buttons feel premium and have a soft-touch feel, which adds to the premium-ness of the bike. The superior quality is almost akin to some of BMW’s bigger bikes made in their European factory. That says it all, I guess.
‘R’ AND ‘GS’, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
The G 310 GS has many common parts with the naked roadster – G 310 R, including the frame, engine, swingarm, instrument cluster and seat, and runs on similar suspension unit as well. The stark difference is that the fork is taller and rear monoshock unit is longer, which give the adventure tourer an additional 40 mm of suspension travel and extra ground clearance. The suspension has also been set up to be more softly sprung than the 310 R, which makes the 310 GS more forgiving over broken roads. The GS also has a more robust combination of 19-inch wheel at front and 17-inch wheel at the rear, along with Metzeler Tourance dual-purpose tyres. As of now, BMW are not offering spoke-wheels on the mini-GS. Both get a conventional single-unit digital instrument cluster with large speedo digits and a rev bar running at the bottom. It also offers basic info at a glance and has a button to dive deeper into the data.
IS THE BMW G 310 GS TOO TALL?
Not really. I’m just about 5 feet 8 inches tall and once astride the bike, I was able to get both my feet on the ground. That’s mainly due to the tapering shape of the seat and fuel tank, and to a certain extent the softer suspension set up. Obviously, the 835 mm saddle height is high, making it 50 mm higher than the naked street bike G 310 R. So if this is a concern, fret not because BMW have you covered as you can pick the Low Seat option from the company’s accessories shop. (Also read: BMW G 310 R First Ride Review)
The handlebar is wide, and foot-pegs are lower than the G 310 R, which give the GS a more relaxed riding position. There are many bikers who prefer the upright riding position over the more committed ones of sporty bikes, and the GS is aimed squarely at them. The tiny fairing doesn’t offer much wind protection, but if you really want then there are a few aftermarket wind-deflectors available in India already (Read here). In the limited time that I had with the GS, I tried my luck with some off-roading in this concrete jungle. I found it easy to grip on to the shapely fuel tank while standing and riding through vast stretches on the off-road type footpegs. The pegs offer decent grip while riding through dirt and slush, and come lined with rubber for comfort.