BMW's leaner-legal G 310 GS adventure bike tested on and off-road
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BMW G 310 GS
After BMW discontinued the G 650 GS, the company was left without a learner-legal adventure bike in its lineup for the first time since the introduction of LAMS in 2012. Thankfully, that changed with the arrival of a 313cc single-cylinder bike — the G 310 GS.
While a true GS will always be the top-tier R 1250 GS, not everyone can access the hero of BMW’s adventure bike lineup, financially or physically. So a sub-$10,000 bike with GS cred? That’s appealing.
As its name suggests, the G 310 GS shares a few components with the G 310 R, with the same engine and steel frame making their way to the GS model. Even the LCD dash is the same, although it is mounted higher within the GS’ new fairing.
Retailing at $9495, the G 310 GS features the aforementioned LCD display with all the info you need — from fuel range to gear position — as well as ABS braking with a switch to disable the ABS when the going gets tough. It's not a lot of tech but, at this end of the adventure bike spectrum, it’s all you need. Plus adding more technology would push the price out of that sub-$10,000 category.
Styling is clearly inspired by the big GS with the beaked fairing emphasising the G 310 as part of the family. Even the plastic shrouds around the 11-litre fuel tank feel sturdy.
While 11 litres doesn’t sound much, combined with a tested average economy of 4.4L/100km you should comfortably see around 250km between stops. That’s plenty of adventure for most.
The engine is a clever unit, using the same backward slant to the cylinder head to aid in mass centralisation. At 313cc, it isn’t a powerhouse by comparison to other “adventure bikes” but its 25kW is more than ample for the needs of the market the G 310 GS is aimed at.
Low-end grunt isn’t the 313cc engine’s thing and, as might be expected from a small-bore machine, it loves to rev out. Get above 7000rpm and it sings its way up to the 10,000rpm redline, with peak power coming in at 9500rpm. While it looks cool and GS appropriate, riders’ upper chest and shoulders aren’t shielded from wind blast by the factory screen. If only it were taller...
Auckland | Mount Wellington
$112.53 p/w $450.13 p/m
Thankfully the rest of the bike is a gem on the open road, with the seat needing praise in a class where it seems other manufacturers have forgotten riders spend a lot of time sitting. It’s not all-day comfy, but it’s close. Equipped out of the gate with a set of Metzeler Tourance tyres, the blocky tread does a decent job of balancing the road and off-road desires that come with a bike wearing a GS badge.
The G 310 GS in factory trim is fun for exploring gravel backroads. Its 313cc engine provides enough power to be entertaining, while its suspension offers a pliable ride that doesn't bottom out every time you glance at a pothole.
The only downsides to the G 310 GS would be the cramped cockpit, which is mostly put down to its comfortable stepped seat, and the factory Metzeler tyres that offer a good amount of gravel confidence but are road-focused.
Like the bigger GS bikes, the G 310’s ABS braking can be turned off for loose surface riding. Unlike other bikes in the class, it can be disengaged and re-engaged on the fly. It will never be as agile as a full-on trail bike, with the combo of the reversed engine and lightweight chassis, but it’s a confidence-inspiring ride. When the GS family hero costs $30,000-plus, the “baby GS” is sure to augment the G 310 R in growing BMW’s brand in the LAMS segment.