BMW Heats Up The Small-Displacement Market

BMW’s G 310 R roadster got a brother as it moved into the 2017 model year with the addition of the adventuresome G 310 GS. The “GS” builds on the success of the “R” with a few subtle changes that shift the design toward the adventure bike end of the spectrum. Sharing the same 313 cc engine, the G 310 pair head into the low-displacement market alongside some hot competition.

Continue reading for my review of the BMW G 310 R and G 310 GS.

Design

2017 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS - image 751714

(G 310 R)

"The differences between the “R” and “GS” versions are mainly apparent up front and even if some of the differences are subtle, they make for very dissimilar-looking rides in their totality."

There is considerable pressure on the small-displacement market, and all the major players are hard at work to populate the various genres with these mini-mills. Since indoctrination is best when started young and manufacturers recognize the benefits of cultivating brand loyalty early, this all-important entry-level bracket is hotly contested, which makes me all the more curious what the Bavarians bring to the table as their BMW-bait this year.

Each of these rides displays flylines that leave little doubt as to which genre they belong. There are no ambiguities here, and even if some of the differences are subtle, they make for very dissimilar-looking rides in their totality. A stripped-down, naked look greets the eye, and the design meets the very definition of “roadster” in that every piece has a function and no weight or space is wasted on any purely decorative components.

A minimal headlight can and minimal front fender lead the way, and the only body paneling comes in the form of a couple of cheek fairings that serve as a radiator shroud. A beefy-looking tank section dives off to a deep-scoop seat that rises again at the pillion for a typical streetbike profile and much less in the way of “cheap bike” fit and finish than one might imagine.

The differences between the “R” and “GS” versions are mainly apparent up front. A 19-inch front wheel leads the way for the “GS” with a fuller front fender and a bird’s beak fairing for an extra bit of protection and that definite adventure-bike panache. Atop the headlight we have a small flyscreen that provides a bit of upper-body protection, but obviously not as much as a proper windscreen. From there the fairing flows back into the fuel tank where the lines abruptly change to that of the roadster, and the familial connection becomes obvious.

Chassis

2017 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS - image 751718

(G 310 GS)

"The “R” is a straight-up naked streetbike but the “GS” is set up to tackle rough backroads and even light off-road terrain."

Tubular-steel members make up the bridge-type frame, and a bolted-on subframe completes the standing structure with a yoke-style swingarm to articulate for the rear suspension. A coil-over shock mounted centrally above the swingarm pivot comes only with the obligatory preload adjustment, and the inverted, 41 mm forks up front come with no adjustments at all. I realize that tuneable suspension components cost a pretty penny, but it would still be nice to see some of that tech trickle down to the bottom end. Just sayin’.

Steering-head geometry differs a bit between the two bikes; the “R” runs with 25.1 degrees of rake and 4 inches of trail where the “GS” gets 26.7 degrees of rake with 3.8 inches of trail. The “R” is a straight-up naked streetbike but the “GS” is set up to tackle rough backroads and even light off-road terrain, so it comes as a surprise to find the suspension travel identical between the two at 5.5 inches up front and 5.2 inches in back. Maybe the "GS" isn’t as adventure as one might hope.

Brake components, however, are consistent across the board with an opposed-piston, four-pot caliper to bite the single, 300 mm front disc, and a piston-and-anvil caliper binding the 240 mm rear disc. BMW’s proprietary ABS prevents loss of traction due to overbraking, and as much as I think it important for new riders to feel all the forces at work, I recognize that the new of riders today may literally never ride a bike that doesn’t come with ABS and that the skillset is undergoing a natural evolution. (And yes, in case you’re wondering, I can drive a stick shift in a four-wheeled vehicle.) No matter where you land on that argument, I think we can all agree that any feature that increases safety is good.

Model: G 310 GS G 310 R
Frame: Tubular steel frame with bolted rear frame Tubular steel bridge-type frame with bolt-on rear frame
Front wheel location / suspension: Upside down fork , Ø 41 mm Upside down telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm
Rear wheel location / suspension: Solid die-cast aluminum swingarm, directly hinged monoshock, adjustable preload Solid die-cast aluminum swingarm, directly hinged monoshock, adjustable preload
Suspension travel front / rear: 7.1” / 7.1” (180 mm / 180 mm) 5.5" / 5.2" (140 mm / 131 mm)
Castor: 3.9” (98 mm) 4" (102.3 mm)
Steering head angle: 63.3° 64.9°
Wheels: Cast aluminum wheels Cast aluminum wheels
Rim, front: 2.50 x 19" 3.0 x 17"
Rim, rear: 4.0 x 17" 4.0 x 17"
Tires, front: 110/80 R 19 110/70 R 17
Tires, rear: 150/70 R 17 150/60 R 17
Brake, front: Single disc, diameter 300 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper, radially bolted Single disc, diameter 300 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper, radially bolted
Brake, rear: Single disc, diameter 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper Single disc, diameter 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad ABS BMW Motorrad ABS

Drivetrain

2017 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS - image 697762

(G 310 R)

"Output is decent at a claimed 34 horsepower at 9,500 rpm with 21 pound-feet of torque coming on at 7,500 rpm."

Propulsion duties fall to BMW’s 310 thumper. The single cylinder comes canted to the rear, a move that lowers the center of gravity while moving it forward a bit as well. An 80 mm bore and 62 mm stroke gives us a total displacement of 313 cc with a warm, 10.6-to-1 compression ratio. Dual over-head cams time the four-valve head, and the electronic fuel injection system manages the induction for an impressive 71 mpg and top speed of 90 mph.

Output is decent at a claimed 34 horsepower at 9,500 rpm with 21 pound-feet of torque coming on at 7,500 rpm. BMW’s quality shows up all over the mill, but there is no way around that one-lung vibration so you can expect that to be present, even if muted. A multi-disc wet clutch marries the mill to the six-speed, constant-mesh transmission, and I gotta say that much like the vanilla suspension, I’m a little disappointed at the lack of a slip-and-assist clutch, at least on the “R” model. I get that they’re more expensive than a standard clutch, but such features are going to find their way to the bottom eventually and somebody has to be first.

Model: G 310 GS G 310 R
Engine: Liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, four valves, two overhead camshafts and finger followers, wet sump lubrication Water-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, four valves, two overhead camshafts, wet sump lubrication
Bore x stroke: 80 mm x 62.1 mm 80 mm x 62 mm
Capacity: 313 cc 313 cc
Rated output: 34 hp (25 kW) at 9,500 rpm 34 hp (25 kW) at 9,500 rpm
Max. torque: 21 lb-ft (28 Nm) at 7,500 rpm 21 lb-ft (28 Nm) at 7,500 rpm
Compression ratio: 10.6:1 10.6 : 1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection Electronic fuel injection, BMS-E2
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4 Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4
Clutch: Multi-plate wet clutch, mechanically operated Multiple-disc clutch in oil bath, mechanically operated
Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox
Drive: Chain drive Endless O-ring chain with shock damping in rear wheel hub

Pricing

2017 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS - image 697191

(G 310 GS)

"Priced to move in the entry-level market, the G 310s go for about $5k, give or take."

Priced to move in the entry-level market, the 2018 G 310 GS rolls for $5,695 and the G 310 R has a $4,750 price tag. If you’ve some extra cheddar to spread around, the Werke offers plenty of accessories so you can make it all your own.

Model: G 310 GS G 310 R
Colors: Racing Red, Cosmic Black, Pearl White Metallic Pearl White Metallic, Cosmic Black, Strato Blue Metallic
Price: $5,695 $4,750

Competitors

2017 - 2018 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 - image 744726
2017 BMW G 310 R / G 310 GS - image 751725
"Considering the similarities between the two, it will likely come down to personal preference and/or brand loyalty for most buyers."

The small-displacement market overall is gaining popularity. and the adventure-bike market specifically is really just coming into its own. The GS is one of a few such models that brings these features together. Another one is the Versys-X 300 from Kawasaki.

The “X” has an undeniable adventure-bike look, but thankfully, it leaves the bird’s beak fairing where it belongs; in the history books. A proper windshield provides a bit more protection for the upper body, but the fairing lowers peter out quickly after forming the radiator shroud, just like the BMW’s fairing. The remainder of the flylines are very similar, and fit well within the adventure-bike mold.

Kawi opts for pure vanilla on the suspension parts. Standard, non-adjustable right-way-up forks buoy the front, and a coil-over monoshock floats the ass end with naught but adjustable preload for features, same as the “GS” but at least BMW went with stiff, inverted forks for a little extra toughness, if not adjustability.

The Versys also surrenders a fistful of cubes to the Beemer with a 296 cc, twin-cylinder powerplant versus a 313 cc thumper. Liquid cooling is constant across the board, same as the over-head cams and electronic fuel injection systems and six-speed transmixxers. Gadgetry is lacking on both, but admittedly, I wouldn’t expect to see TC or variable power-delivery modes at this pricing point.

Speaking of price; these two are neck-and-neck with the Versys fetching $5,699 and the G 310 GS rolling for $5,695 . Not surprising given the similarities up to this point, so it will likely come down to personal preference and/or brand loyalty for most buyers here.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “As always, it seems that BMW puts out a solid product, even if I have to gig them for some lack of top-shelf features. Yeah, I know, they’ve got to keep prices down, but would it kill them to offer some enhanced trim packages for folks willing to pay for them? Beyond that, the fit and finish is what one would expect from BMW, though I will point out that riders will likely outgrow the 313 cc mill sooner rather than later.”

She Said

"I disagree with my husband when he assumes folks will outgrow the smaller cc engines. Some will as they get a taste for two-wheels, but for others, these 250-to-400 cc bikes are the bomb. They aren’t terribly torquey or have a lot of horsepower, but when the bike is not even 400 pounds, you don’t need a lot of either to have a lot of fun."

Specifications

Model: G 310 GS G 310 R
Engine & Drivetrain:
Type: Liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, four valves, two overhead camshafts and finger followers, wet sump lubrication Water-cooled, single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, four valves, two overhead camshafts, wet sump lubrication
Bore x stroke: 80 mm x 62.1 mm 80 mm x 62 mm
Capacity: 313 cc 313 cc
Rated output: 34 hp (25 kW) at 9,500 rpm 34 hp (25 kW) at 9,500 rpm
Max. torque: 21 lb-ft (28 Nm) at 7,500 rpm 21 lb-ft (28 Nm) at 7,500 rpm
Compression ratio: 10.6:1 10.6 : 1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection Electronic fuel injection, BMS-E2
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4 Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4
Clutch: Multi-plate wet clutch, mechanically operated Multiple-disc clutch in oil bath, mechanically operated
Gearbox: Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox
Drive: Chain drive Endless O-ring chain with shock damping in rear wheel hub
Chassis / brakes:
Frame: Tubular steel frame with bolted rear frame Tubular steel bridge-type frame with bolt-on rear frame
Front wheel location / suspension: Upside down fork , Ø 41 mm Upside down telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm
Rear wheel location / suspension: Solid die-cast aluminum swingarm, directly hinged monoshock, adjustable preload Solid die-cast aluminum swingarm, directly hinged monoshock, adjustable preload
Suspension travel front / rear: 7.1” / 7.1” (180 mm / 180 mm) 5.5" / 5.2" (140 mm / 131 mm)
Castor: 3.9” (98 mm) 4" (102.3 mm)
Steering head angle: 63.3° 64.9°
Wheels: Cast aluminum wheels Cast aluminum wheels
Rim, front: 2.50 x 19" 3.0 x 17"
Rim, rear: 4.0 x 17" 4.0 x 17"
Tires, front: 110/80 R 19 110/70 R 17
Tires, rear: 150/70 R 17 150/60 R 17
Brake, front: Single disc, diameter 300 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper, radially bolted Single disc, diameter 300 mm, 4-piston fixed caliper, radially bolted
Brake, rear: Single disc, diameter 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper Single disc, diameter 240 mm, single-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad ABS BMW Motorrad ABS
Electrical system:
Alternator: Three-phase 308 W generator Alternator 330 W
Battery: 12 V / 8 Ah, Maintenance free 12 V / 8 Ah, maintenance free
Dimensions / weights :
Length: 81.8” (2,075 mm) 78.3" (1,988 mm)
Width (incl. mirrors): 34.7” (880 mm) 35.3" (896 mm)
Wheelbase: 55.9” (1,420 mm) 54.0" (1,374 mm)
Height (excl. mirrors): 48.5” (1,230 mm) 48.3" (1,227 mm)
Seat height, unladen weight: Standard Seat: 32.9", High Seat: 33.5", Low Seat: 32.3" 30.9" (785 mm)
Inner leg curve, unladen weight: Standard Seat: 73.7", High Seat: 74.9", Low Seat: 72.5" 70.3" (1,785 mm)
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fueled: 374 lbs (169.5 kg) 349 lbs (158.5 kg)
Permitted total weight: 761 lbs (345 kg) 760 lbs (345 kg)
Payload (with standard equipment): 387 lbs (175.5 kg) 411 lbs (186.5 kg)
Usable tank volume: 2.9 gal (11 l) 2.9 gal (11 l)
Reserve Approx. 0.3 gal (1 l): approx. 0.3 gal (1 L)
Details:
Maximum speed: 89 mph 90 mph
Fuel consumption: 71 mpg (WMTC) 71 mpg (WMTC)
Fuel type: Premium Unleaded Premium Unleaded
Colors: Racing Red, Cosmic Black, Pearl White Metallic Pearl White Metallic, Cosmic Black, Strato Blue Metallic
Price: $5,695 $4,750

References

2017 - 2018 Kawasaki Versys-X 300 - image 744691

See our review of the Kawasaki Versys-X 300.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: kawasaki.com,bmwmotorcycles.com

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