BMW, long perceived as a brand of expensive, exclusive motorcycles reserved for the most discerning and accomplished riders, is set to break from that tradition with the introduction of the all-new BMW G310R, perhaps its first, genuine entry-level motorcycle. The new machine reflects an attitudinal shift not just for the German, Bavarian brand, but the general direction of all manufacturers, indicating small displacement (under 500cc) and urban mobility represent an important market for the future of motorcycles.
With shades of its S1000R big brother, the BMW G310R cuts an impressive stance, the wedged bodywork, bold paint scheme, upside-down gold anodized forks and grown-up-looking mechanical granting it a much more substantial presence than its smaller displacement would suggest. The engine is a liquid-cooled, electronically fuel-injected, 313cc single-cylinder with four valves operating off two overhead camshafts. The engine has a dynamic rear-tilted cylinder with the intake on the front and the exhaust header exiting the. Claimed power output is 34 horsepower at 9,500rpm.
Throwing a leg over the BMW G310R and pulling it off its side stand reveals its feathery presence – a mere 158 kilograms – and comfortable ergonomics. Once under way, any concern about 34 horsepower being inadequate is instantly assuaged, as the BMW G310R spirits along just fine. Our time on the new BMW consisted of about 215 kilometer on the road. The test ride allowed us to experience the BMW G310R in a multitude of scenarios: morning commute traffic on surface streets, rural roads, highway, and even a few mountain twisties, ending the day by heavy traffic in Bangkok rush hours.
On all fronts, the BMW G310R pleasantly surprised. The motorcycle’s lithe weight and narrow handlebars make maneuvering through traffic-snarled streets a breeze. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the way the BMW G310R handles the open road outside the city. In sixth gear, at 120km/h, the motorcycle was planted and relatively smooth both in terms of engine vibration and absorbing the road. When we arrived at a stretch of deserted road, the BMW G310R again surprised with a degree of sporting rideability. Despite the motorcycle’s light weight, it has a planted feel in corners and responds well to rider input, providing a highly intuitive responsiveness that adds to the fun factor.
ABS is standard, the two-channel system mated to a single 300mm discs and four-piston caliper on the front, with a single 240mm disc on the rear. The BMW G310R responds well to ample rear brake input to settle the chassis on corner entry. As would be expected with the motorcycle’s light weight, the BMW G310R can be brought down from speed rather quickly with the stable demeanor of a larger sportbike.
With the G310R, BMW hopes to snag a good portion of the rapidly growing small-capacity motorcycle segment by offering an attractive, highly functional, capable motorcycle in an unintimidating package for an competitive price which BMW will release at the 38th Bangkok International Motor Show (which is from 29 March until 9 April 2017).