‘A GENUINE GS’
G310GS 34bhp 169.5kg Seat height 835mm
After years of neglect, the sub500cc class of bikes is exploding in 2017 with a glut of new adventure-styled offerings. Fashion may well be a driving factor, but thereõs also a realisation from manufacturers that many of us are now buying second bikes to commute on Ð and they donõt need to be 160bhp adventure leviathans. More and more of us are looking for economy and versatility for an everyday bike, but not at the cost of style, comfort or quality.
Step up BMWÕS new G310GS, the second bike to be released into their G310 family (following the roadster-shaped R), and one of at least four quarterlitre(ish) adventure bikes to arrive from major manufacturers in 2017.
The baby GS might be small in capacity compared with its well-established stablemates, and the only GS not to be built in Germany, but BMWÕS commitment to design and build quality looks no less thorough. The family styling is unmistakeable, with the stubby front beak, radiator shrouds, headlamp cowl and tank all mini-me reworkings of the R1200GSÕS aesthetic.
While for our market this might look like a cute styling exercise to pander to our adventure bike addiction, the truth is probably more that this style offers BMW the greatest breadth of appeal globally. We think UK roads are bad, but ride in rural India or Brazil, and youõll feel spoilt back home Ð but thatõs exactly the sort of market where BMW hope to sell their smaller-capacity range by the thousands. We get the style and attitude we want, those markets get the long-travel suspension and rugged quality and simplicity they need.
Just like the G310R released last year (but still yet to arrive on our shores), the new GS version gets a tubular steel frame, cast five-spoke wheels, and a 313cc liquid-cooled single Ð complete with reversed 4v DOHC cylinder head. That means a claimed 34bhp at your wrist, and 21ftlb of torque, driving through a six-speed gearbox and chain final drive Ð and a heady rev ceiling of 10,500rpm. At 169.5kg ready to ride itõs no featherweight, but neither is it particularly lardy.
The gold inverted 41mm fork Ð which has 49mm more travel than the G310RÕS Ð offers no adjustability, while the rear monoshock does boast adjustable preload, useful for those who might carry a pillion or fit the 30-litre optional topcase on to the standard fitment luggage plate.
Thereõs ABS as standard, and a decently equipped all-lcd dash, plus myriad official accessories to choose from Ð including 12-volt power sockets, heated grips, two further seat height options (820mm and 850mm), luggage, a centrestand, plus satnav and smartphone solutions. Thereõs no word on price yet, but the similar R model starts at £4290 and we wouldnõt expect the GS to be much different.
as standard: Road for everyday riding, and Rain for when the tarmac is wet or slippery. These are not linked to any sort of traction control, but tailor the throttle response to the conditions. Spend a little extra, and you can get the plug-in Dynamic mode, which sharpens up the throttle response for a sportier power delivery.
The riderõs eye view is near-identical, the two-clock dash using new faces, while both bikes get modified exhausts. The R can be fitted with an optional higher handlebar and lower seat option Ð making it more accessible to the shorter of leg Ð and optional Ôdesignõ wheels feature a Motorsport paintjob with red rim pinstripes. Both 800s have the option of switching the newly updated end can for the official BMW Akrapovic HP item, which adds an extra dose of braap to the soundtrack.
Despite most of the components and features being shared, there are a few features that sets the pair apart. Most obvious is the difference in clothing, the R being a naked roadster, while the GT gets a decent threequarter fairing and screen to give it more distance comfort. The other key point of difference is the final drive, with the R using chain drive, while the more touring-focused GT gets a maintenance-free belt drive.
No prices have been released yet, but we expect very little change over the existing £7595 (R) and £8350 (GT).
BMW claim 85mpg, meaning the 11-litre tank could last for more than 200 miles Back-to-front, rearward-leaning 313cc single-cylinder engine is from G310R It’s not made in Germany, but detailing and build looks up to GS expectations
THE FACTS Small-capacity GS will have enormous international appeal Not keen on the new exhaust? Swap it for an official Akrapovic can
Dash is tweaked with new clock faces