Could this be the bike to pro­pel BMW’S world­wide sales to an­other level?

RiDE (UK) - - Contents - Words Jon Urry

BMW IS TAR­GET­ING sales of 200,000 bikes a year, up roughly 70,000 from its cur­rent an­nual pro­duc­tion, by 2020. And key to this boost is the new G-se­ries, kicked off with last year’s G310R.

BMW hopes th­ese sin­gle cylin­ders will not only ap­peal to a world­wide au­di­ence, es­pe­cially in de­vel­op­ing mar­kets such as Asia and south Amer­ica, but also draw younger Euro­pean rid­ers into the brand. To achieve this, th­ese price-sen­si­tive bikes are built by TVS in In­dia, some­thing that hasn’t been with­out its is­sues and has led to de­lays as the Ho­sur fac­tory meets BMW’S high stan­dards. But they have got there and the GS now be­lat­edly joins the R in UK show­rooms. Has it been worth the wait?

Vis­ually, the GS is impressive; it looks a qual­ity prod­uct and the level of fin­ish is very high. Its sin­gle-cylin­der mo­tor makes more torque than its Ja­panese ri­vals’ par­al­lel twins, giv­ing it good ac­cel­er­a­tion, and the rid­ing po­si­tion is equally roomy for taller rid­ers. In an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment it’s light, ma­noeu­vrable and punches away from traf­fic lights well. But it’s not per­fect.

Get the GS out of town and its sus­pen­sion starts to put a damper on the fun, lead­ing to a lack of con­fi­dence in the front end when rid­den spirit­edly. It’s not bad at slower or a mod­er­ate pace, but you can’t push as hard as you would like to as there is a dis­con­nected feel­ing caused by the soft sus­pen­sion and ques­tion­able tyres. De­spite rub­ber in­serts, the sin­gle cylin­der also buzzes ir­ri­tat­ingly through the pegs at mo­tor­way speeds and the mir­rors give a very lim­ited view. All of which is a shame, be­cause the GS is so nearly on the money.

Over­all the 310GS is good but not bril­liant, as you ex­pect a GS model to be. The mir­rors are too small, pan­niers should be an op­tion, there are an­noy­ing vi­bra­tions at speed, the in­di­ca­tor warn­ing light is al­most in­vis­i­ble in di­rect sun­light and the sus­pen­sion lim­its the han­dling. It is the best over­all mini-ad­ven­turer cur­rently for sale but it could have been bet­ter. Its faults leave the door open for the likes of KTM to ar­rive with its en­try to this cat­e­gory and rule the roost. A good bike, but not a game changer in Europe, though world­wide it may be a dif­fer­ent story.

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