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