Although we got to ride the BMW G310 GS over a variety of road surfaces at its national launch in February, I was keen to test ride it “at home”. I am quite interested in the refreshed sector of the motorcycling market where BMW, Kawasaki and Honda have adventure bikes in 250-300cc engine sizes.
It is a segment that hasn’t had great interest from buyers or manufacturers for some time and most of the bikes in this segment are bought as delivery vehicles.
But Honda launched its 250 Rally and Kawasaki launched a 300cc Versys, followed by BMW with the G310 GS.
While the Honda and Kawasaki both have 21-inch front wheels, the BMW has a 19-inch front wheel. So that would show how the manufacturer feels about their babies being true adventure bikes. But BMW has been at great pains to explain that the new GS
is not an adventure bike. Like I said in my launch report, although it only has 25kW, I still don’t understand why BMW is sticking to that narrative.
Unlike the road-going version, the G310 R, the GS is actually quite a high bike. The seat is as high as the 800 GS’s and higher than the 700 GS’s. But the 310 GS’s suspension gives way, as it was not designed for riders of my size (and weight).
The GS has the same 313cc single-cylinder as its roadster sibling. The positioning is strange to the market, though. The engine is canted backwards, so the intake sits at the front of the bike and the exhaust at the back. I suppose that should make it more efficient, as it will breathe cleaner and colder air rushing straight at the bike. Although, on the flip side, the air filter would have to work much harder if you’re riding on dirt and choking in someone’s dust.
It is a modern engine with two cams and four valves and the power and torque spread through the rev range works really well.
I recently also rode Kawasaki’s Versys-X 300, which has a twin-cylinder engine that loves revving. I was very impressed by it and a colleague and I wondered if we would still be as impressed with the GS’s engine after riding the Kawasaki in anger.