The first 10 days and 1300ks on my new all rounder.
Iíve had my BMW G310GS for 10 days now, have ridden it on a variety of local roads, had its first 1000k service and Iím starting to get a good feel of the bike, so these are my impressions.
On paper the 310GS ticked a lot of boxes. Ride away for under AU$8,000 it was a good price for an entry level BMW. I was after a smaller cc motorcycle that could multi task around country back roads, be able to cruise at 110k/h on the highway as well as handling light off road duties, and even tackle fire trails and paddocks.
Being a rider in my late 60ís and 5í9Ē tall with a few other bikes in the stable, I didnít want a another big bike, and the idea of a 300cc machine fitted the bill. My buddy and I had been talking about a suitable bike as ďmy last bite of the apple.Ē I had been considering a Yamaha XT 250. My previous thumper was a Suzuki DR650 which had turned out to be too tall for me and after doing my maths on seat heights, I was concerned that it might have also been the case with the GS.
When I finally got to throw my leg over the GS I got this horrible feeling for a second that the bike was going to topple when my foot hadnít reached the ground on the other side. Iíve since learnt how to stretch my leg out as I straddle the seat but in reality Iím only just tall enough to flat toe it. Its ok once Iím riding, I can get my feet down when I stop, and as the bike settles in, its becoming slightly lower, but its height could make it tricky maneuvering on uneven ground.
When Iím riding the bike it feels big, the wide bars and tank, there seems like a lot of bike between your legs until you realize itís really just a little 310. Through the traffic itís quite agile and responsive. The rider sits high and upright giving good lines of vision through the traffic, the engine has good response off the lights and has a wicked sweet spot between 6000-10000 rpm. Although itís not the thinnest bike it would be more than capable for commuting in city gridlock.
On the faster arterial roads the GS is very comfortable, 100k/h at 6000 rpm with lots of extra power still in the engine. Occasionally on hills or for fast exit out of a corner I find myself dropping down a gear but thatís the way with this size engine. Out on the Highway the GS will easily sit on 110-120k/h at 6500 rpm and Iím sure it could easily get to 140k/h. Iím used to naked road bikes so Iím not fazed by wind in my face. Although Iíd prefer to ride my bigger cc road bikes on long hwy runs Iíve no doubt the 310GS would be more than capable of touring, especially back road touring where the single cylinder is more suited.
Itís on the good winding secondary roads that the GS excels, get it rolling along over 7,000 rpm it just sings. It has enough power to accelerate up mountains, overtake safely, it handles bumps, potholes and patchwork tarmac with ease, it leans into corners effortlessly, tracks reliably and brings a big grin to my face. Itís not as sporty as the 310R but itís lots of fun and comfortable to boot.
The last quality I was looking for in the GS was the ability to handle the dirt and gravel roads which crisscross the valleys and ridges around my part of the world. Although I havenít had good experiences on dirt and have avoided these sorts of roads until now, Iím hoping that you tube and the 310GS will teach me how to stay upright and to be able to explore a new realm of riding. So far Iíve been testing myself and the GS out on soft sandy beach tracks, and reasonably graded gravel roads up the valleys. My progress on these off road expeditions has been very slow to date, but this is more due to me than the GS, and as my confidence increases so does my speed. The GS seems very stable and forgiving so far.
I was interested to read a review by an experienced 650GS rider Sjiriki, who noted: ďGravel is absolutely no problem, I quickly rode as fast with this one as with my own GS. It actually did better because of the upside down fork and, yes I have to admit, the lower weight. Gas response is good, it isnít too light so youíre always in control even when you hit some unexpected bumps.Ē Ride report : BMW G310GS ? Riding With The Wolf
The last thing I want to mention is dealer support. The G310GS has only just been released. I decided to buy one of the first in the stores from a regional dealer, Rock Motorcycles at Port Macquarie, rather than a city dealer. As well as being slightly cheaper due to country third party insurance rates, Iíve found the support and service provided by Rock to be fantastic. The first service was slipped in after only 7 days and a minor idle speed problem was fixed without fuss under warranty. I was even given their demo to ride while mine was in the workshop. I guess with any new model there might be a few teething problems which is why it feels good being under a BMW warranty.
So to sum it up. BMW have designed a smaller cc bike for commuting, capable on the highway as well as country back roads, and light off road duties. Although there are faster, bigger, better handling sports bikes, and tougher adventure tourers, the G310GS makes up for it in being a cheap, economical, lightweight, well behaved and comfortable all rounder that can be ridden all day on a diverse selection of roads and put the silliest grin on your face. Needless to say Iím pretty **** happy, Itís just what I was looking for. All I need to do now is to keep riding it to find out if its indeed bullet proof and therefore a classic.