please note. This ride report has been assembled from a series of blog posts I made almost in real time over this past spring and summer  - which ultimately saw me riding back and forth (three times in total - 17,500 miles) across the United States and up into parts of neighbouring Canada onboard my G310GS fitted with the Rally-Raid Products 'Adventure' spoked wheel and suspension kit.
I trust this story and associated photographs will not only inspire by featuring highlights of some world class adventure riding destinations in North America, but also illustrate just how capable and versatile (and ultimately reliable too) this smaller BMW bike can be for this kind of day-in and day-out multi-terrain long-distance adventure riding...
Introduction: first posted in April 2018...
Catchy thread title huh?
Yes, I've only gone and bought a bloody BMW...
photo. a brand new G310GS - currently already in pieces on the other side of the country...
I have to say, I'm a firm advocate of Japanese engineering and technology when it comes to adventure and dirt/dual-sport bikes - they might not be 'cutting edge', but that's exactly why I like them - they're proven, reliable and the work - and I don't like spannering on bikes unless I absolutely have to. So taking a punt on a 'euro' ADV bike is going to be all very new to me!
As a good number of you reading this may already be aware, over the past few years I've been involved with developing the Rally Raid Adventure [wheel and suspension] kit for the Honda CB500X, and at the end of 2015 - after I'd ridden one across the USA and back again
- including the full length of the Trans-America Trail - I bought my own bike and fitted the spoked wheel and +2" suspension kit, and created what I consider is the best compromise (ie. a genuine 50/50 bike that is equally capable both on road and off) adventure bike, certainly for the kind of long-distance adventure riding I like to do all over North America
I've covered nearly 30,000 miles on my own CB now, and together with 12,000+ on that original Trans-Am bike, plus a good few thousand more on the UK development and demo bikes with John from Rally Raid, I consider myself pretty well versed in regard to that machine, and personally speaking have no intention of selling my own CB any time soon, or indeed ever...
However, while I've been able to handle anything I've thrown at it, I would concede that in some really technical off-road trail conditions (such as the infamous Rubicon Trail
adventure Juan Brown and I embarked on at the end of 2016), a 200Kg bike can prove to be a bit of a handful shall we say...
So in that regard, I'm willing to give this new 'baby' BMW a try... especially as John (at Rally Raid) has been working on a series of similar wheel and suspension upgrades that I have fitted to my Honda, for the budget BMW - to give it the kind of high-quality on and off-road performance you'd expect from a brand that has built it's reputation on being 'adventure' ready, if not all that appropriate - especially the larger 1200cc ones! - but at least with this bike, the basic donor would appear to offer a lot of what the unicorn hunters are looking for?
As a quick run-down of the basic bike shows similar overall dimensions to my own LEVEL 2 Honda CB500X - similar short wheelbase, ground clearance, 17/19" wheels and 7" of travel front and rear. However, where the 310GS immediately impresses is that is is a good 25Kg lighter in weight than the CB, albeit is also has around 33% less capacity and corresponding power from it's 313cc single cylinder engine, compared to the Honda's 471cc parallel twin.
Fortunately, the six speed gearbox in the BMW offers a reasonably wide range of ratios, and it geared for cruising at around 70+mph, with a little more for over-taking (it officially tops out at around 90mph/140kph), so other than at high altitude and/or into a headwind, I'm expecting reasonable brisk on-road performance from the little tyke.
And yes, I say 'expecting' because I've only actually ever ridden one about 200 yards in 2nd gear on a cold frosty morning in the UK last month - so I honestly have no idea how this bike is going to ride in comparison to the CB - although I have it on good authority from Adam Mitchinson (from Rally Raid Products) who rode one for over 5000kms in the Australian outback recently, that it's actually a very impressive trail machine, and immediately grows on you - much as the CB does.
So a couple of months ago I took a punt, and put a deposit on a brand new G310GS at a dealer in Virginia. The reason I bought one on the east coast is that my initial plan is to ride it back to California (where I'm based when I'm in the USA) across the country - on and off-road, proving it's all-terrain abilities much as I did with the original Rally Raid CB500X back in 2015 - sharing the experience with you here on G310R.com, and ultimately to then be in a position to compare and contrast just how well it performs in this sort of long-distance overland adventure role.
Then later in the summer I'm going to be heading north of the border into Canada (as I did last year) to explore some more, and punctuating that trip with a series of all-terrain 'challenges' wherever I can - in an effort to offer you a longer-term appraisal of what it's actually like to live with this bike on a day-to-day basis, and hopefully entertain you all too with some photos and stories about the people and places I experience along the way...
Of course, being that little bit smaller and lighter than the CB, I will also endeavour to push the boundaries between 'adventure' and 'dual-sport' even more with this new bike over the coming weeks and months - and am confidently optimistic that for a lot of weekender style adventure riders (of which most of us are if we're honest), this bike is actually going to be a near perfect compromise - in other words, BMW have already bestowed a traditional 'trail bike' with more comfort and refinement; while Rally Raid have further enhanced it's all-terrain ability with top quality suspension performance and a heavy-duty spoked wheel-set, together with key accessories such as a substantial engine guard.
So for now, I'm going to have to sign off - since I'm still in the middle of packing everything I'm going to need to not only build/prepare the bike for the journey back west, but also the gear I'll be wearing and carrying with me (including my usual compact camping set-up) into the smallest luggage system possible - as not only do Delta charge per checked bag, but I really don't want to leave anything behind, nor have to shelp unnecessary stuff with me on the bike back home.
I get the feeling this is going to be another epic adventure piglet - time to get in your papoose!