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The first change I made was a pair of Kenda Big Block knobbies - good off road and surprisingly good on pavement. Then lowered it two inches because of my very short inseam. Different grips and a larger windshield (but not huge - just tall enough to get the wind off my chest)) followed. I don't find the suspension to be as bad as some do (and I've been a rider for over 50 years and lots of rough road dirt experience and everything from light dirt bikes to a Gold Wing).
 

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No one asked the critical question here: SKX009K1, how are YOU going to use your 310GS?

If off-road is a never, rarely, or only gravel/forest service type roads, then I recommend that you ride the bike as-is for awhile and decide what to upgrade based on that.

If you will be doing off-road, I recommend prioritizing, in order, engine protection, side-stand switch protection, and suspension. Spoked wheels would be good for serious off-road, but that would eat your whole $1000 budget.

If you will be doing serious long-distance on-road, I recommend prioritizing, in order, suspension (but only if the OEM feels wrong to you), seat (only if the OEM is uncomfortable for you - consider Air Hawk, Wild-***, mods, or custom); and throttle control (e.g., throttle palm rest for $10, Kaoko throttle lock for $150), and highway pegs.

Also: remember to upgrade yourself and your gear if needed. Do you need to refresh your training for either on- or off-road? Do you need better protective gear to avoid injuries? I would prioritize these above all of the above if your training and/or gear is less than sound.

This is based on my 7,000 mile June trip to Nova Scotia and back on my 2022 G310GS. The trip included the NEBDR and off-road on Cape Breton. I installed all of the above mods and more before the trip because I knew I would be doing both serious on-road long distance and serious off-road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Those are all excellent points, Jerry. I think I've been following your advice intuitively. I thought about getting a whole lot of stuff right away but am now adding things piece by piece. So far, Barkbusters and a Kaoko are the only things I've added. I thought about getting a touring windscreen but will be putting that off after hearing your advice about clothes being more critical than a windshield when it comes to colder temperatures.

As far as my use case goes, it's pretty much the second scenario you're describing. I'll be doing relatively little off-roading at this point, and whenever it happens, it'll be mostly gravel and forest roads. Whenever I actually get into some trickier spots, I'm usually happy to just go slow and keep the bike's limitations in mind as far as factory suspension and skid plates go. It's really the long distances that attract me the most.

There's nothing per se that feels wrong to me, but that's partly because this is the only bike I know. So, I may not be aware of what I'm missing. I'm 5'10" and weigh 160lb, which helps keep the stock suspension workable. I think the only thing I've really been noticing negatively is the bumpiness and the noise that happens whenever I hit a small pothole or cross some railroad tracks. It sounds like a bunch of plastic is rattling around—kind of cheap and flimsy. But maybe that's what all lighter bikes like this sound like?
 

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Re windshield if you upgrade later: Since you have the Bark Busters, most windscreens are too wide for Bark Busters; they hit before the forks hit the fork locks. RR's adventure screen is designed just for that purpose.

Re "little off-roading": The factory skid plate is rubber mounted on the bottom of the engine; I wouldn't trust it protect from anything other than small rocks kicked up by the front tire.

Re "I may not be aware of what I'm missing": That will become a bottomless money pit. Instead, keep your focus on how the bike feels and finding proven accessories to fix things that bother you.

Re "the noise that happens whenever I hit a small pothole or cross some railroad tracks. It sounds like a bunch of plastic is rattling around—kind of cheap and flimsy.": That doesn't sound right to me at all; it sounds like something is broken and/or hasn't been properly tightened down. Anyone else here experience such sounds?
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Hmmm interesting. I’ll have to investigate. It sounds to me like it’s coming from the rear half of the bike. I wonder whether it’s maybe just some of the stuff under the seat, i.e. the cables and tools and so on.
 

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Hmmm interesting. I’ll have to investigate. It sounds to me like it’s coming from the rear half of the bike. I wonder whether it’s maybe just some of the stuff under the seat, i.e. the cables and tools and so on.
Loose hard stuff under the seat would do that. Try removing it and see what happens. If that works, get a tool roll or bag and try to fill the space so it's not moving around. I once asked my mechanic to check an annoying rattle in my Ford Expedition; to my embarrassment, it was bottles of Deep Woods Off and sun block in the storage pocket of one the back doors. 😳
 

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I think the only thing I've really been noticing negatively is the bumpiness and the noise that happens whenever I hit a small pothole or cross some railroad tracks. It sounds like a bunch of plastic is rattling around—kind of cheap and flimsy. But maybe that's what all lighter bikes like this sound like?
This all gets solved with a suspension upgrade. It is not what all lighter bikes sound like. RR Level 1 is the best value for this bike IMO.

Although, for your weight and use case, maybe you can just learn to live with it.
 

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I’d third holding off on suspension with your weight your good to go. Protection if venturing off road. One minor drop pays for lever guards, one stone mashing that oil filter pays for bash plate, you get the idea. You will drop it off road, irrespective of speed, part of game.
Best to ride the holy harry out of it and decide.

There is one noise you can get on larger bumps if the steering head bearings are loose. Mine were. It’s part of running in Service to adjust.
 
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