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142 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At the end of last year I bought a Yamaha MT 03 brand new and last month saw the BMW G310R advertised here, found a review or two of it and decided it would have been a bike I would probably gone for if it had been on sale back when I got the Yamaha. Went and looked at one, test rode it and confirmed my belief, deciding to make the change.

Here's a comparison of the two bikes for anyone interested.

In short, they are quite similar, but also quite different! Here are the some...
  • Obviously the major thing is the motor - Yamaha's MT 03 is a 321 cc parallel twin, compared to the BMW's 313 cc single, rearward facing set up.
  • Seat height - BMW is 785 mm, Yamaha is 780 mm (but the MT 03 passenger seat is much higher up making it more of stretch to get over)
  • Inverted front forks on the BMW, standard on the MT 03
  • Front brake - 300 mm on the BMW, 298 mm on the MT 03, but 4 piston fixed caliper on the BMW
  • Back brake - 240 mm on the BMW, 220 mm on the MT 03
  • Fuel tank - 11 litres for the BMW, 14 litres for the Yamaha.
  • Tyres - BMW sports a 150/60 R17 rear to the Yamaha's 140/17 R17, front are the same at 110/70 R17 (all Michelin Pilot Streets)
  • Power - 25 kW @ 9500 rpm, 28 Nm @ 7500 rpm for the BMW against 30.9 kW @ 10750 rpm and 29.6 Nm @ 9000 rpm for the Yamaha

The Yamaha was a nice bike - nothing wrong with it's build quality, everything was well made, no complaints. Quite capable too, with specified gearing, I think it could be easily up to a 180 km/h top speed given right conditions etc, but you do have to be prepared to use the revs. Red line is at 12500 rpm and the real performance comes in from 7000 rpm. But, reality is that I'm not that type of rider - I'm mostly commuting on 80 km/h speed limit rural roads (with a bit of urban stuff at one end), with the need to keep up motorways every so often (100 km/h limit here). I always found the MT 03 tricky to ride at lower revs, down shifting was not as smooth as I wanted and on mine the clutch action was a bit harsh, tending to grab a bit - I worked out ways to compensate, but it was always a detraction to the bike for me.

Lets move to the BMW and the first test ride, because that is where the differences were so obvious.
The engine was happy to "poodle" through the gears in traffic, clutch light and smooth and the shifts were sweet both up and down. It obviously had some "get up and go" taking the revs higher. Handling was light and responsive, leaning in and out of corners with certainty. Braking was nice and obviously powerful enough if needed - the rear brake being noticeably far more effective than the Yamaha's. I was more comfortable on the bike - riding position better suited to me with less weight on my wrists (the Yamaha was obviously just a bit more lean forward and down) and despite the seat being slightly higher, it was actually easier to get on due to the lower passenger position.

Fifteen minutes (I didn't have time to go longer) was all it took for me to realise that I was having FUN riding it, and that was what was missing with the MT 03 - I just wasn't enjoying it.

So some bargaining was engaged in, and 5 minutes after returning from the test ride, I'd traded the MT 03, picked up my new G310R 2 days later from them. First service tomorrow. The past 1000 km have just reinforced the impressions I had on the test. This bike is seriously fun and a real joy to ride, it just begs to be taken to the roads with hills and bends. It's no slouch either if you did want to use the top end, my calculations on gearing etc would suggest 160 km/h

If there are things anyone would like to know about other difference's I haven't commented on (there's lots more), feel free to ask!

142 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Couple of additions for the comparison....

Instrument wise, the MT 03 is equipped with a combination digital dashboard with a nice large analog rev counter (a lot easier to see than the little digital bars on the BMW). Functionality of the digital displays is all pretty similar, basically the same info can be accessed.

The MT 03 does have a 5 bar temperature gauge instead of the simple warning light on the BMW. The fuel gauge is divided in to 6 bars, when reserve level is reached the last bar flashes on and off, and the display switches to show distance travelled on the reserve tank - there's 3 litres left in the tank at that point.

The MT 03 also does have a user programmable transmission shift light if you're in to that sort of thing (personally, I change gear when I want to and / or when I need to... don't need no dang light to tell me........ :) )

Of course there is ABS as standard on both.

Fuel Consumption
The BMW is more economical - but everyone will get something different here due to different riding styles, type of roads and conditions etc. For me it currently looks like the BMW is going to achieve somewhere in the 3.25 litres/100 km compared to 3.85 litres/100 km for the MT 03 (thats 72.4 mpg US against 61.1 mpg US, or 86.9 mpg UK against 73.4 mpg UK for those who are used to the other units).

Can't get over how much more enjoyable the BMW is to ride - it's handling and engine performance combine beautifully. On roads round here I can easily add 10 km/h to speeds in corners and still know that there is some more to come if needed, with the MT 03 I just didn't get the same confidence.

Looking at the specs, the BMW has a very slightly shorter wheelbase but the geometry seems very similar. What is very obvious is the length of the swing arm on the BMW, it is massive and certainly makes the bike very stable.

947 Posts
Great review.
I have been riding Beamers since 1980 and had almost everything from R65, K75 to R850RT and F800st.
At one point, coming back from a vacation I picked up the F800st from my dealer and drove home.
I didn’t feel comfortable and safe anymore on 2 wheels (after riding for over 30 years)

I sold the bike !

After two years I bought a motor scooter (honda pcx125) for my wife to go to work but she didn’t like to take off and on her helmet and protective gear. She bought an electrical bicycle.
Scooter in the garage ....... and I started to use it. It gave back the fun in riding.
On winding roads it was fast enough to keep up with the ‘big ones’ and I did some traveling around the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. On motorways ...... I don’t know because that was the place I did not go to.
What I really missed was ..... power and when the word came out that BMW was building a 310 I was very interested.
Not a lot of horsepower, good handling and riding the ‘thing’ was great fun again.
Just as you experienced too.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much experience you have, this is all you need ,
I hope I can ride this Beamer for years and if the time comes to look for a new one, they are quite affordable.

I still love to ride this Beamer a lot and hope to see you all on the roads someday.

21 Posts
Great review. Thanks NZWestie!
I had not seen an MT 03 until after putting my deposit down on the G310R. At first glance, I almost had buyers remorse until looking back the G310R that was soon to be mine. Your reviews are definitely putting me at ease with my choice and now that the bike is in hand and I have a couple hundred miles on her, I can verify that I would not trade this BMW for anything.

50 Posts
nice rev Nzwestie, love the handeling too, but i came of a Honda msx 125 (grom) that was more of a moped.
I too have swapped my Honda MSX125 (Grom), I do have a bigger bike that I use for commuting, but need something that can stand in for it when needed and when I want a change.
So far, which was riding 30 odd miles back from the dealers, it seems like a cracking little bike, lovely engine that wants and needs to be revved.
Feels a bit like a grown up/over grown Grom.
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