As JACoH mentioned, BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon in Eugene, Oregon has a G310R in their showroom for a few days. And though we've had a spell of snowy weather, we got a little break today, so I hitched up the dog sled and mushed up there, where I got to spend some time with the bike, examining it thoroughly, sitting on it, looking underneath the seat, fiddling with the switches and info display, and peppering the salesman with questions. The engine was disabled, unfortunately, so I didn’t get to start it.
I have no interest in the R, just the GS. So I was only interested in the stuff that’s the same on both bikes: engine, switch gear, info display, and a few other things that are similar, like the forks, brakes and suspension.
I’m 5’ 10” (178 cm), have a 32” inseam (81 cm), and weigh 180 lbs. (82 kg). I could flat foot the bike easily, but the riding position didn’t feel cramped at all. The bike felt really light. I could straddle it and rock it back and forth easily and securely without holding the handlebars. It looks small, but it didn’t feel small, if that makes sense. The riding position felt all-day comfortable. And though the clutch and brake levers aren’t adjustable, they fell right into place for my hands.
It has a quality appearance. There are no obvious cheap bits, except maybe the brake light/license plate proboscis. I bet someone comes up with fender eliminator for that real quick. And you can tell that they didn’t spend a lot of money on the seat, either. It was a little narrow for me, and unless the GS’s seat is a serious upgrade from the R, I bet most riders who will want to use these bikes for longer tours are going to be upgrading that first.
But the rest of it looks like a “real” BMW. Fit and finish was excellent. The info panel is sharp and easy to read, even in bright light. The mirrors were well positioned for me. And the frame looks robust.
Under the seat is a surprisingly complete tool kit in a pouch in it’s own little cavity. There are enough tools in the little pouch to adjust the shock preload, do motel parking lot oil changes, remove the wheels, loosen/tighten fasteners, etc. I’d want to have some things like a tire plugging kit, but the basics are there. Also under the seat are the battery and ABS controller, fuse box, and some spare fuses. And the owner’s manual is in another pouch that slides into a slot in the bottom of seat itself.
I had read that the switchgear looked cheap. But it didn’t seem cheap to me.
I do think that the position of the master cylinder is going to make it difficult to fit third-party hand guards, though.
The R has a fairly robust little plastic radiator protector, which should help prevent damage from the odd tire-flung rock. But that oil filter and starter motor look pretty exposed.
Photos I’ve seen of the GS show that it’s missing that protector, but it has a much longer front fender, and an overlapping bash plate, which should do a better job of shielding the fragile bits. And the sides of the radiator are better protected on the GS as well.
There are two bosses each on either side of the engine case, which I assume could be used to mount some engine protection bars. Their diameter looks a little thin, though, so if I were considering installing some bars, I’d want them to be the “sacrificial” kind, and give a little rather than remain rigid and possibly crack the engine case.
Also a little fragile looking are the barely recessed bolts that hold the sump guard. They have rubber spacers, so they do have some give. But I wouldn’t be banging that thing into any rocks.
Anyway, I came away pretty impressed, with my interest in the GS undiminished. I’d love to get a close-up look at it sometime soon.