BMW G310R's launch has been highly anticipated in the Indian motorcycle market and it is so for good reasons. It is the most affordable BMW vehicle money can buy and considering the popularity of the brand, it will find takers. However, there has been a motorcycle in the same segment just sitting there watching the celebrations from a distance, feeling just as confident – the KTM 390 Duke. It promises a bigger power figure, more features, and a smaller price tag. And then, the Japanese decided to make the game tougher for the G310 R as Kawasaki just launched the new Ninja 300, which is locally-assembled.
With the 390 Duke and Ninja 300 around, the G310R might find itself in a tricky spot attracting buyers for long. The Ninja 300 has recently been updated with enhanced features like ABS (anti-lock braking system) and it is being assembled in India, which means the price has been lowered. Price has always been an Achilles Heel for Kawasaki but things seem to be changing now for good.
First, Kawasaki Ninja 300 and BMW G310R carry the same price tags. Well, Rs 2.98 lakh for the Ninja 300 and Rs 2.99 lakh for the G310R, to be precise (both prices are ex-showroom). Secondly, they're both premium motorcycle brands. Some argued that a reason why one would pick a G310R over the KTM 390 Duke was the fact that BMW Motorrad is more of a premium brand, but so is Kawasaki.
For Rs 1000 less, Kawasaki Ninja 300 gives you a parallel-twin engine that sounds good, revs higher and delivers more power. For comparison, the Ninja 300's 296cc, parallel twin, 4-stroke, fuel injected, liquid-cooled engine produces 38.5 bhp at 11,000 rpm and 27 Nm of torque at 10,000 rpm and is paired with a six-speed gearbox assisted by a slipper clutch.
BMW G310R, on the other hand, gets a 313cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that puts out 34 bhp and 28 Nm of peak torque, and is paired with a six-speed transmission. The same engine also comes mounted on the TVS Apache RR 310 and has been jointly developed by TVS Motor Company and BMW Motorrad.
One of these two will be on your options list if you're willing to spend over Rs 3 lakh. Your next motorcycle could be either one of the two or another logical and more affordable option is the KTM 390 Duke.
With a price tag of Rs 2.4 lakh (ex-showroom), the 390 Duke comes with a bigger displacement engine and hence offers more power. The 373.2 cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine produces 43 hp at 9,000 rpm and 37 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm.
If your budget allows Rs 3 lakh, you could get yourself a sports motorcycle with a parallel twin with 4.5 more horses OR if the budget only allows a 2-point-something figure, you could bring home the Austrian streetfighter with 9 more horses, a TFT instrument cluster with smartphone connectivity and Supermoto ABS.
But considering BMW's brand perception in India, there will be buyers who will overlook these factors and buy a G310R. It will find some traction in the market initially, but when it comes to long-term plans, BMW Motorrad's cheapest bike may find it a bit difficult over the time to find a strong footing in the Indian motorcycle market and the delay in launching the bike could play an important role in determining its long-term fate.
That said, there's a lot more to motorcycles than numbers scribbled on spec sheets and there could be some ways in which the BMW G310R might have some sort of an advantage over the other two motorcycles in actual riding scenarios. For that, we'll have to wait till we test the G310R ourselves. But on the spec sheet, for many potential buyers, numbers favour KTM and Kawasaki a lot more.