Disappointment is what I will term my last stint with the BMW G310R. The motorcycle was not only pricey but it mechanically wasn’t the happiest bike I had ridden. Must be the high expectations we usually have from all the bikes that come out from Bavaria. Cut to 2021 and it was time to see what the BS6 update has brought to the table. On the face of it (no puns intended), there are a few changes whereas mechanically, the bike has moved to a BS6 emissions update. Moreover, one now pays a lower acquisition cost for the motorcycle – Rs 2.45 lakh compared to the earlier Rs 2.99 lakh sticker price. Seems like a deal! Or maybe not. You will have to read the full review to understand.
The new BMW G310R boasts a slightly different front as compared to the older one. Now you get a youthful-looking headlight design complete with LED lights as well as a DRL. Both, the clutch as well as brake, levers are now adjustable for four positions. A new paint scheme also makes its way whereas other lights like the blinkers and tail lamps too are LED. The exhaust pretty much looks like the one on the TVS Apache RR310. While the bike might look smaller in the images, it actually feels big in the flesh.
The LCD instrument console is the same as before and sadly doesn’t come with turn-by-turn navigation. This is something I would have wanted BMW to change as the entire fascia seems quite old. There is a plethora of information available, no doubt but it lacks the panache one expects from BMW. The mirrors too are a bit rigid and do not have much adjustment to them. They offer a good vision though.
The 313cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled engine retains the power as well as torque outputs of 34hp and 28Nm. The gearbox is a 6-speed unit, complete with a slipper clutch arrangement. This engine gets an automatic idle boost and the motor is gruff at start-up. It however quickly reaches a steady idle rpm and thereon sounds a bit refined. On the move, the engine is refined enough and way better than the BS4 model. BMW engineers, on the first impression, seem to have worked their magic. However, when the revs rise, say to about 5,000rpm, vibrations do creep in from the handlebars and more noticeably from the seat. They aren’t alarming enough if you’ve had the chance to ride the BS4 model.
Unlike the previous engine that will stall without any warning, this one never died on me. It has a good bottom and mid-range to it. This helps negotiate traffic in a higher gear, something the BS4 unit absolutely loathed. BMW claims a top speed of 148kmph and while I didn’t get any closer to that, respectable cruising speeds are what the motorcycle is more comfortable at.
What I feel particularly sticks out like a sore thumb is the notchy gearshift. You will not find neutral when you need it (traffic conditions). The gearbox also prefers a sedate approach than what one will assume looking at the BMW brand name as well as the intended purpose of the bike. Downshifts too take a bit of effort to execute. This is one area where BMW could perhaps work on.
The 11-litre fuel tank gives you a range of 320km. This roughly translates to an overall mileage of 31kmpl. Give the motorcycle the beans and you can also see the litres/100km figure rising.
The ground clearance of the motorcycle is quite good and even with a heavy pillion, there were no issues. Like the Apache, even the BMW now uses Michelin tyres. These take a bit of time to warm up, due to which if you are looking to attack corners the moment you get your hands on the bike, then you will be a tad disappointed. However, once the tyres have covered some ground, you will realise that the Michelin units are good. You will find the confidence to lean into corners. The ride quality is equally good at low speeds and the USD forks at the front and pre-load adjustable rear monoshock are tuned to be on the softer side and do their job silently.
The discs at both ends too have a sharp bite and with non-switchable dual-channel ABS on offer, safety is also taken care of. As an urban runabout, the motorcycle pretty much is good. It also draws in attention from a varied class of people. Heat management is well-taken care of in this bike in traffic and seating a pillion too isn’t a chore. I sat pillion on the motorcycle for around 10km and was comfortable though the hard seat will eventually require you to take a bit more frequent breaks on long trips.
As much as I didn’t like the BS4 BMW G310R, I am slightly less disapproving of the BS6 unit. You see, the BS6 BMW G310R has got most of the niggles sorted including the ridiculous price tag from the BS4 bike. It could have been the perfect entry-point into the BMW fold had the German manufacturer fixed a few mechanical bits like the gearshift and vibrations. The latter seems to be a derived component of the reverse-inclined single-cylinder engine.
BMW dealerships are reporting healthy footfalls for the BS6 models and that’s a good sign. An entry-level BMW bike for less than Rs 3 lakh? Yes, I can certainly understand it but not enough to make me want to own one. It doesn’t evoke them emotions and without the latter, a motorcycle is just a machine on two wheels.
Photography: Donald Dsouza
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