If everything had gone to plan you’d be able to stroll into a BMW dealership right now and ride off on a G310 R. But you can’t.
Exactly what’s causing the issue remains shrouded in mystery but it appears to be down to a hiccough somewhere in the production process. The G310 is breaking new ground for BMW. Not only is it the firm’s first entry to the sub-500cc road bike class in decades, with the exception of the C1 scooter and G450 enduro, but it’s the fruit of a collaboration with Indian firm TVS.
The project, first announced in 2013, involves a combination of German engineering, with design work done in Munich, and Indian production, with TVS handling the manufacturing side of things in India to keep cost down. Several other firms use similar arrangements, not least rival KTM, which uses its partner – and part-owner – Bajaj to build its smallest Duke models.
Last summer it was announced that the G310 R, revealed in November 2015, would be available in dealers in October, priced at £4290. Now it seems the date has been pushed back by at least five, perhaps six months.
A BMW spokesman told us: “We are expecting the G310 R to be available in the UK in late March or early April. There has been a supplier problem which has delayed the expected delivery of this bike to UK retailers. The model will be available in time for the riding season”
He was unable to elaborate further on the cause of the production delay, but the suggestion that the fault lies with a supplier indicates that it’s not down to a design flaw.
Originally, BMW was hoping that the G310 R would be on sale before the recent unveiling of its sister model, the G310 GS. While no on-sale date for the GS version has been revealed yet, it’s likely that it won’t be far behind the R version, given that the two machines share all their main mechanical components.
It’s not unusual for companies to patent the styling of their new models and BMW is understandably keen to prevent rivals from copying its machines. But a newly-published design patent for the new G310 GS (pictured above) show that there’s been a significant change to its appearance somewhere between the styling being signed-off and the bike’s unveiling (production version pictured below).
The patent shows a prototype or styling model for the G310 GS and was filed several months before the official launch in November. While the majority of the parts are the same as the production model, it’s impossible to miss the completely different position of the exhaust pipe.
The final version of the bike uses an exhaust that’s similar to the G310 R, mounted low down on the right hand side, emerging below the swingarm and slanted upwards to allow ground clearance. But the prototype’s set-up is a high-mounted pipe that runs parallel to the seat subframe. While the pipe’s position is different, it appears to use the same end-can as the R model, while the final production GS has its own silencer design.
The change also has the knock-on effect that the pillion pegs have been repositioned. On the styling prototype in the patent, the passenger footrests are lower, and perhaps more comfortable as a result. Repositioning the exhaust to the production bike’s lower position meant reshaping the footrest mounts to move them upwards.
Why make the change? We may never know exactly, although it may well be that the original high-mounted pipe made it harder to mount luggage or that it cause heat problems for pillion passengers. BMW must have had a good reason to make the change, since in our eyes the original high-pipe design looks rather better…