BMW G310GS blog: Can it handle motorways?

John Milbank, BikeSocial Consumer Editor
By John Milbank
BikingMilbank BikeSocial Consumer Editor, John owns a BMW S1000XR, Honda Grom and a 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R. He's as happy tinkering in the workshop as he is on twisty backroads, and loves every bike ever built (except one). He's bought three CBR600s, a KTM 1050 Adventure, Yamaha MT-10, two Ducati Monsters, several winter hacks, three off-roaders, a supermoto pit bike, a Honda Vision 50 and built his own custom XSR700. 

 

 

Mileage: 1269 | Power: 34bhp | Torque: 21lb-ft | Weight: 169.5kg | Price: £5,100

 

It’s getting boring now… every time I catch up with journos from other mags and websites, they ask “why did you get one of those as a long-term test bike?” I always say the same thing; “Because it’s light, easy to ride on any surface, and bloody good fun.”

They try to tell me that it’s going to be too slow on motorways, or that it’s too vibey. Sure, it’s not as quick as a lot of other bikes, but does that make it useless?

 

BMW G310GS blog: Can it handle motorways?

Daily use is made easier by having space for a disc lock and some bungee straps under the seat

 

Going places on the G310GS

I had a 70mile journey (each way) to do the other day – some back roads, but a lot of single and dual-carriageway A-roads. I wasn’t worried about taking a machine with ‘only’ a 313cc engine (it was going to be easier than the 120 miles plus track time I did on my MSX125, but would it be so vibey as to make it a misery? I doubted it, as on the launch in Spain I made a point of putting some miles in on the motorway.

It wasn’t too vibey.

It’s a single, so you’ll feel the engine, and it’s working hard at motorway speeds, but I honestly think it’s fine. The mirrors get a bit blurry, but so do those on my 1050cc KTM V-twin. The pegs, bars and seat were all absolutely fine on my feet, hands and bum. If anything, the seat’s a little soft, but it’s far from the least comfortable I’ve used.

 

BMW G310GS blog: Can it handle motorways?

The clocks are clear and well laid out, with the control buttons built in

 

BMW G310GS top speed

Okay, it’s not going to win many drag races, but 80-85mph is easily reached. Up-hill sections of motorway can see you drop to 80mph, but realistically the little BMW is fast enough.

According to a multitude of satellites monitoring my progress on the sat-nav, 70mph on the speedo is actually 68mph; so it’s a pretty accurate display.

Shifting between the options on the neatly designed LCD does require reaching over the bars to get to the buttons, but the lack of bar-mounted controls is a small price to pay for the relative value of this mini-GS – the budget has been spent on a quality aluminium swingarm, braided brake lines and decent plastics; I’m fine with that.

Of course the single-cylinder motor has none of the punch of a bigger bike, but if you’re looking for a speed thrill, or a high-powered Autobahn machine, you’re unlikely to be reading this in the first place. The performance of the G310GS is perfectly suited to a light motorcycle that’ll be bought by those looking for easy access to trails and green lanes, that’s manageable in the city, or even a capable worldwide adventurer where speed isn’t the goal.

 

BMW G310GS blog: Can it handle motorways?

Strapping stuff to the rear rack is easy

 

Carrying my kit

Givi is developing a rack for it, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a top box on here at some point soon, but until then, the luggage rack with integral hand rails provides a decent platform for strapping kit down with bungees.

 

BMW G310GS blog: Can it handle motorways?

Little details like an effective shock guard should be applauded

 

More I’ve learned about the mini-GS

Being so light and nimble, it’s a piece of cake turning this bike around when you take a wrong turn. Even if you end up on the verge, it’s never a worry; as a KTM 1050 Adventure owner, I should be fine with a little grass-based detouring, but that machine is so bulky, I can’t help but be nervous of losing my footing.

Equally, the GS is really easy to move around in the garage – if I need to tuck it tight against the wall I can easily pick the back up and move it.

One thing that doesn’t inspire confidence is the starter; thumb the button and the engine sounds like it’s going to catch, but let go too early and it’ll die. You’ll soon realise that you just need to wait until it fires fully, (hey, it’s a single, so there’s half the chance of it firing per revolution than in a twin).

 

Would I recommend one?

I still would, very much. If you don’t need to go fast, and you want to explore off the tarmac (but you’re not an off-road god), it’s a great option. I’m looking forward to putting a lot more miles on it.

 

A quick look around the new bike

Take a look at the details of the new BMW G310GS

 

Three things I’m loving about the BMW G310 GS...

• It’s really light and nimble

• I can get the most value from it as can use it on green lanes

• It’s relatively good value

 

Three things that aren’t so good…

• It’s a bit hesitant to start

• You can’t go fast enough to lose your licence on a motorway (some people seem to think this is a bad thing)

• It doesn’t sound that great (might try to fix this…)

 

BMW G310 GS (2018) specification

New price

£5100

Capacity

313cc

Bore x Stroke

80x62.1mm

Engine layout

Single cylinder

Engine details

Reversed orientation,
liquid-cooled DOHC

Power

34hp (25kW) @ 9,500rpm

Torque

21 lb-ft (28Nm) @ 7,500rpm

Average fuel consumption

85mpg (World Motorcycle
Test Cycle)

Tank size

11 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

206 miles

Rider aids

ABS (switchable while riding)

Frame

Steel trellis

Front suspension

41mm upside down forks

Front suspension adjustment

None

Rear suspension

Monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Preload

Front brake

1 x 300mm disc, Bybre four-piston
radially-mounted caliper

Rear brake

240mm disc, Bybre two-piston caliper

Front tyre

110/80 R19 Metzeler Tourance

Rear tyre

150/70 R17 Metzeler Tourance

Wheelbase

1420mm

Seat height

835mm

Kerb weight

169.5kg

Website

www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk

For a competitive insurance quote, click here.

 

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