2018 BMW G 310 GS

Jan 13, 2018 View Comments by

2018 BMW G 310 GSThe trek began in the famously congested morning traffic of Barcelona, transitioning to wide-open freeway (where posted speeds are more of a suggestion than law) before venturing onto the serpentine roads that ascend the Pyrenees Mountains. Fast sweepers of glass-smooth pavement and tight twisties of choppy, ragged asphalt eventually landed us some 150 miles north in the principality of Andorra (the 16th smallest nation on Earth) where we ended the day with some off-road riding. We did it all, quite gleefully, on BMW’s all new G 310 GS, a small displacement single-cylinder descendent of BMW’s stalwart Adventure mount.

The spirited shakedown surprised with performance beyond the expectations of a 310cc single. Most surprising was the absence of the struggling thumping and vibration that traditionally accompanies a single-cylinder at speed. The 313cc liquid-cooled, double overhead cam single puts out 34 hp at 9500 rpm (a misleading figure given the way the engine delivers power) with surprising smoothness. The engine employs a rearward tilted cylinder, which is rotated 180˚ to allow air to be drawn in and funneled into the combustion process from the front, with the exhaust exiting the rear, making for a more efficient and natural flow.

A bridge-type tubular chassis is suspended by upside-down 41mm front forks and a single shock mounted directly to the long swingarm. The resulting rigidity contributes to stability and responsive turn-in. BMW has done an excellent job in pegging factory suspension settings that accommodate a wide variety of riding situations, the soft damping dispenses a comfortable ride on pavement while providing adequate stiffness for basic off-roading.

The 310 GS furnishes an unexpectedly high fun factor. It’s a blast to ride, given the simplicity of operation, the absence of electronics and rider aids, fostering a back-to-basics approach to riding. Experienced riders will appreciate the performance achievable with concentrated application of throttle, clutch, gears, and brakes, while newer riders will be rewarded with a forgiving riding experience.

2018 BMW G 310 GSThe 310 represents a perfect entry-level machine for those who want to join the ADV ranks but have been put off by the category’s somewhat intimidating big-bore offerings. The 310’s wet weight of just 373.7 pounds provides a feathery presence that—married to a seat height of 32.87-inches and narrow midsection—transmits confidence to riders of all sizes.
The soul of the 310 GS is its unencumbered nature, which makes for a simple and enjoyable riding experience, and the bike mirrors its larger brethren with quality build and rugged good looks. Perhaps the only complaint is the low handlebar, which, while providing comfortable ergonomics while seated, are much too low for a natural standing position when venturing off-road.

A single 300mm front rotor supplies plenty of stopping power given the bike’s lithe presence. Standard ABS is easily deactivated with the press of a button. The new machine will be manufactured in BMW’s India plant with strict assembly and build oversight to ensure the company’s established standards.
There are a lot of pleasant surprises packed into the new 310, a crossover machine that can keep an experienced rider entertained and engaged, as well as serving as an entry-level machine for new riders. But the biggest surprise is the price. At just $5,695 (plus $245 destination and handling) the 2018 G 310 GS is a great value in terms of quality and performance—and potentially priceless when it comes to long-term adventures.

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