After years of neglect, the sub-500cc class of bikes is exploding in 2017 with a glut of new adventure-styled offerings. Fashion may well be a driving factor, but there’s also a realisation from manufacturers that many of us are now buying second bikes to commute on – and they don’t need to be 160bhp adventure leviathans. More and more of us are looking for economy and versatility for an everyday bike, but not at the cost of style, comfort or quality.
Step up BMW’s new G310GS, the second bike to be released into their G310 family (following the roadster-shaped R), and one of at least four quarter-litre(ish) adventure bikes to arrive from major manufacturers in 2017.
- 313cc liquid-cooled single
- GS family styling
- 19in front rim
- Long-travel suspension
- Full LCD dash
- Seat height 835mm
The baby GS might be small in capacity compared with its well-established stablemates, and the only GS not to be built in Germany, but BMW’s commitment to design and build quality looks no less thorough. The family styling is unmistakable, with the stubby front beak, radiator shrouds, headlamp cowl and tank all mini-me reworkings of the R1200GS’s aesthetic.
While for our market this might look like a cute styling exercise to pander to our adventure bike addiction, the truth is probably more that this style offers BMW the greatest breadth of appeal globally. We think UK roads are bad, but ride in rural India or Brazil, and you’ll feel spoilt back home – but that’s exactly the sort of market where BMW hope to sell their smaller-capacity range by the thousands. We get the style and attitude we want, those markets get the long-travel suspension and rugged quality and simplicity they need.
Just like the G310R released last year (but still yet to arrive on our shores), the new GS version gets a tubular steel frame, cast five-spoke wheels, and a 313cc liquid-cooled single – complete with reversed 4v DOHC cylinder head. That means a claimed 34bhp at your wrist, and 21ftlb of torque, driving through a six-speed gearbox and chain final drive – and a heady rev ceiling of 10,500rpm. At 169.5kg ready to ride it’s no featherweight, but neither is it particularly lardy.
The gold inverted 41mm fork – which has 49mm more travel than the G310R’s – offers no adjustability, while the rear monoshock does boast adjustable preload, useful for those who might carry a pillion or fit the 30-litre optional topcase on to the standard fitment luggage plate.
There’s ABS as standard, and a decently equipped all-LCD dash, plus myriad official accessories to choose from – including 12-volt power sockets, heated grips, two further seat height options (820mm and 850mm), luggage, a centrestand, plus satnav and smartphone solutions. There’s no word on price yet, but the similar R model starts at £4290 and we wouldn’t expect the GS to be much different.
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