The BMW G 310 GS Welcomes New Riders To The Adventure Bike Relm
Many new riders are not “totally new” to motorcycles. I have heard stories very similar to my own where the first time getting a leg over was on a dirt bike. In many respects, this can be a great way to begin learning the skills around riding with less stress. Starting out across a field generally means fewer obstacles than out in the front street and I would far rather have my first fallon the dirt versus the pavement.
If those early dirt experiences left a solid impression, an Adventure bike like the G 310 GS could be the perfect choice for you. BMW has a long and storied history around the GS series bikes, and the G 310 GS benefits fully from that lineage. The ‘lil GS is made to be decent in light off-road situations, and still take you back home on the pavement with confidence. If you have been harboring dreams of a world tour since watching The Long Way Round, this is a bike to learn the skills on, but not the one to make the trip on.
Read on and let me explain more about this cool bike.
Our Take: Why You Should Buy a G 310 GS
BMW knows more than just a thing or two about building an adventure bike, having been making the GS lineup for more than 40 years. Taking that engineering history and putting it together with a small displacement engine, means the G 310 GS is far from a basic bike. Borrowing design cues from the big GS bikes, the G 310 GS has lines through the beak fairing, tank, seat, and exhaust which give the appearance of a larger bike with the great looks these BMWs are known for.
Global production began in August of 2016, and the 2021 model is essentially the same bike. The G 310 GS has been built on a tubular space frame with a 313cc single-cylinder fuel-injected engine, and a six-speed transmission. Churning out 34hp and 20 lb-ft of torque, the small GS feels strong due to its low weight of just 374 lbs. BMW adds goodies like a slipper clutch, selectable ABS, and an easy-to-read digital display, simple additions like the gear position indicator are very helpful and not common at this price point.
BMW takes the geometry knowledge perfected on the top-spec R1250 GS and applies it to the ‘lil GS. The rider triangle is designed to be upright and relaxed, with foot controls placed to make both sitting and standing comfortable. The saddle and tank are formed nicely to grip with your thighs, the wide bars are just right and give excellent steering control. Sitting on top of a 17” rear and 19” front wheel, the suspension has plenty of travel, and potholes, or gravel trails are both easily absorbed. BMW doesn’t allow the solid off-road manners to take away from the street handling, again the GS lineage shines through with better cornering feel than the lower cost components would suggest.
It is easy to mistake the G 310 GS for a larger displacement bike. BMW has shared the family styling elements, fitted an excellent saddle, and includes a mounting plate behind the pillion. Trying to load this bike up with hard bags and all the kit for a two-week trip would likely disappoint, simply due to the power, but around the city and on the weekend out to the trails, this bike is excellent.
Bottom line: The G 310 GS is a great bike to grow both road and trail skills. With decent power and a low weight, tackling traffic and trails inspires confidence in new riders. The G 310 GS is well-equipped, and even new is a good value for the dollar. It is too small for extended Adventure trips, but it’s perfect for weekend rips to the tops of mountains.
Reasons to buy the G 310 GS:
It’s a proper BMW GS, a family of legends
Very good power to weight ratio
Most riders find the bike fits “just right”
The low mass and good balance makes for easy off-road control
Global production began in August of 2016, but sales in North America were more prevalent from 2018 onward. The 313cc engine is unique for its 1800 reversed orientation, putting the exhaust out the rear of the head resulting in a shorter exhaust path, reducing heat felt by the rider, and also lowering the center of gravity.
The 2021 model sees the engine brought up to Euro 5 compliance. The lighting has been made full LED, and the throttle is now by wire instead of cable.
“No matter how hard we rode, I couldn’t upset the chassis. Consensus of opinion from two fellow journalists and myself — with more than 60 years of combined road test experience among us — was that not many bikes could have been ridden faster on these roads. Sure, a bigger bike would have had more power and better brakes, but the extra weight is its own impediment.”
“The lightweight and very nimble handling make it great in the city – you can really carve through traffic and you’re unlikely to feel overwhelmed by it. I added the Givi luggage rack, along with Barkbusters handguards (for extra protection as well as warmth through wind-deflection) and some R&G crash protection.” – John Milbank
“Damn it is such a great-looking bike!” – Multiple Owners
“The 310GS is the first stock seat other than my old 1980 Suzuki GS that is day-long comfortable for me.” – Focus Frenzy
“This is my number 50 motorcycle purchase. Great for the price, three-year warranty, and ABS. The lightweight, low seat and tractable motor make it so easy to ride at all speeds.” – Mikestib1
What Owners Complain About
“No center stand and BMW doesn’t even have one to sell” – Flabmw
“After sitting through 3 light changes at a light with a turn arrow, I realized that I was not heavy enough to trigger the green light.” – Ohio310GS
The Bottom Line
The G 310 GS offers plenty of flexibility for a new rider. The combination of power, weight, and riding position makes this BMW a joy to ride without any intimidating vibes. The power is smooth and not overly abundant down low, but spun up past 7000 RPM the bike comes alive. The suspension is plush and controlled. On the road potholes and seams don’t upset the chassis, and off-road on light trails it soaks up the bumps and stays planted.
When seriously pushed of course the limitations will become apparent to experienced riders, but this package is an excellent training ground for multiple types of riding for those just starting out.
There are a few drawbacks to the G 310 GS, the brakes are “okay,” the rear fender seems to draw the ire of some owners. No center stand as standard always drives me nuts. Overall the complaints are few and when I consider the cost of ownership, and how great the bike looks, the value for the dollar is quite high.
BMW G 310 GS Competitors
If you’re looking at a BMW G 310 GS you may want to compare: