Think orange is the new black? Want a raucous exhaust note and manic performance each time you get on the saddle? This is not the bike for you. Visit your nearest KTM dealer. This is the new G 310 R and it is BMWs answer to the sharp, borderline dangerous Austrian that is oh-so-popular.
It isn’t flashy, but it still turns heads, but should you opt for the ‘Style Sport’ variant, you get all the flash you need thanks to a good dash of red for the frame, wheels and graphics. Sadly, the test bike we had was dressed in the standard Cosmic Black but even then, the aggressive design and gold USD forks make plenty of bystanders take notice.
Sure, this is just an update and not an all-new bike, but the changes are rather prominent, and it does have an all-new feel to it. The LED headlamps get a cluster redesign and look a lot more futuristic this time round. You also have a redesigned tank and the ‘BMW’ logo is neatly placed on a new panel just below it. The turn-indicators too see a revision albeit quite subtle along with the brake and clutch levers that are now adjustable. Quite a neat touch and one that is certainly helpful in finding that perfect clutch and brake position.
Sadly, the LCD instrument cluster is carried forward. We would have loved to see an updated screen like it is on the TVS Apache RR 310. Still, you do get all the info on here and it is easy to read as well.
Moving along, the engine casing is now finished in black unlike the silver finish on the previous model and adds to its sporty character. However, the engine apart from being BS6 compliant has had no revisions.
The 313cc, single-cylinder motor makes 33bhp and 28Nm and is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. But there are changes down here as well.
What is new, is ride-by-wire technology and a slipper clutch, and that has resulted in a smooth riding experience in the city and a linear power delivery. The slipper clutch too has made the riding experience more convenient with lighter shifts, however, the gearbox is still just as notchy as before. Not the smoothest unit out there. That said, the engine is quite refined when you are riding sedately. Yes, there is just a slight thrum initially, but as you twist the throttle and the revs climb, the exhaust note gets rather coarse and the vibrations, especially after 120kph, are a lot more noticeable. Also, most of the grunt is available only after the needle crosses 5000rpm so if you are looking for that ‘braaaap’ feel, you need to open its taps.
Where the G 301 R shines though, is the ride comfort. Upside down forks up ahead and a mono-shock spring at the rear is tuned almost perfectly to take on our patchy road conditions. Riding in the city is a breeze as mentioned before and you almost waltz over the rough sections.
Furthermore, what is very impressive are the riding dynamics. Sure, it might not have the wild hooliganism of the 390 Duke, but it definitely can and will keep up. The seating position, handlebar placement and the footpeg placement is all set for an upright riding posture and one that is extremely comfortable for everyday riding. The brakes featuring a 300mm disc and four-piston callipers offer a strong bite and are quite reassuring.
So, in conclusion, has BMW made enough updates to the G 310 R to be considered this time around? Simple answer, yes. It is now a more modern and up to date motorcycle and the cherry on top are the slashed prices.
It is now priced at Rs 2.45 lakh, which is a good Rs 55,000 cheaper than the previous one, but more importantly, it is also Rs 13,000 less than the KTM 390 Duke. Does it have the outright performance of the KTM? No, it doesn’t but it has a very good balance between comfort and sport and the price benefit is certainly something worth considering. However, don’t discount the fact that you will have to make do with BMW’s rather limited after sales and service network. If that floats your boat, the G 310 R is the perfect motorcycle for posh hooliganism.