UNTIL RECENTLY, I was unashamedly anti-low capacity motorcycles.
I don’t mean learner legal or dirt bikes, I’m talking A2-compliant, road-going machines.
Having spent two years in the purgatory of a 33bhp restriction, I thought my opinion was justified because, y’know, ‘been there, done that, got the two years of boredom under my belt’.
But, after riding BMW’s G310GS, I’ve been forced to swallow my pride and admit that it’s actually, really, quite good.
It boasts easy handling, the same edgy enduro-styling of its GS relatives – albeit in a significantly smaller and more learner-friendly package – and a fun, effortless engine.
So if you’re looking for a cheap, fun way to join BMW’s GS family, here’s your chance – even if you’re not on an A2 licence.
At the heart of the baby GS is a 313cc liquid-cooled, single cylinder powertrain.
This cylinder is in fact reversed (with the exhaust exiting the rear), a design which works to lower the bike’s centre of gravity, put more weight over the front and allow the bike to be kept small.
Thankfully, the reversed cylinder doesn’t come at the expense of performance or rideability.
Making 34hp at 9,500 rpm and torque of 20.65 ft-lb at 7,500rpm, this unit is effortless and extremely forgiving, making it ideal for new riders.
It’s impressively smooth for a single cylinder and feels far more powerful and pokey than other adventure styled machines of the same capacity.
BMW claim a max speed of 89mph, but the bike is much happier cruising about 10 mphbelow this.
However, power wanes slightly at the top end, which isn’t ideal for motorway overtakes.
At 5ft7, the G310GS offers a pleasing seated rider triangle, and with the standard seat height of 835mm (which can be lowered to 820mm), I can comfortably get the balls of both my feet on the floor.
The wide handlebars – at wingmirror height – are not conducive to filtering, however that’s a small price to pay for the excellent ride. The light – 169.5kg wet – machine is incredibly agile and flickable and boasts a wonderfully tight turning circle.
It’s stable at mid to higher speeds, but feels a bit twitchy down low.
In its standard set up I found the rear suspension bouncy, while the upside-down forks seemed prone to diving under braking However, this accentuates its fun to ride appeal, and those requiring a firmer rider can always adjust the rear.
The single disc brakes don’t inspire confidence, owing to a less than urgent feel. The switchable ABS, meanwhile, seems a little too sensitive, sometimes kicking in before the brakes have even engaged.
As standard, the G310GS doesn’t boast that much spec. But in this case less is definitely more, as its stripped back nature helps to keep weight low, and agility high.
A stainless steel exhaust system, LED rear light and a luggage carrier is all BMW lists on its website, although of course there are additional accessories you can buy.
While basic, the bike boasts an impressive finish, and is available in three attractive colour options of Cosmic Black, Racing Red and Pearl White Metallic Motorsport.
There are, however, a few niggles that stand out on this otherwise excellent machine. My test bike has, on a couple of occasions, seemed reluctant to start, with the engine turning over numerous times before finally jumping to life. There’s also a scraping noise when I accelerate heavily and slip the clutch, and a rattling noise is distinguishable when cruising at lower speeds.
The dynamic ride quality.
We don't like:
The side stand is very stiff to lift up and down and seems a tad too tall for the little GS.
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