June 23, 2021

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2020 BMW G 310 R review, test ride

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The BMW G 310 R gets some significant changes for 2020, and that goes beyond the substantial price cut it’s also received as part of this update. 

The bike now looks more exciting, particularly in the optional (Rs 10,000 extra) ‘Style Sport’ colour scheme, with its red frame, wheels and bold graphics. Not only is this unlike BMW’s usual stuff, but it also follows a loud theme, similar to the successful competitor from Austria.

We, however, got the bike in the more reserved Cosmic Black colour scheme, but it still turns a few heads. Some of that could be due to the few design updates the G 310 R has received. While the bulk of the tank looks similar to the older bike, the sides have been redesigned and the propeller badge now sits on a new and neat-looking panel below it.

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LED headlight looks contemporary.

The new LED headlamp looks far more modern, thanks to the darker internals and the unique DRL strip. The turn indicators have got the LED treatment as well, and they are a lot more compact this time around. Another minor improvement comes in form of the levers, because both of them are now adjustable. 

The engine also looks different because it’s now finished in black instead of silver, but the mechanicals within are the same. The 313cc, single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine continues to make an identical 34hp and 28Nm of torque, even after being tuned to meet the stricter emission requirements. That said, there are a few mechanical changes and BMW has added a slipper clutch and ride-by-wire. The former has led to a slightly lighter clutch pull and smoother downshifts, but the 6-speed gearbox remains quite clunky. As for ride-by-wire, the system remains easy to modulate at city speeds and the bike hasn’t become jerky or over responsive. 

Speaking of city speeds, this is where the G 310 R impresses most. It can hold high gears at low speeds and it doesn’t heat up all that much. However, it feels a little dull as you move along and the plain exhaust note doesn’t help either. The bike only really wakes up when you cross 5,000rpm, but after that it’s got juice all the way up to 10,000rpm. The BS6 G 310 R is only 0.5sec slower than the BS4 model in the sprint to 100kph. While vibrations can still be felt, especially through the foot pegs, they are better controlled than on the TVS Apache RR 310.

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Exposed section looks messy.

The 2020 G 310 R weighs 5.5kg more than its predecessor, but it continues to feel quite light and the 785mm seat height means this remains one of the best bikes for short riders at this price point. Something else that remains unchanged is the instrumentation, and unlike the RR 310 with its new TFT display, the BMW continues with an LCD dash. 

It continues with the Michelin Pilot Street tyres, which are okay in the city but lack feel and feedback when pushed hard. It’s a pity this bike doesn’t get the new Road 5 tyres that are now on the TVS 310. 

Both, the USD fork and preload adjustable monoshock remain unchanged, and the bike continues to strike the right balance between managing potholes and being quite agile and comfortable. The brakes have a dull initial bite, but the 300mm disc and four-piston caliper offer a decent amount of feedback and stopping power when needed.

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With its Rs 55,000 price drop, the G 310 R, at Rs 2.45 lakh, now costs Rs 13,000 less than the KTM 390 Duke and is the same as the TVS Apache RR 310. It’s a nicer urban bike than both, but the RR is better equipped while the KTM is on a different level in terms of performance. BMW says it has also worked on aftersales costs, but there’s still the relatively tiny dealer network to consider. Nevertheless, it is a well-rounded motorcycle and it packs unbeatable badge value, if you are into that kind of thing.

Also see:

BMW F900 XR Pro review, test ride

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