2018 BMW G 310 GS Review | Small Motorcycle For Big Adventures
With mechanical and economic accessibility at the forefront, the 2018 BMW G 310 GS adventure motorcycle aims to coax riders into the fold by tapping into the hearty legacy that is the GS name.
Keen to support all-around riding, the lightweight G 310 GS is a nimble, fun-loving motorcycle that has the potential to tackle the street and let loose out on the fire roads, without any of the risks associated with the larger ADV bikes such as the more mature BMW R 1200 GS.
We’ve been waiting for the wee GS since we first reported out in 2016. Now, we have had the opportunity to explore some of San Diego’s finest backroads, not to mention its best-kept secrets when it comes to off-roading. After testing in a mix of pouring rain and typical California sun, we’ll hit you with the essential Fast Facts.
1. The 2018 BMW G 310 GS is directly based on the G 310 R. Sharing many critical components such as the engine and chassis, the GS does take some liberties when it comes to its appearance, wheels, tire choices and ergonomics.
2. It’s smack in the middle of its class when it comes to weight. The GS carries its claimed 372 pounds quite well. In comparison to some of its direct counter parts, that puts the GS in the middle of the road against the lighter Honda CRF250L Rally and the heavier Kawasaki Versys-X 300.
3. The 313 rearward-canted single-cylinder engine is raring to go. It’s tough not to appreciate the rev-happy charm that the G 310 GS’s over-square powerplant has thanks to its great fueling and a crisp throttle response. In no time, riders will be exploring the breadth of its claimed 34 horsepower at 9500 rpm and 21 ft/lbs of torque 2000 rpm sooner. That’s great for new riders who want a motor with character and the ability to still hit freeways speeds comfortably, but won’t be too much performance to handle. Experienced riders will be wringing the wee GS’s throttle to the end and it’s quick to oblige.
4. Weight savings and smart engineering are inherent to the GS’s engine layout. Unlike its direct competitors, the single 313cc cylinder has been rotated 180 degrees and that has a few positive impacts. With the exhaust port spewing out of the rear of the cylinder head, there is a more direct exit path for exhaust gases. It also clears the side and undercarriage of the G 310 GS of any unruly exhaust tubing, reducing heat felt by the rider and aiding in greater ground clearance. This also contributes to a lower center of gravity.
5. A counterbalanced shaft helps keep the thumper’s buzz at bay. Wringing out your typical thumper engine at highway speeds usually results in a lot of feedback felt throughout the chassis, even on a 310. To keep a lid on the buzz, BMW has opted for a single counterbalanced crankshaft. It allows enough tactile response to come through to let you know it’s got some pep to its step, but doesn’t try to rattle fillings either. While some vibrations can be felt when you’re nearing the bitter end of the rev range, it isn’t enough to cause concern.
6. Six speeds and the light clutch pull are more than accommodating. Easily modulated, the clutch can be operated with a finger or two and features a decently sized engagement point, allowing new riders plenty of room for error. When out on the fire roads or when terrorizing your nearest dirt lot, one can quickly feather the clutch while sliding the GS around with glee.
7. Upright ergonomics take care of on- and off-road riding. The GS has a claimed 32.9-inch seat height. This is relatively inconsequential, as the chassis is remarkably narrow and the soft suspension will compression down a bit with a rider aboard. Additionally, BMW saw it fit to equip the GS with wider, swept back bars that keep you in an upright position while in its plush saddle. Overall, it has a neutral riding position that isn’t remotely taxing on the rider. When off-road and standing, the reach to the bars is a hair low, making it more reminiscent of a dual-sport bike as opposed to an ADV motorcycle.
8. Stability is one of the key features of the 2018 BMW G 310 GS. That’s not a trait typically associated with taller motorcycles that naturally have a higher center of gravity. However, the G 310 GS is surefooted whether you’re bouncing around a trail or cruising along the highways. New riders are going to appreciate the confident feel when in the saddle.
9. Compliant and predictable handling is inherent in this lightweight adventure platform. BMW has struck a great balance between nimbleness and predictability, even with its compact 56-inch wheelbase. Whether you’re battling the harsh parking lots of your local Whole Foods trying to avoid kombucha drinking individuals or getting loose on the fireroads or hitting the canyons with your pals, the compliant handling is a stand out feature. A suggestion in the direction of your choosing and this bike will tip in, holding its line just as it should. Thanks to a wide steering sweep, low-speed maneuvering is just as friendly as when you are on the edge of the tire at pace.
10. Suspension travel has increased quite a bit. In comparison to the G 310 R, which features around five inches of travel at both ends, the GS variant features over seven inches of suspension travel. That readies the G 310 GS to handle light off-road work and heavy urban off-roading, such as your neighbor’s front lawn and jumping off curbs. With increased suspension travel does come a bit more ground clearance as well.
11. Suspension is sprung and damped light, but don’t let that worry you. Lightweight machines in any category of bike typically have softer suspension, aimed at giving a plush and comfortable ride to newer motorcyclists. In the case of the G 310 GS, its suspension soaks up virtually any pothole on the road with ease and can take a good hit or two on the trail. Hard braking will have you blowing through the fork stroke and becoming friendly with the bump stops, so it’s a good reminder to smooth out your inputs and focus on technique. Building good riding techniques on this bike will make riding heavier, more powerful, stiffer sprung machines that much easier when the time comes.
12. Giving you more stability off-road is a 19-inch front wheel. The larger front wheel always helps in the dirt. The good news is that it remains completely stable on the pavement.
13. Metzeler Tourance tires do well in nearly all conditions. San Diego might be synonymous with fun in the sun, but we rode through mud and pouring rain, as well as clean, dry tarmac. In every condition, the Metzeler rubber provided predictable grip. If we had to quantify in numbers, the balance of the Tourance tires is about 70 percent street and 30 percent off-road. Getting drive off-road wasn’t an issue, as long as you didn’t intentionally spin the rear wheel up. Front-end confidence was there, outside of slick mud patches.
14. Braking is adequate. The front 300mm rotor is clamped onto by a gold Brembo-made Bybre caliper, which will certainly gather a few ooo’s and aaah’s in the looks department. In the rear, a single 240mm rotor takes care of helping back it on the trail. Off-road, the rear brake can be modulated well and allows you to control slides. Stopping power at the lever is more than enough for the speeds you’ll be achieving and there isn’t a massive initial bite, something that new riders will appreciate. Experienced riders may not be pleased with the lack of feel, though.
15. ABS is switchable on the fly. Let’s set the scene—you’re riding back from the office or school, with your books and belongings strapped to your luggage rack. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, an open field appears and you and your 2018 BMW G 310 GS are the only thing that can tame it! You hold the ABS button until the light illuminates, giving you a clear sign that the ABS has been disabled and you run headlong down some single track, backing into corners, and sending a roosts so high that spy satellites will pick them up. That’s the power of switchable ABS, friends.
16. A three-gallon fuel tank and 71 mpg is compelling. With those kinds of numbers on the spec sheet, you could be seeing over 200 miles between fuel stops.
17. A basic dash has all the information a new rider could want. Outside of your standard speedometer and tachometer, you’ll also have a fuel gauge and gear indicator on your LCD screen. While it is on the utilitarian side, it gets the job done, except when direct sunlight obscures it now and again.
18. Looks count, and the GS has that down. When tossing a leg over this machine, one thing will stand out—it looks the part and it does so tastefully. Classic styling elements of the GS are there—the beak fairing, mudguards, fancy cast swingarm, substantial tank fairings that provide ample grip, and a luggage rack. Although, the plastic engine guard does need to be beefed up.
19. The fit and finish of the 2018 BMW G 310 GS is beyond its $5695 price point. The quality is in line with what you’d expect to see on a GS and at a fraction of the cost of the larger editions, giving an entry-level bike some five-star accommodations.
20. Plenty of accessories are in store. BMW has been known to have a bourgeoning accessory catalog and the lil’ GS hasn’t been left out in the cold. Top cases, tank bags and other luggage options will be available.
21. There’s no doubt about it, the 2018 BMW G 310 GS has some serious potential. With great handling characteristics, user-friendly engine, comfortable ergonomics, and ability to tackle a wide variety of situations, the entry-level GS makes an enticing offer. The lightweight class of bike is arguably the best place for any rider to get their start. When we consider how versatile this machine is, the argument gains momentum. Better yet, when we look at the sub-$6000 price, things start to look competitive in the lightweight ADV class.
- Helmet: Shoei Neotec II
- Jacket: Spidi Armakore
- Gloves: Spidi X-GT
- Pants: Spidi 4Season H2Out
- Boots: Forma Adventure
2018 BMW G 310 GS Specs
- Type: Rearward-canted single
- Displacement: 313cc
- Bore x stroke: 80 x 62.1mm
- Compression ratio: 10.6:1
- Maximum power: 34 horsepower @ 9500 rpm
- Maximum torque: 21 ft/lbs @ 7500 rpm
- Valve train: DOHC, four valves
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Final drive: O-ring chain
- Frame: Grid-structure tubular steel w/ detachable rear subframe
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 41mm inverted fork; 7.1 inches
- Rear suspension: Linkage-free spring-preload adjustable shock; 7.1 inches
- Tires: Metzeler Tourance
- Front tire: 110/80 x 19
- Rear tire: 150/70 x 17
- Wheels: Cast aluminum
- Front wheel: 2.50 x 19
- Rear wheel: 4.0 x 17
- Front brake: Radially mounted 300mm disc w/ four-piston fixed caliper
- Rear brake: 240mm disc w/ single-piston floating caliper
- ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 55.9 inches
- Rake: 26.7 degrees
- Trail: 3.9 inches
- Seat height: 32.9 inches (optional high, 33.5”; optional low, 32.3”)
- Fuel capacity: 2.9 gallons
- Estimated fuel consumption: 71 mpg
- Curb weight: 374 pounds
2018 BMW G 310 GS Colors
- Racing Red
- Cosmic Black
- Pearl White Metallic (add $100)
2018 BMW G 310 GS Price
- $5695 MSRP
2018 BMW G 310 GS Review | Photo Gallery