If only our expressways allowed 300cc bikes to enter, then bikes like the new BMW G310R could be the next big thing. These bikes not only possess the power to easily break the 100 km/h speed limit, they’re light and agile enough to easily filter through traffic no 650cc bike could. There are currently only a handful of bikes in the 300cc segment, namely the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Z300, KTM 390 Duke and RC 390, and then there’s the Yamaha YZF-R3.
While the KTM 390 Duke and Rc 390 are expressway legal, their actual displacement fell a bit short of the mandatory minimum displacement at 373cc. For some reason, the displacements on their registrations were rounded up to 400cc. Both the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and Z300 are actual 300cc bikes while the Yamaha R3 has an actual displacement of 321cc. The subject of this story, the new BMW G310R, has an actual displacement of 313cc. Sadly, save for the clever KTMs, the rest of the 300cc class are relegated to the side streets when going in and out of Metro Manila. Consider yourself lucky if you live far north of Metro Manila or down south in Visayas and Mindanao. That means the tollway restriction doesn’t affect you and you have every reason to enjoy riding these lightweight beauties.
So with nowhere else to go, I decided to spend the limited time I had with the G310R tooling around the city, exactly where BMW intended it to be. The G310R is BMW’s first roadster under 500cc, and most BMW motorrad owners would probably look at it as some sort of a novelty, a toy even, which it’s not, because BMW believe in the importance of introducing the brand to a younger audience globally so they poured a lot of research and development to make the G310R happen.
Developed in collaboration with TVS Motor Company of India, the G310R marks BMW Motorrad’s first foray in the small capacity entry-level bike segment. As a premium brand, BMW was very careful not to sacrifice the quality and performance standards the brand is known for during its entire development. As a result, the G310R reflects every bit the BMW quality we come to expect but in a smaller scale. Everything from the quality of the switches and plastic panels down to the quality of the welds and engine casting are the same with BMW’s bigger machines. The liquid-cooled dohc 4-valve single-cylinder motor is new and features a unique canted backward cylinder head design that not only allows the engineers to move the motor slightly forward for an ideal 50/50 weight distribution, but also to give more room for a longer swingarm for better stability.
And stable the G310R truly is. Running at a steady 112 km/h in 6th gear, the motor is still 3,600 rpm shy of the 10,500 rpm rev limiter. Horsepower, all 34 of it, peaks out at 9,500 rpm while the maximum 21 lb-ft of torque peaks at 7,500 rpm. You don’t really need to work the motor to move the 159 kg. lightweight bike. Power builds linearly up to redline and rapid forward progress can be achieved depending on how fast you can upshift on the smooth-shifting 6-speed gearbox. From a standstill, 100 km/h can be reached at 7.3 seconds in fourth gear. Fast enough to dispatch most of the city traffic. Given enough roads, however, the G310R will accelerate to a speedometer indicated top speed of 160 km/h. Not too shabby for a 313cc thumper.
You could arguably tour long distances with the G310R, but as a daily commuter tool is where the G310R truly works best. Handling is light and neutral with the stability feel of a much bigger bike at high speeds. There’s an abundance of cornering clearance to make spirited riding, be it in the city or twisty canyon roads, quite entertaining. As with all BMW bikes ABS comes standard on the G310R modulating the front and rear disc brakes clamped by Bybre 2-piston caliper up front and 1-piston caliper on the rear. Steel braided brake lines are standard. Confidence inspiring grip is supplied by a pair of sticky Michelin Pilot Street radials in 150/60R17 size rear and 110/80R17 in front.
Much welcome for new riders is the 785mm (30.9 inches) seat height, allowing most Filipino riders of average height to comfortably reach the ground with both feet firmly planted. The reach to the tall and wide handlebars, on the other hand, is short making for a nearly upright riding position. The seat is thickly padded and comfortable for both rider and pillion. In full view of the rider is the large multi-information LCD screen that displays speed, revs, fuel level, odometer, trip meter, gear indicator, average fuel consumption, and even a clock. Speaking of fuel consumption, the G310R averages 30 kilometers per liter of fuel.
BMW designed the G310R with new riders in mind, but even experienced riders can have a blast riding it. It could be the ideal first premium bike for those who wanted to step up from a scooter or an underbone but it could also be the perfect second bike, especially for current BMW R1200GS or S1000XR owners who want something small to use daily. With an introductory price of PhP300,000 the G310R may be PhP32,000 more dearer than the locally assembled KTM 390 Duke and nipping on the heels of 650cc bikes like the Z650 and Ninja 650 from Kawasaki, but it sounds reasonable enough for an entry-level BMW motorcycle, especially if you consider that the next affordable BMW model is the F700GS at PhP 745,000. From that perspective, the G310R begins to sound like a bargain. Now, if only they’re allowed to enter the expressways.
Engine: EFI, single cylinder, 4-valve, dohc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke
Max Power: 34 bhp @ 9500 rpm
Torque: 21 lb ft @ 7500 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 11 liters
Curb Weight: 159 kg.
Seat Height: 785mm (30.9 inches)
Top Speed: 160 km/h (99.42 mph)
Price: PhP 300,000 (Introductory price)