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BMW launches new G310 R in Joburg

2017-07-05 09:46

Dries van der Walt

NEW BMW MOTORCYCLE:'Competent, agile and a whisker under R63 000, it really becomes a no-brainer for anybody in the commuter market,' writes Dries van der Walt as he rides BMW's new G310 R in Johannesburg. Image: Dries Van Der Walt / Wheels24

Johannesburg - BMW Motorrad South Africa launched the G 310 R, their entry into the increasing popular small-capacity motorcycle market, to local media in final week of June 2017.

The G 310 R, a lightweight single-cylinder bike aimed mainly at the commuter market, is a typical no-frills, enough-and-no-more BMW roadster.

To emphasise how at home the bike is in its natural habitat, Motorrad SA chose a route through the suburbs and city centre of Joburg as the launch ride, with the journalists being exposed to the usual commuting challenges: traffic, robots, pedestrians and everything else that makes up a regular commuting ride.

Little BMW impresses

The little bike impressed me from the outset with both its comfort and lively performance, which will likely see it not just faring well in the urban sprawl but also with highway commuting, being capable of a top speed in excess of 140km/h.

Unfortunately the route didn’t include uphill highway stretches to allow me judge how well it would maintain highway speeds, but I intend to do a full review in due course during which I will be able to explore its performance under everyday conditions.

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Seating position is relaxed an neutral, and an average-sized rider should find the bike’s ergonomics surprisingly generous for such a small machine, despite a low seat height of only 785 mm. After spending an entire afternoon coping with Joburgs less-than-charitable traffic, I wasn’t particularly fatigued at the end of the ride.

This is due not just to the ergos, but also to the general effortlessness of the 310 R’s handling, which comes compliments of its tubular steel frame, upside-down fork and long swing-arm. 


The 310 R sports a completely new 313 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with four valves and two overhead camshafts, and is fed by electronic fuel injection. The cylinder is tilted to the rear with the cylin-der head rotated 180 degrees, allowing the German enginneers to position the intake tract at the front.

The little mill boasts a peak power output of 25kW at 9 500 rpm and a maximum torque of 28Nm at 7 500 rpm, which, combined with an unladen weight of only 158.5kg, explains the bike’s lively nature. 

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Like all BMW motorcycles, the 310 R is fitted with 2 channel ABS as standard. The front brake consists of a single-disc brake with a radially bolted 4-piston fixed calliper  clamping a 300mm brake disc, while the rear brake features a 2-piston floating calliper and a 240mm disc.

This arrangement works well – at no time during the launch ride did I feel that the braking power was inadequate, and that’s just as well on a bike that is destined to spend the bulk of its time in our often unpredictable traffic.

'Smart capacity'

I asked BMW Motorrad South Africa’s general manager, Edgar Kleinbergen, why BMW have chosen to break a long tradition by offering a sub-500 cm³ bike.

He replied: "It’s not about small capacity, it’s about smart capacity."

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He explained that bigger, more powerful bikes are often an overkill in commuting – the extra performance brings added complexity and a resultant increase in weight, not to mention higher fuel consumption and costlier spares and maintenance. Choosing a lighter, nimbler bike with a smaller engine, but which still has sufficient power to keep you ahead of the traffic, makes a great deal of sense.


Based on the afternoon I spent on the G 310 R, I found it hard to disagree. The 310 R is unexpectedly punchy – even at 70 km/h in 6th gear, the little engine was eager to go when called upon. Although some-what uninspiring at idling speed, the engine sounds glorious at high revs, and it was tremendous fun to ride it hard without the risk of breaking the sound barrier and putting myself in mortal danger. 

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I was constantly reminded of the adage about riding a small bike fast, but as much fun as it is, the Baby Beemer is also a very sensible little machine. Competent, agile and economical, it is a proposition that’s hard to argue with. And if you add the fact that it retails for a whisker under R63 000, it really becomes a no-brainer for anybody in the commuter market.

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Read more on:    bmw  |  dries van der walt  |  south africa  |  bikes



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