It is probably fair to say that the GS designation has defined BMW Motorrad more than any other in the modern era.
Having started out as a range of exclusively big bikes, BMW has slowly expanded the range downwards, with the latest version introduced, the G 310 GS, taking the range below 500cc for the first time.
The centrepiece of the new BMW G 310 GS is the 313 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine known from the G 310 R with four valves and two overhead camshafts together with electronic fuel injection.
The capacity of 313 cc results from a bore of 80 millimetres and a stroke of 62.1 millimetres. A significant feature of the single-cylinder engine in the G 310 GS is the fact that its cylinder is tilted to the rear and its cylinder head is rotated by 180 degrees: intake at the front, outlet at the rear.
This configuration follows the logic of a straight, power-enhancing supply of fresh air-fuel mixture and also has positive consequences in terms of the bike’s architecture.
Output is 25 kW and 28 Nm for the bike’s 169.5 kilogram unladen weight. The BMW G 310 GS mirrors its bigger siblings’ styling with its characteristic, high front fender, striking flyline and short, high rear. Its compact proportions, short wheelbase, a 19-inch front wheel and extended spring travel make for a typical upright posture, promising an agile, nimble riding response.
In terms of its suspension, the new G 310 GS is similar to the G 310 R roadster in using a tubular steel spaceframe with a bolt-on rear section that combines torsional rigidity with robust quality. The front wheel suspension is taken care of by a solid upside-down fork while at the rear there is an aluminium swinging arm in conjunction with a spring strut that is mounted on it directly. Like all new BMW motorcycles, the new G 310 GS comes with ABS as standard.
It combines a high-performance brake system with 2-channel ABS for efficient deceleration and short braking distances.
For use over light terrain the ABS in the new G 310 GS can be conveniently deactivated at the press of a button if required. The G 310 GS instrument cluster has a large liquid crystal display that offers excellent clarity and a wide range of information.
The vital supply of oil inside the engine is taken care of by a well-established wet sump lubrication system.
Power is transmitted via a multi-plate wet clutch into a constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox. The secondary drive to the rear wheel takes the form of an O-ring chain.
A high maximum engine speed of 10 500 rpm is delivered smoothly thanks to a rotating counterbalance shaft in front of the crankshaft. The exhaust system has been redesigned for use in the G 310 GS.
The manifold layout has been altered from that of the G 310 R roadster so as to do justice to the longer spring travel and the rear, while a newly conceived heat shield underscores the hallmark GS character of the new G 310 GS. The suspension geometry of the G 310 GS is designed for manoeuvrability, stability and a neutral cornering response both on and off the road, which makes for maximum riding run and easy controllability as well as reflecting the bike’s active riding character.
The wheelbase is 1420 millimetres, the castor is 98 millimetres and the steering head angle is 63.3 degrees.
Due to the engine conception and arrangement, the single-section rear-wheel swinging arm made of die-cast aluminium is longer than in conventional designs at 650 millimetres, though without extending the wheelbase unnecessarily.
The ride properties, characterised by nimble handling and a high level of stability, are supported by the balanced suspension/damper set-up of the directly mounted rear spring strut which is adjustable in the spring rest. The appropriate counterpart to the control, suspension and damping of the rear wheel is to be found in the upside-down fork at the front.
With a slider tube diameter of 41 millimetres and, with a view to enabling forays off the beaten track, the spring travel has been increased by 40 millimetres as compared to that of the G 310 R roadster to a total of 180 millimetres.
The front wheel is 19 inches in size for a safe, dynamic riding response on a variety of different surfaces. Due to the larger wheel diameter, the wheel axis has been shifted forward in order to ensure an optimum, handling-friendly castor.
As in the G 310 R, a 17-inch wheel is mounted on the rear. At the front wheel, a single-disc brake with radially bolted 4-piston fixed caliper and a brake disc diameter of 300 millimetres ensures powerful and stable deceleration.
At the rear, this function is performed by a 2-piston floating caliper in conjunction with a 240-millimetre brake disc. The comparatively moderate seat height of just 835 millimetres and the short inside leg length mean that virtually any motorcyclist will feel comfortable on the G 310 GS – whether riding on the road or on short detours over unsurfaced terrain.
Meanwhile shorter or taller riders can draw on the range of Original BMW Motorrad Accessories to select a lower seat variant with a height of 820 millimetres or else a higher, particularly comfortable seat at 850 millimetres. Like the G 310 R, the G 310 GS has an instrument cluster with a large screen that offers excellent readability and a wide variety of information.
The displays include engine speed, road speed, gear, total kilometres, engine temperature, fuel tank level, remaining range, average fuel consumption, average speed and time. Every GS has a high-quality luggage bridge, providing a stable base for topcases or larger luggage items.
The BMW G 310 GS is available in three colour variants: Cosmic Black non-metallic, Racing Red non-metallic and the elaborately designed Pearl White metallic. Pricing is R79 650.