BMW Motorrad has always made big, expensive bikes that appeal more to the leisure rider than the urban commuter. The most famous is the GS, examples of which can be seen charging along gravel roads all over SA and occasionally trying to find space between the traffic in the urban rush hour.
Now the company is going after those with slightly smaller budgets but who still want the thrill of riding on two wheels and, most importantly, would rather be on a BMW than a Vespa. We got our first look at the new G310 models last year and finally the first of the series has arrived in SA — the G310 R.
It spearheads a new line-up of bikes as the company aims to increase its annual global sales from 136 000 to more than 200 000 by 2020. The new range will also include a GS version which we had a peek at in Los Angeles last year. Those who have always wanted a GS but have been put off by the price and perhaps its size will be eagerly awaiting this one. We know we are.
CEO of BMW Motorrad Stephan Schaller is promising to expand the range of budget bikes even further, hinting that your fast food could be arriving on a BMW bike one day instead of some plastic Chinese thing, although he told us that there are limits to what the company will produce in the interests of maintaining that BMW image.
Back to the G310 R though and here is the thing that will appeal the most people who have been thinking of taking to two wheels but not yet taken the leap — it costs R62 990 and it looks, almost, like the bigger and more expensive S1000 R.
It’s not the S1000 R of course with the single cylinder, 313cc engine developing 25kW at 9500rpm and 28Nm of torque at 7500rpm, but it is enough to give it a top speed well above the national speed limit at 145km/h and it should have enough acceleration to allow you to quickly pull around the taxi that stopped abruptly in front of you.
And if you need to hit the brakes, then, like its bigger brethren, it features BMW’s antilock braking system. There is a multiplate wet clutch linked to a six-speed transmission and drive to the rear wheel is via a traditional chain setup.
Far from appealing just to urban commuters, BMW claims its new roadster is just as happy in the traffic as it is on a long ride along country roads. Regardless of the nature of the journey, the company reckons you can achieve average fuel consumption of 3.33l/100km.
The latest addition to the BMW Motorrad range is built in India for global markets. Following the style of naked bikes, it has a high fuel tank and a high rear to give it a sporty look. That look is further enhanced by the large upwardly sloping exhaust and the upside-down front fork.
That fork is part of a design aimed to provide a ride suitable for a diverse range of riders, particularly those who are perhaps new to the two-wheeled experience. The bike has a tubular steel frame, with a bolt-on rear frame and an aluminium swinging arm and spring strut at the rear. As well as the ABS system there is a four-piston front caliper and single disc brake up front and two-piston floating caliper and disc at the back. Tyres are 110/70 R17 up front and 150/60 R17 at the rear.
The company has also said it designed the controls to be both ergonomic and simple to operate. This includes a digital instrument cluster that displays information such as revs, speed, average consumption, range available and gear selection.
Colour choices include black, dark blue and white. You can also have the traditional BMW Motorrad colours.
With the GS derivative also in the pipeline and others to follow, now might be the opportunity many have been looking for to take to two wheels. – Mark Smyth