From time to time various individuals in my path solicit advice for a long-harbored and heretofore unscratched motorcycle itch. It is dangerous territory for me as I have no idea what preconceived and closely held notions they bring to the conversation, and I’ve discovered that most people who ask for advice really want me to validate their already made-up minds. This particular wicket has proven hard to handle at times, but I do the best I can.
Our esteemed editor in chief, John Flores, requested my opinion on a $4,000 motorcycle for a new rider. This request can lead down many different and interesting roads. But after much soul searching and internet surfing, a most logical model has risen to the surface like oil on water, and the more I pondered this model the more sensible it seemed.
I present for your consideration the G 310 R by our friends from Bavaria. Introduced to the US as a 2018 model, it is a light and naked standard machine with a surprising level of equipment for the original asking price of just $4,750. As 2019 has recently arrived, a 2018 pre-owned model can reasonably be had for our magical $4,000. The good value that the G 310 R offers is possible because it is made in India by a BMW strategic partner company, TVS, which has been business since 1962 and is the third largest motorcycle company in India and has annual sales of over $2 billion.
The G 310 R boasts many desirable features such as a trellis frame, aluminum swing arm, golden inverted forks, dual channel ABS, steel braided lines, Bybre (the Indian division of Brembo) disc brakes, and a large LCD instrument cluster. A lot of engineering was lavished on this, BMW’s smallest bike to date, and it shows. The engine is a 4-valve single-cylinder liquid-cooled motor which is tilted rearward to allow a longer swing arm for better stability. It produces a surprising 34 ponies at 9,500 RPM and 19.3 lb-ft of torque at 7,600 RPM.
This dynamic mill yields about 70 MPG and moves the machine with surprising alacrity as it is only 351 pounds wet. There is also a G 310 GS available for light off-roading, but that is outside our price guideline. A quick perusal of the Wunderlich website reveals lots of useful accessories to tailor the bike to any individual’s taste. Luggage, comfort accessories and windscreens to mention only three.
As proof that this is a superior ride, I mention one Jennifer Argentino of Canada who has ridden the slightly more expensive (but mechanically identical) G 310 GS on an Iron Butt Association SaddleSore 1000 (1,000 miles in less than 24 hours) and a Bun Burner 1500 Gold (1,500 miles in less than 24 hours); I can think of no further proof of concept than that.
The G 310 R is a small displacement motorcycle but not necessarily an entry level bike as it offers top quality fit and finish. It is much more than the sum of its parts and therefore well worth your consideration.
Oh, and one more thing……yes, it will do a wheelie!
[Originally appeared in the March-April 2019 issue of On The Level.]