After owning a BMW G310 GS for close to three years and especially after completing a 16 day ride in the Himalayan mountains of Uttarakhand I think I’m in a position to offer my two paisa about this motorcycle. But first some back story as to why I bought this motorcycle in spite of owning a Hero Impulse and a Triumph Tiger 800 XRx, among other motorcycles.
Back in 2017, I rode my 150 cc Hero Impulse in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal. It was a challenging road and my decision not to take my Tiger proved to be a good one. I just didn’t have the skill to manage such a heavy motorcycle on those roads, or rather, trails. The high altitude meant lesser oxygen and that resulted in lesser power output for the 150 cc Impulse. I had no option other than riding the clutch to get more torque and ended up frying my clutch plates. I had to get them replaced in Pokhara in order to continue with the ride.
The next year, I rode the same motorcycle in the Himalayan mountains of Sikkim and West Arunachal Pradesh, that too in winter. But learning from my past experience, this time I replaced the stock Impulse engine with one from the Karizma, thinking that the 220 cc would make up for the the drop in power at high altitude. It did help to an extent. But due to my weight and luggage, I again ended up riding the clutch and fried my clutch plates. This time I had to load the Impulse in a pick up and take it to a town where I could replace the clutch plates and continue the ride.
I was utterly frustrated. I had spent a great deal of time, money, effort and patience to fix myself a motorcycle which had the right balance of power and weight. And I had failed spectacularly.
So when BMW launched their 310 GS in India, I immediately took notice. The power and weight numbers on the spec sheet seemed to be exactly what I had been looking for. So I bought the motorcycle. Over the past three years I’ve ridden my 310 GS on multi-day interstate rides and even technical trails in the Western Ghats in dry as well as wet conditions. It performed exactly how I wanted it to. More importantly the capabilities of the motorcycle matched my skill level perfectly.
No matter which motorcycle I ride, I always make it a point cruise on Indian highways at a speed not more than 110 kmph. This holds true for my insanely powerful Tiger 800 as well as my mammoth Harley Davidson Fat Boy. I believe anything more than 110 kmph on an unbarricaded Indian highway is asking for trouble. There is so much that can go wrong in a fraction of a second. Thanks to its tall sixth gear the 310 GS is able to sit confortably at 110 kmph for hours on end feeling just fine. Obviously this wasn’t possible with the Impulse, even with the Karizma engine. The 310 GS was quite manageable on trails as well. I replaced the stock tyres with Continental TKC 80’s which made a huge difference in slushy conditions.
As I had expected, the 310 GS performed great in Uttarakhand as well. At higher altitudes the electronic fuel injection took care of things and I didn’t notice much of a drop in power. The motorcycle easily tractored up the steep dirt tracks of the Kailash Mansarovar road. I was able to easily manage its weight on the slippery slopes of the snow clad Chanshal pass. The best part is I didn’t have to constantly think about how the motorcycle was doing like in the previous two rides to the mountains. I could just immerse myself in the gorgeous surroundings and concentrate on capturing GoPro footage, framing pictures in my mind and just admire the natural beauty that I was riding through. That was the whole purpose of riding in the moutains in the first place. The motorcycle became a reliable and manageable mode of transport not to be stressed about.
In conclusion I will say this. I love all my motorcycles. But if I were to forced to get rid of all of them and keep just one, I would keep the BMW G310 GS.