BMW Motorrad, ever looking for new niches in the South African motorcycle market, has, The Corner reckons, probably found one… for the elusive “younger market”.
The smallest engine (and consequently least-expensive motorcycle) in the current range of BMW bikes available in SA is the 652cc single-cylinder in the G 650 GS, a multi-purpose (trail, tar, touring, commuting) machine that, unfortunately, can be a little tall for younger/female riders.
LOOKING AT HALF THE PRICE
And a tad expensive: a new one will set you back close to R100 000 – a bit steep for most entry riders. Oh dear, what to do? Answer: From early 2016, start retailing the Indian-assembled BMW R 304 GS (trail & etc) and G 310 R (roadster) machines.
(The Corner has already featured the bikes, but now we’re talking local.)
Depending on how the rand performs, that will mean a BMW motorcycle (with all the longevity and quality that should include) for around half the above price – an early forecast from a dealer is hoping for R55 000 to R60 000.
‘PURE ESSENCE OF A MOTORCYCLE’
They’re single-cylinder, 310cc machines with a modest seat height, ample cruising performance and, in the case of the GS, go-pretty-much-anywhere cabability. BMW Motorrad describes the machines as “light weight with powerful dynamic performance”.
The BMW G 310 R, its maker says, “embodies the pure essence of a BMW roadster with neither too little nor too much of anything”.
“It offers,” BMW Motorrad added, “dynamic performance and comfort in town or out in the country and takes these essential qualities into a capacity segment new to BMW.”
The bikes are said to be nimble in city traffic, “supremely powerful along country roads” and, with low fuel-consumption, “capable of the long distances that motorcycling in South Africa sometimes requires”.
Sounds just right to get young Johnny or Jane mobile, after (please, parents!) comprehensive training and supervision.
NO MISTAKING THE FAMILY LOOK
The G 310 R is said to represent BMW’s drive for innovation, quality and years of carefree partnership with its owners and can run on varying fuel qualities, meet all emission standards, yet displaces less than 500cc.
While smaller than other BMW two-wheelers, the bikemaker says, the G 310 R design shares much with the family looks, right up to the BMW S 1000 R. There’s a small but striking headlight “mask”, dynamically styled fuel-tank trim elements and roadster proportions; “indeed, a mature road presence”.
The bike’s wheelbase is short – think nimble and quick direction changes for city traffic, something in which bikers in India are well-schooled – and has a clear “naked” overall styling.
“High-end details such as a standard upside-down fork, quality materials, supplementary fittings and excellent workmanship,” BMW says, “all reflect the finest within the segment, clearly underscoring its premium aspiration.”
ANTI-LOCK BRAKES ‘MUST’ FOR LEARNER RIDERS
The quad-valve, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine is all-new, displaces only 313cc (80mmx62.1mm) but has electronic fuel-injection and is capable of 25kW at 9500rpm and 28Nm at 7500rpm. The bike weighs only 158kg, making an ideal first machine for younger and smaller riders.
The G 310 R has a torsionally stiff, very robust, tubular-steel frame, the front suspension uses an upside-down fork, the rear a spring strut and aluminium swing- arm. Anti-lock brakes (very important for a learner-rider) use a 300mm single disc with a radially bolted four-piston fixed calliper, at the rear a two-piston floating calliper grips a 240mm disc.
The instrument cluster uses a large liquid-crystal display with a wide range of information.
MORE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BMW G 310 R
- Tyres 110/70 R 17 front, 150/60 R 17 rear.
- Low seat height – 785mm.
- Dynamic roadster design with echoes of the S 1000 R.
- Developed in Munich by BMW Motorrad – produced in India by partner TVS Motor Company.
- Optional accessories to BMW Motorrad standards.