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BMW Introduces New Single-Cylinder G 310 R

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The smallest and lightest BMW roadster has debuted … the G 310 R, which is powered by a 34 hp, 313 cc single. With a large bore/stroke ratio, the new bike makes its peak horsepower and torque far up the rpm range. The engine is “backwards” with the intake at the front and the exhaust at the rear. BMW claims the G 310 R weighs only 349 pounds wet.

Below is a summary of the new bike’s features provided by BMW. If you want all the details, you can open this PDF.

The new BMW G 310 R – the first BMW roadster under 500 cc.
One cylinder, low weight, powerful dynamic performance – the BMW G 310 R embodies the pure essence of a BMW roadster: it has neither too little nor too much of anything. Pragmatic in the best sense of the word, it offers precisely what is needed – for dynamic performance and comfort, both in town and out in the country. The BMW G 310 R takes these essential qualities into a capacity segment that is new to BMW Motorrad. As a genuine BMW roadster it masters a range of disciplines: it is just as happy winding its way nimbly and flexibly through the narrow streets of a city as it is travelling supremely and powerfully along country roads. And thanks to its exceptionally low level of fuel consumption and a relaxed, comfortable seating position, it offers the welcome capability of being able to cover a long distance at a time.

At home on the roads of the world.
Newly conceived from scratch, the G 310 R represents everything BMW Motorrad stands for: innovation, quality and of course many years of carefree partnership with its owner. Designed specifically for the world market, the BMW G 310 R can run on the most diverse fuel qualities, meets all emission standards and local requirements – and takes the typical BMW premium aspiration to the segment under 500 cc.

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Dynamic roadster design with echoes of the S 1000 R.
The powerfully expressive design of the BMW G 310 R instantly reveals its agile, dynamic character, making a clear statement within its own segment. It has an unmistakeable visual kinship with athletic family members such as the BMW S 1000 R. The small headlamp mask with striking headlamp, dynamically modelled fuel tank trim elements and characteristic roadster proportions with a striking front section and dynamic rear give the BMW G 310 R a mature presence on the road. Precisely modelled surfaces define the dynamic side view. The compact, dynamic proportions and the short wheelbase promise fast changes of direction, while the high rear conveys a lightness that is suggestive of the bike’s sporty genes. In spite of the clearly visible naked bike character of the BMW G 310 R, the side surfaces in body colour create a closed silhouette in athletic style. High-end details such as a standard upside-down fork, quality materials, supplementary fittings and excellent workmanship all reflect the finest within the segment, clearly underscoring the premium aspiration of the BMW G 310 R.

Innovative single-cylinder engine for dynamic riding fun and suitability for a broad range of uses worldwide.
The centrepiece of the new BMW G 310 R is a completely newly developed 313 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine 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.

The striking feature of the engine is its backward-tilted cylinder in open-deck design with the cylinder head turned by 180 degrees, making it possible to position the intake tract at the front, viewed in the direction of travel. With an output of 25 kW (34 hp) at 9 500 rpm and a maximum torque of 28 Nm at 7 500 rpm, the engine of the new G 310 R is a very dynamic partner in conjunction with the low unladen weight of 158.5 kilograms according to DIN.

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Sophisticated ergonomics and an easy ride response.
The new G 310 R offers a markedly relaxed seating position for relaxed, stress-free and easy-going motorcycling. As is characteristic of BMW Motorrad, all switches and controls are simple and secure to handle. Great importance was attached to easy and safe operation, taking into account the most diverse rider anatomies.

It banks with ultimate agility yet always remains neutral and predictable. It masters lengthy bends and fast passages with directional stability, displaying athletic talent without any loss of comfort. Extremely compact and with a broad spectrum ranging from comfortable to sporty and dynamic, the new G 310 R simply opens up a whole new world of experience in its segment when it comes to ride response.

Rigid tubular steel frame, upside-down fork and long swinging arm for a high degree of ride stability, precise steering response and sound handling. In terms of suspension, the new G 310 R has a torsionally stiff, highly robust tubular steel frame in grid structure with bolt-on rear frame. 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.

High-performance brake system, ABS as standard and multifunction instrument cluster.
Like all BMW motorcycles, the new G 310 R is fitted with ABS as standard. It combines a powerful brake system with 2-channel ABS. 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 G 310 R instrument cluster has a large liquid crystal display that offers excellent clarity and a wide range of information.

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The highlights of the new BMW G 310 R:

  • Innovative liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with two overhead camshafts, backward-tilted cylinder and intake tract positioned at the front.
  • Output 25 kW (34 hp) at 9 500 rpm and a maximum torque of 28 Nm at 7 500 rpm.
  • Rigid tubular steel frame, upside-down fork and long swinging arm for a high degree of ride stability, precise steering response and sound handling.
  • Tyres 110/70 R 17 at front and 150/60 R 17 at rear.
  • High-performance brake system and ABS as standard.
  • Sophisticated ergonomics and multifunctional instrument cluster.
  • Low seat height of just 785 millimetres.
  • Dynamic roadster design with echoes of the S 1000 R.
  • Developed in Munich by BMW Motorrad – produced in India by cooperation partner TVS Motor Company.
  • Individually tailored optional accessories in the familiar high quality typical of BMW Motorrad.

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59 Comments

  1. Provologna says:

    What does that chick weigh, like 90 lbs? That IS a girl, right?

    The first time I found similar “distortion” for marketing purpose was a new model house my wife and I kept visiting because we drove by it so many times. After several visits, just sitting in the living room, it hit me: THEY USED MINI MODEL FURNITURE TO MAKE THE HOUSE LOOK BIGGER!!! Really, they did! About 20% smaller than normal.

    I know the images are often fleeting, but look reeeeaaaly close at the ratio of model/actor dimensions vs. the vehicles they sell in TV ads: SUVs, trucks, passenger cars, etc, etc…..In most cases (when it’s not a well know star like Peyton Manning, etc) the extras they employ are about 30% smaller than the average “normal” sized human being. They are almost exclusively super small. If you don’t think about it you won’t notice it. The point of course is to make the vehicle appear much larger than it actualy is by adding all kinds of space that disappears if/when a normal sized adult replaces the almost-dwarfs employed in the ad.

    The marketing term is “puffing” or “puffery.”

    • azi says:

      The Yamaha SR400 promo material also used a model that was about 3 feet tall.

    • Tom K. says:

      Nice analysis, I’d probably look like a circus bear riding a tricycle on this thing. I have a hard time getting over the 9500 rpm peak power – on a single??? Must be balanced like a Swiss watch.

      • Dave says:

        Most small displacement bikes being sold in the US today are marketed to smaller (read: Women) riders. They are smaller because these model’s primary global purpose is competing in much bigger markets than ours, like Southeast Asia, India, and China, where everyone is small.

        I don’t think they’re trying to deceive us in this case, they just don’t believe many average sized and above American men will buy enough small displacement bikes to try and market towards them.

    • shane says:

      Movie and TV sets are typically built to 90% scale to give the actors more presence.

  2. mechanicus says:

    Hmm… 34 HP. I wonder if it could maintain Interstate speeds all day with a reasonable amount of crap loaded onto it. LOL my mind keeps pondering a sort of “pocket” tourer that I could use to solo around….

    • Selecter says:

      What would make you concerned that it couldn’t maintain interstate speeds? Bikes with a damn sight less than 34HP can do that…

    • todd says:

      My GB500 has the same power and my wife and I got it up to an indicated 100mph coming back across the San Mateo Bridge on the way home from a camping trip. Heck, I rode my 10hp Yamaha 90cc twin from the Bay Area to my friend’s house near Tahoe.

      IN my experience, you only need around 15-20hp to keep up with everyone else comfortably and still sprint ahead from stop lights.

      • mechanicus says:

        I’m with y’all; poor wording – I was like “hmm 34 is enough” not “hmm 34 is not enough”. My main concern is roaming around with all my crap loaded on it – like on my poor overloaded Electraglide… I have got to learn to pack lite LOL. Peace.

        • todd says:

          I guess it matters how much you weigh, how much “crap” you’re bringing along, and how far over GVW that all comes. I’m sure there’s some margin…

  3. George says:

    It is about time that BMW got with it and realize they need to grow their market with younger, newer rider crowd… the prior management team planned something similar with the acquisition of Husky but then failed to follow through…
    My only concern is it too little and too late?

    This bike looks great! It MUST be within a couple hundred bucks of the competition: CBR250F, the rumored MT/FZ3, and CHEAPER than the KTM 390 to gain a real foothold.

    The styling is good- yes the rear fender look stupid but they all do now because they are made to meat the regulations imposed by Europe and USDOT. We all know some riders will care and immediately modify it and many just don’t care enough to bother modifying it, they just want to ride and that is a good thing!

    On the tech side, the bike sounds good.

    Hopefully the build quality is very good and BMW leaves off stupid electronics crap that makes the bike unreliable and too expensive.

    BMW also needs a follow-on model in the 500-600 lightweight twin range. Because perception is reality and most new riders (and too many experienced riders) believe a 250-300 bike is too small for anything but tooling around town for beginners.

    This is totally wrong but so are many “commonly held beliefs” on many subjects including and beyond motorcycles. reality and facts don’t matter in this instance, what matters is market belief and that is that to keep the new rider captured on a 250-300, the manufacturer needs to offer the follow-on lightweight 500-600 model.

    BMW already has follow-on models after the 500-600 lightweight model.

  4. moto says:

    I just can’t get past that ridiculous rear fender add on crap. Why do they make the back end look like an afterthought? I love the smaller displacement cc’s though. They got my attention by making that.

  5. Richard says:

    I wonder if they can beat the fuel consumption of my 650CS which does only marginaaly worse over a CBR250 I had before while the 650CS has significantly more HP (50 vs 26).

    But the looks are in-line with what small Honda’s and others are offerin, hope they can keep the price premium for the BMW badge small.

  6. azi says:

    Rearwards facing cylinder = a v-twin with the front cylinder chopped off. Interesting. Could BMW have a v-twin in their skunkworks?

    • xLaYN says:

      thanks God… I spent so much time thinking bout it and this makes so much sense.

    • Roland says:

      Re: Rearwards facing cylinder.
      RS250F proved that the config is valid in moto3.
      I think it’s very likely that BMW just borrowed the idea. So they could use the word “Innovative”.

      A 626cc V-twin w/ appx 70hp sounds kinda too tame. If they are going that route I imagine It’ll be
      bored and stroked out to 700cc+ so it’ll look comparable to 600cc in-line 4s on the spec sheet.

      “Developed in Munich – produced in India” sounds exactly like “yay! higher profit!!”.
      I seriously doubt this bike will be affordable. Clue: ABS is standard.
      Would be great if I’m wrong though.

      At first glace on the top pic, I thought this was an article on the new CB500F.
      Heh, maybe they both used the same ugly stick to beat it.

      • Dave says:

        Yamaha has had reversed singles for several years now on their MX bikes.

        It is imperative that we stop elevating hp to displacement as a desirable ratio. How many hp to cc any engine makes is completely irrelevant outside of sanctioned racing. Generally, squeezing the maximum hp from a given displacement results in a pretty bad engine for the street, peaky and inefficient in the rpm range that it’ll spend its life being used in.

        650cc & 70hp was the ratio provided by the sv650 one of the more successful bikes in the past 20 years.

        • Roland says:

          I do not disagree.
          Personally I’d pick a sweet SV650 over any over powered big V-twin in no time.
          Sadly, more displacement and power is the current norm dictated by what customers “want” rather than “need”. Apparently reason is no longer part of the scene.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          That is a valid position, Dave, but the horsepower:displacement ratio is still a useful metric up to a point. True, it is pointless to compare and SV650 to a competition-oriented GSX-R600 and wonder why the SV has “only” 70hp. But when comparing that SV650 to a 95hp 675cc Triumph Street Triple, it is hard to argue that the metric isn’t applicable in this case. When comparing similar products, it is a useful comparison.

          To Roland’s point, I don’t think it would be too tame so much as too similar to the parallel twin currently in use in BMWs mid-sized products.

          • Dave says:

            It’s applicable, but it’s by no means the only comparable metric. Cost ($13k)? Fuel mileage (fuelly.com shows an avg. around 40mpg)? It’s hard to hide what the Street Triple is, a stripped Super-sport with a riser handlebar.

            The point I’m trying to make is that discounting an engine’s hp/displacement ratio ignores the experience the bike attempts to deliver. All the discussion about the CB1100’s qualities are a good example.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I definitely agree that the peak power:cc ratio isn’t the only metric, and those that harp on it often do miss the entire point of a particular motorcycle. In fact, I admit to playing a little bit of Devil’s advocate here because in truth, while I find it an interesting metric, I agree it is irrelevant for the most part.

            For the record, though, a standard Street Triple is a $9,400 bike, not that much more than the SFV650, for example. I’d say it is designed to deliver a very similar experience to the SFV650, though to perhaps to a different (more experienced) audience.

      • Tom R says:

        “I seriously doubt this bike will be affordable. Clue: ABS is standard.”

        ABS will soon to be a required feature dictated by the regulators in many markets.

        • Selecter says:

          ABS is also standard on the KTM 390s. The 390 Duke, which can likely be considered the direct competition for this BMW, is $4999. It sounds like BMW will also be producing their small single in India, which leads me to believe they won’t have too much problem keeping the price competitive… if they *want* to.

    • Michael H says:

      So….is this the BMW Blast?

  7. grumpy farmer says:

    Sophisticated ergonomics?

  8. Bob Loblaw says:

    How about a GS version with a beak?

  9. mickey says:

    Isn’t that the same “clown” bike reviewed on Oct 7 MCD only with sedate paint? Looks a lot better with this paint.

  10. Tyler says:

    So, Honda looks and performance at BMW prices? Not certain if trolling or just…?

  11. Grover says:

    A scooter might be more useful at this price point.

    • KenHoward says:

      That may be true, but I don’t think most riders, even beginners or otherwise, aspire to be scooter pilots.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      A scooter is more useful at just about any price point, but US buyers at least aren’t typically shopping for “useful” when looking at motorcycles.

      • Norm G. says:

        is it a forgone conclusion this will even come to the US…? BMW had a whole G line up not too long but they got rid of it. G650’s, that innovative G450x, etc. this thing’s going to put a capital S in “slow”. one caveat, it is nicely designed. the most “full sized” looking of all the sub 400’s.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          It has not been formerly announced that it will be available in the US as far as I know, and perhaps it never will be. I personally never would have thought BMW would make a go at the high-volume / low-margin segment of the business due to brand dilution concerns, but then perhaps they figure in this day and age that it hurts the brand more to ignore it. Dunno. KTM is throwing down, though, and one’s direct competitor can often drive one to do the same whether it makes sense or not.

        • todd says:

          I remember when BMWs 650CS was over 9 grand when the SV650 was under $6000. No contest. I tend to think that BMW prices bikes intentionally high so as to give them a greater perceived value. No one remembers back to the time (early sixties) when BMW actually had a superior product that justified the premium. They learned with the 1000-4 that they’re going to have to start competing on price AND performance if they want to stay competitive. I imagine it will need to be pretty much the same for this bike. “BMW” has no brand panache or presence to the target market for this bike.

  12. Marty O says:

    Looks good. I hope they can keep it under 5 grand! Can’t have too many small bikes and 349 pounds is excellent.

  13. dman says:

    I know about the R27, and I know about BMW 1-Series cars and their small electric car, but I question whether this will indeed be successful, even in Asia. Or perhaps the BMW logo is all that matters. Nice enough bike, nevertheless. I’d sure like to see an updated 450-650 BMW offroad thumper with more adv/exploration features than the short-lived 450X.

  14. Trent says:

    Looks like it could be a fun bike. However, I am partial to the Ninja 300 because it has a slipper clutch, which none of the other small displacement bikes have, as far as I know. The other bike I’d consider, would be the KTM 390.

  15. Hugh says:

    The copy says this is the first BMW roadster under 500cc. Apparently BMW has forgotten my long gone R 27…but I remember.

  16. Craig says:

    Very nice… design is pretty nice and the technology with a reversed engine is a nice thing too… easy to do on a single. I hope they can price it appropriately, but I’d give it a try if comparing…

  17. Jeremy in TX says:

    A nice bike, no doubt, but it just does’t do it for me. It seems awfully generic. Maybe it looks better in person.

  18. Provologna says:

    BMW make cages in China, too. I would prefer my vehicle be German-made, but vehicles made outside Germany are not necessarily inferior.

    The point is the risk/benefit ratio for BMW: German-made for 50% more vs. foreign-manufactured for 50% less.

    I doubt many nations get Germany’s one month paid vacation every year.

    • Half Baked says:

      The article says, “produced in India by cooperation partner TVS Motor Company”. Is the sub continent good enough for you.

  19. GT08 says:

    My 1987 250R ninja is still better than this, even 30 years interval ! And look better too.

    • Marty O says:

      That is my favorite bike of all time. The red seat and the white wheels were striking. Have owned 2 of them and the newer ones too but that 86/87 was a very special motorcycle!

  20. Montana says:

    Pricing by BMW, manufacturing by Kymco, nein?

    • xLaYN says:

      It’s the only way, good luck competing with Bajaj, and other Indian, Chinese and Korean brands with a Bavarian built product.