The BMW G310R feels like a compelling buy matching up to the established rivals in the segment but an extremely competitive pricing is expected to seal the deal.
The smallest BMW motorcycle was in the pipeline for quite a while now and finally broke its cover as the G310R street-fighter. Built in collaboration with TVS, the German auto giant aims to take on an established set of offerings in the 250-350cc segment that has witnessed some action recently. With the market hungry for more power and better products, we do a quick spec comparison to see how does the new BMW G310R fare on paper against some very capable motorcycles that have amassed quite a following globally.
Design – Styling may be a subjective topic but each manufacturer has done a good job with their respective offerings. The BMW G310R gets some striking lines, muscular fuel tank and smart alloy wheels, but isn’t too radical which makes it easy to blend amidst traffic. The KTM Duke 390 stands out being the attention grabber, whilst the Kawasaki Ninja 300 continues to be one of the perfectly styled motorcycles lending a big bike feel. The same applies for the Yamaha R3 as well that is quite the head turner and makes for a healthy road presence. The quirkiest of all is the Mahindra Mojo, but let the styling grow on you and things seem in order. The current offerings have decent build quality and hopes are high from the G310R to match the same given BMW’s quality standards.
Dimensions – The Mahindra Mojo gets the longest wheelbase in this comparison measuring 1465 mm while the Duke 390 gets the smallest measuring 1340 mm. The G310R’s wheelbase is marginally longer than the Duke at 1374 mm. All three naked bikes offer high-speed stability with BMW promising a longer swingarm. In terms of dimensions, the Mojo is the longest bike in the segment while the G310R is the widest and tallest when compared to rivals. The BMW also comes with an adjustable seat height set at a standard 785 mm, accommodating riders of all sizes.
Underneath, the BMW G310R uses a tubular steel frame in its construction which offers rigidity while also being cheaper in manufacturing. In comparison, KTM trusts the trellis frame setup across the Duke lineup which certainly offers better handling and agility. The Kawasaki Ninja 300’s tubular diamond frame is old but responsive and offers excellent handling prowess. The other Jap, Yamaha R3 uses a similar chassis which makes the offering capable of highway runs and occasional track days without breaking a sweat. The Mojo uses a twin tube exposed frame that offers high speed stability but isn’t too comfortable around the corners.
Features – The BMW G310R uses a digital instrument cluster which much like the KTM Duke 390 is loaded with information. The R3, Ninja 300 and Mojo use an analog-digital unit that are loaded with all the essentials but the Mojo goes one up by offering the top speed recorder and 0-100 km/hr timer as well. Suspension duties again are superior on the naked models with the Duke, G310R and Mojo getting USD front forks while the R3 and Ninja get telescopic units. All bikes get a monoshock setup at the rear that is pre-load adjustable. A 300 mm front disc brake is seen on the G310R and Duke 390 while the rear witnesses a 240 mm and a 230 mm unit on either bike. The R3 and Ninja use comparatively smaller discs in comparison.
Both the Japanese offerings miss out on ABS on the India spec versions which are offered as standard on the Duke 390 and G310R. Talking about rubber, Yamaha disappointed most folks by opting for MRFs instead of Michelin on the India spec R3 while Kawasaki also uses IRC tyres on the Ninja that are pretty average. KTM offers the excellent Metzelers for the Duke 390 which have superior feedback while the Mojo comes with the stickier Pirelli Diablo Rosso II that take performance to a new level. The G310R is expected to come with Michelin Pilot Street tyres, but it needs to be seen if BMW will be opting for the same in India as well.
Powertrain – KTM still takes the lead in terms of power with the Duke 390 churning out 43.5 PS from a 373cc single-cylinder motor, the 321cc twin-cylinder powered Yamaha R3 comes in next producing 42 PS while the Kawasaki Ninja 300 uses a 300cc twin-cylinder tuned for 39 PS of power. The BMW G310R is significantly behind the Duke 390 with a 313cc single-cylinder unit tuned for 35 PS and 28 Nm of torque. The Mahindra Mojo is the least powerful offering in this comparison, producing 28 PS and 30 Nm of torque from a 295cc single-cylinder motor.
In terms of power-to-weight ratio, the KTM Duke 390 gets the biggest advantage being the lightest motorcycle in its class at 154 kgs, followed by the Yamaha R3 that has a kerb weight of 169 kgs. The Kawasaki Ninja 300 is up next with a kerb weight of 172 kgs while the BMW G310R is rather hefty for its size at 158.5 kgs (dry) coming in fourth in this comparison. The heaviest naked though is the Mojo weighing a whopping 183 kgs.
Verdict – The Mahindra Mojo is an excellent tourer and does it all with much aplomb. However, given the power figures and a hefty weight, it is better suited to compete with the 200-300cc offerings. Things change for the better above the 300cc mark with the Duke 390 offering exceptional power and a value for money pricing that is simply hard to beat. Then comes the new Yamaha R3 that sweetens the deal quite well if twin-cylinders suit your riding style and just betters the price quotient over the very capable but grossly overpriced Kawasaki Ninja 300. This leaves us with the BMW G310R that promises a healthy amount of power, German build quality standards and Indian manufacturing. The naked looks promising in every way on paper and feels like the ideal alternative to the Duke 390. However, it now boils down to the automaker’s pricing strategy. While we feel an upper limit of Rs. 2.30-40 lakhs (on-road) is reasonable, we will appreciate more if BMW goes the KTM way to offer bang for the buck.