The BMW G 310 GS doesn’t really have a direct competitor but still gets challenged by the two adventure motorcycles.
The BMW G 310 GS will see a real competitor in the KTM 390 Adventure. But for the time being, it still kind of competes with the Royal Enfield Himalayan which gives the G 310 GS a run for its money. Then there’s the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 which is a more expensive offering but still gets the job done. We pit the three against each other to see which one you should put your money on.
Design & Looks – All the three bikes here have been made to be ridden on the tarmac and off it and they sure look the part. None of the bikes give an exaggerated off-roader look and are well proportioned. There are ingenious bits and pieces here and there which give each bike a special touch. The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 gets an eye-catchy green colour and a tall wind (mud) deflector. The metal plates engraved with ‘Himalayan’ on the Royal Enfield Himalayan looks subtle yet admirable. The BMW G 310 GS with its sharp beak-like front has a sharper look compared to the others. All in all, the three bikes look good.
Dimensions – The Royal Enfield Himalayan is the longest bike here while the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is the widest and the tallest. What further makes the X 300 look bigger is its tall windshield and wide handle bars. This doesn’t mean the Himalayan looks smaller. A ground clearance of 220 mm gives the Himalayan that extra ability to go over those large rocks without scraping the underbelly. The BMW G 310 GS is the smaller bike here but gets attention with its sharp looks.
Features – The BMW G 310 GS and Kawasaki Versys-X 300 get ABS as standard while the RE Himalayan doesn’t get it even as an option which is sad. There is a digital instrument cluster on the G 310 GS while the Himalayan and the Versys-X 300 get an analogue-digital instrument cluster. The X 300 takes a lead in this department by offering a slipper and assist clutch. While the slipper clutch will help in downshifting, the assist clutch will pull the clutch hub and operating plate together to compress the clutch plates, which reduces the total clutch spring load and thus giving the lever a light feel. While the Himalayan and G 310 GS get optional accessories, the X 300 comes with all the accessories like a crash-guard, a pannier, a 12V charging socket and others as standard, quite an oxymoron but that’s how it is.
Engine – The Royal Enfield Himalayan has the largest, 411cc, single-cylinder engine producing the highest torque figures at 32 Nm and lowest power figures at 24.4 HP. The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 has the smallest, 296cc, twin-cylinder engine with the lowest torques figures at 25.7 Nm but the highest power figures at 38.5 HP. The BMW G 310 GS again falls in between with a 313cc, single-cylinder engine producing 34 HP and 28.47 Nm of torque. What works in favour of the Himalayan though is the fact that the power and torque come really early at 6500 RPM and 4250 RPM which is helpful when you are off-roading. Though the X 300 has a twin-cylinder high power engine, Kawasaki has just not tuned it for off-road capability which is a downer but cruising on the highway at 100 km/hr is a cake walk. The G 310 GS has a good balance of torque and power figures which help it in having the right kind of rideability.
Verdict – While it can be difficult to judge the clear winner, the result becomes obvious once you see the prices these bikes sell at. The Royal Enfield Himalayan costs Rs. 2.15 lakhs, the BMW G 310 GS costs Rs. 4.19 lakhs and the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 costs Rs. 5.59 lakhs (all prices, on-road, Mumbai). The Himalayan now, even with a short list of features becomes a steal while the Versys-X 300 is too costly for what it is. The G 310 GS, which once again falls in the middle is still costly but does come with a brand name that people reckon with.
Until the KTM 390 Adventure gets launched in India, the most value for money package in this segment will be the Royal Enfield Himalayan but it has a lot of quality and reliability issues. If the price tag isn’t a concern for you then we feel it is the BMW G 310 GS that makes more sense amongst these three bikes.