Hi, my name is Brian, and I own a BMW G 310 GS. This statement has bemused and befuddled many of my journalist colleagues. With all the bikes I get to ride, why on earth did I settle on the tiny GS? Well, the answer is not so simple. When I wanted to sell my previous bike, I got a decent deal at BMW and the bike’s only purpose was to take me from my home in the north of Pretoria to the Gautrain station in Hatfield. A distance of 11km. The bike had a specific purpose and I bought it accordingly.

With lockdown forcing us to stay at home, my choice of bike suddenly became even more troublesome. Surely you cannot use this as a serious travel companion, and it is certainly not worthy of the GS nomenclature. And it is going to break down constantly because it is assembled in India. Or, at least that is what people said. I was forever defending my purchase, but stopped the day I invested a little in the GS and made it into my own personal tiny wanderer.

There is a host of aftermarket products available for the 310 and I started with some luggage and a larger screen. The stock 310 is fitted with a short rally screen which serves no purpose whatsoever and actually makes the bike look odd. The 310 GS is quite a tall bike and the taller screen brought some balance to the proportions of the bike. I am quite tall, and the height of the GS is one of the positives I can point out. I am very comfortable on the bike and that makes longer distances bearable.

I also added some crash protection in case I drop the bike. These bars will help to keep the expensive bits out of harm’s way. Other items like the aluminium sump guard and larger side-stand foot were purely cosmetic, but they do add to the overall look of the bike.

In terms of living with the bike on a daily basis, you have to get used to the clutch. Ever since the launch of the GS, one of the major complaints was the clutch. I still stall the bike from time to time. The other known issue is the extremely bouncy headlight. There are various fixes for it, but as I hardly ever ride at night, this was not such a deal breaker for me.

In terms of riding, the GS has a fairly soft suspension. So for commuting, this bike really excels. When you do some serious off-roading with it the suspension simply cannot cope, but here is where one year of ownership helps. You learn what the shortcomings of the bike are, and then plan your routes accordingly. I even tackled the highly technical Breedsnek pass and the GS managed just fine. You just have to ride within the bike’s limits. Then I undertook a longer trip up to Sabie and Graskop and here too, the 310 was more than adequate.

After a year of ownership, I must admit that the GS has grown on me. As I said, aftermarket parts are readily available and the large luggage rack on the bike is extremely handy. The bike draws a lot of its linage from the larger GS models, and is mostly mistaken for a larger capacity bike. I have also learned that people will have an opinion about my bike and judge me accordingly. Yet, if you are steering clear of the 310 because of what other people will say, then that is your loss.

The BMW G 310 GS has recently been updated to rectify the clutch issue and also the bouncy headlight. I am tempted to upgrade to the newer version because that will make my riding experience so much more enjoyable, but I am enjoying my bike too much now to justify the additional expense. The little GS has proven that you can tour with it. You can do a bit of off-roading and nothing has fallen off or malfunctioned so far. My journey with my BMW G 310 GS will continue and I will no longer feel the need to justify my purchase.

Article & Photos: Brian Cheyne

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