Updated: Jan 29, 2020
After putting 10,000km on the Baby Beemer here's the summary for those who have been asking. I've got the 1200GS in Australia and while a great touring bike there, too heavy for the riding I like to do here. Been punting Ducati's around for many years here but again a bit limited even though at times they didn't get much of a choice. Did my last few big rides on XR 150's which are great and will take you anywhere but the first 2000 odd k's of this ride was two up and I knew with two Westerners and luggage the XR would be lacking. Had been researching the 310GS for some time and literally the day before i planned to leave bit the bullet and very pleased I did.
FIRSTLY WHAT COULD BE BETTER Initially i was a bit frustrated. I expected it would have more low end torque and the first day I stalled it a few times. No issue thereafter. Typical Vietnamese attention to detail from the dealer required setting the suspension, tyre pressures and tightening a few wires in the first days but other than scheduled maintenance never touched it again. The suspension is too soft even on the firmest rear spring preload two up with luggage. Okay just rider and luggage but an aftermarket fully adjustable spring and shock will be happening in the not too distant future. The front could do with some options for adjustment too. Like any bike these days it needs a pipe and that will be first. Still undecided which one and where i want to run it. If someone comes up with a reliable big bore kit and some fuel mods to compliment the pipe that will be on the wish list also.
WHAT IT DOES REALLY WELL Despite the less than perfect suspension it turns in beautifully as you expect from BMW. On the change of direction which obviously in the mountains here is all day long it was brilliant. Just a slight back off the throttle as you pull it over and back on it as smooth as silk. The geometry for my 178cm couldnt be better. No soreness whatsoever on the bike, no cramps, nothing. Even compared to its big sister a star in the comfort stakes. We always want more power but honestly I think most riders would be very satisfied with it. I don't like the engine sound down low (pipe should help that) but once its on song lots of fun to ride. If you keep it above 7000rpm its an exciting ride. It will pull smoothly in top from 4000 rpm and between 4 and 6000 its a leasurely ride and not going to get even inexperienced riders into trouble. No doubt as has been the case with the now 850 and 1250cc GS range the 310cc engine is the teaser. The bike is obviously over engineered for the 310 and will finish around the 500cc mark I'd say. The Metzeler Tourance tyres were very good and by the tyre wear perfectly suited to the bike. Brakes are good but use genuine Brembo pads when you replace them. Fuel lights on around 250km if you havin a go with 65km in reserve. Gearbox is sweet but a fine touch finding neutral at times.
All in all ze Germans can take another bow for design and I'll tip my hat to India also. So far have not been able to find one manufacturing fault anywhere. Two of my mates have already bought them and I'm tipping there'll be a few more and for good reason. With a few mods the perfect touring bike for Asia in my opinion. I think i need more for the hire fleet!