BMW G 310 R v Yamaha MT-03 – New Naked Learner Comparison

Later this year the learner market will be joined by two important new models. One will be a naked version of what is in our opinion the best learner sportsbike on the market (the Yamaha R3) to be known as the Yamaha MT-03. The other is the first in a new partnership for BMW by way of the G 310 R which will see the German manufacturer target the entry level market for the first time. Let’s take a look at what each offers and who is likely to reign supreme in learner naked category.

BMW G 310 R v Yamaha MT-03

For this comparison, the MT-03 is somewhat of a known quantity already. Firstly, other than some ergonomic changes it is the same bike as the Yamaha R3 but with different looks. Secondly, the MT-25, which is a smaller capacity version of what western markets will get has already been ridden and reviewed in Indonesia where it went on sale late last year and reports are that it is a very solid machine.

The brand new BMW R 310 G on the other hand is a clean sheet motorcycle in more ways than one. The engine is brand new, it’s a totally new platform and it’s the first motorcycle to come out of the BMW/TVS partnership which sees BMW design the bike while it is manufactured by TVS factories in India.

BMW G 310 R v Yamaha MT-03

Looks wise, the BMW comes across as uninspiring and very generic. With the white, blue and red livery it’s sometimes hard to distinguish it from the Honda CB300F – and Honda are hardly known for their design flair. Comparing the G 310 R to the likes of the Kawasaki Z300, 390 Duke and MT-03 makes it seem even more boring and benign. BMW has played it disappointingly safe with the G 310 R and given that the S 1000 R looks so aggressive and modern, we feel it’s a missed opportunity by the Bavarian brand to make this bike stand out.

The MT-03 takes most of its styling cues from its bigger brother MT-07 and MT-09 bikes which is a good thing. We’ve always found the new MT range of bikes to be quite handsome and they manage to stand out without looking overly aggressive and brash like Kawasaki’s Z range can sometimes be.

BMW G 310 R v Yamaha MT-03

Fit and finish wise we wouldn’t expect there to be too much difference between the two. While BMW would usually go the extra mile with quality of finish, the fact that these bikes are being produced in India will no doubt mean that typical German attention to detail will be lost. Add to that the fact that this bike will have to compete on price – despite its badge – and there’s little doubt that the Yamaha will sit alongside the BMW without any embarrassment.

BMW obviously sees this as a potential issue to customers and were at pains to point out that quality control would be of the highest order in their press release, a snippet of which is below:

TVS Motor Company’s quality management system has been based on Japanese role models for many years. For the G 310 R, this system was extended to include the requirements and standards specific to BMW Motorrad, and within the area of quality management there are interdisciplinary teams from both companies working in close collaboration.

Furthermore, staff were specially selected and trained by TVS for production and assembly. Additional training programs were held for assembly workers together with colleagues from the BMW Motorrad plant in Berlin-Spandau over a period of more than a year prior to the start of serial production. From the very first motorcycle to come off the production line in India, they have also contributed to the high assembly standards and heightened quality awareness. All in all, production of the new BMW G 310 R is subject to the same quality criteria that apply to production at the BMW Motorrad plant in Berlin-Spandau.

This goes on for two whole pages of the press release. Time will tell how the finished product stacks up. The best comparison that can be made is with the KTM 390 Duke and RC 390 – both made in India and probably do suffer slightly in terms of quality compared to the rest of the KTM range produced in Australia. Again however, we’re comparing budget entry level bikes to higher end machines that sometimes cost more than family cars.

BMW G 310 R v Yamaha MT-03

Our major area of concern with the G 310 R is the engine. BMW chose to go with a single cylinder engine while the majority of the competition has moved towards twins, the exception being KTM and Honda (although the latter is expected to shift to two cylinder units in the near future). And while the 390 Duke and RC 390 are great bikes, one of their weaknesses is something many single cylinder powerplants suffer from – vibrations.

Like the KTM’s, the G 310 R will feature a single counterbalancer to help combat these vibrations but generally speaking, they will still be present at higher revs. These become more noticeable at higher rpm which means that on long highway stints, they can become annoying and fatigue inducing. BMW’s track record with vibrations hasn’t been wonderful lately either, with the otherwise brilliant S 1000 XR suffering from sometimes severe vibrations at certain engine speeds.

Power and torque wise, the Yamaha has a fairly large advantage over the German, whereas torque figures are more closely matched.. The MT-03 will put out 30.9 kW (42 hp) @ 10,750 rpm and 29.6 Nm (21.8 lb-ft) @ 9,000 rpm. The G 310 R produces 25 kW (34 hp) at 9,500 rpm and torque of 28 Nm (20.65 lb-ft) @ 7,500, meaning that the BMW will probably be slightly more responsive down low as one would expect from a thumper.

BMW G 310 R v Yamaha MT-03

But does the BMW have a weight advantage to counteract this power deficit? Yes, it does. The MT-03 with a full tank of fuel tips the scales at 168 kg (370 lbs) – and that is including ABS brakes. The G 310 R will come in at 158.5 kilos (350 pounds) – a not insignificant weight saving of almost 10 kilograms considering the small power figures here which therefore amplifies power to weight ratios. That said, some of that difference is due to fuel tank capacity with the MT-03’s 14 litre tank able to take in 3 more litres than the BMW, reducing the weight difference by about 2.5 kilograms.

With braking, the both the G 310 R and MT-03 make do with single 300 mm discs up front, but the G 310 R takes it up a notch with a radially bolted 4-piston caliper compared to with a two-pot caliper on the Yamaha. The BMW also gets steel-braided lines – a rarity at this end of the market.

BMW G 310 R v Yamaha MT-03

Suspension is similarly comparable between the two machines as well, albeit the MT-03 will potentially be marginally more sharp. Both feature 41 mm forks, with the G 310 R’s being inverted. Travel for the BMW is 140 mm up front and 131 mm at the rear, while the Yamaha is slightly shorter at 130 mm front and 125 mm behind. Handling should be fairly comparable with a nearly identical wheelbase (only 6 mm separates the two), although the BMW does get a slightly wider tire of 150/60 compared to the Japanese bike’s 140/70.

Other dimensions are also near identical. Seat height for the G 310 R is 785 mm and 780 mm for the MT-03. Overall length for the Yamaha is 2,090 mm and the BMW comes in slightly shorter at 1988 mm. However, trail on the BMW is marginally more at 102.3 mm as opposed to the MT-03’s 95 mm meaning that on paper at least, the Yamaha will corner slightly more aggressively and that will be assisted by the skinnier rear tire, too.

BMW G 310 R v Yamaha MT-03

On paper, the G 310 R will have a big fight on its hands. It’s down on power, slightly on torque although it does have a weight advantage. It also looks to have better quality anchors up front. The key will be to its handling and comfort. Will it suffer from engine vibrations like the 390 Duke? And what will the quality of its suspension components be like?

There’s also the price. There’s little doubt BMW will price their bike above most of the competition by way of its badge, but that’s a very difficult ask to make of new riders who generally seek value for money as a main determination of their purchase. The G 310 R also doesn’t really appear to try to win on looks either, although beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We’ll find out later this year.

BMW G 310 R v Yamaha MT-03

BMW G 310 RYamaha MT-03
Engine Type313 cc 4 strong, single cylinder321cc 4 stroke inline twin
Bore And Stroke80 mm x 62 mm68 mm × 44.1 mm
InductionBMS-E2 42mm throttle valven/a
Compression Ratio10.6:111.2 :1
Valve TrainDOHC; four valves per cylinderDOHC; four valves per cylinder
Horsepower25kw (34hp) @ 9,500 rpm30.9 kW (42.0hp) @ 10,750 rpm
Torque28 Nm @ 7,500 rpm29.6 Nm @ 9,000 rpm
Drive Train
Chassis / Suspension / Brakes
Front Suspension41 mm fork, 140 mm travel41 mm fork, 130 mm travel
Rear Suspension131 mm travel125 mm travel
Front BrakeSingle-disc brake Ø 300 mm, 4 piston caliperSingle-disc brake Ø 298 mm, 2 piston caliper
Rear BrakeSingle-disc brake Ø 240 mm, twin piston caliperSingle-disc brake Ø 220 mm, twin piston caliper
Front Tire110/70 R 17110/70-17M/C
Rear Tire150/60 R 17140/70-17M/C
Trail102.3 mm95 mm
Wheelbase1,374 mm1,380 mm
Seat Height785 mm780 mm
Wet Weight158.5 kg168 kg
Fuel Capacity11 litres14 litres

BMW Delivers Fifth Successive Year of Growth

BMW Motorrad has had another year of sales growth with total sales increasing by nearly 11 per cent for 2015. A total of 136,963 motorcycles were sold (up from 123,495 in 2014) which means BMW Motorrad are getting nearer and nearer to their target of 200,000 bike sales in a calendar year by 2020.

The blue-and-white brand’s biggest single market in 2015 was once again Germany. 23,823 vehicles remained in the home market, in other words some 17.4% of total sales. With a share of more than 25%, BMW Motorrad was once again the market leader. The USA followed in second place with 16,501 vehicles sold. The largest single markets follow in the order of France (12,550 units), Italy (11,150 units), UK (8.200 units) and Spain (7,976 units).

Stephan Schaller, President BMW Motorrad said, “Our aim for 2020 is to supply 200,000 vehicles to customers. The 2015 sales figure shows that our motorcycle strategy is taking effect. And based on this strategy we have a lot planned for the years to come. We will continue to consistently pursue our current model offensive in the premium segment over 500 cc, and we will be entering the capacity class under 500 cc with a genuine BMW machine this year – the G 310 R. In the medium term we shall be offering further innovative products in the area of urban mobility and electromobility.”

As Schaller says, the G 310 R will introduce BMW to a new market and will no doubt prove to be very successful in western markets. It’s also interesting to note the mention of electric bikes – though whether that will mean an electric roadbike or more electric scooters remains to be seen.

The largest contribution to the 2015 sales figure was made by the BMW R series with the hallmark boxer engine, accounting for a share of 73,357 vehicles or 53.6 %. As has traditionally been the case, the most successful BMW motorcycle, the R 1200 GS (23,681 units) is followed by the other volume models, the R 1200 GS Adventure (18,011 units) and the R 1200 RT (10,955 units). Meanwhile the BMW R nineT has become a true cult bike, finishing fifth in the BMW ranking list in its second year of sales with 9,545 units sold. The roadster R 1200 R (6,951 units) and the new touring sports bike BMW R 1200 RS (4,208 units) are likewise demonstrating a pleasing development.

Later this year we’ll see the R nineT based Scrambler hit the market which will no doubt also be a sales success, though unlikely to truly worry Ducati with their much more affordable Scrambler. “The signals we are getting from the markets are making us confident and optimistic” said Schaller. “Motorcycles are clearly on an upward trend once again. There is a positive mood in the motorcycle markets of Europe and America. And we are intensifying our efforts in Asia, too – especially in China.”



Is a Boxer Powered BMW R1200S Coming?

With BMW having success after success with its new model releases of late, could the Bavarian manufacturer seriously be considering building a boxer-engine powered sportsbike? If reports from German motorcycle magazine Motorrad are to be believed, the venerable R1200S could be making a return as soon as the end of next year.

The original R1200S was made shortly back in 2006 and wasn’t hugely successful. It was also very much a niche motorcycle – the boxer engine while being torquey just didn’t translate well to a sportsbike.

So what would a modern day boxer powered R1200S offer? It would sit well below BMW’s track weapon – the S 1000 RR – and possibly even below power of the of naked S 1000 R. It’s more likely that a new take on the R1200S would be a sporty tourer with weight savings from the boxer engine and potentially even a shaft drive in favor of a traditional chain. Again, it would be a nice machine – the question is whether the demand is there for such a bike given the development costs this would require.

The image below is a render mocked up by German accessories producer and aftermarket tuner Wunderlich who have previous history with BMW. The two companies have collaborated before and the German magazine Motorrad has a pretty good track record of making predictions – especially those connected to BMW.

BMW has had a very busy few years and at the end of this year is expected to release an R nineT based Scrambler and Cafe Racer, so don’t expect the BMW R1200S to make an appearance before 2017.

Source: Motorrad Magazine

Is a Boxer Powered BMW R1200S Coming?

Hot party. The 15th BMW Motorrad Days from July 3rd to 5th in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

And, how were the BMW Motorrad Days? “Hot” was what came to mind first. In spite of temperatures considerably above the 30°C mark, once again over forty thousand visitors followed the invitation by BMW Motorrad and came to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. And it was well worth the effort. Highlights such as the Classic Boxer Sprint or the spectacular Action Lifestyle Show in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation style thrilled everyone who attended. And while all the bikers were celebrating, the good news came in for all fans of the mega-event. The BMW Motorrad Days will continue to be held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the coming years – the agreement was extended to 2018.

Part of the show again.

Since the Classic Boxer Sprint could not be held in 2014 for logistical reasons, this year all fans were thrilled to enjoy the wonderfully individualised 2- and 4-valve classic boxer bikes as they raced each other in dragster style over the furlong distance (~200 meters). For those who couldn’t make it to the event there are great clips on the BMW Motorrad Youtube channel as well as on the Facebook page; on Instagram there is a best-of photo series.

Also taking part again: Chris Pfeiffer and his stunt show! After having to leave out the 2014 event due to injuries, no one was happier than Chris Pfeiffer himself to ride at the Hausberg mountain once again. Chris has now turned 45, but gets his BMW F 800 R dancing as if he were 20 and from a different planet.

Always there.

The Motodrome is the oldest travel wall-ride show in the world and has established itself as one of the mainstays of the BMW Motorrad Days. In the daytime the hell-riders demonstrated their gravity-defying skills every hour and in the evening honest live rock was played on the stage of the Motodrome – an ideal setting for the superbly customised bikes shown in the Custom Area in front of the Motodrome.

The test rides on the new BMW motorcycles, the tryout courses for motorcycle newbies without a license or the ride-aways into the countryside around Garmisch-Partenkirchen were fully booked in spite of the hot weather.

And of course the BMW racing riders signed autographs in the motorsports truck. This time Ayrton Badovini, Lance Isaac, Sabine Holbrook, Rico Penzkofer, Maria Costello, Valerie Thompson and Guy Martin attended. Guy even had his long mane cut off for the occasion. Probably it was simply too hot.

The large long-distance travel faction typical for BMW Motorrad not only saw great slide and movie presentations, but also the tryouts for the
GS Trophy in the event area. Here candidates had to face tasks such as crossing a tree trunk at 33° C with a BMW R 1200 GS Adventure – good preparation for riding in the rain forest at the GS Trophy 2016.

100,000 plus.

The search for the motorcycle with the highest mileage also met with great response with lots of bikes taking part. The winner was an
R 1150 GS from 2001 with an unbelievable 419,261 km on the clock, followed by an R 1000 GS from 1988 with 370,000 km, an R 1200 GS Adventure from 2006 with 320,100 km and last but not least a K 1200 S with over 300,000 km.

Being a part of it all.

This year BMW Motorrad focussed special attention on guests and those who had to stay at home being able to communicate their impressions of the BMW Motorrad Days as smoothly as possible. To this end BMW installed a Social Media Lounge above the new motorcycle exhibition. This offered smartphone safes with charger plugs, free WLAN, a Green Box where you could have your picture taken in Mission Impossible agent style on a S 1000 RR and there were drinks and air conditioning available.

BMW Motorrad would like to thank the many helpers, caterers, performers and of course all the guests. Every year they are the ones that make the BMW Motorrad Days into what they are: the most laid-back of all motorcycle meetings. We will be seeing you again at the Hausberg next year from July 1 to 3, 2016.

BMW Introduces Dynamic Brake Lights for Selected 2016 Models

BMW Motorrad is one of the pioneers of new technology in relation to motorcycle safety, having been one of the forerunners in the use of motorcycle ABS. Today, the company has announced the availability of a new system for six of their 2016 models (the ones that have the ‘ABS Pro’ system) which warns following traffic in two stages when the motorcycle in front brakes hard or makes an emergency braking maneuver.

Currently, the option is limited to the European Union where it has been approved for road use. Stage one is activated when the motorcycle decelerates from speeds above 50 km/h. In this case the brake light flashes with a frequency of 5 Hz. As the motorcycle approaches standstill (< 14 km/h), the hazard warning flashers are also turned on in the second stage. These remain turned on until the motorcycle accelerates again to a minimum speed of 20 km/h.

The dynamic brake light is available as an option ex works in conjunction with ABS Pro (in conjunction with the option “Ride Modes Pro”) from model year 2016 for the models R 1200 GS, R 1200 GS Adventure and S 1000 XR. The K 1600 GT, GTL and GTL Exclusive luxury tourers will feature this safety feature as standard from model year 2016 – as the ideal supplement to ABS Pro.

Given the progressive nature of EU legislation when it comes to road safety, it may be a while before we see such an option elsewhere.


BMW Path 22 Concept Points Way to R nineT Based Scrambler

It’s no secret that BMW Motorrad is working on a upscale rival to the Ducati Scrambler. It’s been mentioned now in several interviews that BMW plans on developing a scrambler style motorcycled based on the R nineT (as well as a cafe racer) and at the Wheels & Waves Festival we’ve seen our strongest clue yet as to what the bike will entail.

The name “Path 22” refers to one of the insider secrets among Europe’s surf spots. This particular stretch of beach is inaccessible to cars, located on the Atlantic coast of southern France, half an hour’s walk through one of Europe’s biggest pine forests. The path leading to this spot bears the number 22.

“The Concept Path 22 is based on the BMW R nineT, which we see as the epitome of a custom bike. It is actually designed to be modified – customised according to individual preferences. The idea of a BMW scrambler is not new to us. Now seemed to be the right time to present our interpretation of this legendary vehicle concept,” says Ola Stenegard, Head of BMW Motorrad Vehicle Design.

Leading credence to the fact that this machine is the basis of things to come, the press release states that Roland Sands Design was involved in the concept – something mentioned previously by BMW Motorrad CEO Stephan Schaller.

We’re big fans of the R nineT. It’s a beautiful machine and works brilliantly as a package. But there just seems to be something ‘off’ about the look of this concept. While we don’t have any misapprehension that the scramblers that Ducati and Triumph build are meant to be taken seriously off road, this concept looks too massive to be even considered for such ventures. The tank needs to be reduced in volume by at least half to work as a Scrambler, either in name or in practical application.

Let’s hope BMW won’t take the cheap route with their R nineT based Scrambler and just throw some trails tires and a new exhaust along with a Scrambler badge.


TVS Confirms The ‘K03’ BMW Naked Will Be Released This Year

Motorcycle manufacturer TVS published a press release earlier this week in relation to its sales for April. But of more interest is official confirmation from them that the first of many motorcycles that TVS is developing in conjunction with BMW Motorrad will be released this year. That bike is currently code-named the K03 and will see BMW Motorrad be the first of the ‘premium’ motorcycle manufacturers to dip their feet into the low capacity market.

The agreement between BMW and TVS began in 2013 and was entered into to help BMW develop smaller capacity machines for the western market and TVS to make larger capacity machines for their markets. It is expected that the partnership will result in number of motorcycles up to 500cc in capacity.

The K03 will be a single cylinder, 300cc water cooled machine and that styling will be based on the TVS Draken which was shown at last years’ Delhi Auto Expo. As is the way in recent times, it’s expected that BMW and TVS will also release a fully faired sportsbike and GS inspired ‘adventure’ version of the K03 as well.

All bikes in the collaboration will be manufactured by TVS and sold as TVS machines in their local markets, but as BMW Motorrad bikes in western markets. Excpect the official unveiling to take place at the Intermot show later this year.

TVS Confirms The K03 BMW Sportsbike Will Be Released This Year

BMW Motorrad Supports The Ride Of Smiles – 50,000 Miles Around The World For Charity

The Ride of Smiles, a 50,000-mile motorcycle journey around the world, will commence in New York on 1 May 2015. The object of the enterprise is to collect donations for children in need throughout the world. The goal is to collect at least 50,000 euros in financial aid over the course of the tour, which will then be passed on to four reputable aid projects. The initiator and sole participant in the Ride of Smiles is Dr. Henning Bützow. The doctor is an experienced and enthusiastic motorcycle tourist, and he has been travelling the world on two wheels since 1989. Impressed and inspired by the enormous hospitality and joy of life shown by the people he meets on his travels, he now wishes to give at least something of this back, in his Ride of Smiles.

To help him meet his ambitious goals on this occasion too, BMW Motorrad is providing him with a BMW R 1200 GS Adventure, complete with rider equipment and other technical items he needs for the project. Henning Bützow and BMW Motorrad can look back on many joint projects. In 2008, he set off on his Ride of Change, and covered 35,000 km on a BMW F 650 GS Dakar, also for charity.

50,000 miles = 50,000 euros.

The 50,000 miles of the Ride of Smiles represent the 50,000 or more euros that Henning Bützow hopes to collect for people in need. For this reason, the planned route, which will take him across North, Central and South America as well as Australia and New Zealand will draw a symbolic 50 on the world map. Anyone who wishes to can follow his progress by way of the GPS LIVE tracking facility in the Ride of Smiles travel blog (

If you would like to make a donation, please visit the Ride-of-Smiles homepage or go directly to the donation pages of the charities Doctors Without Frontiers, Christian Blind Mission, United For Africa or the Bayerischer Rundfunk’s ‘Sternstunden’. All donations will be passed on to the charities with no deductions and donation receipts will be appended to ensure they are tax-deductible. No donation money is used for the project itself, which is financed entirely from Henning Bützow’s own funding. More than 11,000 euros in donations have already been received, even before the event has got started. The current level of donations can be seen on the homepage or in the Ride of Smiles app.

Further information available from

Ride of Smiles