The thing that’s been stunningly hilarious, frustrating and stupid lately is the pricing BMW Motorrad India launched the G310R and G310GS motorcycles at! For around 4.5 lakhs on road in India, and some called it ‘decent’ pricing. Why? Well, because its a BMW! But is it? I’m not sure if BMW Motorrad was inspired by the pricing of the Kawasaki Versys- X300 while it should have been inclined towards a 3.7- 3.8 Lakh Rupees on road price at the max. But, motorcycle reviews in India will cover the ridiculous pricing up with the word ‘Premium’.
The thing you need to understand about brands is that they sometimes offer whatever they want at whatever price they feel like because of a certain logo. Doesn’t necessary mean the product is that good. But from my experiences and observations, no matter what brand it is, people get taken for a ride because they like the brand more than the product they’re buying.
Your mild case of Schizophrenia is being used by them to fling you around like a naughty child flings its dolls around, without you even realising and I applaud them for that. After all, you’re not paying for the Indian product at all, its just the sticker that matters! I like the way they grab you by the.. you know what! If you’re brainwashed, you deserve the cakes on offer my friend. Just watch the video below and you’ll know!
Speaking of the G310R and the GS310 GS, they seem to be average motorcycles based on the reviews of many youtubers outside India. But, aren’t they the same as the TVS Apache 310RR in terms of engine performance? Aren’t they ideally a TVS underneath that re-branded fibre body? If they intended to keep costs low by having the engine made locally, shouldn’t it have served the purpose??
As an adventure motorcycle enthusiast and a prospective buyer, I don’t know what the guys in BMW Motorrad India’s pricing team were thinking!! I mean, why would someone with a sane mind buy a MADE IN INDIA motorcycle like the G310 GS that doesn’t have a tall windscreen, LED head lights, mobile charger, etc, for a price around 4.8 lakh rupees on road in Bangalore (assuming I’d get all those adventure necessary accessories outside) + the amount to get a pooja done, tips to the poojari and some more to the watchman who looks happier than you because he wasn’t a fool to be spending around 5 lakh Rupees on a 313cc motorcycle.
You know what I’d do if I had a 5 Lakh rupees budget?? Get a loan for another 2/3 lakhs and buy a Kawasaki Versys 650. I’d be assured of quality at least and not wait for other customers for their feedback on a new motorcycle. Plus, the price would be justified! So if someone like my watchman told me that he would get a car for that money, I’d be left with some amount of pride for a satisfying response.
But I’m not going to do that either. I’m waiting for another bombshell like the one KTM dropped in 2013. A wise, purposeful, price conscious product that shouts out VFM (value for money). I want such a motorcycle but with minor dependence on electronics to make it more reliable. That’s another factor important for a motorcycle to be a tourer/adventure spec machine. The 390 from KTM was alright in terms of power and price but since it was a street motorcycle having a very high compression ratio, the engine life was at par with that of a mosquito’s life span apart from the problems I’ve mentioned here.
Since the 390 was capable of making me more childish, I kept it despite the odds. And, it taught me a few things that I should look for in a future adventure spec motorcycle. I must be one of the few guys who doesn’t drool at a Ducati Multistrada or the new Triumph Tiger 1200. Yes, I belong to that breed. I don’t get the point of large, heavy adventure motorcycles for an average Asian physique like mine and like a lot of other existing owners. Those motorcycles are bulky, demand a crazy amounts of maintenance costs and the electronics on them make it more of a play station than touring motorcycles, especially the Multistrada.
Something’s missing among those big motorcycles? The reason I didn’t mention the BMW GS1200 with becasue its not a big motorcycle, its a humongous 2 wheeled tuk- tuk. My funda is straight and simple- can you lift the adventure motorcycle by yourself in case you dropped it? Can you even put it on center stand after a tiring ride? I’m sure many existing and prospective owners can’t!
My preferences have led me to waiting for something light weight and nimble, both characteristics that KTM have in their DNA. But what about reliability? That’s another concern with KTM’s which also come with extra electronic equipment- especially the big ones. I mean, can you let the rider do anything by himself at all? This also brings me to speculations about the upcoming KTM 390 adventure as well and that is exactly why I haven’t been excited about it like the others. How much of electronic aid and gadgetry would they use on it considering they’ve made their existing models semi electric motorcycles?
In addition, would the 390 adventure have the same compression ratio as it is on the Duke 390? If yes, then it is bound to have issues sooner than expected. If no, well then it could be a long runner. In my opinion, an adventure motorcycle should be capable of having a very long engine life and a very low breakdown rate. That brings me back to having fewer electronics. See the cars or motorcycles on a tow truck these days and they’re mostly big, expensive ones being taken back to their nannies because some fuse blew itself up or because the conditions were too ‘dusty’ to drive/ ride in.
I had a sort of revelation at the International Jawa day in Bangalore recently when I saw motorcycles older than me running around- young and happy and the lack of electronics on them was one of the primary reasons for it. Not only that, the bodywork, levers, springs all held up well despite those gruelling roads they’ve been through in the last 50 years! Why can’t motorcycles be that way today? Why should we be under the constant fear of breaking down because the rain and slush made some sensor go bonkers?!
“If its a premium motorcycle with tech loaded on it, you’re going to have electronic issues, frequent SVC visits and a constant fear of being stranded in the middle of nowhere. If its a ragged old mechanical motor then you’re not under constant fear but are more jolly and fearless and you’re probably going to need another plug or the mech down the road. Then you can continue riding.”
Are motorcycles being engineered or de-engineered because suddenly, the answer to all motorcycling problems in the world today has been electronics and that is quite a bummer. Not that mechanical issues don’t exist but its just that they occur less often when compared to electronic ones. In addition, the chances of fixing a mechanical breakdown on the spot are higher than fixing an electronic one. If you’re motorcycle is an old mechanical one, there are chances of it being fixed by the nearest local mechanic in case of a breakdown (unless you haven’t blown the engine) but if it’s a new ‘premium motorcycle’, you might as well have a roadside assistance contract. 😛
So what next? Nothing much, just save up until some other motorcycle brand launches a wise, powerful reliable, less complicated and easy to maintain ADV touring motorcycle in India- something like the Kawasaki KLR 650 (are you listening Kawasaki India?). Until then, just brace yourselves for the Youtube Videos that mention “BMW 310 bohot achi bike hai, please go for it and also subscribe to my channel.” Save yourself from the Influenza, don’t get brainwashed any more and enjoy the show! 🙂
P.S. Speaking of the BMW 310 motorcycles, I don’t doubt their credibility in terms of performance at all. The overall package sounds alright keeping the price point aside. In my experience though, if its made in India and if its a new machine altogether, you might as well wait for the new buyers to do some more R&D before you think of buying one. But again, the price point just makes it ridiculous. I wouldn’t pay 500 bucks for an average chocolate shake because someone added a small piece of Kit Kat on top as ‘decoration’ and called it Kit Kat Shake! Think about it.