THAT GOOD, HONESTLY?
For a start we should respect the power plant in this bike. Ignore the 310cc capacity, ignore that it’s not made in Germany. It is a real techy motor. Like Yamaha’s WR250F enduro, it features a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, reversed rearward-slanted cylinder and that is a DOHC head on it. The Yamaha, being a full-on competition machine, pumps around 40hp, this GS, being a road bike unit with much longer service intervals (and having the benefit of a three year warranty) pumps a lesser but still impressive 34hp. That’s more than the Honda CRF450L, by the way, such are the quirks of EU homologation.
It’s a lively little performer. Needs a little rev to get going but the mid-range is strong and for most traffic situations it’s just fine, plenty powerful enough. And off-road, it’s great, there’s just that bit more pluck than say the Honda CRF250L/Rally and if you play the throttle it can traipse along just fine.
And the wheels and suspension, now being up to snuff, mean you can make the most of that motor. The 19” front works really well off-road, to the point where you’d think it was a 21” hoop. On the CB500X the geometry and weight distribution don’t feel natural off-road – they work well enough but you always feel that the Honda is a road bike cleverly adapted. On the 310 GS that’s not the case, with the RRP chassis mods it feels pukka, like an off-roader with added fairing, seat and a few niceties. You ride it pretty much as you would a regular dirt bike.
The point being, that fairing, the comfy seat and the bodywork will accept all manner of adventure baggage and add-ons (farkles in US-speak) and so actually help make the bike, rather than detract from it. The RRP 310 GS is dirt bike capable and road bike comfortable; for trail riding it’s one cracking tool. For UK green lanes it’s a lovely ride, easily capable enough – especially given the added ground clearance the kit brings – while for those connecting road sections it’s super comfortable.
Pretty soon you stop thinking ‘310’ and simply measure the bike for what it is. It has the capability of an old school 600/650cc single, with the new world 1200/1250 GS comforts such as ABS, luggage carrying and weather protection. For real adventure riding, where Autobahn blasting is not part of the game, it seriously works. Hand on heart, I’d pick this bike for a grand green lane tour of the UK – and that’s over a KTM enduro. Adventure is not a race.
A quick word on fuel. Tank size is a fairly mini 11 litres. But as the 310 can turn in around 80mpg (how we love to mix our measures!) that’ll make for 200 miles on a good day. Fitting a bigger tank isn’t really feasible, but adding a one-gallon Rotopax is not a big issue (RRP make a rack to carry one) and will extend that range by 80 miles or so. Enough for world travel, for sure.