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BMW makes foray into entry-level segment

- AJEEJA LIMBU, Kathmandu

Dec 14, 2018-

Motorcyle enthusiasts’s long wait for sub-500cc BMW bikes will be over on Friday when the renowned German brand finally makes its debut in Nepal with the launch of the G310R, a sporty roadster, and the G310GS, an adventure tourer.

While a number of well-known two-wheeler brands—especially from Italy—have caught the fancy of bike lovers here, BMW is looking to cater to a new segment of riders who want an adventure tourer with its GS model. It will go head to head with other premium motorcycles from established brands like KTM, Royal Enfield and Honda.

But is the market ready for motorcycles from the renowned German brand?

Saurav JB Rana, director of Turbo Group—the company responsible for bringing BMW motorcycles to Nepal—says he definitely thinks so. They created a subsidiary, Torque Motors, to specifically handle BMW sales in the country.  According to Rana, now is the perfect time to launch the BMW G 310 twins in Nepal.

“The 300 to 500 cc is a very exciting segment in Nepal. It is a sweet spot for riders as motorcycles in this segment offer 

oodles of performance at an affordable price,” said Rana. The BMW G310R is priced at Rs950,000 while the G310GS is priced at Rs1,090,000.

And the response to the BMW G 310 twins has been overwhelmingly positive worldwide. This was also reflected during the first day of test rides in Kathmandu on Tuesday. 

Riders got the chance to test ride both the G310R and the G310GS. They all had a wide grin by the end of the ride. The most common comments after getting off the motorcycle were: “It looks and feels premium” and “The GS looks huge”. The BMW G310R is perfectly suited for the city while the G310GS is tailor-made for adventure touring.

So which model should you go for?

“It depends on your riding style. Personally, I would opt for the GS as I like to ride away from the city and hit the dirt while a lot of my friends are looking to get the R,” said Rana.

Both models are powered by a 313 cc single-cylinder engine that produces 34 PS and 28 Nm. However, they are tuned differently.

The G310R has been designed to be maneuverable, easy to handle and sporty. One twist of the throttle and you will feel the motorcycle taking off like a jet. Coupled with excellent Michelin Pilot Street tyres, the G310R feels planted even while cornering.

On the other hand, the G310GS looks and handles exactly like a baby GS. BMW’s GS series is synonymous among riders looking to travel around the world on a motorcycle. From its high seating position to massive 19-inch front wheels, the baby GS feels at home where the tarmac ends and the dirt begins. 

And the company has big plans with the launch of the G310GS. They want to promote adventure touring in Nepal which is still in its infancy. The idea of packing your GS with tents and other gear, and setting off into the wilderness to explore Nepal is something that the company is working on with organised rides in the future. 

“We want to open Nepal as a new touring destination for riders from all over the world, with the GS leading the way,” said Rana.

They have even signed on Himalaya Bike Travel and Adventure as the official touring partner of BMW in Nepal. The company has a fleet of 11 GS motorcycles—five BMW F700GS and six BMW F800GS. “We want to cater to both international and domestic riders who want to explore the vastness of Nepal,” Rana explained.

However, it faces stiff competition from the KTM Duke 390, which is popular among riders in Nepal. According to Sandesh Poudel, sales officer at KTM, “Many riders have bought this model to go touring in Nepal.” 

And one can’t leave Royal Enfield out of the conversation, with its Bullet and Classic models the first choice for many international riders looking to explore the mountainous regions in Nepal. Many motorcycle rental shops in the Valley carry a fleet of Enfields. It looked to further secure the adventure touring market with the launch of the Himalayan, which was designed specifically to traverse the most challenging of terrains and ultimately, conquer the Himalayas.

While Honda does not offer any specific touring models other than the Africa Twin, customers have fallen in love with the XR series, which is the best selling dirt motorcycle in Nepal. Even the dual-sport centric CRF 250L and 250L Rally from Honda are being used as adventure tourers by many riders in Nepal.

 

Five things you need to know before buying

 

Service intervals, warranty and cost?

Both motorcycles have a 10,000 km service interval with a three-year warranty. Customers have the option of buying an extended warranty which brings the total warranty to five years. Compared to a Benelli, servicing the BMW motorcycle will be very affordable.

Will spare parts be readily available?

Parts will be readily available as the company plans to keep a stockpile of fast-moving parts. And with the parts coming from India, there will not be a shortage of parts or delays in getting them. The parts are also reasonably priced.

How are the motorcycle technicians?

The staff handling the motorcycles have a wealth of experience who undergo training in Munich, Germany as per BMW guidelines. They are also trained by BMW India. There will be three technicians at the Kathmandu outlet to handle servicing tasks.

Where can I get one and how soon?

Apart from Kathmandu, there will be BMW stores opening in Pokhara, Chitwan, Butwal and Itahari. The company plans to expand into other top-tier cities across Nepal soon. The first shipment is on its way to Nepal with customers set to receive the keys to their new motorcycles in January.

Why buy a BMW?

BMW motorcycles are engineered to last with high levels of quality control. Even though the G 310 twins are manufactured in India, German engineers oversee the quality control process to make sure that each unit is fit for the global market.

Published: 14-12-2018 08:56

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