BMW G 310 R Vs KTM 390 Duke Comparison Review

We spend some time with the BMW G 310 R and the KTM 390 Duke to get a sense of what each bike offers, and which one makes for a better buy.

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We pit the BMW G 310 R against the KTM 390 Duke to see what each bike offers.

Highlights

  • The BMW G 310 R's immediate and closest rival is the KTM 390 Duke
  • The BMW G 310 R is priced at Rs. 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom)
  • The KTM 390 Duke is priced at Rs. 2.44 lakh (ex-showroom)

The BMW G 310 R has been one of the most-awaited products from BMW Motorrad India. Manufactured by TVS Motor Company, the G 310 R is BMW Motorrad's answer to the small displacement segment (300-400 cc) and although it proudly wears the German brand, it's completely made in India. Priced at ₹ 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom), the BMW G 310 R though comes at a premium, but what it makes up for is in the way the bike is engineered and in overall build quality.

Also Read: BMW G 310 R Road Test Review

The KTM 390 Duke may wear an Austrian brand name, but it's also made in India, of course KTM is owned by India's Bajaj Auto. And priced at ₹ 2.54 lakh (ex-showroom), the KTM 390 Duke is the BMW G 310 R's closest rival. On paper and specifications, both bikes seem evenly matched, although it's the KTM which has a slight displacement and power output advantage (373 cc vs 313 cc; 34 bhp vs 43 bhp). But then, it's not just about a slightly larger engine and more performance on paper, but the sum of everything which differentiates a great bike from a good bike. So, let's get things rolling!

Watch the BMW G 310 R First Ride Review Video Here:

Design and Features

The KTM 390 Duke has been around for a while now, and even though the bike got a comprehensive nip and tuck in 2017, it's the BMW which feels newer and better built. The upside down gold-coloured forks, impeccable fit and finish, nicely contoured body panels, and particularly the Pearl White Metallic, BMW 'HP' race colours of our test bike certainly give the BMW G 310 R an aura of premium quality, even when standing still. Overall build and paint quality is pretty good, and the G 310 R feels solid and built to last.

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The BMW G 310 R has a well-proportioned, stylish and sporty design and has excellent build quality

The instrument panel is digital and has all the required information on display, but the clutch and brake levers are non-adjustable, something which should have been standard considering the ₹ 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom) price tag. It's definitely got road presence, and the BMW does look and feel solid, and has good proportions too. The seat is comfortable, and the cushion is neither too hard, not too soft, and is perfect for long hours in the saddle.

Also Read: BMW G 310 R First Ride Review

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The KTM 390 Duke looks sharper and sportier, with its sharp creases and sporty design

In comparison, the KTM 390 Duke looks sportier, with the sharp creases on the bodywork and the orange-coloured exposed trellis frame as well as colour-coordinated wheels and standard hand guards. The KTM also looks more premium with its distinguishing LED headlights (which the BMW misses) and the feature-rich, full-colour TFT instrument panel. And it is smartphone enabled, with the KTM My Ride app and is certainly a stand-out feature, and even offers a range of customisation options and a long list of necessary information.

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The KTM 390 Duke comes with standard hand guards and also gets adjustable levers, which the BMW misses out on

And the KTM's standard dual-channel ABS also gets modes - Road, Moto (ABS on front wheel only), and it can be switched off completely. The BMW also gets dual-channel ABS, but it cannot be switched off. And while the KTM gets adjustable levers, the BMW misses out on those, as well as the LED headlight.

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The KTM 390 Duke gets a full-colour TFT screen which is smartphone connected, and offers more features and information

Also Read: 2017 KTM 390 Duke First Ride Review

Engine and Performance

Specifications BMW G 310 R KTM 390 Duke
Engine Type Single-cylinder DOHC, liquid-cooled, front intake Single-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled
Engine Displacement 313 cc 373.4 cc
Maximum Power 34 bhp @ 9,500 rpm 43 bhp @ 9,500 rpm
Peak Torque 28 Nm @ 7,500 rpm 35 Nm @ 7,000 rpm
Maximum Speed 143 kmph 167 kmph
Transmission 6-speed 6-speed
Frame Tubular steel bridge-type with rear subframe Steel Trellis
Front Suspension 41 mm front fork, non-adjusable, with 140 mm travel 43 mm, inverted WP fork with 150 mm travel
Rear Suspension Spring preload adjustable shock, with 132 mm travel WP monoshock with 150 mm travel
Front Tyre 110/70 x 17, Michelin Pilot Street Radial 110/70 x 17, Metzeler Sportec MS
Rear Tyre 150/60 x 17, Michelin Pilot Street Radial 150/70 x 17, Metzeler Sportec MS
Front Brake 320 mm disc with four-piston ByBre caliper 300 mm disc with four-piston ByBre caliper
Rear Brake 240 mm disc with single-piston ByBre caliper 230 mm disc with single-piston ByBre caliper
ABS BMW two-channel ABS, not switchable Bosch 9.1 MP two-channel ABS, switchable with three modes
Kerb Weight 158 kg 139 kg (dry)
Fuel Tank Capacity 11 litres 13.5 litres
Price ₹ 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom) ₹ 2.44 lakh (ex-showroom)
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The BMW G 310 R has a strong mid-range but the engine feels vibey at high revs

The 313 cc, reverse-inclined, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine belts out 34 bhp at 9,500 rpm and 28 Nm of peak torque at 7,500 rpm. The engine is peppy, with a strong low and mid-range, and that is where the BMW G 310 R is happiest at. There's ample top-end too, and our test bike crossed 140 kmph with ease, but getting there and sitting at high triple digit speeds all day may not be what you'd want to be doing on the G 310 R. This BMW may be well built and feel solid, but after around 7,000 rpm, the vibrations will begin to creep in. There's also some buzz on the footpegs and handlebars, but the vibes from the fuel tank is what gets to you. But it will happily cruise at 110-120 kmph, and with enough top end to reach more than 140 kmph, if the need arises, but the engine isn't happy sitting at high revs for too long.

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The KTM 390 Duke also has slight vibrations from the engine at high speeds, but the vibrations aren't as pronounced as the BMW G 310 R's

The KTM 390 Duke also has a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine. But it's slightly larger at 373 cc displacement, and if it's pure performance you're looking for, it's immediately apparent which one brings more joy as the revs climb. The 390 Duke's engine puts out more power and torque as well - 43 bhp at 9,000 rpm and peak torque of 37 Nm at 7,000 rpm. But it's the way the 390 Duke performs and accelerates that makes it the more fun bike to ride. The KTM 390 Duke now gets ride by wire, and throttle response is crisp, and accelerating through the gears is pure joy and entertainment.

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The BMW G 310 R feels rock solid and stable, but it's the KTM 390 Duke which is the more fun bike to ride, with its hooligan personality

If the BMW feels solid and stable, it's the KTM which will get you grinning as you whack open the throttle. There's a bit of vibration on the handlebar and footpegs, but nothing as disturbing as the buzz on the BMW's fuel tank. And there's some amount of vibration to be expected from a performance-oriented single anyway, so you learn to live with it, and appreciate the 390 Duke for what it offers. You can cruise comfortably all day at 120 kmph, and given enough tarmac and if you're keen to brave the windblast, it will go all the way to 152 kmph.

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The BMW G 310 R is a nimble handler, quite likeable and remains planted even around a fast corner

Ride and Handling

On the move, the BMW G 310 R has a supple ride - comfortable, planted and taut. Over minor road undulations and the occasional broken stretch, the BMW sails over quite comfortably. Ride quality isn't exactly plush, but it's not too harsh to make you complain about being uncomfortable. The ergonomics are spot on, and you have a neutral and comfortable riding position, with the handlebar and footpeg positioned with easy reach to make a long ride not very tiring. Handling is taut, and the G 310 R feels stable and planted, even around a corner. The Michelin Pilot Street radial tyres offer very good grip, and even when leaned over while taking a fast corner, the BMW G 310 R feels planted, and without any sense of the bike weaving or feeling out of control.

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The KTM 390 Duke feels more alive and is an excellent handler. Ride quality is taut and slightly stiffer than the BMW

The moment you switch to the KTM, what is immediately obvious is the different riding position. The seat height of the KTM 390 Duke is higher and the handlebar is placed forward as well, so the rider sits with a slight crouch towards the front, over the fuel tank and engine and knees naturally falling into the recesses on the fuel tank. It's a sporty riding position all right, but not overtly aggressive to make it uncomfortable, even for extended periods in the saddle. That said, the seat cushion material is slightly on the stiffer side, although the KTM offers more room for the rider to move around, particularly when negotiating a set of corners.

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The BMW G 310 R oozes quality, while the KTM 390 Duke looks sportier, even when standing still

Verdict

The BMW G 310 R is a well-built, well-engineered roadster which certainly oozes quality and has the performance and hardware to make it quite a likeable bike. It's not exactly the go-fast street hooligan, if that's your idea of having fun on two wheels. But it does everything to satisfaction, and will do most things expected of it with satisfaction, and that includes a decent highway cruising speed as well, and fantastic brakes. But, at ₹ 2.99 lakh (ex-showroom), the BMW G 310 R is still on the expensive side, despite its premium fit and finish and solid build quality. That price tag is what robs the BMW of making it a great entry-level performance roadster with an attractive price to performance ratio.

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The BMW G 310 R has solid road presence, but it's the KTM 390 Duke which has more features, better performance and has the less expensive price tag between the two

The KTM 390 Duke on the other hand, makes for the more entertaining bike to ride and at ₹ 2.44 lakh (ex-showroom), the KTM is significantly less expensive than the BMW. It also boasts of European brand value, and has a long list of features which the BMW lacks. But most of all, it's the KTM which comes out tops, whether it's pure performance, handling or the sheer joy of riding an entertaining street naked. And with a price difference of more than ₹ 50,000, it's difficult to ignore the fact, that the KTM will bring more fun, more joy, every time you take it out for a spin, and at the same time, at a much lower cost. So, in the ultimate analysis, it's the KTM 390 Duke which comes out tops in this comparison.

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(Photogtaphy: Rakesh Singh and Azam Siddiqui)

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