Rise of the Concept Motorcycles

You guys know I’m old-fashioned. Old bike. Old(er) guy. I like stuff that I can understand because that means I can likely fix it. Computers are not always my friend, although they make me my living. Stuff controlled by a computer on a bike makes even less sense to me and just seems like a reason to have to take your ride to the dealership.

The other thing that I can’t stand is bikes that look purpose built and really are just relabeled factory junk. Adding plastic fairings doesn’t make it a cruiser or “old school”. It makes it plastic. Add that to the fact that I really have never liked the bikes that BMW builds and it is even harder for me to acknowledge that they have introduced a great concept, a purpose-built bike that is not a re-badged, plasticized model.

Now, these days, any activity pursued by two or more people gets labeled as a “sport,” and everyday we see new activities and hardware added to the mix. The “X Games” caliber rider is just the guy that can use this. Professional riders have taken elements that are widely regarded as dangerous and unnecessary on the road, and moved them to a closed-circuit, or otherwise controlled environment, where they belong. These intrepid riders have taken raw shenanigannery and honed it to an art form all its own. Now usually, stunt bikes are relatively stock off road machines with customized additions such as extra footpegs, engine guards (for obvious reasons) and unique features such as a 12- o’clock bar for some of the more extreme (read: vertical) maneuvers. However, since they aren’t purpose-built in a factory, bike-building ability is part of the overall skillset for the sport.

Enter the G 310, a concept stunt bike built by BMW Motorrad that is meant to go straight from showroom to event with a minimum of mechanical dickering. This bike comes stripped, with no turn signals or lights of any sort, or even a license plate holder, so not only is it built for a specific purpose, it’s no good for any sort of (legal) road transportation. Before you read that as a negative, bear in mind that all of BMW’s resources went into handling stunts, with nothing wasted on any sort of non-essential bits and bobs. The result: we have the opposite of a Jack-of-all-trades, a purpose-built master of one particular style of riding.

The nature of stunt riding requires a balance of power, handling and well, balance. Brute power takes a backseat to manageable output and weight considerations, and so the engine is rather small at, I deduced, only 310 cc. This strikes a balance (that word again) between engine weight and grunt, ensuring enough power to handle the weight, with no weight wasted on excess power. Engine and chassis controls also got the stunt bike treatment with a lockable throttle for hands-off tricks, and special brakes on the rear. Dual rear calipers grip the same rotor, and while one caliper operates normally off the foot pedal, the other caliper operates off the left-hand brake lever nestled in next to the clutch lever so you can maintain front-wheel control when it’s time for a feet-off stunt.

I don’t personally know one individual that might need to own this bike, but it is nice to see that a manufacturer (even with a poor service record) is looking out for the guys in the sport out on the edge. Imagine if Mother Davidson purpose-built a stripped-down no-frills bike? They could even call it the stripper! Basic wiring, big engine, easy-to tune carb setup, and comfortable seat? Wait. Isn’t that what a bike should be?

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