Entry-level enduro bikes BMW G 310 GS, Honda CRF 250 Rally and Kawasaki Versys-X 300

A2 entry-level enduro bikes put to the test

G 310 GS, CRF 250 Rally and Versys-X 300

Luggage, motorway or gravel – nothing scares off travel enduros. However, most of them weigh over 200 kilos and provide over 100 horsepower. These 3 entry-level enduros want to prove that there are really good travel enduros in the A2 class too.

Of course, it doesn’t work without honesty. When speedy progress on unlimited motorway tracks is on the list, then come the BMW G 310 GS, Honda CRF 250 Rally and Kawasaki Versys-X 300 undoubtedly quickly reaches its limits. With 40 hp, the Kawa from Akashi marks the upper limit of the trio’s performance. But that doesn’t distinguish the three from other entry-level or A2-compatible motorcycles. So sponge over it, ticked off and dedicated to the really important, eventful driving moments. All around Lake Garda, we test what talents the entry-level enduros have. The smallest roads and passes off the main routes such as up to Monte Bondone, the Tremalzopass or around Lago d´Idro and Lago di Valvestino are your territory for a few days.

A2 entry-level enduro bikes put to the test

G 310 GS, CRF 250 Rally and Versys-X 300

BMW G 310 GS

As if the BMW G 310 GS could hardly wait for the excursion to this region, it is already scratching with its 19 and 17-inch tires. But be careful: after the start you need a rearward sloping, 313 cm³ single cylinder a few revolutions to hang on to the gas spontaneously. If you do not take this into account, you will stop with a "plop". After a few meters in the inner-city turmoil of Riva del Garda, however, this has subsided, and the little GS easily wins every traffic light start against the four-wheeled competition. With many identical parts and, above all, spring travel increased to 180 millimeters at the front and rear, the Bavarians have conjured up the sister GS from the small, bare G 310 R. With its more wheelbase and weight, it has lost some of the exuberant handiness of the R, but is still easy to control.


In terms of price, the BMW in the standard version lies between its counterparts. Cost: 5800 euros.

Not unimportant for beginners and, above all, climbers: With the metamorphosis to the BMW G 310 GS, the seat height increased considerably: 860 millimeters are now in the data sheet. Together with the voluminous tank, which spreads the knees a little too widely, and the wide driver’s seat cushion, it is difficult for shorter-term users to get their feet safely on the ground. Alternatively, there is a 15 millimeter lower bench in the BMW range to facilitate this endeavor.

However, this would narrow the knee angle – and this is the most compact on the BMW G 310 GS in this comparison. Whereby the little BMW is struggling a little with the conversion to the travel enduro. With it, the height difference between the wide handlebars and the seat is the smallest, the driver finds the tightest seat cushion. No other of the three is more sporty and collected. Whereby the BMW can capitalize a little on the small roads. She turns the corner casually on the narrow line, ironing out road construction inadequacies in the tar belt with her chest of drawers. In addition, there is the full grip of the mounted Metzeler Tourance, which gives a lot of feedback and trust when savoring the good lean angle. At most, that suffers a little when the brakes are applied. The non-adjustable lever – as with the other two, there are no corresponding adjustment options on the brake and clutch – is less important. Rather, the effect and controllability should be a bit crisper. A wooden feeling remains, especially when the sporty digging on the brakes in turns. In order to save the honor of the fully fueled BMW G 310 GS, which weighs 173 kilograms, it must be said that the other two also have to give up under this point of view, even not reaching the BMW level.

Conclusion on the entry-level GS

What is left at the end of the day? The impression of having sat on the most active of the three motorcycles. However, also on the one that least corresponds to a travel enduro. Although the engine of the BMW G 310 GS turns out to be the best in the comparison, willingly competes below and inspires with a nice thrust across the rev range, with little consumption of 3.3 liters – the GS does not really reveal itself in it. The wind protection is too low for travel stages, the chassis has too few reserves to take a passenger with you in the long run, the tank does not hold enough fuel, the GS spirit is simply missing. With its 35 hp single, the small travel enduro is the sporting cannon among the three and wants to hurry ahead rather than looking for the next adventure.

Honda CRF 250 Rally

That is changing now. Appearance of the Honda CRF 250 Rally. One look is enough: the desert sand gently scurries past the long-legged CRF, attracting the dunes of the Sahara, and where do you go to the Dakar Rally? – Such thoughts whiz through the brain in no time at all. If this isn’t adventure, what is it? Hot HRC look and real Bridgestone Trail Wing studs on the 21 and 18 inch spoke rims. Gravel, we’re coming.


With a purchase price of 5,925 euros, the basic version of the Honda is at the upper end of the test.

Before the thirst for adventure completely prevails before the start, take a quick look at the data: The Honda single-cylinder has only 250 cm³, mobilizes 25 hp, and the pointer of the scale only stops at 158 ​​kilograms, with a full tank. The dynamics seem to have narrow limits. Regardless, the ratio still has to be silent. First, swing your leg over the 900 millimeter high seat of the Honda CRF 250 Rally. 250 millimeters of travel at the front and 265 at the rear take their toll. Once the adventuring sits on it, quite a few of them are already used up. The fork and shock absorber do not have much damping. The spring elements are very soft, even from an enduro point of view.

The same applies to the engine of the Honda CRF 250 Rally. It hangs gently on the gas when the right handle on the cheap-looking steel handlebar with central strut folds against the stop. It may be necessary to fully open the 36 mm throttle valve even in city traffic. This single cylinder lacks vigor. Up to 7,000 revolutions, up to the maximum torque value of 22 Nm, the CRF ignites a small dynamic flame. The fire brigade rushes over and extinguishes the subtle embers in no time. This may be sufficient on the flat or well-groomed enduro hikes, but the limit of propulsion is quickly reached on slight inclines. Proof of this is provided by the performance: With 50 cubic meters less than the competition and a gear ratio that is designed for a top speed of 129 km / h to over 150 km / h, the Honda has to line up at the rear when accelerating and pulling through. On the positive side: Despite a lot of full throttle, it only consumes 3.1 liters over the 100-kilometer distance, the best value in the comparison.

The small Honda CRF 250 Rally reveals even more talents on the tiny mountain passes, turning lightly around every narrow hairpin. The fact that your chassis swings lively, it looks a bit wobbly due to the long spring travel and the knobby tires offer neither feedback nor rolling comfort – for free. To accuse an almost pure-bred enduro like the CRF 250 Rally for consistency would be presumptuous, even if it doesn’t score too many points in the 1,000-point ranking.

The warning index finger can, however, be more visible when it comes to braking. With its 296 millimeter wave disc at the front, the hardware of the Honda CRF 250 Rally is quite good, but the double-piston floating calipers quickly bend their knees. Three to four briskly braked hairpin bends on the pass downhill are sufficient, and the brake swings the white flag and can no longer be decelerated into the ABS control range. It can be adventurous for two, although there is little space for a pillion passenger on the narrow bench.

Conclusion on the small rally Honda:

It’s enough to the next ice cream parlor, not to Africa. The image of the Honda CRF 250 Rally remains ambivalent. As the lightest of the trio, she masters easy gravel passages clearly better than the other two. On the road, however, it falls just as far behind the BMW and the Kawa.

But if you love them, you want to immediately flood the garden with desert sand – even if the apartment only has a balcony. The Honda CRF 250 Rally seems to have sprung from one’s own off-road long-distance travel dream. With its driving dynamics, however, it cannot keep a dreamlike promise for the large, unstable distance.

Kawasaki Versys-X 300

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 doesn’t want to do that either. In this comparison she emphasizes the aspect of travel. It starts with the seat rehearsal. There is nowhere more space. In addition, the knee joint is nice and narrow despite the 17 liter tank, so your hands reach for the ideally placed handlebars. So everything is suitable for long distances? Almost, because the well-cut seat, which also offers a lot of space for a passenger, embeds the buttocks very hard. That would be fine for a super sports car, the hard upholstery bothers travelers in the long run.


In the basic configuration, the Kawasaki is the cheapest machine in the field at 5,795 euros. With hand protectors, main stand, engine protection bar and tank pad, however, 6,424 euros must be placed on the counter. This makes it the most expensive motorcycle in the test.

On the other hand, they like the stable suspension setup of the two-cylinder with its 296 cm³. Regardless of whether you are alone or as a couple, the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 pulls through every bend without couching and never loses its composure. When turning in, however, the tightly tuned fork has a slightly negative effect, because it only sags a little even when braking to the apex. That would encourage the jagged curve dance. However, the Kawa requires the clearest steering commands in order to fold down in an inclined position, drives further lines than the BMW and especially the Honda. Mind you: Taken on its own, the Kawasaki, with its attached accessories such as the main stand and crash bars, weighs 181 kilograms and is still a bustling sweeper finder. Among their peers, they let the chassis set-up, the longest wheelbase, the highest weight and the relatively long caster fall slightly behind.

When it comes to wind protection, however, it moves back to the top position, underlining its suitability for travel. In principle, this would also apply to the engine. After all, it marks the power primus of the trio. However, the small two-cylinder is almost always the screamer. If the smooth clutch – the gentle flapping of a butterfly’s wings is sufficient as operating force – is engaged in gear one, which is just as easy to shift, and the two-man marches forward. Up to 5,000 rpm, it almost gives the impression that a single-cylinder and not a unit with two pistons is at work. But then. From 5,000 revolutions the character changes massively, the barrel organ rules. Always higher, always further. While Honda and BMW brush the sails of just over 10,000 rpm, the governor catches the Versys-X 300 only over 12,000 turns. The display of the Kawasaki often shows high speeds, which is translated briefly. In fourth gear it rotates at 50 km / h in town at 5,000 / min, at 100 km / h in sixth gear the engine speed just passes 7,500, and at the locking engine speed in sixth gear it reaches its top speed of 155 km / h.

Conclusion on the adult Versys-X 300:

The desire for a further gear stage, for a lower speed level, is often present. This tuning arouses the sporting spirit, but also strains, contradicts the travel-ready sovereign character of the Kawasaki Versys-X 300. Otherwise, it convinces almost across the board. There is no more adult travel enduro in this class, and anyway not with more range, which is why the Versys-X 300, like the other two of the trio, proves that real versatility masters can already be found in the A2-suitable travel enduro entry-level segment.

MOTORCYCLE test result

1. Kawasaki Versys-X 300

Lots of space, long range, good wind protection: the Kawasaki emphasizes the aspect of travel and is almost consistently tailored to it. This ensures a bulging point account, offers little room for criticism except for the brakes. A worthy winner.

2. BMW G 310 GS

The abbreviation GS weighs heavily. The expectations were high. And the little GS can’t quite meet them. It’s not the engine. More range, comfort, more focus on everyday life – and then the BMW would be right at the forefront when it comes to music.

3rd Honda CRF 250 Rally

Less travel, more enduro – the Honda implements this claim with no ifs or goals. That turns on, even if it gives away a lot of points. The weakest engine of the trio is too tame even for enduro hiking.

Price comparison of entry-level enduro bikes

Used entry-level enduro bikes in Germany

The three A2 entry-level enduro bikes BMW G 310 GS, Honda CRF 250 Rally and Kawasaki Versys-X 300 are compared directly to one another on the used motorcycle exchange. All three motorcycles are in good condition and at reasonable prices: Used entry-level enduros in Germany

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