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Thread: BMW R1200GS final drive issues?

  1. #1
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    Default BMW R1200GS final drive issues?

    I've been reading a lot on the ADVrider forums about final drive problems with the R1200GS and GSA, and about an appearent decline in quality and reliability of BMW bikes in general. I always thought of BMW as having excellent production quality (Zey ar zee Germans!) , so this was a big surprise for me.

    Are these issues a reason to steer clear of BMW all together, or is it just a case of a few loud complainers creating the illusion of a massive problem? :?
    IBA #42657
    96 Honda XR250 Baja
    09 BMW R1200GS Adventure ・ 09 KTM 990 SMT (sold) ・ 97 Honda X4 ・ 95 Kawasaki ZZR400 (sold)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: BMW R1200GS final drive issues?

    From the anecdotes I've read on ADV and during last year's IBR, I think it's a small but very vocal minority. Like any problem on the web, the negatives get a lot of attention while those without problems don't crow about how well the product works. As an example, V-Stroms are notorious (?) for buffeting; I've never had an issue, but I also don't brag about being in still air. Usually, only those that have a problem post about it.

    That said, I do think that BMW has ignored an engineering problem that they hope will go away. I think they changed the maintenance requirement for the gear oil from lifelitme to needing occasional replacement - an admission that something is wrong. I've also read of some failed final drives being replaced under warranty.

    Overall, I would not let the FD issue stop me from buying a BMW. I'm not in the market now, but will certainly consider any BMW in the future.

    Tom
    2008 DL650A
    2006 D-Tracker

  3. #3
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    Default Re: BMW R1200GS final drive issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by toma nova
    I've also read of some failed final drives being replaced under warranty.
    I've read some real horror stories on ADVrider about multiple FD failures on the same bike. One guy got his replaced 4 times on a single trip. Apparently, a real bad batch of FD assemblies came off the production line at some point, and this poor guy kept getting them, one after another. :crazyeyes:

    I hope BMW has done more about the problem than just telling people to change the gear oil once in a while. Of course, if it's a fatal flaw in the design of the shaft drive itself, then no amount of quality control will completely solve the problem...
    IBA #42657
    96 Honda XR250 Baja
    09 BMW R1200GS Adventure ・ 09 KTM 990 SMT (sold) ・ 97 Honda X4 ・ 95 Kawasaki ZZR400 (sold)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: BMW R1200GS final drive issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Jinbaiquerre
    Of course, if it's a fatal flaw in the design of the shaft drive itself, then no amount of quality control will completely solve the problem...
    I am afraid it is much worse than that. Once the shaft breaks, the engine rpm rise suddenly, causing a piston to go through the head, which
    in term smashes the ECU, which in term causes the bike to slow suddenly, which in term causes the truck behind you to mow you down. So
    you see, this issue is not being reported by all the riders mowed down by the truck. Which happens to be a red truck and seemingly the same
    exact truck in every reported and unreported incident. Also nearly all riders had registered on BBS's with intials G.J. Buy a scooter................

    PS: the world is ending tomorrow........ ;)

    Jav
    Evolution is the religion of the 21 century. Proving people do not change............................ Jav

  5. #5
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    Default Re: BMW R1200GS final drive issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jav
    PS: the world is ending tomorrow........ ;)
    Good thing you put that at the end, or I might have thought you were being serious.
    IBA #42657
    96 Honda XR250 Baja
    09 BMW R1200GS Adventure ・ 09 KTM 990 SMT (sold) ・ 97 Honda X4 ・ 95 Kawasaki ZZR400 (sold)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: BMW R1200GS final drive issues?

    Buy a KTM there are better fun...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: BMW R1200GS final drive issues?

    I have nothing good to say about my BMW foray, well not strictly true, it was a very comfortable, competent, nice handling machine. just had FAR too many problems for a brand new bike. And the thing that pissed me off, which wasn't really the problems, it was BMWs excuse, that thats just the way it is. writing off problems as a characteristic of the bike. totally bogus.

    And that mind you, was the final drive. Im sure the next owner after me had it blow up.

    my experience was enough to keep me well clear of BMWs until I am too old to remember that i previously owned one!!

  8. #8

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    Note how in the most recent K-Bikes, BMW has dropped their idiotic turning signal switchgear and has finally implemented the same switchgear ALL the rest of the motorcycles today are using.

    BMWs are just not worth the money that is charged.

    Buy the KTM. :)
    KTM 690 E; DoD#1458

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkanai View Post
    Note how in the most recent K-Bikes, BMW has dropped their idiotic turning signal switchgear and has finally implemented the same switchgear ALL the rest of the motorcycles today are using.

    BMWs are just not worth the money that is charged.

    Buy the KTM.
    Okay, okay, I'll check out KTM. They just seem to have fewer options for short-legged folks.
    IBA #42657
    96 Honda XR250 Baja
    09 BMW R1200GS Adventure ・ 09 KTM 990 SMT (sold) ・ 97 Honda X4 ・ 95 Kawasaki ZZR400 (sold)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkanai View Post
    Note how in the most recent K-Bikes, BMW has dropped their idiotic turning signal switchgear and has finally implemented the same switchgear ALL the rest of the motorcycles today are using.

    BMWs are just not worth the money that is charged.

    Buy the KTM.
    I disagree. Look at Advrider and people are taking their BM's all over the
    world and getting back. I have had two Suzuki's that were complete
    dogs of bikes. But I do not typically sprout up and mouth off like some of
    the broken records seem to need to do. The R1100S I owned was a great
    bike and very reliable. When I bought the Merc van, people told me Merc's
    had rubbish quality. 5 years later it never missed a beat, never once left
    me stranded and was less trouble than most Japanese cars I have owned.

    KTM's IMHO are no better or worse than BMW's. With BMW you get a
    bike that is not a "one of 4 clones," and that has unique engineering.
    Buy what you want, but realise all makes have bikes that are made on
    Friday evening before a holiday.............

    Jav

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jav View Post
    KTM's IMHO are no better or worse than BMW's.
    JAV, I actually agree with you. I forgot to add the ":)" on my comment and have since added it. Guy Jinbaiquerre knows me well and thus I made the comment flippantly.
    KTM 690 E; DoD#1458

  12. #12
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Jav View Post
    I disagree. Look at Advrider and people are taking their BM's all over the world and getting back.
    I suspect survivor bias. The ones that don't get back don't post trip reports.
    IBA #42657
    96 Honda XR250 Baja
    09 BMW R1200GS Adventure ・ 09 KTM 990 SMT (sold) ・ 97 Honda X4 ・ 95 Kawasaki ZZR400 (sold)

  13. #13
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    Default

    BMWs are great bikes. I've owned an 1100GS and a 1100RT and both gave me no trouble other than hall sensors biting the dust. They handle extremely well anytime, even fully loaded up with luggage (unlike most other makers bikes).

    I had an excellent time on my 11GS and would recommend a big GS to anyone looking for a versatile big tourer, especially if long-distance 2-up riding is on the menu. That said, I much prefer my 650 for solo adventure touring on small mountain roads or rindos, and around town. Much lighter and more maneuverable.

  14. #14
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    Default

    91,000 kilometers on my R1100RT. replaced a few things here and there as you do with a bike with that mileage, but it still runs like a top, and is a very nice ride.

    any KTM owners out there ever put that kinda mileage on a bike?

    however, the final drive issue does seem to show the worst of BMW's arrogance. there is definitely an issue on the older models but they weren't cool about fixing it. i think they've changed the bearings or something on the newer bikes but haven't been keeping up with whether or not it fixed the problem.

  15. #15

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    The Paralever final drive problems that BMW won't own up to are really bad, especially because of how expensive the part is to fix and how it is completely sealed in the housing. It's not a $60 chain or $40 sprocket.

    That BMW had to replace Telelever in the new K-Bikes with that Duolever parallelogram front end (a-la Britten) also speaks to the limitations of Telelever (most likely issues around the pivot point and ideal travel - arc vs line.)

    There's a lot about BMW I like, but at the end of the day when it comes down to my money, I end up choosing other bikes.
    KTM 690 E; DoD#1458

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by haildamage View Post
    91,000 kilometers on my R1100RT. replaced a few things here and there as you do with a bike with that mileage, but it still runs like a top, and is a very nice ride.

    any KTM owners out there ever put that kinda mileage on a bike?

    however, the final drive issue does seem to show the worst of BMW's arrogance. there is definitely an issue on the older models but they weren't cool about fixing it. i think they've changed the bearings or something on the newer bikes but haven't been keeping up with whether or not it fixed the problem.
    Would love to do that kind of Mileage on my KTM but i allways sell most of my bikes with in a few weeks ... This years record was the CB1300 Boldor 10,000km in about 8 weeks...
    Done just over a 1,000Km last week on the KTM and the bike was great (only lost one bolt on the chain guard..)

  17. #17

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    So KTM's are reliable, but your bike gradually falls apart............

  18. #18
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    Default

    they are different machines, its like comparing apples and oranges.

    KTMs are generally, not designed for the same market as BMWs. KTMs come from an offroad racing manufacturing history and have been branching out into bigger tourers and road bikes, BMW are exactly the opposite.

    They have a few crossover models now, and im sure you will find disgruntled EX-, and very happy now customers on both sides of the fence.

    personally the 640 KTM has a character i really like, it is aggressive to ride, delivers the power nicely and seems to handle well (Given my minimal experience) would the BMW offer the same?? Only the 450 seems to be focussed on the sport above the touring, so while it may offer other great characteristics, it isnt going to be for everyone.

    decide what you want out of your bike and your choice will become simple.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jav View Post
    So KTM's are reliable, but your bike gradually falls apart............
    Thats the Fun part of a KTM..Whats going to fall off next...A rider that takes his push bike to the shop to get new brake pads fitted should not own a KTM ......

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fastbike View Post
    Thats the Fun part of a KTM..Whats going to fall off next...A rider that takes his bike to the shop to get new brake pads fitted should not own a KTM ......


    Some times you come up with classics.........

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