Bavarian motorcycle manufacturer BMW Motorrad are requesting that every BMW R 1200 GS and GS Adventure owner take their bike in to a dealer for a ‘check’ after reports of major fork damage become recognised worldwide.
Yes. You heard that right. BMW are requesting that every BMW GS manufactured between November 2013 and June 2017 be taken to a service centre immediately. That’s basiocally every liquid-cooled GS in the world ever made. However, the language used by the company has been very carefully crafted to avoid calling this a ‘recall’.
A recall would escalate the service procedure to being mandatory and one that must be performed by BMW on all bikes. Instead a ‘service campaign’ essentially allows riders to continue using their motorcycles and only take it into dealers if they so wish.
After a testing few weeks for the manufacturer, who had been suspiciously quiet on any potential problems, despite the thorough and excellent, investigative work of online outlets such as the Belgian motorcycling website Maxxmoto, it would now appear that the firm are now at least publically aware of the issue.
A website setup with the explicit intention of making the issue publically known – BMWFatalFlaw.com – has already been online for some time.
A notice posted on the official facebook page for the firm would appear to confirm that BMW are aware of a problem and are offering riders the opportunity to have it rectified.
“As part of a service campaign, BMW Motorrad is checking the fixed fork tubes of the front forks on motorcycles of the R 1200 GS and R 1200 GS Adventure models for the production period November 2013 – June 2017.
BMW Motorrad has determined during ongoing field observations that the fixed fork tube of the specified models can suffer preliminary damage due to unusual incidents with momentary high stress without the user noticing the damage, e.g. through changed drivability. Such high stress can be caused e.g. when driving over an obstacle, during a fall or when driving through deep potholes with unvarying speed. Preliminary damage to the front wheel rim is also not unusual in such cases, but need not be necessarily present.
Potential preliminary damage to the fixed fork tube manifests itself through a gap between the pipe and the pressed in top seal plugs. For the check, the rubber grommet mounted in this position must be pushed down.
BMW Motorrad has therefore decided to check the above-mentioned vehicles and repair them if required. The owners of the affected motorcycles will be informed by BMW Motorrad. The service campaign is free of charge for customers.
BMW Motorrad Team”
Annecdotal reports online and across social media had been running rampant of late, with many riders appearing to confirm the suspicions of a significant design flaw with regards to a failure of the telelever.
Details of the exact nature of the problem are hard to find, but documents issued by BMW in the US – and unearthed by MaxxMoto – dating as far back as April 2013, would appear to confirm that the company have been aware of similar (if not the same) problems and explicitly state that there were early problems with the ‘press plug’.
MaxxMoto – in a report about BMW South Africa, who would appear to be the first BMW outlet to openly acknowldge the issue – describe the problem as offering potentially ‘critical riding conditions’.
“BMW Motorrad has determined during ongoing field observations that the fixed fork tube of the specified models can suffer preliminary damage under certain circumstances when high stress can occur without the customer noticing the damage. Such high stress can be caused when for example, when riding over an obstacle in the road, during a fall or when riding through deep potholes with unvarying speed.
Potential preliminary damage to the fixed fork tube manifests itself through a gap between the pipe and the pressed in top seal plugs which can be seen if the rubber grommet is moved down the stanchion.
If the fit of the pressed in seal plug has become loose, the gap may increase through longer usage and where the vehicle experiences high stress situations. This usually results in oil leaks, a clacking noise as well as increasingly imprecise steering.
If these signals are not observed or are ignored and further high stress incidents occur, the plug may become completely loose. Subsequently, critical riding conditions cannot be ruled out.”
There are no confirmed details with regsards to any injuries – or worse – casued by the issue on one of BMW’s most popular and well-loved machines, but the stories claimed to have been caused by the defect on BMWFatalFlaw.com are hard to look at for anyone who has a low-tolerance of reading of other people’s pain.
With a major, global service notice now in existence, it’s clear that more information will become clear within the coming weeks and months.
Meanwhile, if you’ve got a GS or GS Adventure, we’d recommend taking it to your local dealer as soon as physically possible.