BMW forced to check every R1200 GS bike in the world after reports of critical ‘fork damage’.

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 – – 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.

Best regards,
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.

There may not be any visible damage to the front wheel however any severe impact should be checked by an authorised BMW Motorrad dealer.

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 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.



  1. Avatar

    Keith Dilworth

    July 3, 2017 at 10:30

    John James

  2. Avatar

    John Fox

    July 3, 2017 at 15:07

    Nathan Millward – bike traveller stop using those Icelandic f roads…

  3. Avatar

    R. Ealitychk

    July 3, 2017 at 15:20

    What’s the point of your post ?

  4. Avatar

    John James

    July 3, 2017 at 19:54

    Fake news ?

  5. Avatar

    Gareth John Davies

    July 3, 2017 at 22:01

    Phil Bullen

  6. Avatar

    Central Scrutinizer

    July 3, 2017 at 22:05

    I don’t understand why people keep buy the BMW GS. I’ve ridden these bikes and I thought they were heavy, handled like a ponderous beast, and had brakes which were difficult to modulate and lacked feel. And then there are the numerous accounts of final drive failures and transmission failures, as well as problems with the CANBUS, etc. Add to that the premium price BMW demands for these bikes and I just don’t see why anyone who isn’t mentally impaired would even buy one. I believe it can be attributed to people wanting to “belong” to the “exclusive” bunch of people who own a BMW. Also, people who see that “Long Way ‘Round” film Ewan and Charlie made seem to end up hypnotized and unable to buy anything but a BMW. . And now there is THIS. Front forks which use a crimp to hold them together. Are you kidding me ? I’d expect to see stuff like this on a bicycle made in China, but not on a $25,000 motorcycle. It is inexcusable and unforgivable, and BMW should be ashamed for building bikes this way. If I had bought one, I’d demand that BMW buy it back and I would not take no for an answer.

  7. Avatar


    July 4, 2017 at 07:17

    No. It’s been a situation that’s been going on for a while. What makes you say that?

  8. Avatar

    John James

    July 4, 2017 at 07:56

    MotoFire not heard it anywhere else – so always am a bit dubious about stuff like this. Don’t take it personally- just that there is so much duff news around at the mo

  9. Avatar

    Phil Bullen

    July 4, 2017 at 08:17

    Booked in with Riders on Monday for either new forks or the ‘bushing’ modification. I’ve been emailing BMW UK for the past 3 weeks buddy!

  10. Avatar


    July 4, 2017 at 08:46

    Not true, recalls happen and the GS is still an epic machine. What about the Multistrada???

  11. Avatar


    July 4, 2017 at 08:48

    Not on our site there isn’t :) Most people won’t report it because they like to keep advertisers happy. We don’t bias anything to favour the advertisers. News first, always.

  12. Avatar

    Keith Dilworth

    July 4, 2017 at 10:19

    It will probably be front page on MCN in a couple of weeks

  13. Avatar

    Phil Bullen

    July 4, 2017 at 11:41

    I test rode the Honda but preferred the GS. Felt smoother and more stable at low speed? Guess it’s what you’re used to.

  14. Avatar

    Phil Bullen

    July 4, 2017 at 11:42

    Felt the multistada was very ‘top heavy’, but lovely machine.

  15. Avatar


    July 4, 2017 at 11:49

    Interesting.. they’re fantastic off road for the weight.

  16. Avatar


    July 4, 2017 at 11:49

    No way, they have advertisers to keep happy first :)

  17. Avatar


    July 4, 2017 at 11:51

    It is indeed. The GS is super stable but the lumpy-er engine does take a while to get used to.

  18. Avatar

    David Thompson

    July 9, 2017 at 07:58

    They’re not being forced as of yet.

  19. Avatar


    July 10, 2017 at 18:00

    trolling? r1200gs is still the best all round motorcycle on the planet and that’s the reason that bmw sells so many of them even at the high price. i own a 2014 ktm 690 enduro, also a terrific bike and unless very technical off road riding, i reach for the gs -not because ewan rode, because it’s best. i’ve looked at africa twin and ktm 1190 and 1090. bwm r1200gs is the best all round. perhaps, not for you.

  20. Avatar

    art elting

    July 11, 2017 at 21:52

    Keeping in mind that I am a BMW Motorrad dealer, however, my comments are based on actual experience and not internet uban legends. First off, CANBUS for us has been entirely trouble free since it was introduced in 2004 except when the customer decides he is smarter than the Germans and decides to tinker with it by adding accessories or making other changes. We caution every buyer not to tinker without getting in touch with us first to discuss the viability of the changes he wants. The trouble comes when this friendly advice is disregarded.
    Final drive complete failures are an overblown problem, occurring in less than 1% of drives. Total failure requires either replacement completely (extremely rare and not seen at this dealership in more 15years). Most of the problems were pinion gear replacement (seen only rarely) and oil seals which are an easy fix and often caused by lack of use. Even these are rare today.
    Transmission issues have been almost non-existent. A software update has been available to those who think the GS shifts too hard. Also a minor problem.
    The front fork issue is a problem that is also rare and causing problems only in cases of real heavy off-road use or major pothole or other damage. We have yet to see the fork issue at our store. Since most of the GS riders rarely do serious off-road, the problem is not critical, but will be dealt with on all bikes that are in the campaign/recall. The fix is a minor repair taking about an hour. Complete stanchion/slider replacement will be required only very rarely. The crimp system to hold the shock stanchion in the fork slider has been around for years and never been a problem. The latest tubes appear to be a change in vendors or manufacturing process that is less than satisfactory.
    As far as handling, braking, etc. the GS is very hard to beat. It weighs less than most of the competitors (some by a wide margin) and in the 20 years we’ve done test rides on the big GS, probably over 1000, we’ve had only 2 riders that didn’t say wow (and had nothing to do with handling or braking)! The bike is extremely dexterous and we often refer to it as the Swiss Army knife of bikes. Spend some time on one and you’ll understand. While talking the talk, I also walk the walk. The big GS has been my ride of choice for 20 years!
    Art E
    Country Rode Motowerks

  21. Avatar

    G. Etreal

    July 22, 2017 at 05:32

    ” r1200gs is still the best all round motorcycle on the planet ”

    You’re confusing your opinion with facts. Thanks for the laughs !

  22. Avatar

    Frank Lee Scarlett

    July 22, 2017 at 05:34

    ” the GS is still an epic machine.”

    Unless the forks fail and you die in the crash.

    It won’t be so epic then. But maybe you can have an epic funeral.

  23. Avatar

    Red Striper

    July 22, 2017 at 05:36

    Ask the people who were killed when their forks failed if it’s fake news.

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