The BMW R1200 GS faces a recall in some markets for issues with its front forks, and dealers in the US have been issued a “stop sale” order, but so far, we haven’t seen a recall for Canada—only a global “service bulletin.”
The recalls started to be issued in most markets in the past few weeks. They started when a website accusing BMW of ignoring a “fatal flaw” with its bike began to gain traction this spring (skip to the end of the article for an explanation of what they’re talking about).
According to that site’s founder and others commenting on there, BMW’s flagship adventure bike (the current 2013+ model) has an issue with its front forks, worthy of a recall. BMW seems to think there’s a problem too, as it has been issuing recalls around the world since early June. We haven’t seen an official number of bikes affected, but guesses range from 150,000 to almost 190,000.
All markets saw “service bulletins” issued (find those explained here; they aren’t the same thing as a recall, but a service bulletin is not something you want to ignore). Now, some markets have a recall issued as well, and Asphalt & Rubber is reporting BMW Motorrad has issued a “stop sale” notice for the 1200 GS in the US, as it readies for a recall in that market.
The stop sale order is supposedly because BMW can only supply a certain number of replacement parts to dealerships each week. The bushings required to fix the forks are only available in limited numbers, and since bikes must be serviced with the new parts before they’re sold, BMW wants to get the replacements parts onto bikes that have already been sold before it starts to update its inventory.
Although CMG has asked BMW Motorrad Canada for information regarding the R1200 GS recall status in Canada, we have not yet been given any information. We’ll let you know when we know more.
What is the issue that’s got everyone in a flap? It boils down to the R1200 GS’s front fork design, which uses pressed-in plugs at the top of the fixed fork tubes; most bikes have threaded caps on their fork tubes.
Supposedly, some bikes are seeing damage to the forks that results in a gap underneath the plugs, which can result in all sorts of nastiness in the front end, things like control issues and oil leaks. Because this area is covered by a protective rubber grommet, damage isn’t immediately obvious with a visual inspection.
The original service bulletin read in part:
“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 …“
To perform the repair work, the mechanic must press a bushing between the fork cap and the fork tube; if there is already a gap in that area, the forks must be replaced.
It seems that regardless of whether there is an official recall in Canada, that BMW does intend to rectify this issue on all R1200 GS bikes made after 2013, so Canadian owners are probably going to be just fine either way. The service bulletin was announced on BMW Motorrad’s global Facebook page, so it stands to reason all affected bikes will be taken care of.