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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is no excuse for failing to design and manufacture a safety critical part like gearbox input shaft that can fail in a machine this new. This is especially true for a machine that purports to be the best of breed.

NHTSA Recall ID Number : 23V011
Manufacturer : BMW of North America, LLC
Subject : Gearbox Input Shaft May Break

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Model Model Years
BMW R 1250 GS 2019-2023
BMW R 1250 GS ADVENTURE 2019-2023
BMW R 1250 RT 2019-2023
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can't speak to flaking welds that clog fuel pumps, bad paint, corroding frames, and scratched fork tubes. My AT is a 2021 model and it did have bad DCT maps but the dealer was excellent about taking care of that. My point about the beemer is that a safety critical mechanical part like gearbox input shaft must be designed and manufactured with safety margins. I am an engineer with some experience in this area and have worked on Navy aircraft and NASA spacecraft. I don't know the failure mode of the BMW gearbox shaft and they will probably never disclose it to the public but the need to recall bikes for that part indicates a poor engineering design and test process at the company. No way something like this should have made it into production. The Honda AT 'demons' are not nearly as dangerous to the rider as a catastrophic mechanical failure that can spit the rider off the bike at speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@Dado the picture you show is of an older 'hexhead' model BMW GS that was known for final drive failures. That may indeed be the cause of the broken swingarm and driveshaft in this picture. The gearbox input shaft is between the engine and transmission and not visible. The models affected by this design fault are the newest 1250cc models. I was a long time BMW owner (25 years) but no more.
 

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It is interesting after reading the recall documents online that the cure for this is an ECU program update to prevent overloading the transmission shaft during certain conditions. The recall is not to replace transmission parts but to prevent the shock loading of the transmission shaft under abrupt power inputs by changing the programming.

BMW has had some issues come up - remember the front end failures , one that actually got a journalist killed (Kevin Ash) during a product launch?
 

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Recall’s are what happens when the assessment team gets it wrong.
 

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I can't speak to flaking welds that clog fuel pumps, bad paint, corroding frames, and scratched fork tubes. My AT is a 2021 model and it did have bad DCT maps but the dealer was excellent about taking care of that. My point about the beemer is that a safety critical mechanical part like gearbox input shaft must be designed and manufactured with safety margins. I am an engineer with some experience in this area and have worked on Navy aircraft and NASA spacecraft. I don't know the failure mode of the BMW gearbox shaft and they will probably never disclose it to the public but the need to recall bikes for that part indicates a poor engineering design and test process at the company. No way something like this should have made it into production. The Honda AT 'demons' are not nearly as dangerous to the rider as a catastrophic mechanical failure that can spit the rider off the bike at speed.
no bikes are perfect, I had a New '17 Yamaha FJR1300, that needed a recall done, it was actually about 5 different years models of the (Latest 6gear FJR's models) affected; "2nd gear was manufactured weak, and it may disintegrate to pieces :oops: , only a few failures recorded, not sure if there was casualties, but it was a major and expensive (to Yamaha) service, open the engine, replace the whole transmission cassette, etc"
(Otherwise great bike, I owned two for a period of 10yrs combined, the first one was 5 gear and no problems)
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It is interesting after reading the recall documents online that the cure for this is an ECU program update to prevent overloading the transmission shaft during certain conditions. The recall is not to replace transmission parts but to prevent the shock loading of the transmission shaft under abrupt power inputs by changing the programming.
funny you mentioned the ECU, that's what Yamaha did on all FJR's that had the 2nd gear recall done with a "new transmission", later they issued another recall with ECU re-programing, to limit the power on 2nd gear :(
 

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no bikes are perfect, I had a New '17 Yamaha FJR1300, that needed a recall done
So true. I loved every one of my six Yamahas, even though there were two serious engine issues, one serious transmission issue, a driveshaft issue and a few other things. But I'd buy another one in a heartbeat.

I'd also buy another Volvo, even though my S80 suffered from its share of silly defects. After 9 Canadian winters it still looked & felt brand-new, and I miss it more than any of the "reliable" Asian cars I've had before or since.

Life is short. Listen to your heart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
@bdalameda that is very interesting that BMW is 'fixing' it with software. If I owned one of the late model GS1250s affected, I would be mad as hell and talking to an attorney about a class action law suit. Using software to cover for a faulty mechanical design is outrageous. Once again, I am an engineer with some experience in matters like this. Today's finite element modeling software is amazingly accurate for predicting stresses on mechanical parts if the engineer is skilled enough to model correctly. Someone screwed up big time at BMW and they are pushing software out there to avoid replacing gearboxes at a significant cost.

I remember when Kevin Ash was killed in S. Africa. I was not aware that BMW actually identified a problem with their GS design that led to his death. It seemed like they pushed everything under the rug.
 

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I get notified with all australian recalls. Ktm has the worst record.

Apparently, In the maintenance schedule of the 1250gs, there is no mention of greasing the splines of the drive shaft.
BMW were on to it early but they failed to notify the home mechanics. So the story goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I get notified with all australian recalls. Ktm has the worst record.

Apparently, In the maintenance schedule of the 1250gs, there is no mention of greasing the splines of the drive shaft.
BMW were on to it early but they failed to notify the home mechanics. So the story goes.
Greasing the splines of the drive shaft is a well known maintenance issue going back over 20 years in the BMW owner community. Any home mechanic not aware of this must be living under a rock. ... But it is true that BMW does not admit to their customers that something like this is an important maintenance issue. They do nothing to support owners of out of warranty machines that want to do maintenance at home. I belonged to several BMW owners' clubs over the years and that community is excellent for providing information and tech support to owners that want to turn their own wrenches.
 

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I can't speak to flaking welds that clog fuel pumps, bad paint, corroding frames, and scratched fork tubes. My AT is a 2021 model and it did have bad DCT maps but the dealer was excellent about taking care of that. My point about the beemer is that a safety critical mechanical part like gearbox input shaft must be designed and manufactured with safety margins. I am an engineer with some experience in this area and have worked on Navy aircraft and NASA spacecraft. I don't know the failure mode of the BMW gearbox shaft and they will probably never disclose it to the public but the need to recall bikes for that part indicates a poor engineering design and test process at the company. No way something like this should have made it into production. The Honda AT 'demons' are not nearly as dangerous to the rider as a catastrophic mechanical failure that can spit the rider off the bike at speed.
"The Honda AT 'demons' are not nearly as dangerous to the rider as a catastrophic mechanical failure that can spit the rider off the bike at speed."

I would consider the ATAS tubeless rim issue with the spokes pulling loose a potential "spit the rider off the bike at speed" item. There's been several AT riders reporting this, posting up pics. Can you blame Honda for an issue with a supplier provided part? BMW & Moto Guzzi both having, or have had similar issues. This post really caught my attention - this guy is lucky he didn't get killed:


Not knocking Moto Guzzi, or those 850s... I generally like what I see there, wouldn't turn my nose up at a Beemer neither.
 

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Just my opinion but I think BMW's are the Harley Davidson's of the adventure world. Not bad bikes but your buying more of an image than a bike worth what they charge.
I agree that these brands charge a big premium for image.

That said, a Road King does have better balance and more character than my previous V-Stars. And a 1250GS has better balance, shaft drive, and nicer tactile quality than my Africa Twin.

It all comes down to the time-tested motorcycling formula: (Passion/Practicality) x Thickness of Wallet
 

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One thing about BMW Boxers, people will rebuild them where a worn-out Honda may be scrapped or parted out. That may be changing some now that more Japanese models are becoming collectable. You'll still run into parts availability issues sooner than you would with BMW.
 
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