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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Out of the bikes available today my vote goes to the BMW 310GS. No coincidence that they've put a slipper clutch on the latest models. If you want to witness a bunch of people totally dissatisfied with their purchases then go to the 310 website. Thought it was me being a bit rusty when I got one 3 years plus ago but no. Inability to select 1st gear ("the gearbox is fine it just needs to wear in" = BMW 'mechanic'). Wild and unpredictable engine response to throttle input (widely reported and remap required). Safety recall on brake callipers (booked months before first service but 'parts unavailable'). The only training the BMW 'techs' seem to get is to try to convince the customer that they are wrong when they complain. I call it 'TECHNICAL BULLYING' where everything is laid out, showroom, workshop, reception area, forecourt etc, to diminish the customer so that they perceive themselves as a helpless patient in a big powerful, intimidating hospital where the 'Doctors' know best. The bike felt uncontrollable and skittish at anything over 50MPH (understandable I suppose for a small bike but it should at least be able to keep up with traffic on a dual carriageway without weaving in the slightest breeze). At low speeds it was jerk jerk jerk clunk and I'm no novice rider. Only had it about 3 months and got rid. Half the world is still chasing BMW for the recall work on the bike. On the early models the frame above the kickstand broke so they provided new frames and had to refit the entire old bike around the new frame under warranty!!
So glad to be rid of it and back with Honda.
The bosses at BMW should read Shelley. 'Look upon your mighty works and despair' (Ozymandias).

My coat is in the British Library... 馃槵
 

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I'm surprised on the 650GS, they have a cult following of diehards.
I currently own a BMW and have owned a total of 6. I personally owned the Sertao and it was only, marginally better than the wife's basic 650GS. The main problem with these bikes is the front end steering geometry. It is an absolute failure of engineering in my opinion, causing the bike to handle stinking terrible. One of the worst I have ever ridden.

Some have done the YZ Triples and Fork upgrade/rebuild and that supposedly makes the bikes much better. I think it is ridiculous to spend another $2,000 to try and make a bike average.
 

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I changed my BMW R1200s (huge mistake selling) for a KTM 990 SMT.

I wanted something more upright, but still sporty. The magazines all really rated the SMT. I did not gel with it at all.

There was a pronounced weave at around 85mph which was very disconcerting. On the SMT forums, it would seem this was common. I had the suspension rebuilt and set up for my weight by a local ex MotoGP suspension specialist and it made it much better, but the weave was still there, just at higher speeds.

the whole set up of the fuelling and throttle response was very aggressive. I guess this is part of KTM DNA but I found it hard to ride the bike smoothly, coming out of corners especially.

Bits Would regularly fall off, there were oil leaks (again, common to lots of bikes with this engine!).

KTM sell themselves as a premium brand, but the owning experience is anything but. (I have not even mentioned the dealer yet).

My Africa Twin is everything I wanted the SMT to be, and then more. And on the rare days I want something more sporty, I can take my old Aprilia out.
 

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My first road bike was a 1971 Moto Guzzi. Half the parts on that bike could be found in the Fiat parts manual. Worse, it had a nasty habit of breaking the mounting bolts for the generator. One of which was hollow and part of the oil line to the heads.
Had a 1970 Guzzi El Dorado former LAPD bike... I loved that thing. Got it up to 142,000 miles before tearing it down for a restoration that I never finished.
 

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My worst bike owned - a 2016 Indian Roadmaster. I bought it new as my retirement gift. At the first oil change I told the dealership that the bike had a terrible engine noise (metal on metal rattle at 2700-3500 rpm). They said 鈥渢hat鈥檚 normal V-twin engine noise鈥. I said no, it鈥檚 not normal. I continued to complain, to no avail. I went to stage 2 cams, no change. I was wintering in Yuma and rode it over to San Diego (El Cajon Indian) for oil change and a recall. The service manager and their top master tech both rode it and said it was the worst Indian engine noise they鈥檇 ever heard. They contacted Polaris and were told 鈥渋t鈥檚 a Canadian bike, tell him to take it back to his Canadian dealer鈥. I took it back to my local dealer when I returned home, told them what happened and they basically did nothing (while having the bike for 6 weeks). I finally convinced them to try a new cam chain tensioner- which they reluctantly did - but still had the same god awful engine noise. So, I continued to screw in the ear plugs and turn up the stereo to drown out the noise. During winter down in Yuma in 2019 I noticed the bike was suddenly getting horrible gas mileage, and rode the bike to Tucson to have a friend who did remote tuning with a PV3 I had on the bike ride it and give me his impression. He rode it and said there鈥檚 no tuning that鈥檚 going to fix that noise. He also suggested I replace the intake manifold adapters as they were prone to cracking. He suggested I take it to an engine performance builder in Phoenix- so I contacted the builder and dropped the bike off in Phoenix.

The builder tore the engine down and discovered the following: (with 72,000 km on the bike)
Engine consumed nearly 4 quarts of oil in it's last 2700 miles of use. It also had unfiltered air entering the engine through a leaking intake adapter, loose spark plug and an exhaust leak at the head/pipe. Piston ring blow-by creating abnormal crankcase pressure was pushing oil into airbox via the vent tube as well.

Cam chain completely stretched out
Cam chain tensioner all the way out

Valve springs worn out
Pistons not sealing properly

The injectors and ports are actually pretty clean for 48000 miles and it looks like the owner used good fuel etc.

What was the cause of the oil consumption? I'd bet there are a lot of bikes out there with valve seats exactly like that.
Piston ring blow-by and the added crankcase pressure it causes. Oil mist into the intake tract via the case breather hose and oil pushes past the piston rings that have lost ability to seal properly.

The exhaust seat had moved at some point when it got hot. It's been awhile since I've seen a seat fall out of a running engine
but it does happen, it ain't pretty and it's a good thing it was caught.
A minor set back. The seat can be replaced, we save an engine and avoid mass carnage.

I decided to have the engine rebuilt to a 120 Stroker (stock was 111) and left the bike in March 2020 in Phoenix. During COVID there were significant Supply delays, and the bike was finally ready to ride home in September 2020. The bike ran good going 3,000 km home but the front forks weren鈥檛 rebuilt properly (as they had excessive rebound bouncing). I had to take the bike to a dealer to have the forks properly re-assembled.

First oil change after rebuild - only got 3.0 litres out (5.5 litre capacity), and each subsequent oil change showed drastic oil consumption (the builder said that it was normal consumption for a Hugh performance engine) which I disagreed with. Every oil change has been down 1.5-2 litres since rebuild. It鈥檚 not smoking, not leaking so Don鈥檛 know where it鈥檚 going!

The bike developed electrical gremlins - bike stranded me briefly a few times. I鈥檇 be cruising along at 100 kmh and the cruise control would shut off when I hit a bump (replaced clutch switch and fixed that issue). Spring start-ups after winter storage were difficult and put in a new heavy duty starter (and new battery every spring) - I think the new engine had too much compression. This spring the bike left me stranded an hour from home when it wouldn鈥檛 start (completely dead). Hauled the bike to dealership and they had to replace the entire left handlebar assembly (at $1600) as the builder stressed/stretched the wiring when he installed new mid rise handlebars. Then in July I was riding the bike home and was 10 minutes from home when the bike developed a sudden god awful engine noise - I was wearing ear plugs, had the stereo cranked and it over powered both. I looked down at the display and saw the oil light was on. I quickly pulled over and shut the bike off. A friend trailered my bike to his place, I drained the oil (no metal filings seen, got 5 litres out), pulled the spark plugs - they indicated a lean condition. I trailered the bike to dealership and they said the oil pump failed causing a catastrophic engine failure. No warranty of course! 55,000 km since engine rebuild. I contacted engine builder in Phoenix- he said to pull the motor and ship it 3,000 km to him and he鈥檇 tear it down and see what happened. No - sorry, don鈥檛 trust you to touch the bike again! Why did you put the OEM oil pump with 72,000 km back into a High performance engine? Dealership said $12,500 for new stock 111 engine plus 20 hours labor minimum- must use old oil cooler. Looked on eBay - found 3 engines locally at wreckers - can鈥檛 look at any of them, can鈥檛 speak to anyone on phone (only through eBay email). Can鈥檛 see them/hear them run and compression values only available on 2.
2 of the engines are from 2019 bikes and there some uncertainty of fitment and whether they will work as the new bikes have 3 riding modes. There鈥檚 a 2018 engine for $3k - but I鈥檓 not sure I want to put another engine into this bike with 128,000 km and all the electrical gremlins that continue. It鈥檚 a real predicament- but I wish I had never bought the Indian.
I most certainly will never buy another Indian - poor dealer service network- poor corporate support. I have a friend who has a 2018 Indian Roadmaster and he鈥檚 having many issues with his bike too.
 

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I've been pretty lucky, my worst bike was a 2006 yamaha roadstar (1700cc cruiser). It was my second street bike after a Suzuki Volusia( predecessor to the C50T). I expected to find a major performance gain, going from 800 to 1700 cc, but didn't feel much faster, just burned more gas and was more expensive to insure. No real reliability issues just a big heavy pig of a bike
 

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I'll start the bidding with a Can Am 250 Scrambler. Don't hold me to it but I think that they had a Rotax engine around 1989 or thereabouts. This is not just about one bike that I personally owned. Out of a fleet of 12 there were only six bikes roadworthy with parts from the other six keeping them going. The engines were fine and never let anybody down but, I suppose as it was an off road bike, they used the excuse that road legal bits bits fell off daily and bulbs were shaken to pieces. We were constantly repairing these **** machines and no wonder. From 1969 most of us had already encountered Honda's genius and could not believe that the world was surviving on this rubbish.
I used to race a CanAm 250 back in the mid 70's. The engines were very well made and very reliable - they were never really a serious road bike and you are right about the various lighting issues etc. I had a 250 TNT street legal CanAm that was ported and tweaked a bit ant it would top out at over 125 MPH at sea level and would destroy a stock Honda CB750 of that era.
 

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The only training the BMW 'techs' seem to get is to try to convince the customer that they are wrong when they complain. I call it 'TECHNICAL BULLYING' where everything is laid out, showroom, workshop, reception area, forecourt etc, to diminish the customer so that they perceive themselves as a helpless patient in a big powerful, intimidating hospital where the 'Doctors' know best.
I had the same experience with my only bmw, an 02 1150RT. The ABS would release the brakes going over virtually any bump, dealer claims normal. I avoided other abs equipped bikes for a long time after that bike.

Hit a stoplight after a highway run and it would hit max temp on the gauge almost immediately. Dealer response, 鈥渢hey never overheated until they put a temp gauge on them.鈥
 

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had lot of bikes , too much actually . worst was the first 1290 SDR engine blowed after 1400 km , due crankshaft fracture (the 2nd 1290 was a bit better , but spent more time in workshop for warranty jobs then in the garage)
 

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had lot of bikes , too much actually . worst was the first 1290 SDR engine blowed after 1400 km , due crankshaft fracture (the 2nd 1290 was a bit better , but spent more time in workshop for warranty jobs then in the garage)
What year? I really miss my '14. I bought it half expecting to have some KTM problems (rear wheel bearing for example) but it was happily excellent for it's time with me. Only traded because it was so hard to keep it at legal speeds.
 

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For me one of the best bikes I had was also one of the worst, Aprilia Shiver 750, when water pumps were not failing, and bits were not falling off was brilliant bike to ride.
Just could not get enough thread lock fluid to keep it together, final straw was when I thought I had a puncture only to stop and find the swing arm nut had dropped off and the bolt was halfway out. Walk back the road to locate nut, which to my surprise I did, got home to tighten then straight off to trade it in for a K7 GSXR750 brilliant bike until I got rear ended by an articulated truck which was emotional!!
 
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