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View Full Version : Why was I even thinking of getting another GS?



20715
05-09-2010, 04:58 PM
This is not a rant about BMW, even though it will sound like it. I'll post it on the MOA site and ADVRider, just maybe looking for somebody to either cheer me up or knock some sense into me. I've got a 2005 R1200GS, bought new at the end of 2004. The quality has been terrible. I'd have to make a list - but major issues: right cylinder lining failed at 12K and took piston and rings with it; front brake rotors warped; transmission seal leaking; seat mildewed on the inside (gray seat - you could see it all over from the outside); clutch input seal failed and took all the clutch plates with it. All that under the 3 year, 36K warranty. No problems for the past couple years, which I jinxed myself by telling somebody recently. Now with 41K miles the servo ABS system is acting up. Twice the warning light has stayed on, with no servo assist, for a mile or two, then reset and all is fine. Here's where I'm maybe partly to blame. I didn't do the brake flush. All other recommended maintenance done on schedule, but not the brake flush.

So yesterday I hauled it 175 miles to the dealer. (We have no dealer closer than 3 hours away, despite a population in the millions.) I won't identify the dealer. I think they're a good dealer, I like them, and I don't blame the technician for what happened yesterday. Anyway, the plan was I drop it off, leave it all week, pick it up next Saturday. I hung around for a while, looked at new bikes, talked BMW, bought a shirt and some airhead crush washers, even took a couple test rides - you all know the drill. And as I was getting ready to leave, the technician was starting to work on my bike. He apologized for not starting earlier - he didn't know I was planning to leave it. He told me if I could stick around a couple hours, he should have a handle on the problem, if not fixed. Sure ! Anyway, they had ordered a front brake microswitch, because in trying to diagnose the problem at home, I found if I repeatedly squeezed the lever, after 6 or 8 times the servo would stick "on". I thought that was the problem. He did the full flush of the system, and had me watch as he hooked it to the diagnostic computer. The only fault code stored was for low fluid. Full pressure held fine. We could not duplicate what I had observed at home with the switch. Not after the flush, or before, or even when I had first unloaded it from the truck that morning. They had ordered the microswitch, it's only $24, and I considered asking him to install it anyway, but he was confident the switch was not the problem. Told me that three times. Again - no criticism of the technician or dealership. He impressed me as knowledgeable and competent. I worked in the back end of car dealerships for 10 years in my youth, and I know how frustrating it is to fix a problem when you can't duplicate it. And that switch still may not be the problem.

So while I am there, I find they're making good deals on the 2009's. I test rode a 2010 GSA, and I could not tell any difference in the engine with the cam heads. Plus, I was a beta tester for BMW on the 2005, paid the price, and I'm not interested in being one for the new engine. I know it's been out a couple years on the HP2, but it's still pretty new. I came home seriously thinking of trading for a new 2009, or buying the 09 then trying to sell mine. All in all, feeling pretty good. Until I backed the bike down the ramp off the truck and the servo stuck on. $&%*#. Exactly what it was doing before I took it to the dealer.

I've been riding BMW's and an MOA member 30 years. Despite BMW having abandoned most of Illinois, despite my belief their quality is at best marginal, I still consider myself a BMW guy. The visit to the dealer reinforced that. Do the rest of you feel that? Like, "these are my people - hang around, talk BMW's etc." There's a Harley dealer 7 minutes from my house, and a half dozen more a short drive away. I'd like to have that convenience, and the friends I have with newer Harley's have had zero problems, but I'm not a Harley guy. Closest they came to getting me was the Ulysses, and now Buell is gone anyway.

So now I'll call the dealer Tuesday, make arrangements to haul it back rather than ride it in case I have to leave it. I might have them send me that switch, and I'll install it. But if that doesn't fix it...if it's the servo, I'm not paying $2500 plus labor for a new servo. Not for a bike worth maybe $7K. They said they can rip out all the servo system, and convert the bike to non-ABS, non-servo assist

I love that GS. Riding it, that is. There's nothing else like it. I just bought a used Scrambler for riding around town and nearby back roads, and it's a hoot. (Steve McQueen jump the fence thing maybe.) But it's no GS in the capability or comfort department.

But considering all that, considering all the issues with late model BMW's - final drives, EWS failure, fuel mapping issues, fuel pump relays, etc - considering all the dealers less than 3 hours away (and there were a bunch when I started riding BMW) are now gone - why was I thinking of buying another one? Is that sick or what?

f14rio
05-09-2010, 05:19 PM
...the check on your casket bounces, you'll be ahead of the game.
i told my kids i'm not leaving them nothin'!
i want them to be SAD at the funeral.
:)
just get it.
i've been looking at an r100r or a trimuph bonneville which would make three for me.

(bmw r80, harley crossbones)

129654
05-09-2010, 06:38 PM
I'm at the exact same point with an '06 12 GS. Love the ride & character of the bike, like my local dealer (fortunately only 45 min ride away), not impressed with BMW build quality. For the same reasons you cite I'd be cautious about the first GS/GSA/RT build year with the new motor.

It 'll be my last BMW. When its gone my hard earned $$$ will be spent on a HD. :usa. Dealer 10 mins away, better North American dealer network & improved build quality.

SCJACK
05-09-2010, 06:45 PM
I knew a guy in San Diego who finally got enough of the servo brakes on a R1150RT so he removed all of the ABS/Servo equipment. After that, he was a happy camper. The servo brakes can be a real PIA. IMO, I would remove the ABS/Servo equipment and keep the GS. You've already removed most (if not all) of the bugs in the one you already own. Good luck with your decision.

20715
05-09-2010, 07:29 PM
F14 - should have clarified. It's not the money. I'm not wealthy, but I make a good living, and motorcycles are my one hobby. I don't golf, don't take expensive vacations, my car is a CRV and my pickup is 12 years old, no mortgage, etc. A big night out for me and the girlfriend is pizza or Texas Roadhouse. She's a home body. So I don't mind spending the $$$ for the bike. I'd buy a new Road King tomorrow if I thought I would be happy on it. And I might just do it and FORCE myself to like it. :laugh

Keep the replies coming. I'm enjoying them. Again - not my intention to slam BMW. I bought my airhead in 1980. It's been rock solid. Had I experienced the problems with it I have with the GS...I would have dropped BMW decades ago. I do wish they would focus less on trying to be clever with innovation and gadgets and more on re-establishing a reputation for quality and reliability. And - a dealer somwhere towards the middle of Illinois would be nice.

20715
05-09-2010, 07:37 PM
I knew a guy in San Diego who finally got enough of the servo brakes on a R1150RT so he removed all of the ABS/Servo equipment. After that, he was a happy camper. The servo brakes can be a real PIA. IMO, I would remove the ABS/Servo equipment and keep the GS. You've already removed most (if not all) of the bugs in the one you already own. Good luck with your decision.

That's definitely a viable option. I can live without servo ABS. From a dollar and cents perspective, it might make more sense to keep this one. First quote on a trade for a 2009 was my bike and $10,000. The 09 MSRP was $18000, but apparently BMW is offering incentives to the dealer worth $2000. Dealer offered to sell me one outright for $15,500. I see Max is sellling them for $14,500, but then I'd have $500 for shipping. For $500, I'd rather support the dealer who will have to work on it. Because I do fully expect it to need a lot of warranty work. Anyway - for that $10K they want to trade, I can buy a lot of repairs in the coming years on the one I have. A crystal ball is what I need, to predict future reliability of mine.

marchyman
05-09-2010, 08:04 PM
http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-news/2010/2010-top-motorcycle-brands.htm

The most recent dealer satisfaction index. This index attempts to measure satisfaction from a prospective buyers point of view. Not quite the same thing, but interesting.


the independent Pied Piper PSI study sent 2,014 hired anonymous “mystery shoppers” into motorcycle dealerships nationwide.


Victory (followed by Ducati then HD) were the top 3.
BMW is above industry average.
Honda was below.

weggsa
05-09-2010, 10:42 PM
At the risk of jinksing myself no trouble yet? Max is my dealer. Although my bike has only around 2500 mi it was purchased around the last day of 08 over the phone from the n.y. store. so far no dead battery trouble and no maintainer plugged in over the endless new england winter . Does not have servo brakes luckly. The best years of production to own usually are the first or the last ,in this case last year of the hex head may be a good value ? If the twin cammer turs out to be problematic, they will be beggin for the old ones back!I know for a fact that when porsche liquid cooled the 911 air coolers became the ones to hang onto, somthing about simplicty seems desireable in things people keep a long time ?Any way I dont think you would be happy with a motorcycle that is desigened with a misfire timing sequince? Although H-D has adopted abs brakes, they have to shut down the rear cylinder in traffic to keep from over heating the engine and rider! My favorite H-D is the v-rod (the least valueable) maybe the water cooling !:type

From MARS
05-09-2010, 10:43 PM
Howard, I'm really sorry you're having a problem but everything built by man will break. The good part is that everything (built by man) can be fixed. Unfortunately, the shop is going to be billing you for every minute of "maybe its this" time. If I had an intermittant problem and didn't want to lay out a bunch of cash for troubleshooting time, I'd take apart and clean every connection in the system. You may not fix it, but you can narrow it down. Its probably something very simple.

Get yoursef some plastic tie-wraps, a can of contact cleaner, and some dielectric grease. Maybe a cold beer. Take pictures as you take it apart.

Since you like the bike, fixing it makes a lot more sense than starting over with a new one. Good luck.

Tom

GlobalRider
05-09-2010, 11:40 PM
There is a reason why I kept my trouble-free R80 G/S PD and R100 GS...in case my high-tech fuel infected R1150 GS Adventure causes me grief. ;)

Trickster
05-10-2010, 01:04 AM
I agree with your statement that BMW's quality appears to be waning.
As well though, why did you feel the "other" choice is HD?

You own a CRV, what about a Honda motorcycle?
Dealerships aplenty. I too am getting tired of the BMW attitude of, "we are the best".
Don't get me wrong I do love my GT, but there are plenty of quality bikes out there now, competition is getting stiff.

I do not fall into the BMW demographic of being a loyalist, because I ride as many brands as possible. Today I rode my 2 Hondas, a buddys Harley, and yesterday a KTM and my GT. All gr8 in their own way.

If I could I would have a Jay Leno style garage full of different makes and eras of motorcycles, because afterall it is "Not about the destination,(or brand) but the journey".:thumb

GlobalRider
05-10-2010, 01:19 AM
I do not fall into the BMW demographic of being a loyalist...

Its not a matter of being a loyalist, but how many other manufacturers produce a large dual purpose motorcycle that has shaft drive, great range and good fit and finish?

20715
05-10-2010, 03:04 AM
I agree with your statement that BMW's quality appears to be waning.
As well though, why did you feel the "other" choice is HD?

You own a CRV, what about a Honda motorcycle?
Dealerships aplenty. I too am getting tired of the BMW attitude of, "we are the best".
Don't get me wrong I do love my GT, but there are plenty of quality bikes out there now, competition is getting stiff.

I do not fall into the BMW demographic of being a loyalist, because I ride as many brands as possible. Today I rode my 2 Hondas, a buddys Harley, and yesterday a KTM and my GT. All gr8 in their own way.

If I could I would have a Jay Leno style garage full of different makes and eras of motorcycles, because afterall it is "Not about the destination,(or brand) but the journey".:thumb

Shouldn't have implied Harley was the only alternative. I'd buy a Honda if they made something that appealed to me. Me ex and I switched from Oldsmobile (I was a loyal Olds man, as was my dad) to Honda with an Accord in 2002. Five years, not a single repair. Then a year and half with a CRV (now hers), not a single repair. Knock on wood (don't want to jinx myself again) zero repairs in a year and a half on my CRV. Pick any motorcycle by any manufacturer, and if that were all that was available, I'd ride it. Two wheels, I like it. I've ridden a KLR. Liked it. Ridden a Wee Strom. Liked it. Ridden a Kaw zz1200....well, it scared the crap out of me. :laugh If I wanted a heavyweight sport touring bike, the Concours would likely be it. I'm doing a 3 way ride and switch soon with some guys at work. Maybe four way. The others are a Tiger, C14 Connie, and possibly a new Road Glide. We all want to ride each others' machines, see what they're like. The Scrammy reminds me why I don't miss chain drive. I like shaft. I just don't see anything that compares heads up to the GS. No Guzzi dealers around here either. Maybe a Tiger, even with the chain, but the last Triumph dealer within 175 miles gave up their franchise one week after I bought the Scrambler. (It's the Howard curse.) I rented a Road King for a day two summers ago, in Denver on business, and rode up into the mountains with some co-workers. I liked it. Slow, overweight, handled poorly, shook itself to death at idlle, but smoother than my GS on the highway, and a very comfortable road bike. It was an 08, before the chasis improvement. But I wasn't the least tempted to trade my GS.

I've calmed down since yesterday. It's only a bike, after all.

I did check the voltage on the battery as part of the diagnostics before taking it to the dealer. 12.54 volts. I don't know if it should be more. It's only about 1.5 years old, which certainly doesn't mean it can't be bad. Several people have expressed that possibility. I bought it from Interstate - a rebadged Yuasa - because I was a dealer for them years ago and they still give me dealer price. I may ask if they can load test it. But heck - a new battery would be about the cost of another tank of gas to haul mine to the dealer, so might just try a new one. My gut still tells me it's the microswitch. But I suck at electrical diagnosis.

88bmwjeff
05-10-2010, 04:34 PM
Unfortunately, intermittent electronic problems are really frustrating to solve. What makes it even worse is that some codes are not kept in on board computers once they correct themselves (I don't know about the BMW ones-just talking in generalities here). You might want to get a fault code reader and see what fault code comes up. Being that far from a dealer, it might pay for itself after a couple repairs. Ted Porter's Beemer shop sells this one (it's probably offered at other places). I've never used it, so I can't comment on it.

http://www.gs911usa.com/

ghostrider1964
05-14-2010, 05:04 PM
05 is one of the worst years for the GS. Almost 70 K on my 1150GS and no issues... I have 28K on my 08 GSA and it is in the shop right now for new shocks:buds

de Razendebol
05-16-2010, 12:15 PM
some time ago did some reading about your servo problem, ADV and some Germany forums
stay away from the 04 GS models, it will not help you unless you remove the stuff from your bike and retro.
the bottum line here, engineering failures like this may not happen when paying top dollars.

I just got my 3rd Beemer R1200GSA 09 no abs, board computer esa or any other stuff which is a pain standing in the middle of nowhere.

Why believe the dealer technician they will not admit even if they want to, just talk 'off the record" with them.

the dealer network is :banghead a creation of BMW, for the bike i didn't care, but i wanted to buy a bmw car, instead bought a volvo, bmw dealer to far.

Have more fun do it your self