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Thread: Is my riding style causing final drive problems?: Your Opinion

  1. #1
    ChrisO chriso83's Avatar
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    Is my riding style causing final drive problems?: Your Opinion

    So, I had a 2007 R1200RT and at around 16k miles my crown bearing went out, luckily BMW covered the cost.
    Now I have a 2008 R1200RT and at around 19.5k mile the whole final drive went out and had to be replaced. About $1900 on my dime. Both bikes were service regularly with recommended lubricants.

    This has gotten me wondering, two bikes, two final drive problems.
    Is my riding style causing final drive problems or is it bad luck?

    Now I mention my riding skills because one of the riding techniques I've learned is to apply the rear brake with a little throttle while traveling at very low rates of speed to help control the bike which makes it "standup". This is a skill that is especially used by motorcycle officers to control the bike a low speeds. I believe many of the motor officers use this skill in their riding competitions as well.

    Is it bad luck, faulty design, my riding technique or a combo of all that is causing my final drive problems?

    If it is my driving style, applying brakes with a little throttle, then perhaps others who are using this technique, i.e., police motor units, would see a ongoing problem with their final drives as well.

    Anyone have any experience, thoughts or ideas about that?

    ChrisO

  2. #2
    jeepinbanditrider
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    That shouldn't cause an issue with the final drive. At lower speeds there wouldn't be enough heat generated to mess anything up. Now if you were riding the rear brake at highway speeds that might cause issues haha.

    I just think you got really "lucky". Hopefully the new final drive on your RT won't give you any headaches.

  3. #3
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by chriso83 View Post
    So, I had a 2007 R1200RT and at around 16k miles my crown bearing went out, luckily BMW covered the cost.
    Now I have a 2008 R1200RT and at around 19.5k mile the whole final drive went out and had to be replaced. About $1900 on my dime. Both bikes were service regularly with recommended lubricants.

    This has gotten me wondering, two bikes, two final drive problems.
    Is my riding style causing final drive problems or is it bad luck?

    Now I mention my riding skills because one of the riding techniques I've learned is to apply the rear brake with a little throttle while traveling at very low rates of speed to help control the bike which makes it "standup". This is a skill that is especially used by motorcycle officers to control the bike a low speeds. I believe many of the motor officers use this skill in their riding competitions as well.

    Is it bad luck, faulty design, my riding technique or a combo of all that is causing my final drive problems?

    If it is my driving style, applying brakes with a little throttle, then perhaps others who are using this technique, i.e., police motor units, would see a ongoing problem with their final drives as well.

    Anyone have any experience, thoughts or ideas about that?

    ChrisO
    It's neither your riding style (the bike should hold up) or "dumb luck."

    FD problems with modern Beemers are as legendary as the roundel. If ever solved, it won't be 'announced' - not BMW's style. If after, say 5 years without complaints/issues - just maybe they redesigned it right.

    Hope your repairs go well.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Motorcycle/Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    It's neither your riding style (the bike should hold up) or "dumb luck."

    FD problems with modern Beemers are as legendary as the roundel. If ever solved, it won't be 'announced' - not BMW's style. If after, say 5 years without complaints/issues - just maybe they redesigned it right.

    Hope your repairs go well.
    You're right, BMW will not announce a fix for the final drive issue if they solve it. Can't announce a fix for a problem that you deny of it's existence.

  5. #5
    na1g
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    OK, so maybe it's not "dumb luck". It's a crap-shoot. Some riders are going to experience years of faultless service while others will have repeat problems.

    I suppose the managers at BMW have checked to see if it's one assembler/technician that gets them all wrong or if it's a random thing. But no matter for us, the consumers. If they haven't solved the (non)-problem by now, they aren't likely to ever solve it. I haven't had an issue with my 2011 RT but I often wonder how many sales they have lost over the years just because of the FD (non)-problem.

    The folks on the Honda ST1300 forums get a good laugh when BMW riders in the Iron Butt rally carry spare final drives.

    pete
    2011 R1200RT
    -Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. -Oscar Wilde

  6. #6
    Registered User f14rio's Avatar
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    i haven't had a problem with my r12r

    but i doubt i would have bought it if i knew about the problem and the lack of action on bmw's part.

    to buy another one knowing that nothing had been done would be really stupid (on my part, anyway).
    "Enemy fighters at 2 o'clock!...Roger, What should i do until then?"

    2010 r1200r, 2009 harley crossbones, 2008 triumph/sidecar, 1970 norton commando 750

  7. #7
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by f14rio View Post
    but i doubt i would have bought it if i knew about the problem and the lack of action on bmw's part.

    to buy another one knowing that nothing had been done would be really stupid (on my part, anyway).

    Back in the 1970's, I worked with a guy on my police department who managed to pay cash for a brand new Camaro - then set aside $$$ every month for the combined cost of depreciation and new-model inflation over the next twelve months (warranties back then were 12 months or 12k miles). Then every single year for nearly a decade, he'd just trade it in a few days shy of the warranty expiring and get a brand new Camaro. Slick.

    Maybe not a bad plan for BMW motorcycles. Find a way to get that new R1200RT or GS without financing (raid an annuity or something similar?!), and then consult Kelly Blue Book for projected depreciation. Factor in, say 4% per year for inflation, and begin a savings regimen that piles up enough cash so that every 3 years (when the 36-month warranty approaches expiration), you trade up for another new bike.

    Won't save you from the mechanical issues, but your BMW would always be under warranty when the FD, fuel strip, fuel pump, ESA, tranny seals, etc. take a nosedive!
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Motorcycle/Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  8. #8
    Registered User flyingw1600gt's Avatar
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    It's not your riding style

    I too experienced an FD failure at low miles with my 08 RT. Unless you are doing hole shots and wheelies, the final drive should never let you down. In truth these final drives are pretty simple. I pulled mine apart, repaired the failed crown bearing for less than $300 and have many more trouble free miles. My theory after examining the failed bearing is that water gets by the outer seal causing rust as the bike sits in the garage. I replaced the failed bearing with a better quality bearing and have had no problems since. I too tried contacting the mother ship for assistance only to get the party line that there "is no large scale problem" with the final drives.

    Don't blame your riding style. IMO there is a problem with these final drives. My wife bought a 1600GT for me and is happily riding the RT. I love the GT though there's a lot of racket coming from the drive train. I wonder what mechanical adventures await......

    These beemers are fabulous motorcycles. But if you love them as I do, you'll have to learn how to fix their shortcomings or be prepared to pay $$$$ to have others to fix them for you.
    Last edited by flyingw1600gt; 03-14-2013 at 04:15 AM.

  9. #9
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Ex motor cop:)

    Its been years decades for me now, BUT I would never ride my personal bike as any Motor Officer does! Sound funny? Well, first all, they don't pay for breaking their bikes and most run 'em HARD and brutal... Draging a brake is maybe neat for something, but what I am not certain for general road use. Practice your skills better, save your brakes. I get nearly 100000m out of brake pads and my tires go much more than avg.too, so my skill level is fairly high with my riding history/race past. I was in the 70s as a Motor Cop and the skills taught today to those guys are high level indeed, very respectful skills, but its not always the best for the avg. tourer guy/gal out there, imo. You use some of that and you pay the repair bills. Ask any BMW Dealer about their bread and butter repairs on Police BMWs. WE do teach the turning/power brake drag in offroad school too, but its just for those wishing to learn a new technique and not the end all, IF you get the point. I am a make'em last longer/save bucks kinda teacher and "get the skills" without so much expense. Seen too many people wearing our brakes at 20000m and so on, way too early. Just a thought, so don't be too hard on me Randy

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