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Thread: 2013 R1200GS head shake

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    2013 R1200GS head shake

    I purchased a new 2013 R1200GS a few weeks ago. Upon leaving the dealership and up through 500mi everything seemed great. I took the bike in for 600 mi service, added vario siade and top case and now have a somewhat violent head shake between 40-55 mph. According to service there are no recalls for my motorcycle but I will be dropping it off in the morning so this can be fixed somehow! Really concerned that this may be a design flaw!!!

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    Lost again Texpaul's Avatar
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    Since you didn't mention having the issue before the bag installation I would operate on the assumption that it is somehow connected to that, or something else that was done during the 600 mile service.
    Paul Mulhern
    MOA# 56330
    '05 1200GS Big Blue

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    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Earlier this year when the wethead GS was released to journalists for reviews, there were some reports of front-end instability. Here's an example. There was a very negative comment in UK's Bike by its very experienced tester; I can't find that review online. Another author wondered if journalist Kevin Ash's death at the bike's intro might have been caused by this instability.

    Since then, reviewers have not mentioned the issue. As usual, BMW remains mum.
    Last edited by dbrick; 07-09-2013 at 12:09 AM.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

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    Registered Loser SHAG's Avatar
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    What is head shake? Check your tire pressure!
    Go like hell, You'll get there quicker
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    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    There is something wrong with Pjohnson387's bike. Since he did not experience the issue before adding cases that's where I'd start. From experience with other bikes I'd first remove the top case and see if the problem persists.

    David, there may be further info about the "lock-to-lock" head shake reported from the press introduction. It is (rumor?) that the rider/reporter who experienced that forgot to mention that when it occurred he was on a dirt road doing about 60 MPH while standing on the pegs with his arms flapping in the wind instead of having hands on the grips.

    There was an official response from BMW after the police investigation that the Kevin Ash accident had nothing to do with bike mechanical issues. As far as I know there still hasn't been any official report from police or BMW as to what did happen.

    This is what Jimmy Lewis has to say about R1200GS stability.


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    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pjohnson387 View Post
    I purchased a new 2013 R1200GS a few weeks ago. Upon leaving the dealership and up through 500mi everything seemed great. I took the bike in for 600 mi service, added vario siade and top case and now have a somewhat violent head shake between 40-55 mph. According to service there are no recalls for my motorcycle but I will be dropping it off in the morning so this can be fixed somehow! Really concerned that this may be a design flaw!!!
    Welcome to the forum! The guys have given you some great advice to check on your bike. I can add a couple more.
    Once you have it in your mind that this is happening, it's easy to get sort of "hypersensitive" and therefor loosing some objectivity as to the goings on.
    Have someone you ride with regular (and consider a real good rider) take it for a spin. This works better without any prompting of the problem.
    I'm kinda in the tire pressure as something to check and adjust.
    Good Luck. OM
    "Well they say.. time loves a hero but only time will tell.. If he's real, he's a legend from heaven If he ain't he was sent here from hell" Lowell George
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200
    Part of the Forum Threadside Assistance Program

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    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Marc,

    Jimmy is certainly reassuring, and for sure he knows about about riding these machines. I don't have any of that experience. "Looking where things were last changed" is good advice.

    Still, I was particularly struck by the review in Bike, whose experienced tester (before letting my subscription lapse, I read him for years...now I forget his name) I imagine would not be riding the dirt waving his arms around. His ride had a scary moment. With the mystery around Ash's death (Ash wasn't a hotdogger either), it seemed possible that some combination of weighting or tire inflation or stacking of tolerances or lack of a steering damper might yield too much instability.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

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    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Rremove the top box, dollars to donuts the problem is gone.
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    Head shake

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Welcome to the forum! The guys have given you some great advice to check on your bike. I can add a couple more.
    Once you have it in your mind that this is happening, it's easy to get sort of "hypersensitive" and therefor loosing some objectivity as to the goings on.
    Have someone you ride with regular (and consider a real good rider) take it for a spin. This works better without any prompting of the problem.
    I'm kinda in the tire pressure as something to check and adjust.
    Good Luck. OM
    Thanks for the head up!! This happens while riding on pavement. If I am doing 60 and let go of the gas and handlebars, the bars start to shake back and forth, as my speed gets slower through 55 it gets much worse, almost to the point that I have to grab the bars to keep from losing control. The effect is less with the vario cases off the bike but I should not experience any head shake on this bike???

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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    There is something wrong with Pjohnson387's bike. Since he did not experience the issue before adding cases that's where I'd start. From experience with other bikes I'd first remove the top case and see if the problem persists.

    David, there may be further info about the "lock-to-lock" head shake reported from the press introduction. It is (rumor?) that the rider/reporter who experienced that forgot to mention that when it occurred he was on a dirt road doing about 60 MPH while standing on the pegs with his arms flapping in the wind instead of having hands on the grips.

    There was an official response from BMW after the police investigation that the Kevin Ash accident had nothing to do with bike mechanical issues. As far as I know there still hasn't been any official report from police or BMW as to what did happen.

    This is what Jimmy Lewis has to say about R1200GS stability.

    Notice how stable the bars are on his bike. If I took the same video from same angle you would see my bars shake back and forth a lot!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SHAG View Post
    What is head shake? Check your tire pressure!
    Tire pressure is 35 front and 42 rear.

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    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pjohnson387 View Post
    Notice how stable the bars are on his bike. If I took the same video from same angle you would see my bars shake back and forth a lot!!!


    I did say there was something wrong with your bike. Even the shake went away when removing the bags and top case there would still be something wrong with your bike. Given that it is a new bike I'd let the dealer sort it out and not accept the bike back until the issue is resolved. Don't let your desire to ride your new bike make you accept anything other than a properly operating vehicle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post


    I did say there was something wrong with your bike. Even the shake went away when removing the bags and top case there would still be something wrong with your bike. Given that it is a new bike I'd let the dealer sort it out and not accept the bike back until the issue is resolved. Don't let your desire to ride your new bike make you accept anything other than a properly operating vehicle.
    Something else to do... do a demo on the exact same year and model if at all possible. Equipped with same accessories as the panniers and the top box. If not remove your panniers and top box and see if the problem goes away. You need to make sure you're comparing apples to apples. I agree with a previous post here. If you have issues get them addressed immediately and refuse to take the bike until repaired if required. If financed through the dealer make the dealer hold up on the submittal if at all possible. That will give you more leverage and therefore protection. If the finance deal is a done deal make sure you continue to make payments in a timely manner as your credit will be affected whether the bike is good, bad or indifferent. Act immediately.

    The fact that the same thing may have happened in the video is potentially a bad sign. Investigate thoroughly before others start making excuses as to why you have no problem. Make sure they are correct if it gets to that point.

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    my.02 worth

    Here's a thread I chimed in on over at ADVRider..


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by atwoodtja
    Its smoother at around 75 mph than 80, fwiw, but not sure if this changes as the breakin smooths things out.

    The steering is also very light at highway speeds, lighter than any bike I've ridden. I used to think my multistrada was a bit light at the front end at 70, but it feels like a model of heavy-steering stability by comparison. The GS recovers fine, but is easily moved by light steering inputs and road deflections. This doesn't really bother me since I usually avoid highways like the plague, but highway touring types might want to think about a steering damper, IMHO, just to be able to relax a bit more. I'm not sure how knobbies will feel, either. My bike came with Trail Attacks.

    This thing just rails thru 30-50 mph corners. Haven't done enough sweepers to have an opinion there yet.


    Hello atwoodja

    This YOU TUBE video has been bouncing around.. demonstrates the VERY LIGHT Steering you refer to.
    I test rode a couple WC, very light, like nothing I've ever owned.

    Curious, I tried the same sort of HITTING THE GRIP/BAR END, as seen on the video while riding my 650 Vstrom and my 2003 K1200GT. The Vstrom has a "go cruise" throttle lock, and of course the K12GT has electronic cruise control, like the WC. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS.

    The Vstrom is no where near as affected by HITTING the GRIP/BAR END.
    Seemingly, nearly unfased in fact. The Vstrom has no steering damper.

    My 2003 K1200GT, well, seems like you'd have to hit it with a sledge hammer to get it shudder. The GT has a steering damper. The GT is reluctant to change direction even when pushing it around in my garage. You gotta muscle it around. Tiring really.

    My .02, I'd bet you'll see that lightness firmed up a bit in years /models to come. Either with a damper or steering geometry tweeks...

    Don't get me wrong.. I like the bike... might buy one someday
    d'milan

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmilan View Post
    Here's a thread I chimed in on over at ADVRider..


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by atwoodtja
    Its smoother at around 75 mph than 80, fwiw, but not sure if this changes as the breakin smooths things out.

    The steering is also very light at highway speeds, lighter than any bike I've ridden. I used to think my multistrada was a bit light at the front end at 70, but it feels like a model of heavy-steering stability by comparison. The GS recovers fine, but is easily moved by light steering inputs and road deflections. This doesn't really bother me since I usually avoid highways like the plague, but highway touring types might want to think about a steering damper, IMHO, just to be able to relax a bit more. I'm not sure how knobbies will feel, either. My bike came with Trail Attacks.

    This thing just rails thru 30-50 mph corners. Haven't done enough sweepers to have an opinion there yet.


    Hello atwoodja

    This YOU TUBE video has been bouncing around.. demonstrates the VERY LIGHT Steering you refer to.
    I test rode a couple WC, very light, like nothing I've ever owned.

    Curious, I tried the same sort of HITTING THE GRIP/BAR END, as seen on the video while riding my 650 Vstrom and my 2003 K1200GT. The Vstrom has a "go cruise" throttle lock, and of course the K12GT has electronic cruise control, like the WC. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME KIDS.

    The Vstrom is no where near as affected by HITTING the GRIP/BAR END.
    Seemingly, nearly unfased in fact. The Vstrom has no steering damper.

    My 2003 K1200GT, well, seems like you'd have to hit it with a sledge hammer to get it shudder. The GT has a steering damper. The GT is reluctant to change direction even when pushing it around in my garage. You gotta muscle it around. Tiring really.

    My .02, I'd bet you'll see that lightness firmed up a bit in years /models to come. Either with a damper or steering geometry tweeks...

    d'milan
    I think people are getting confused with what I am talking about. The bike is perfect in every way, love this machine...but if I am going 40-60mph and take my hands completely off the handlebars the handlebars start to shake badly to the point I need to grab ahold or I might go down......

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