MCN Fleet: BMW S1000XR encounters a sticky problem

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I’d noticed something was amiss with the way the key was turning in the BMW S1000XR’s ignition barrel for a few days but assumed a little bit of dirt had fallen in and was responsible for the sticky action.

I called my local BMW dealer and was told to pop in next time I was passing for a check over. Two days later I went to move the bike in my garage and the key refused to turn, not even enough to disengage the steering lock.

Options were limited. It was 9pm and I needed the bike the next day but everything I did to try and get the key to turn enough to release the steering lock was tempered by the fear of bending or snapping the key off in the ignition barrel. A dribble of 3-in-1 oil did nothing, as did a spray of WD-40. Oh darn it! 

I called BMW Assist, who sent a van to my house with a very helpful man who, despite some valiant efforts, was unable to help. I agreed to wait until the morning and speak to my local BMW dealer. In the end I needed to call BMW Assist again, who sent out another van and another mechanic.

It was to no avail and the bike, still with the steering lock engaged, had to be dragged, pushed, shoved, lifted, dragged some more before finally it was secured in the back of the van. It was punishing work for the pair of us.

What followed has been a long wait for parts; two weeks as I am sat here writing this. If this was my bike that I had spent £17k-plus on then I am sure my local dealer would have offered a replacement motorcycle while I waited.

As it stands, I’ve been off the bike for two weeks and the fact something as mundane as the ignition barrel has failed and it’s taken so long to get a replacement has left me feeling exasperated, especially as I have just a few days to go before I am supposed to be riding to Toulouse in France and at this moment I still don’t know if I’m going to have a bike for the trip.

Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter