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BMW's loose spoke woes

Published: 16 January 2019

Owners of R1200GS and R nineT models urged to check their wheels.

Up to a thousand BMW bikes sold in the UK last year with spoked rims could be at risk of multiple spokes working loose, leading to compromised wheel integrity.

The issue also affects all spoked-rim BMW R nineT Scrambler and BMW R nineT Urban G/S models and any wheels sold as accessories if built in the same February-June 2018 manufacturing batch.

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A BMW spokesperson has confirmed that all UK dealers are aware of the problem, and that a technical service bulletin was issued in October 2018 instructing them to check all affected bikes at their next service.

While each case will be considered on individual merit, wheels with seven or more loose spokes will be replaced with a new wheel under warranty. But some BMW owners whose bike hasn’t been serviced since the campaign was issued may be unaware of the problem. In that instance, we would urge all owners of bikes built within the affected period to have their bike checked immediately.

BMW have told MCN that they consulted the DVSA over the issue, and that no recall was issued “as the potential issue is not safety critical,” adding: “BMW knows of no accident or catastrophic wheel failure caused by loose spokes.”

There have been some cases reported on social media and forums, ranging from loose spokes to claims of wheel failures, but BMW add: “A loose spoke, or number of loose spokes, may translate to a change in ride noticeable to a rider.

“Should this occur, a rider should schedule a free inspection at their BMW dealer. There is no possibility of a critical failure due to loose spokes.”

Many of the affected bikes were fixed before they were even delivered to their first owners, but a significant number were delivered prior to the service campaign taking effect. BMW say the issue “was caused by the application of a specific coating applied to the spoke nipples, which had the potential to cause insufficient spoke tension during initial tightening.”

It’s this that has led to spokes working loose in some cases, with owners reporting instances occurring within the running-in period, long before the first service was due.

“The manufacturing process has now been changed to eliminate this potential issue,” according to BMW.

Models affected

  • R1200GS / R1200GS Adventure
  • R nineT Scrambler
  • R nineT Urban G/S
  • Examples built from February to June 2018 may be affected
  • 1000 UK bikes affected

Forks in trouble

Fixed GS with extra collar fitted

This isn’t the first time that the R1200GS has courted controversy. In 2017 there was a recall on all 2013-2017 models prompted by reported fork detachments caused by movement where the stanchions met the fork top. The remedy was a pressed collar to prevent the movement that instigated the failures.

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