Earlier this month, we wrote about this “service campaign,” to repair the 2014-2017 BMW R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure. The service bulletin is now officially a worldwide recall, affecting 14,626 motorcycles in the U.S. alone.
According to documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the fixed fork tubes on affected GS models may separate from the pressed-in seal plugs securing them to the upper triple clamp due to extreme stress. Symptoms of this issue include a rattling noise and/or an oil leak.
The problem was first reported in March 2016 with a 2015 R1200GS model in Portugal. BMW then opened an investigation into the cause of the incident. By June 2016, BMW had received 105 reports worldwide of a gap at the front fork plug, and two reports of the plug completely separating. Analysis of the faulty parts found they met material and geometry specifications but had experienced plastic deformation due to extreme stress.
From July to November 2016, BMW received more reports including three from the U.S. BMW then began a field analysis. The results showed two incidents were the results of crashes; the other four were also involved in crashes but the analysis could not determine if they were the cause.
In February 2017, BMW inspected 200 GS models in Germany and South Africa, where road conditions may cause added stress to the suspension, and determined gaps may be formed.
BMW conducted further tests from February to April including bench tests, drop tower tests, static tests, dynamic tests and uniaxial and multi-axial tests under various loads. The tests concluded extreme stress may create a gap in the fork plugs, and additional stress may widen them.
An improvement measure was then released on April 7. After conferring with various national safety authorities, BMW decided to conduct a worldwide recall on June 30.
BMW dealers will slide the rubber grommets covering the fork plugs down and check for a gap in the fork plug. If a gap larger than 0.2 mm exists, dealers will replace the fork tube and add a press-fitted fork tube bushing. If there is no gap, or if it is smaller than 0.2mm, dealers will add the bushing to the existing fork tube.
The recall affects 6,958 R1200GS units and 7,668 R1200GS Adventure units in the U.S.