My experiment with BMW has taken a downturn

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Warchild

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Whelp.... I am bumming pretty hard, because my first-ever experiment with a BMW motorcycle has taken a decided downturn. I have just retrieved the bike from Prosser BMW after it's third major warranty repair. 😖

Parking it now as I contemplate its future.

backFromWarrantyWork.jpg

First, the Keyless Gas Cap system failed. In the closed position. Couldn't open it to refuel, which is demoralizing on a long road trip when you pull in the gas station on fumes. When I was finally able to open it - it would no longer latch close. :rolleyes: This Keyless Gas Cap failure is a well-known problem for beemers that have this system. Google "bmw keyless gas cap" and read the horror stories.

When the Keyless Gap was being replaced, it was discovered that my stock fuel tank had "swollen" such that the gas cap bolts would no longer align with their keepers - the keepers had migrated away from their alignment holes when the tank swelled. 😵‍💫 So the factory fuel tank also needed replacement under warranty.

Third, the water pump stared spewing blue coolant out the weep hole in the back of the oil sump, so it needed replacement. Below photo shows the tell-tale blue coolant drip line. This water pump failure is also a well-known problem area on the engine across several models, but after 25-30K of use, I thought I had escaped this problem. But, no.

CoolantLeak.jpg

Obviously, I am pissed-the-fuck-off that I dump mega-$$$ into my "premium European motorcycle", and can't even get Japanese reliability.

Mind you, the first 25K miles, damn thing was a Dream Ride, it did everything I wanted it to do, and more. But since then.... nightmare bike.

Gonna be a long winter waiting to order a 2023 bike. I am pretty sure this beautiful black machine needs to go. :cry: I just can't tolerate a bike with this much questionable reliability - got spoiled over the years with by Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha reliability.

This sucks. It really, really does. :cry:
 

RossKean

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I recently bought a used BMW F700GS to explore roads not as easily accessed with the FJR. No issues so far but my reading tells me that I am unlikely to enjoy hundreds of thousands of trouble-free kilometers as I have on the FJR. Not a bad bike but I haven't really bonded with it. No warranty, of course, and BMW parts aren't cheap.

I have read about ongoing problems with composite fuel tanks and water pumps on the F bikes. Not to mention wheel bearings, fuel pumps, rear shock top bolts, stators (earlier bikes), steering head, clutches etc.

Those who have drunk the Kool-aid love to go on about their premium motorcycles and how great they are but they have a LONG way to go to approach the reliability of an FJR (or many other Japanese bikes). BMW no longer makes service manuals available directly and while I can get one that is relevant to my 2017, the lack of an available service manual guarantees that I will never own another BMW especially with expensive service parts and a sparse dealer network. Info is not even made available to Haynes or other aftermarket manual writers so that avenue is also closed.
(My 2011 FJR has had fork seals, a set of brake pads and a shifter rubber replaced in almost 100,000 miles (152,000 km so far). Original battery and all the lights, although the battery will likely need replacing next season - probably headlights too.)
 

RedRiderMN

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I owned 3 BMWs ('72 R75/5, '83 R80RT, and a '97 K1100LT) and all three developed leaky rear main seals. They all had a single plate dry clutch and the rear main seal was a weak point in their design. I paid a local independent BMW repair shop around a $1000 / year maintaining them.

Two of my riding buddies both owned BMWs but had switched to FJRs and kept telling me how much they loved them. Plus, they never seemed to have much in the way of repairs. When I found a 2014 beautiful Red FJR for sale, I snatched it up and dumped my K-Bike for a severe loss. I will NEVER own another BMW. YMMV
 

Old Guy

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Someone asked me recently who makes the most reliable bikes, and I told him I haven't tried them all so I couldn't say. But my FJR has 108,000 miles on it and I've had to replace a throttle position sensor, radiator cap, and rear shock. I've not even adjusted a valve yet. I do see some Beemers I think I'd seriously enjoy, but after the kind of luck I've had with Japanese bikes, I'm just afraid to take the chance.
 

RossKean

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Yamaha consistently ranks at or near the top of the reliability list. EG: https://monimoto.com/blog/motorcycle-advice/most-reliable-motorcycle-brands/
And (unsurprisingly), BMW is at the bottom of this list. Technologically innovative but often unnecessarily complicated and prone to failures in components that other manufacturers have managed to get right a long time ago. (Other European manufacturers don't fare much better.)

The lack of a supportive dealer network is a concern to me as well. There is only one authorized BMW shop within an eight hour drive from me and I will only deal with them under duress (they are almost two hours drive). They are a multi-brand dealership with little-to-no regard for customers or service. I am counting on doing all of my own service with mail-order parts support, as needed. Some decent forums out there for diagnostic help and electronic assists (GS911 or Motoscan) for reading/clearing codes, resetting service reminders and changing settings that otherwise would have to be done by a BMW shop.
 
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eeksnake

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Sorry to hear this Dale. You were positively brimming with joy over it just a few short months ago. I feel your pain though. I had an '02 VFR800 as a daily rider that I had to work on most every weekend. Not routine maintenance mind you. Major & minor repairs. I struggled over the decision to get rid of it. Finally got to the point where I was working on it more than riding it. Traded it in for the FJR and the rest is history.
 

Warchild

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Sorry to hear this Dale. You were positively brimming with joy over it just a few short months ago.

When the bike is well-behaved and not undergoing significant warranty work, it truly is a joy to own and ride. It is almost the perfect solo LD bike for me. But I can't tolerate a bike with this kind of reliability problems. I want the bike to just work for me, but I also don't want to continue risking a fourth failure. Because at some point, the failures may happen while on the road - or worse, leave me stranded on the side of the road in the complete middle of nowhere in the burning summertime Nevada desert.
 

mophead

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How many BMW Motorcycles locations are there in the United States in 2022? There are 146 BMW Motorcycles locations in the United States as of September 20, 2022. The state with the most number of BMW Motorcycles locations in the US is California, with 21 locations, which is 14% of all BMW Motorcycles locations in America.

And of those 146 probably 15 are worth a damn. It's a pitiful dealer network that doesn't deserve your attention or support.

There are 89 Yamaha dealers in Texas alone. 79 in California. Not saying all those are good either but I would rather take my chances at the Yammy house. Oh I forget, Yamaha's don't have to go in as often as BMW's.
 

Sunnyorlando

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"... BMW no longer makes service manuals available directly and while I can get one that is relevant to my 2017, the lack of an available service manual guarantees that I will never own another BMW especially with expensive service parts and a sparse dealer network. Info is not even made available to Haynes or other aftermarket manual writers so that avenue is also cclosed"
I've read this several times in different places about BMW not making service manuals available. Not that I'm interested in owning a BMW, but if I were, I would definitely deter me from doing so because I am much of a do-it-yourself individual.
As many of you may be familiar, recently there was a right to repair law introduce for electronics. There's also a right to repair law for motor vehicles (although it says motor vehicles, it refers mostly to cars) that has been introduced in Massachusetts. Other states are following their footsteps to adopt similar laws based on the Massachusetts law.
I would think that the right to repair for motor vehicles could probably extend to motorcycles, or at least be modified to do so.
In my opinion it would be worth pushing the issue. Although I don't own a BMW, I think that there are others who this would benefit - at least BMW owners 😉

I believe in the right to repair 100%, nobody should hold me back from digging into something that I own.

On a side note - I have a couple of riding buddies who have switched from very reliable Japanese motorcycles (Connie and FJR) to BMWs, in this case the xr1000s. There's another buddy who wants to do the same thing, from a Connie to an xr1000. I think he just wants to fit in with the other two so they can be stranded on the side of the road together 😉. Although several of us have tried to convince him otherwise, it looks like he's still headed in that direction, and very excited to do so. And sadly he's not much of a do-it-yourself guy, so he will be visiting the dealer for just about everything.

Re:
 
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DavidEBSmith

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How many BMW Motorcycles locations are there in the United States in 2022? There are 146 BMW Motorcycles locations in the United States as of September 20, 2022. The state with the most number of BMW Motorcycles locations in the US is California, with 21 locations, which is 14% of all BMW Motorcycles locations in America.

And of those 146 probably 15 are worth a damn. It's a pitiful dealer network that doesn't deserve your attention or support.

There are 89 Yamaha dealers in Texas alone. 79 in California. Not saying all those are good either but I would rather take my chances at the Yammy house. Oh I forget, Yamaha's don't have to go in as often as BMW's.

Funny, I have no Yamaha dealer within 25 miles and none of them are easy accessible for me. The local BMW dealer, I can drop off the bike, and there's a train 1/2 block away to take me to work or home. If I go to the other local dealer, there's a train that stops 1 block from them. So for me, it's really inconvenient to get the FJR into the shop, and it's really easy to get the BMW into the shop.

On the other hand, the BMW was in the shop for all of last year after it died on the road and it cost $XXXX to fix. When I told the mechanic at the BMW shop I had picked up an FJR, he said, oh yah Yamahas, all you have to do is change the oil and tires and they go forever. :unsure:
 

BIODSL

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Sorry to hear your story, Warchild. When my independent BMW mechanic retired in 2006, I sold my R1100RS and bought a low mileage 2003 FJR. One of the better decisions in my life.
I hope you can find another bike to lust after.
 

RedRiderMN

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We have a local Independent BMW repair shop in town, however the owner is 71 years old and his main repairman has Parkinson’s. That is part of the reason why I sold my ‘97 K1100LT to them for a severe loss and the very next week took delivery of my FJR. Best decision I’ve made.

At least with the FJR I can do most, if not all, of the maintenance and repairs myself!

YMMV
 

redzgrider

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I don't know that any brand is particularly great -- it for certain isn't either BMW or Yamaha. My 2012 Gen 2 stranded me a few years back 300 miles from home when the well known, documented, and supposedly re-engineered ground spider issue burned one portion of my main wiring harness. Yamaha could not have cared less, and the closest dealership was delighted to replace the harness at $1200 parts/labor.
Pardon if I missed it, but how has the dealer treated you as a customer? Some time back, a friend's brand new K bike began leaking oil through the side of the cylinder head. Took months to get the parts for repair, but the dealer kept his customer happy with a series of loaners during the repair process -- anything like that happening hear, or the more typical 'sucks to be you'?
 
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