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  #1  
Old 22 May 2008
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Common Problems & Faults Encounterd Or Known With Bmw R1150gs

I m trying to Prep my R1150GS (2003/10000 miles on clock) for an overland trip to Asia. Can anyone tell me some of the common problems/faults they have found, or things that have broke while riding this bike. I know on the whole they are generally reliable, trying to find out some of the more specific issues people have encountered. Maybe I can then avoid these beforehand with some good prep work, if at all possible.
I m changing & replacing the normal stuff, brakes, fluids, lights, battery, shock so on. I’m interested in any electrical problems encountered. Also in people’s thoughts on if? and how do I reinforce the frame, (without blowing out the ABS LWR style).
Otherwise just any general and random thought on bike prep for this kind of trip would be appreciated.
Cheers
Paul
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  #2  
Old 22 May 2008
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Originally Posted by phtest View Post
general and random thoughts
There is a good thread on here about reinforcing sub-frames. Whether or not you need to probably depends on how heavy you travel.

Stock shocks don’t seem to be up to the task of really bad roads so as you mention, you might want to upgrade to Öhlins or similar.

I would definitely use a dry cell battery; much more reliable and if you drop the bike with an acid battery, the acid can run over the bike in inaccessible places. (happened to me on a test ride)

Stephan
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  #3  
Old 22 May 2008
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Not an owner of 1150 myself, but 1100, which is very similar, with just a minor differences.

Rear suframe is the same on the R850/1100/1150GSes, how to reinforce it, see here how it's welded: HERE.

Note that for solo you don't need it - just bin the solid top box (use an elastic luggage roll instead), heavy and vibrating solid top boxes are of the causes of rear subframes breaking on most of bikes. Go as light as you can, and it'll never break even in the tough conditions.

As on ANY bike, there are thousands of places it can break due to your own maintenance faults, crashes, wear, etc. Maybe keep an eye on the UKGSer 1100/1150 technical section, to see what probs people have encountered and fixes. It also educates you from real-life incidents, that may become very handy.

Route the fuel filter outside the tank, cylinder head protection, proper handguards, decent luggage (soft or hard is up to you), proper aftermarket shocks (Öhlins, Wilbers, WP etc) would be a nice buy, more powerful lights. Buy Haynes or Clymer manual, read it occasionally to get "the feel" of the bike's mechanics and electrics (if you aren't mech-minded person yourself). It may be useful on the road diagnosing the occuring problems.

But if you aren't perfectionist then I'd say 1150 is pretty much ready to RTW today, even in stock: jump on and ride on.

Although ordering parts with nowadays logistics (DHL/Fedex etc) is possible everywhere, maybe still consider carrying some spare parts discussed here. It may help you keep going on some annoying moments on the road.

Happy travels, Margus
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Old 22 May 2008
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EDIT:

Uh, Stephano was faster with subby part

Cheers, Margus
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  #5  
Old 24 May 2008
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Common faults

Hall sensor's (ignition sensor) have been known to fail.
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Old 24 May 2008
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One part that is worth carrying, I'm told, is a rear bevel bearing and seal for the final drive. You're up the creek if it fails, and its not expensive or big to carry. We carried one for our GS. It never had any problems though. Other stuff er carried and didn't need were a few spokes and an alternator belt.

As Margus stated earlier items we also fitted included engine bars, and auxillary lights. The latter do help with the 1150s beam. The 1100 is said to have a healthy beam, so not such an issue there. I also fitted front suspension wishbone protectors so that a fall would not cause the swinging of the barrs to damage the wishbone or steering stop.

Ours was heavy but did very well.
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Old 25 May 2008
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If you have a spoked wheel BuMWuh then either replace with cast wheels or take along at least 50 spare spokes. This is the real weak point once you start to ride them off road.

The rear subframe has ALWAYS been a problem on BuMWuhs. Why they haven't gotten around to fixing it when it's been causing problems since the 5 series is beyond me. Personally I thonk it's a sad indictment of the whole BumWuh manufacturing organisation, and just skimming the surface of the real problems of the company.

Garry from Oz.
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Old 25 May 2008
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If you have a spoked wheel BuMWuh then either replace with cast wheels or take along at least 50 spare spokes. This is the real weak point once you start to ride them off road.
I had heard something similar and carried a handful of spokes too, but never had any problems, fortunately.

Having said that I think that cast wheels would be even more vulnerable off road, no?
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Old 25 May 2008
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spare parts

I gues there is always going to be an element of suck it and see, we cant pre plan for everything. Also unfortunatlly my back up grew in the 4 wheel drives have other filming deadlines. So im on my own I guess
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  #10  
Old 26 May 2008
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Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
If you have a spoked wheel BuMWuh then either replace with cast wheels or take along at least 50 spare spokes. This is the real weak point once you start to ride them off road.

The rear subframe has ALWAYS been a problem on BuMWuhs. Why they haven't gotten around to fixing it when it's been causing problems since the 5 series is beyond me. Personally I thonk it's a sad indictment of the whole BumWuh manufacturing organisation, and just skimming the surface of the real problems of the company.

Garry from Oz.
This is strange.. I've heard the exact opposite, that if going off road, wire wheels are better than cast.. they can be repaired/straightened out if necessary.. (what's a bumwuh..??)
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  #11  
Old 26 May 2008
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Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
If you have a spoked wheel BuMWuh then either replace with cast wheels or take along at least 50 spare spokes. This is the real weak point once you start to ride them off road.
Errr ... MX and Enduro bikes all have spoked wheeels ... because they are much better at surviving dirt roads than cast wheels ...

BMWBirdss bike had cast wheels .. creacked at Innaminka ...

I'd suggest that Garry is in the minority in his preference for cast wheels.

Oil heads - non CANbuss ...
Failures -
Petrol filter
Alternator belt

then you get the less often ones
Gear box input shaft seal ? that needs to be chacked .. could be only a small run of them...?
Hall effect sensors (and wiring going up to teh connector under the tank ...
etc...
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  #12  
Old 26 May 2008
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Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
If you have a spoked wheel BuMWuh then either replace with cast wheels or take along at least 50 spare spokes. This is the real weak point once you start to ride them off road.
Now that is complete bollocks

Ridden lot of 2-up on my R1100GS (Behr cross-spoke wheels), with around 200kg loaded on the bike over potholed, suspension bottomed out often. Rocks flying between the spokes. Sometimes I do some more technical offroad too, even smaller jumps with the bike that weights 250kg wet + 85kg rider - how much beating the wheels take compared to a 100kg weighting offroad bike?

And with nearing to 100,000kms on those wheels, NOT a single spoke has broken per such usage of the bike

Got to say the BMW patented cross-spoke wheels are among the toughest wheels you can get, and another big pro is you can also use tubeless tires. The only con I know is: they're heavy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
The rear subframe has ALWAYS been a problem on BuMWuhs. Why they haven't gotten around to fixing it when it's been causing problems since the 5 series is beyond me. Personally I thonk it's a sad indictment of the whole BumWuh manufacturing organisation, and just skimming the surface of the real problems of the company.
Name me a big trailie bike that has a good rear suframe up to carry 200kg on it over potholes and corrugations?

Seen 'em broken on all - Trans Alps, Africa Twins, Super Tenere's, 950/990s and the list goes on. Haven't seen an exception yet.

I reckon 95% of the big trailie bikes need a rear subframe reinforcement for the very serious stuff (2up full of luggage OR solo and light but then extreme offroad).
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  #13  
Old 26 May 2008
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Ok, first up BuMWuh is lower case for BMW (buh, muh, wuh).

Question was asked re 2003 GS1150. I know 3 people in Melbourne who owned GS1150s. All 3 snapped 3-4 rear spokes EVERY time they rode a reasonable distance, either on road or off road.

BuMWuh has always had wheel problems. In '79 I crossed the Sahara on an RD350 - closely followed by 5 frenchmen. One on an XT500, two on R90/Ses and two on R90/6s (GSes didn't exist at this time).

The two yammies with steel rims and spokes got through unscathed wheel wise. All four BuMWuhs "squared" their alloy rims and broke many spokes, requiring COMPLETE wheel replacement.

In addition, two of the BuMWuhs snapped their front forks clean through at the bottom triple clamp and ALL four snapped their rear subframes. Neither Yammie had any fork, suspension or frame damage (the closest thing to frame damage that I sustained was breaking the rear engine mounts). I was also carrying a steel chest containing tools and luggage and a 50 litre plastic fuel container + 10 litres of water ALL mounted on a rack aft of the rear wheel and acting as a giant lever to bend the rear frame (if it could).

I'm not surprised to hear about BuMWuhs having problem with cast wheels either - they simply design their bikes for aesthetics (to some) and not practical use.

As you have probably surmised by now, I believe BuMWuhs to be HIGHLY overrated. In essence, you pay twice the price of the Jap equivalent, for what is really only half the bike (in other words you're paying four times what they are worth)

I've just finished my China ride on a little local 125cc ROAD bike with cast rims. The worst damage I have had is snapping the luggage rack and four punctures. I know that a BuMwuh could NEVER have made it through those same conditions without requiring major repairs - witness the Around the World ride by 2 clowns on BuMWuhs and their frame snapping issues in Mongolia (and their wishes that they could have been on an a local "little" bike like their fellow rider rather than riding something that needs a stepladeer to climb aboard).

Yes, I've ridden them (best thing about them is the huge lean angle) but would NEVER contemplate owning one. I owned a 7 series car once and that was enough to turn me off for life too.

Garry from Oz.
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  #14  
Old 26 May 2008
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Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
BuMWuh has always had wheel problems.

Crap!

My old rims were used for 180kkm.
No spokes was changed, no bearings, no brake-disk, nothing!
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Old 26 May 2008
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Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
Question was asked re 2003 GS1150. I know 3 people in Melbourne who owned GS1150s. All 3 snapped 3-4 rear spokes EVERY time they rode a reasonable distance, either on road or off road.
I suspect there are far more than three BMW R1150 or R1100GS owners on here and I wonder how many have had similar problems. If they were that bad noone would recommed them Perhaps this is down to the riding style of the fellows your end. I'm not going to question your experiences: I was not there, but as was the case with Margus, I, too, rode a 1150 two up for 11000 km in South America and did quite a bit of Off-raod (albeit only about 600-700 km of the total). This is still no small distance, and the bike suffered no failures. On the shipping terminal scales the bike weighed 380KG, with only a 1/4 of a tank. And its two passengers were not on-board. Kevin and julia Sanders would not attemtp and beat a world record on a bike they did not think up to the challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
As you have probably surmised by now, I believe BuMWuhs to be HIGHLY overrated. In essence, you pay twice the price of the Jap equivalent, for what is really only half the bike (in other words you're paying four times what they are worth)
You do pay for the badge with BMs, I don't deny that and, personally, I don't give two hoots about the street-image of a bike, but rather its reputation (To underline my point, I just bought a Ural!). Nonetheless, no other bike manufacturer has had an overland pedigree bike series going for as long as the GS range. Let alone one that has kept the company in decent business (BMs highest consistent sales outside Police applications, I believe) Other contenders were the Africa Twin: discontinued, the Teneres discontinued. And these were not capable of comfortable two up travel. @ owners have often said they are underpowered for that.

now? The DL series from Suzuki is about the only new bike I can think of and that also has some achilles heels to contend with. KTM are fun, but I would not personally trust their reliability. Moto Guzzi? Buell? Varadero?!? These are styled bikes but not seriously aimed at RTW. That said, I don't think the new R1200s are either, although owners may disagree.

Japs make very good bikes (I have owned 16 from the big four over the years), but that does not mean that BM are abritrarily crap. Nor does paying extra for the name mean that the product is crap. You pay for a Honda badge too, when compared to Kawasaki or Yam prices...
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