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  • 2 Post By Margus

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Old 10 Mar 2015
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1100GS gearbox question - in Pakistan

Salam fellow riders,

I got last November a beautiful 1100GS 1999 to travel from Germany to India. The "alte lady" has around 135000 and was kept very well by her previous husband (a BMW mechanic). He said the gearbox has already been changed (some good years ago).

As usual, this not so beautiful part was making lots of noises during shifts (especially 1 to 2 and 2 to 3). But now that I'm in Pakistan, it started having more often false neutrals (also on high gears, which would't happen before). For those with experience with this gearbox, is this a sign of something bad coming (meaning should I find a reasonably good mechanic and open it to check), or it will continue to work like this? Is there a specific sign I should look for?


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Old 11 Mar 2015
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Check the Adjustment of the clutch,fluid in the trans,be sure let the lever return to the normal position before going for the next gear. Did you change anything having to do with your position,your boots,riding conditions( more standing etc). Sometimes our reliable machine is telling us we are just being sloppy in our riding,we change something small n overtime this becomes the result.
Hoping the best for you
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Old 11 Mar 2015
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Hi Yokesman,

The clutch is recently adjusted with enough play, my driving gear is the same, but the oil is almost at change time. And surely the false neutrals happen mostly after long hours ridding, when my sitting positions become quite awkward

I'll check if new oil makes a difference, but the big question: is this bike never supposed to have false neutrals between the high gears (meaning big problems coming)? Or can I continue riding, provided I try to be more precise on the shifts?

Thanks for your answer!

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Old 3 Apr 2015
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Any changes in noises?

Hard to tell really on those symptoms. I'd first have all the gear changer joints and gear lever (foot-side) bearing cleaned and greased - often clunky joints can cause people to do awkward "inbetween" shifts.

That being said it can be a warning that some of the bearings may start to go (the most common, input shaft's rear bearing) or shifting shaft doesn't engange right (very rare, but not so if crashed badly or applied excessive force to the pedal).

On 1100 check the rear rubber part behind the gearbox and swingarm, where the
clutch arm enters the gearbox. Move the rubber (if you can get fingers inbetween - very little space there!) or punch a small hole there with a needle (don't worry, it doesn't need to be waterproof) since it can be tight enough not to let any leaked oil out. If you see oil leak there, it's almost certain it's the input shaft's rear bearing staring to go. It pisses oil into that rubber cap first, then if it's full (the reason why I'm having small holes made into that rubber part) it will go all the way to the clutch plate via clutch operating rod shaft and not only you have a broken bearing, you also will have a oil-contaminated (= destroyed) dry clutch plate unless you have a special oil-resistant dry clutch plate such as Siebenrock (highly recommend it from my own experiences btw!). That's can happen on 1100s that have gone well over 200 000+, at 135 000 it's hard to believe, but I guess you never know how the previous owner maintained it or how much abuse the bike has taken.

Nothing much you can do except pray unless you stop for a very long time somewhere and can take it apart (6+ hour job one-way). Plan multiple days of workshop if you do it for the first time not to rush things. (i.e. see me doing it in a Hotel room)

If s*it does hit the fan, Malik Bashir in Rawalpindi (Honda Motors if I remember correctly) is your best bet in Pakistan. He may source you replacement bearings (equivalents) and can do the job for you if you're not mechanically minded person. If you're on the way to India then Kaulson brothers in Dehli have good connections and apparently a skilled sikh gentleman working as a mechanic in their shop. If going the other way than Iran getting parts can be very-very tricky.

In any case, don't stress too much, it can also be nothing. And if turn out to be a major problem - then remember those well-known words: "Interruptions are the journey!" Ironically one of my best travel experiences and chance to get to know interesting people on the road have been through unlucky brakedowns - I've even though about going to one of my future trips with some crap british 60s or a russian bike that breaks down in every second or third village for this very reason LOL!

Ride safe,
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Old 4 Apr 2015
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Hi Margus,

Thank you for the detailed answer. I took the bike to Bashir in Pindi 3 weeks ago, and after doing some shifting with and without using the clutch, he said that the problem was not serious and I could continue riding for a long time. After that I went to the bumpy north of Pakistan and have reached 140000 without any problems.

And I agree with you regarding the break downs. I had some of those special moments in Serbia and Iran

Next destination is India, and if something special happen I will look for the contact you recommended.

Thanks again and safe rides!

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Old 17 Sep 2016
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Margus, have you still got your 1100GS? I remember reading some of your posts (grease the drive shaft etc) years ago. If you do have it, how many miles has it done now?
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Old 20 Sep 2016
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Originally Posted by Algarve Nick View Post
Margus, have you still got your 1100GS? I remember reading some of your posts (grease the drive shaft etc) years ago. If you do have it, how many miles has it done now?
Hi Nick,

Yes, riding the same 'ol R1100GS. Trying hard to kill it, but I'm just 1K away from 300 000, currently riding far-east Russia. Engine all stock, nothing touched.

"Weak-spots" on this bike is the rear wheel bearing (when properly shimmed, it goes every 100 000km when you do offroad, can go up to 200 000km when doing tarmac). I'm on my third bearing now, and after learning the trick from the first time I can replace it now faster aside the road some guys replace their linkless chain+sprocket kit . Also carrying a Hall sensor, but haven't needed it yet. Gearbox input shaft rear bearing can go between 150 000 - 250 000, when you replace it, put a C3-type open bearing instead of the closed one, better replace all of them with open-bearings while you're there, lasts much longer!

When knowing the weak spots and taking care it those old R11GSes are true "intercontinental missle" type of Globe roamers, I've seen famous Hank's bike with my own eyes while in Bolivia with over 800 000 km on the clock - engine still all stock!

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Old 3 Jul 2017
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I have been away from this site, but that post is amazing, Margus. 300K. Is that km or miles? Mine had 95,000 miles on it when I sold it. I'd bought it at 4K miles. Possibly my best ever bike.

Hank's bike has done 800K km. Engine still stock. Amazing!
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1100gs, bmw, gearbox, pakistan

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