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Thread: Catastrophic Forks Failure

  1. #1
    redbaroness
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    Catastrophic Forks Failure

    Spreading the word so more people are in the know.

    Photos from my crash in the Yukon (clear day, bit windy, smooth pavement, and thankfully not much traffic, forks broke and front wheel came off). I was riding a 2002 F650GS.














    Rest of the crash photos: http://red-baroness.net/Motorcycling/images/BrokenBike/

    From the ChainGang site: http://faq.f650.com/FAQS/ForksMaintF...Fork%20Failure

    ADVRider thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=371650

  2. #2
    Man, I hope you fully recover. Our thoughts are with you.

    Do you think the fork was stressed out or was it a defect? Has the front wheel ever been removed and re-installed improperly? Have you done any jumps or rough off roading?

  3. #3
    RIDERR1150GSADV
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    First off, I hope you fully recover from this accident.

    I have never seen a break on a bike like this, but to me it is a failure within the Heat Affected Zone while the forks were made. Aluminium gets brittle when welded and should be pre heated and post heated in these critical area's. I don't think that that happened here. I am also looking at the massive pitting inside the fork material and this could also be a factor in the failure.

    Sidebar here; I used to inspect welds for a living on oilrigs and had certifications in several NDT procedures for Lloyds and ABS.

    Please get well soon!!!
    Last edited by riderR1150GSAdv; 09-07-2008 at 09:48 PM.

  4. #4
    F650624 f650624's Avatar
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    Fork Failures

    One of these failures is too many. Three known failures of this potentially fatal failure should have caused a recall. BMW doesn't actually make these forks, they buy them from Showa. These forks are also found on Aprila and Honda motorcycles. The Better Business Bureau is probably the only agency with enough clout to find out from Showa how many of these failures have actually occured. Checking the axle mounts will now be a mandatory pre-ride inspection for me.
    Heal fast, and always look forward.

  5. #5
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    Unhappy jeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Save all pieces.

    A good metallurgical / failure analysis may be in order here!

    Move slowly, be careful about what you sign and who you trust!

    Do NOT play with the pieces or try "fitting" them back together... this makes the failure analysis more difficult!!!!!

    Jim

  6. #6
    Rally Rat
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    Redbaroness,

    Best wishes for a quick & complete recovery, please keep us posted as to how you're doing.
    Thank God you had the good sense to wear all of your gear, didn't adventure-travel alone, and chose your companions wisely. This could have been so much worse.
    I hope you get back on that horse (with different forks, or even a new horse) again.

    Bob

  7. #7
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Thank God you are alive to talk about it.

    Wishing you a very speedy recovery.

    Best of luck.
    Ride Well

  8. #8
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    forks failure

    Baroness:

    I looked at your site and noticed that you used to ride a Suzuki 650. Did you previously go under the user name of Blue Poof on the ST forum?

    Glad you're OK and hope you can sort things out with BMW. That was a really scary accident.

    The only activity more expensive than litigating is playing polo.

    Rinty
    Last edited by Rinty; 08-25-2008 at 06:00 PM.

  9. #9
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    First glad you are OK

    Not sure there are any grounds for litigation. Looking at the pictures shows severe pitting, and corrosion on the rim, bolt head and the aluminum. This is not normal, and would indicate some long exposure to caustic substances. Hardly a "defect" IMHO.

  10. #10
    ndjimbo
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    First glad you are OK

    Not sure there are any grounds for litigation. Looking at the pictures shows severe pitting, and corrosion on the rim, bolt head and the aluminum. This is not normal, and would indicate some long exposure to caustic substances. Hardly a "defect" IMHO.
    Yeah, but the pitting looks like it's on the inner diameter of the fork's tube--not something that a user would normally have access to.

    My advice: go talk to a lawyer.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    Jim
    Last edited by ndjimbo; 08-26-2008 at 02:36 AM.

  11. #11
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    Question pitting or porosity?

    Quote Originally Posted by ndjimbo View Post
    Yeah, but the pitting looks like it's on the inner diameter of the fork's tube--not something that a user would normally have access to.

    My advice: go talk to a lawyer.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    Jim
    Jim:

    I have not clue which it really is, but I wonder if it is pitting or maybe porosity in the casting?

    I can not tell for sure from the picture.... but my eyes are not like they were when I was 20


    If it is truly pitting on the inside ... that would have to imply either introduction of caustic substance to the reservoir, or fork oil gone REAL REAL bad ???

    What are your thoughts?

    Jim

  12. #12
    jingdog
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    First glad you are OK

    Not sure there are any grounds for litigation. Looking at the pictures shows severe pitting, and corrosion on the rim, bolt head and the aluminum. This is not normal, and would indicate some long exposure to caustic substances. Hardly a "defect" IMHO.

    If I was on a jury and got this case I would give her everything she asked for.

  13. #13
    mrich12000
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    So have you gotten the bike and owner to a dealer ?


    Hope your ok...

  14. #14
    ndjimbo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbob59 View Post
    Jim:

    I have not clue which it really is, but I wonder if it is pitting or maybe porosity in the casting?

    I can not tell for sure from the picture.... but my eyes are not like they were when I was 20


    If it is truly pitting on the inside ... that would have to imply either introduction of caustic substance to the reservoir, or fork oil gone REAL REAL bad ???

    What are your thoughts?

    Jim
    Hey Jim. I agree that it looks more like porosity than pitting. However, I don't know how much porosity, if any, is allowed by the applicable standards. I would assume that very little porosity is allowed for such a high-stress member. I would also be curious to know what type of non-destructive testing the manufacturer does on these things before they leave the factory.

    Anyway, as you alluded to in your previous message, we're armchair quarterbacking what could be a complicated metallurgical issue. This is something that "the experts" will need to evaluate. Let's just hope that the cause of this failure, whatever it is, is one-in-a-million!!

    Jim

  15. #15
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    Angry Get a professional opinion ... I say.....

    Quote Originally Posted by ndjimbo View Post
    Hey Jim. I agree that it looks more like porosity than pitting. However, I don't know how much porosity, if any, is allowed by the applicable standards. I would assume that very little porosity is allowed for such a high-stress member. I would also be curious to know what type of non-destructive testing the manufacturer does on these things before they leave the factory.

    Anyway, as you alluded to in your previous message, we're armchair quarterbacking what could be a complicated metallurgical issue. This is something that "the experts" will need to evaluate. Let's just hope that the cause of this failure, whatever it is, is one-in-a-million!!

    Jim
    Jim ... I agree it looks like porosity (arm-chair-qback) ... I have no idea what, if any, NDT is done ... but I would suspect that the permitted level of porosity would be MUCH lower than what we are seeing in those pictures.....

    Based on our "free" pseudo-professional opinions I'd sure get an analysis done... It really looks defective to me... but then I've never cross-sectioned any fork tubes either.......

    And again... echoing other members ... you were fortunate not to have been killed ... whoa.............. scary bad....
    put a few extra coins in the "poor box" ;-)

    Jim

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