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Thread: Are the newer BMW's going to last?

  1. #16
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Camas Valley Oregon
    Having had Suzuki 1150s and liking them just fine, I will keep my 06 RT and just smile as I ride it. Not as much raw power as I need? BS! If I row the gearbox to the proper cog and take the tach over six grand there's plenty of power for anything I want to do including scaring the cr&* out of myself. I've had two ZFEs and a rear shock replaced as well as an alternator. Cost was fifty bucks for the alternator under Contego Direct service agreement. The dealer ate the other half of the hundred buck deductible as it took them a week to diagnose the problem resulting in two tow bills for me. I check the rear wheel for oil leaks and monitor the charging circuits with a multi led meter but other than that I enjoy this bike immensely.
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by BuddingGeezer View Post
    Kawasaki Concours C-10 1986-2006
    Honda ST1100 1991-2002
    Honda ST1300 2003-present

    All are know for their reliability. According to Motorcycle Consumer News used bike values the Honda ST1100 are higher than same year R1100RT.

    Ralph Sims
    K75 - 1986 to 1995
    K1200LT - at least 15 years
    R1100/1150RS - 1994 - 2005 or so

    BMW does it too with some models. Probably on average more than anybody except Kawasaki.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    K75 - 1986 to 1995
    K1200LT - at least 15 years
    R1100/1150RS - 1994 - 2005 or so

    BMW does it too with some models. Probably on average more than anybody except Kawasaki.
    I agree, but you missed my point. The poster made the statement the Japanese models changed every year.

    Ralph Sims

  4. #19

    BMW Stepped Up For Me

    THis past summer was on my way to Alaska, typical dream trip for many, and broke down in northern BC. Eventually Roadside Assistance and hauled me to Whitehorse. Was the EWS (third repair) and then starter found to be pouched. While there were a comedy of errors and excues and I ended up flying home and the bike arrived back in my garage...I was a little pissed. However, I got a hold of Norm Wells, BMW Canada, who stepped up, admitted fault, covered hotel, food - beyond the maximum amounts - shipping back to Ontario as well as covered my flight home. They have looked after my concerns over long term repair issues - I have had a few other unique issues with the bike and the regulatory fuel strip problems.

    Sure I lost my chance at my dream trip but not sure another manufacturer would have stepped up like BMW did. I now have confidence in the bike back and a warranty that will cover me for some years to come. Will they last or not...not sure...but they have stood behind their product for me!

    If you are ever in southern Ontario and in need of some bike attention, stop in and see John Parker at Budds BMW Oakville, ON. You will never leave thinking you've been taken or there are any concerns about your bike.

  5. #20
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    SW Ohio
    Quote Originally Posted by View Post
    I agree, but you missed my point. The poster made the statement the Japanese models changed every year.

    Ralph Sims
    Actually, what I said was "jap bikes seemed to go through total makeovers yearly"
    Where as BMW kept the same layout since prohibition.
    1987 K75S
    Original litter
    Original owner
    2012 Ural Gear Up

  6. #21
    Registered User mistercindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    N. Dallas 'burb
    Quote Originally Posted by f14rio View Post
    just get it . it will be fine. 2% of bikes have problems. people put these problems on forums and the other 98% don't sleep well.

    My '05 R12GS has 77,000 miles on it, and it runs like a top. With rare and inexpensive exceptions, it's been all normal maintenance.

    The most i've spent on it was at 65,000 miles when my rear stock shock finally gave out and started leaking. I put $2,000 into a set of Ohlins, so I ought to be set for another 70,000 miles!
    '05 R1200GS
    Former owner of an '03 R1150R
    BMWMOA #113847

  7. #22
    Registered User nytrashman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    westchester co. NY
    lets not forget the F650GS single. they have known water pump problems, my '07 is on it's 3rd water pump in 36,000 miles. i also had to replace the steering head bearings, which is another known problem with these bikes as is the swing arm bearings. i also had to have a fuel pump replaced at 10,000 miles.

    at one time BMW used to stand for quality and durability, today BMW is all about making money, not making the best bike for the money.

    i am now looking into buying a new F650GS twin and i wonder what kind of new problems i will encounter with this bike. are they prone to water pump failures like the single cyl 650? within 15,000 miles will i have to replace the steering head bearings because they were not properly greased from the factory?

    combine some of the recent known BMW troubles with the ever shrinking BMW dealer network, high initial cost of the bike, it's a wonder we keep coming back and buying them.

    for me personally not being able to get decent service within a 100 miles of my home, combined with some of the known issue stated above and BMW's unwillingness to even acknowledge some types of problems is making me look long and hard at other brands. if BMW wants to keep me as a customer they need to address their dealer and reliability issues.

  8. #23
    I owned a '86 Kaw Vulcan 750, '87 K100LT for 2 years and now a '91 Honda ST1100 in the last 5 years. All were great bikes and fixable by me. All are around 20 years + old. With all of the electronic wizardry on today's bikes, regardless of manufacturer, I would not want to own one 20 years from now. I don't have to worry, in 20 years I'll probably be too old to ride if still alive.

    Ralph Sims

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by 88bmwJeff View Post
    The days of working on vehicles (cars and bikes) have passed given the amount of computer controlled systems.
    Then what is it I'm doing when I've got hexhead pieces spread all over the garage?

    Much of the bike is still mechanical and mechanical stuff sometimes breaks. When it breaks I try to fix it. So far none of the electronic bits on my bike have broken. If one does break I'll do I'll do the same thing a dealer's tech would do... replace the broken item or trash the bike. You don't think they actually fix such stuff, do you? The difference is that I might take it apart to see what makes it tick.. the dealer tech doesn't have time to do such stuff on the company dime.

  10. #25
    Registered User MCRyder's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by BCKRIDER View Post
    My current '92 K100RS and friend's GS1150 have one thing in common, non-functioning ABS. My friend took his bike to the local dealer and paid $300 to be told he needed a $2000 part. He tried to buy it used from someone in England and got ripped off. I'm still waiting for a local repair shop owned by a guy I trust to get the download for his latest gizmo so he can really read the problem. ABS is good on a car and should be even better on a bike the rare times you need it. (Cars skid, bikes fall over.) But spending $2000 on a bike probably worth no more than $4000 if perfect? I"ve had two Subaru cars with ABS, used it seriously twice, combined mileage about 500K, and no problems with either car. I ride without ABS protection.
    Let me just address this part of your post since I've had my own experiences in this area.

    I owned a '93 K1100RS (ABS1) from '03 to '09 that developed the dreaded ABS flashing light. I diagnosed my problem using this procedure:

    using the Radio Shack 276-011B 12V LED part.

    It's diagnosis was a non-functioning left-side ABS modulator. To verify the accuracy of this technique I later had the bike tested on a BMW diagnostic computer, same result (but a heckuva lot more expensive).

    I tried all the fixes I found online, no cure (except a quoted $1,900 modulator). I rode it without ABS and sold it a couple years later. Then I came across this in the MOA forum:

    wish I'd known about it earlier.

    There's no guarantee the above will work with your K100RS, but you'll only be out $3 for the light and a hour or so of your time.

    As for my owning another BMW, I can see that. It'd either be a K75S (non-ABS) or an an Airhead (really like the monolever R80)
    Last edited by MCRyder; 10-11-2010 at 03:39 AM.
    Mark Rooney
    Lindale, TX
    2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ABS, 2012 Aprilia Shiver 750, 1992 BMW K75RT
    ('93 K75, '94 K75, '93 R100RT, '94 K11RS)

  11. #26
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    B.C. Canada
    As the OP, I am very glad I started this thread. Lots of thoughtful and very different opinions expressed.

    As a start, I would like to comment on two of Paul Glaves remarks: "Have a true professional fix you oilhead final drives..." Gee, I thought BMW mechanics at a dealership should be expected to be exactly that! If some (many?) of them can't install factory parts to factory spec's, what does that mean to us non-oilhead owners?

    Also from Paul G. "I would be afraid of a 2 1/2 year old very low mileage bike..." Seems to me this kind of bike might be a GREAT deal from a private seller, provided you bought insurance from Contego. (Somebody, please reference that thread in this thread!) Does this insurance cover all the dreaded high cost items?

    There are numerous other posts I would like to quote from and reply to, but I don't know how to do that. If some kind soul could send me a PM telling me how to clip partial quotes from previous posts I would be most grateful.
    1992 K100RS

  12. #27
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Surf City, USA (Santa Cruz, CA)
    BCKRider, you have a PM about quoting messages.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison

  13. #28
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California
    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    I don't feel offended. The bikes are not perfect. Never have been. And that's the point... I think too many folks look back at the older bikes through memories of the great times they had on the road. They forget about failed diode boards, failed rotors, failed light switches, tranny spline lubes that may or may not have been needed, carbs that left the bike breathless at altitude, etc.

    BMW was considered bulletproof when the competition was Triumph, Norton, and the early Japanese imports. Guess what! The Japanese caught up (and maybe surpassed) BMW. Triumph and Norton died and so far only Triumph has made a comeback.

    Today I think all major brands are equally reliable. Individual bikes are a different story. Some are great. Others break often. Yet there is one area where the other manufactures fall far behind BMW. Go to your favorite non-BMW dealer and ask for a part for you mid-70s bike. Chances are they not only don't have it, they can't get it. Well, except for Kawasaki which is probably still selling that mid-70s bike.

    I can still get most of the parts I need for my 45 year old BMW, in official BMW packaging with an official BMW part number. The dealer won't stock it, but he can order it when I give him the part number.

    I maintain both my old (R69S) and modern (R12GS) bikes. The GS is easier to work on and needs work far less frequently.
    I'm with you, man. The threshold of what "reliable" is has changed. There was a reason your airhead came with those tools: you needed them. Yeah, you could fix it sometimes, but if you rode motorcycles back in those days you damn well better know how to fix them.

    When I hear people gripe about poor reliability, I can only imagine they're new to riding.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  14. #29
    FUKENGRUVEN SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    The reason BMWs are less reliable then in the past is attributable to the increase in the use of this forum.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  15. #30
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    New Jersey
    I think the internet has a lot to do with the awareness of problems. When I got into dirt bikes it was the era of Ossa and Penton bikes. All of my knowledge was from word of mouth and it was second hand at best. I had never talked to an owner of an Ossa or Penton and I knew they were the best bikes at the time. They may have needed a complete rebuild every 500 miles but I had no way of finding out something that magazines weren't willing to publish.

    Also, it would seem to be a rare bike that these newer, feature rich bikes could go very long without something going wrong. Newer bikes have ABS, ESA, electronic windshields, tire pressure monitors and lots of computer controlled stuff.

    The only thing I ever asked my old Honda 750 to do was start and not stall.
    Last edited by zoridog; 10-11-2010 at 04:34 PM. Reason: typo

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