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Thread: Needing a Whole Parts Bike to Repair Gear Indicator?

  1. #1
    JohnWC
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    Needing a Whole Parts Bike to Repair Gear Indicator?

    Is it just me, or did anyone else find Wes Flemming's recent article in the ON pretty amazing? His bike has a broken gear indicator. A small part. That leads to a $650 computer (later returned), then to BMW wanting him to buy a $1200 computer, then to the dealership basically saying they had no idea how to fix it, just keep buying parts for it, maybe we'll get lucky. This for a 2005 model.
    In the same issue the new F900 bike is glowingly reviewed as having" Keyless Ride, Dynamic ESA, Riding Modes Pro Shift, Shift Assistant Pro, ABS Pro, Engine Drag Torque Control, (!) Dynamic Traction Control, and Dynamic Brake Control." Wow! I had no idea I needed all that to ride a two wheeled vehicle. But my point being that BMW's technicians can't even fix Wes's simple gear indicator on a fifteen year old bike. The end solution for Wes: buy a whole parts bike and transplant everything off it, right down to the key. Okay.... that's a lot more time and interest than I'd have.

    The more BMW feels they need to load their machines up with every bell and whistle their engineers can think up, the less attractive they are to those of us not willing to drag our bikes to the dealership for a $2000 repair bill. BMW is still smarting from the Consumer Report a while back listing them as one of the least reliable brands. It's no wonder. It's also no surprise that people wanting the simplicity and ease of maintenance BMW's once had have driven the price of Airheads through the roof. I'm almost ready to go buy a forty year old one myself. BMW can keep the new F900. I wouldn't own one if they gave it to me.

  2. #2
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    I love my R9T Racer. Problem free so far.
    I dearly miss my R90/6.

  3. #3
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    I'm hoping that Wes simply did not report all of his troubleshooting steps - maybe he had to edit for space. As written, it sounds like they just assumed the problem was a computer. Plug-and-pray is not a good troubleshooting technique.

    He mentions clearing error codes with a GS-911, but does not say anything about using the GS-911 to re-calibrate the gear position sensor, which would be a cheap and easy first step.

    Also, there is no indication that he (or the dealer) considered simply replacing the sensor. It's not easy to get to, and about $190, but certainly easier to do than replacing all the electronics.

    I've looked forward to someone who can fill the role of a Parkhouse or Glaves for the R1200 models, but I don't think Wes is near that level yet.


    Another nitpick: The article really did not need pictures, but if the editors insist on having them, they should at least have used pictures of a Hexhead R1200GS, not an Airhead.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  4. #4
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    I think the dealer refunded his money for the un-needed computer (and programming charge) because he was a writer for ON. Everyplace I have ever purchased electric/electronic parts for a vehicle has been, "no refunds, no returns". Unfair, but I guess they can be too easily ruined on install, and have no re-sale value after being used?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jconway607 View Post
    Is it just me, or did anyone else find Wes Flemming's recent article in the ON pretty amazing? His bike has a broken gear indicator. A small part. That leads to a $650 computer (later returned), then to BMW wanting him to buy a $1200 computer, then to the dealership basically saying they had no idea how to fix it, just keep buying parts for it, maybe we'll get lucky. This for a 2005 model.
    In the same issue the new F900 bike is glowingly reviewed as having" Keyless Ride, Dynamic ESA, Riding Modes Pro Shift, Shift Assistant Pro, ABS Pro, Engine Drag Torque Control, (!) Dynamic Traction Control, and Dynamic Brake Control." Wow! I had no idea I needed all that to ride a two wheeled vehicle. But my point being that BMW's technicians can't even fix Wes's simple gear indicator on a fifteen year old bike. The end solution for Wes: buy a whole parts bike and transplant everything off it, right down to the key. Okay.... that's a lot more time and interest than I'd have.

    The more BMW feels they need to load their machines up with every bell and whistle their engineers can think up, the less attractive they are to those of us not willing to drag our bikes to the dealership for a $2000 repair bill. BMW is still smarting from the Consumer Report a while back listing them as one of the least reliable brands. It's no wonder. It's also no surprise that people wanting the simplicity and ease of maintenance BMW's once had have driven the price of Airheads through the roof. I'm almost ready to go buy a forty year old one myself. BMW can keep the new F900. I wouldn't own one if they gave it to me.
    Harley seems to get slammed for antiquated technology...maybe that's not a bad thing! I kinda like the "bells and whistles" of my 2016 RT- but my 2014 Heritage softail is equally up there in simple pleasure and un-distracted riding. Different bikes different riding.

  6. #6

    Gear Indicator

    Quote Originally Posted by jconway607 View Post
    Is it just me, or did anyone else find Wes Flemming's recent article in the ON pretty amazing? His bike has a broken gear indicator. A small part. That leads to a $650 computer (later returned), then to BMW wanting him to buy a $1200 computer, then to the dealership basically saying they had no idea how to fix it, just keep buying parts for it, maybe we'll get lucky. This for a 2005 model.
    In the same issue the new F900 bike is glowingly reviewed as having" Keyless Ride, Dynamic ESA, Riding Modes Pro Shift, Shift Assistant Pro, ABS Pro, Engine Drag Torque Control, (!) Dynamic Traction Control, and Dynamic Brake Control." Wow! I had no idea I needed all that to ride a two wheeled vehicle. But my point being that BMW's technicians can't even fix Wes's simple gear indicator on a fifteen year old bike. The end solution for Wes: buy a whole parts bike and transplant everything off it, right down to the key. Okay.... that's a lot more time and interest than I'd have.

    The more BMW feels they need to load their machines up with every bell and whistle their engineers can think up, the less attractive they are to those of us not willing to drag our bikes to the dealership for a $2000 repair bill. BMW is still smarting from the Consumer Report a while back listing them as one of the least reliable brands. It's no wonder. It's also no surprise that people wanting the simplicity and ease of maintenance BMW's once had have driven the price of Airheads through the roof. I'm almost ready to go buy a forty year old one myself. BMW can keep the new F900. I wouldn't own one if they gave it to me.
    I had a similar problem on my '04 RT. When attempting to troubleshoot the issue of the fuel level never reading a full 10 bars, I shorted out the gear indicator switch. Some simple troubleshooting had me replace the sensor on the back of the transmission and I was good to go.

    Advanced electronics are part of newer vehicles. There's not much getting around that. You can try and keep us with it, and do the work yourself (basic troubleshooting still applies to modern vehicles), or say the hell with it and get an older Airhead.

    In my case, I'm lucky that I still have my '74 R90s, which still is a blast to ride and is more reliable than a 50's Evinrude outboard.

    RPGR90s

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by RPGR90s View Post
    Advanced electronics are part of newer vehicles. There's not much getting around that. You can try and keep us with it, and do the work yourself (basic troubleshooting still applies to modern vehicles), or say the hell with it and get an older Airhead.

    RPGR90s
    Or a K75 or other classic K bike. Or an F or G650 single or even any of the early F800 twin bikes: fuel injection, ABS and other modest modern technology.
    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
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  8. #8
    John. jstrube's Avatar
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    It seems as if his bike is the "parts bike" at times. I think at some point, I would look for another used bike, and give in.
    John.
    Atwater, CA
    2015 R1200RT

  9. #9
    Nick Kennedy
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    I've been following Wes and his ongoing mechanical problems.
    I would part out that problem bike he 's got and call it a day on that one.
    Some machines are just bad and I think that is one of them.
    Sure- anything is fixable, but, but, there's a line out there somewhere.

  10. #10
    JohnWC
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Or a K75 or other classic K bike. Or an F or G650 single or even any of the early F800 twin bikes: fuel injection, ABS and other modest modern technology.
    For me, that is the best solution. I couldn't agree more. By doing so I get a bike that is much improved over an airhead, and yet one I can still keep out of the dealer's repair bay. The K75 series are completely underrated motorcycles, in my humble opinion. If I wanted to maintain and store two bikes, I would love to also have an F650 single. Both models are simple, reliable, and reasonably cheap to maintain, which happens to be my main criteria for motorcycles. They may well be the perfect middle ground between the very old, and the way too new.

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