When did the tradition start… Was it the /5’s ability to flutter it’s front wheel when the load, road, tire pressure, and stars weren’t all aligned just right? The missing circlip? The airhead paralever GS with it’s prematurely disposable driveshaft? The early oilheads and their tranny problems? The flaming differentials? Or the fried alternators and burned out rear bearings on the F800S? 

Well, the troublesome “tradition” of new BMWs motorcycles being sprung from the motherland with major and sometimes fatal flaws continues. In the computer biz they have an old term for this- “customer engineering”- pushing a not yet debugged product on the market and letting the poor customers engineer out said bugs. Yeah, I know, some customers have an incredible ability to test a product in ways the manufacturer could never imagine, never mind prepare their product for. 

Back to the paralever, did BMW not at least test one to 30,000 miles? That’s the mileage a german bike magazine on teardown found a very worn paralever driveshaft on a test R100R, and that model had less driveshaft angularity than on the R100GS. And the F800 alternators- did BMW bother to test the bikes at the low speeds a dual sport bike would operate at to see if the alternator and other bits would stay cool… Probly not. And did BMW ever ‘fess up that they’d made a mistake and make it right? Bmw’s solution was to cut their warranty from unlimited mileage to just 36,000, coincidentally just before a lot of BMW’s “customer engineering” oversights would make themselves evident.

Sadly, BMW’s most dishonorable tradition continues- At the press intro of the new watercooled R1200GS one of the test bikes went into a tank slapper and spat off it’s rider, who died instantly. Since then three other test riders have suffered the same tank slappers on new BMW R1200GSs, fortunately all surviving the frightening experience. And has BMW put a production and sales hold on this new model while they debug it? Not that I know of, though they just announced U.S. pricing, and the new model is splashed on their website. Same over at BMW’s other ad agency, the BMWMOA clubs website, where the new R1200GS is featured on the home page with no mention of the four tankslapper incidents. No mention in the forums either… Are BMW riders that loyal, or have posts been censored?

Fortunately the story got picked up over at wildguzzi.com, and here’s the thread for your edification and enlightenment: http://wildguzzi.com/forum/index.php?topic=60199.0 .