Saturday, September 27, 2008

102,900 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Change front brake pads (self-service)

Replaced the "EBC" pads with the used BMW ("Brembo") pads replaced at 101,294 miles. After adding the anti-squeal rubberized washers, I began experiencing front brakes "grabbing" or "shuddering" (as if the rotors were warped.)

The "HH"-rated "EBC" pads (recommended by a fellow rider on have a higher friction rating than the "Brembo" pads (rated "FF".)

Replacing the EBCs with the BMW pads has eliminated the grabbing. And the squealing has also been eliminated.

So, it seems a $20 washer kit (which should be a $1 washer kit!) has eliminated the brake squealing, where in the past, new discs and new brake pads have been mistakenly advised as the solution.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

102,744 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Install front brake "anti-squeal" kit (self-service)

10 ea. #34 11 7 697 387 Rubberized thrust washers (D=8.5mm) $9.53
10 ea. #34 11 7 682 434 Rubberized thrust washers (D=13.7mm) $9.53

Tax: $1.48
Total: $20.54

This kit and installation should have been covered under BMW Service Information Bulletin #34 007 05 (037) dated June 2005

Despite my repeated complaints of brake squeal, no service technicians have ever mentioned this solution to me. And the local dealer would not cover parts and installation under warranty. A minor expense, but very disappointing.

A test ride after installation produced no brake squealing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Question from a reader

A blog reader wrote to me today:
I'm considering purchasing a 2008 R1200GS but after reviewing your blog I'm having second thoughts. Do you think BMW has made a serious attempt at addressing the issue of reliability with their product? Are you aware of fixes in the later models which addressed mechanical problems incurred during your trip?
I have often received similar inquiries, so I thought I'd post my response:
If I had the cash, I don't think I'd hesitate to buy a 2008 R1200GS.

But it depends upon what you will be doing with your motorcycle.

I've done roughly 5% of the mileage (>5,000 miles) off-pavement. That's hard on a big, heavy bike, and you pay for it (driveline, brakes, struts, wheels, tires, and repairs from falls.) If you're going to ride North American or European highways, it's a blast. If you're going to ride the Pan American to South America, it's great. But if you intend to do much of your riding where there are no roads, it's going to take a toll on your wallet, I think. Consider something smaller and lighter.

BMW has addressed a number of the problems encountered on early models. (But if you've seen "Long Way Down", 2 of 3 new GSs in the film blew out their rear struts in the first leg of their trans-Africa trip. And they weren't even heavily-loaded - they had support vehicles carrying gear. So they still have "issues" to work on!)

The bike can take abuse, but every machine has its limits.

All that said, I love riding it, and can't imagine riding anything else. (And it's my only vehicle, so I'm "stuck" with it!)
Note: in the comments below, reader "Sunny" corrects the record:
It should be said though that they changed the standard rear suspension to Öhlins. It were the ölins that broke, when they changed them back to the standard ones, everything went fine.
Thanks, Sunny.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

101,375 miles

Northbay Motorsport, Santa Rosa, CA

Replace rear tire

1 ea. Rear tire, Metzeler Tourance 150/70VR17 $152.00 ($140.89 at

Mounting and balancing: $18.00
Tax: $12.32

Total: $184.32

Old tire had 13,000 miles - probably about 1,000 miles longer than when I should have changed it out.