Sunday, September 06, 2009

As the fifth anniversary nears

Since beginning this on-line record in 2004, I took note of the internet searches that brought readers to this blog. From these observations, it is clear that others have experienced virtually all the little (and not so little) problems I describe below. It may be uncommon for a single unit to be so plagued, however the issues themselves are not unique.

This blog has been cited, debated and even ridiculed in numerous motorcycle discussion forums. (Here is my response to such a debate on the excellent UKGSer.com website.) I have read reports from many who have had similar experiences, and have seen the "BMW apologists" dismiss this account as full of "whining, complaining and misinformation," while providing testimony of their own trouble-free rides. (To my knowledge, there is no misinformation here. Where errors have been pointed out, I have corrected the record. In many instances, I am merely relaying what I have been told by BMW technicians and service managers.)

Obviously, each bike and each rider is different. Riding conditions, loads and usage vary widely. This is merely the account of one rider and one machine.

It is important to be mentally prepared for adversity, even if it never arrives. Whether this blog reflects your personal experience or not, it can be useful to know the challenges others have faced.

Consider what you would do if your fuel pump electronics suddenly failed, or the clutch self-destructs. It's not a silly exercise.

I experienced both events while riding in traffic at highway speeds. You don't have a lot of time to react. I was fortunate enough in each circumstance to safely avoid other motorists as I moved to the shoulder.

My fuel pump electronics module failed long before NHTSA elevated the defect to the level of a recall and notified 2005 GS owners. And there are things that neither BMW nor our Federal agencies deem worthy of an official recall campaign, though they might still impact the rider's safety.

The fuel pump electronics have failed twice and the clutch three times, so when I ride, I'm aware it is a very real possibility and don't allow myself to be complacent. Others have reported drive shaft and rear drive failures, two additional areas to be attentive to on these machines. When you don't have a protective cage, you tend to take these threats a little more personally.

None of this, however, discourages me from riding, and enjoying the open road.