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BMW issues R 1200 GS safety recall

BMW R 1200 GS
BMW R 1200 GS

BMW Motorrad Australia has recalled 2012-13 model R 1200 GS bikes for a potentially dangerous oil leak.

The worldwide recall started back in April and MotorbikeWriter published a story in which BMW Motorrad Australia confirmed it affected our market but that they were “waiting for information from the factory” before issuing a safety recall.

About six weeks later, the R 1200 GS recall notice has finally been issued overnight. In the US, BMW identified the problem in May, but will only start notifying owners this month. BMW Group Australia corporate communications GM Lenore Fletcher says six weeks is not a long time in the automotive industry between identifying a problem and finding a solution.

The recall notice says R 1200 GS owners should contact an authorised BMW Motorrad dealer, or call the BMW Group Australia Customer Interaction Centre on freecall 1800 813 299.

I rang the 1800 number but that put me through to emergency breakdown who had no idea of the recall. Lenore says the 1800 problem has now been addressed. Owners should contact their dealer as soon as possible and book the bike in for a fix if yours is affected.

The recall notice is technical, but basically it means that the gearbox seal can dislodge and leak oil on to the swing arm and the rear tyre. Dealers will now fix it for free by fitting a bracket to prevent the transmission seal from being pushed out of position.

It seems strange that owners were not at least notified of the problem so they could regularly check for leaks before going for a ride. To their credit, BMW dealers have obviously been made aware of the problem and have been fixing bikes as they come in for service, maintenance and repair as two R 1200 GS owners have told me they have had the problem addressed.

I applaud motorcycle companies for doing voluntary safety recalls through the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission. It shows that they are on the ball with any problems that surface. But the delay in issuing the recall and not notifying owners is concerning since the problem could potentially lead to a crash.

The notice reads: “Load cycle shifts occurring when the vehicle is on the move causes pressure spikes in the engine oil at the shaft seal and these pressures can force the shaft seal out of its seat. Engine oil can then escape into the rear wheel swing arm and can make its way on to the rear tyre. If the output seal ring is pushed out of its proper position, oil may leak from the transmission onto the rear tyre, increasing the risk of a crash.”

Bikes affected were sold from November 1, 2012, to June 1, 2013.