2011 bmw g 650 gs fork failure

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by antiquewidow, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    Whistling through the graveyard. I can easily see one who feels that frantic denying of what's obvious will save him from whatever's defective in his bike.

    Nothing to worry about here. The bike's front end collapses when you're going 110 kph. The forks dig into the pavement. You get thrown over the bars. So what? All you need is to take a few giant steps, then slow to a walk. Return to the bike. Slam the wheel back on the forks and fix with mechanic's wire.

    No big deal.
  2. reenmachine

    reenmachine Rain or Shine

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    It's more your fanatical insistence that something is "obvious" when from any objective standpoint it's anything but. You employ almost every logical fallacy in the book and combine that with the hubris of blindly seeing your own viewpoint as the only one with any possible credibility, all the while bringing absolutely nothing useful to the discussion, either technical or otherwise. As if that weren't enough, you don't even own one of these bikes and your only apparent agenda here is to talk trash about BMW in a condescending, counter-productive way.

    We'll never see eye to eye on this because we approach the topic (and probably almost everything else) in completely different ways. I function in an analytical world where I must examine things on technical and logical merit, seeing past emotional reactions and distinguishing actual evidence from obfuscatory circumstance. I understand causation and its love/hate relationship with correlation. I don't adopt a position because I really, really, really want things to be that way, I adopt a position because the evidence supports it and it withstands logical scrutiny.

    I don't know why you've latched onto this issue so hard and why you want so badly for this to be a terrible design flaw by BMW which was then nefariously covered up by its evil legal team. Seems to me there may be better outlets for your energy, ones that might bring you more happiness, but maybe not.

    Damn, I've broken one of my cardinal rules and fed the troll.
  3. KansasBob

    KansasBob Been here awhile

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    :getiton
  4. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide

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    I just did a 300 mile bumpy ride this weekend, and I'm still here. I also know guys that weigh almost twice as much as me, have 4 times the mileage, and their bikes are intact after many years of offroad abuse. Here, crawl back to your holes. Pictures from ebay, of a 2001 bike nonetheless, have nothing to do with AW's thread.
    That's it, I'm buying a fresh set of TKC 80's tomorrow and heading up to the wilderness for a next weekend rally.
  5. Benesesso

    Benesesso Long timer

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    What year is your bike?
  6. Center-stand

    Center-stand Been here awhile

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    I really don't have a dog in this fight, I just find it interesting to think about.

    I do have trouble applying "logic" to the theory of forced failure, over the theory of a degrading failure over a period of time. That period of time could be 30,000 miles or 95 miles. The 95 miles might come after 29,905 miles of trouble free service and an improperly installed front wheel.

    The failures that offer the most information have happened on improved roads with no mention of striking anything significant. If these were forced failures as claimed by BMW and others, logic would suggest the fork would need to be bottomed out in order to apply enough force to break an otherwise OK fork. They are considered "shock absorbers" right?

    On the other hand a fork tube put in stress by a bent axle or a missing spacer, or possible other improper installed front end component, could fail over time. That time could be influenced by the amount of stress, an out of alignment wheel, loose spokes, unbalanced tire, etc.

    I think most of us have held a spinning wheel by the ends of the axle and have some idea of the gyroscopic effect of the spinnng wheel. If an axle is bent or a spacer is missing the forks can be pulled / twisted in such a way as to not be aligned, as designed. When the bike is not moving it's just a slight twist or bend against the stability of the fork brace. When the wheel is rolling against the ground the gyroscopic effect wants the wheel to run straight and upright. The rider wants to run down the road on his chosen line. The fork is absorbing a lateral stress that it may not be designed to withstand. The stress could be compounded by any number of factors as mentioned above or possibly unnamed

    I wouldn't wait for a failure to scrutinize my forks.

    Some would suggest their fate is in the hands of the unknown. If it fails, it fails. That's fine with me.

    If I'm wrong, I'm just wrong, if I'm right, a little bit of preventive maintenence might save somebody..
  7. reenmachine

    reenmachine Rain or Shine

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    Don't get me wrong, I can't help but scope out the fork bosses all the time. Every time I Rain-X the windscreen and headlight (which is pretty often) I also wipe down that area and give it a good once-over. I even pulled over recently after striking some debris on the freeway at 75 mph, mostly to inspect the tire, but I also looked at the bosses. I'm not overly worried about it, but I do my due diligence.

    This problem, like so many, probably resides in the vast grey area comprising most of the real world. That is to say, it's most likely not long-term fatigue exposing a design flaw, nor is it a sudden strike leading to instant failure, a fact which, as you note, is borne out by the evidence (just riding along when...bam). My hypothesis is that it was an adequate but not awesome design that gave way in a few instances after years of hard combined on/off-road use. I contend that the critical damage occurred during a specific event some time before the failure and wasn't severe enough to cause instant breakage, but was enough to seal the fork's fate at some point down the road.

    Of course that's just my opinion and it's equally as invalid as everyone else's on here. :rofl

    None of that, of course, has anything to do with AW's failure, but it's just as likely that some assembly shop cockup led to that as anything else.
  8. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide

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    Mine is 09, the "newer" forks.

    Seals were shot at 9k, but that's about it (fork-wise)
  9. Center-stand

    Center-stand Been here awhile

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    I do believe that these "other" failures have something to do with AW's thread.

    Her's was (for all practical purposes) a "new" bike. She is a beginning rider. The bike had the "new" design fork. It failed. We can see a bent axle. We dont see any marks or have any real reason to expect that this bike recieved a major impact in it's short road life.

    If we continue to place blame for the failures on forced failure due to one or more major impacts then those who ride less spirited on only good roads might assume the caution doesn't apply to them.

    "If" something improper in the assembly of the front wheel / fork is contributing to the failure then every front tire change could be a riders last.

    As long as it stays active and near the top of the page this thread is serving as a PSA to those riding the affected BMWs to be mindful of the setup / condition of their bike.

    A friend of mine just returned from a purchase, fly and ride on a 650 GS. He was unaware of this "potential" issue.

    I don't want to be so presumptive as to speak for AW, but I doubt that she is upset about the long life of this thread, especially if she was silenced by an agreement with BMW.

    +1 on reenmachine's statement from above, "Of course that's just my opinion and it's equally as invalid as everyone else's on here."
  10. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    What boggles my mind is how the people who own these bikes can continue riding the
    bikes when so much remains unknown. Are your lives really worth less than a new set of forks costs ?
    Sure, you wouldn't admit to that, but every time you ride the bike with OEM forks that is exactly the bargain
    you have made, whether you admit it or not.

    To me, the price of a new set of forks, even Ohlins or other high dollar examples,
    is trivial compared to the risk of fork failure which is incurred when riding the
    bike with OEM forks. If you were in charge of an airline
    company and you made such decisions relative to questionable parts and a plane
    crashed and people died, no punishment would be too severe. Yet you are making
    a similar choice if you ride with the OEM forks, and you are not only risking your own
    lives, you are possibly endangering others on the road. And that makes you a person of
    questionable morality, since you have chosen to share the risk with the rest of us
    despite the fact that we do not deserve to be a victim of your poor choices.


    I anticipate you deniers will want to call me a troll in order to make yourselves more
    comfortable. That would be expected. But what I really am is a person
    who sees a very serious risk which is impossible to quantify on one side of the scale and
    the relatively small cost of eliminating the risk entirely on the other side of the scale.
    This equation is absurd. If my wife had one of these bikes I would lock the bike up
    so she could not ride it until I had installed new forks. Good grief, don't you people
    understand that a human life exceeds the value of everything you could ever possibly own ?

    Some of you must have wives, or husbands, or children, or parents, or maybe all of the
    above. Why don't you ask them what they think about whether you should get a new set
    of forks. I bet not a single one says no.


    .
  11. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    Just curious -- do you have X-ray vision ?

    The reason I ask is that you will need such vision to detect a crack which
    begins on the inside of the fork tube. Such a crack might not be apparent
    from the outside to the naked eye until the very moment the fork fails.

    I hope that all you people come to your senses before a tragedy which
    is entirely avoidable occurs.


    .
  12. reenmachine

    reenmachine Rain or Shine

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    IMO your logic here is beyond comprehension. To call me a person of questionable morality for riding my G? Really? That is the mother of all overreactions. If you choose to see a "very serious risk" here that's your prerogative, but don't go calling me a baby killer because of your paranoia.

    There is all of one anecdotal report of a fork failure on a current-generation fork. That report consisted of a handful of pics with zero analytical information. That's it.

    If I let that scare me away from riding this bike, I would also have to avoid doing pretty much everything else I do in life, including driving a car, flying on an airplane, riding my mountain bike, going out of city limits, staying in city limits, eating unfamiliar foods, and having sex. I certainly shouldn't be out riding a motorcycle in the first place! I accept far, far greater risk every time I throw a leg over a bike than this supposed issue will ever present.

    And yes, yes I do have X-Ray vision.
  13. Center-stand

    Center-stand Been here awhile

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    +1, again.
  14. twinjet

    twinjet Been here awhile

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    It's good to have a forum where we can express our thoughts on this matter. This very important matter.
    Here's my humble opinion. Motorcycles are wheeled vehicles. The wheels should never fall off a wheeled vehicle. Never.
    BMW needs to step up and resolve this for the motorcycling community.
  15. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide

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    So, point me to a plug and play set of forks for the 650GS. The various YZ (and the like) conversions have their own issues, introducing new dangers to the equation. You would think, by now, if this was such an issue, someone in the aftermarket would have stepped up and started producing stronger, better forks that would bolt right up. After all, there are thousands of death machines on the road that are in immediate need for change, less their riders all want to die. Give me a break!

    As for the conversions, I really don;t see how mickeymousing a set of forks from a lighter bike is going to improve safety on a bike that is faster, much heavier, and has a different rake angle.

    In my opinion, I take a much greater risk every time I throw my leg over my 1989 KLR250 with offset mounted bosses, go in the woods, and ride the shit out of a 23 year old fork set in speeds I would never subject the heavy beemer to off-road. (due to its weight and ground clearance). I take a chance riding on a 23 year old bike with 23 year old bolts, fatigued frame, and inadequate suspension.

    I better sell my beemer right now, sell the tired KLR too, and my CB, XS, and CB 550 Four, because they are all either tired or unsafe, and then I can sit in front of the screen and pretend to be a rider while giving other people advice about their bike which I don't even own.

    Right:puke1
  16. twinjet

    twinjet Been here awhile

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    Have the forks on any of those bikes ever failed?
  17. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    Didn't someone mfg steel caps which would reinforce the bosses under question? Seems to me that this would be a MUCH better solution than mucking with new forks. I'd sell before then. The conversions I've read about work only for those who are machinists, etc & so can do a good deal of custom work.
  18. ER70S-2

    ER70S-2 Long timer

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    :rofl :rofl :rofl
  19. spudboy52

    spudboy52 Almost a Yooper

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    I made a safety bracket for the right fork of my 2001 F650GS.

    [​IMG]
  20. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    Clif notes version. What happened with the OP and BMW? Was it resolved?

    Sorry, I waded through a couple months but couldn't find it.