2011 bmw g 650 gs fork failure

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

  1. Barance

    Barance Adventurer

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    Here is the findings from the previous (pre 02) models failures in USA after they had a total of 4 failures recorded to them (out of a pool of 4300 bikes).

    http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/defects/results.cfm

    put in case number:pE09026

    I am a kiwi so have no idea what the NHTSA does or stands for but a summary of thier findings in the older case was...

    THERE IS NO DATA CONCLUSIVELY ESTABLISHING THAT THE SUBJECT FORK LUGS ARE SEPARATING BEFORE AN ALLEGED CRASH OCCURS. ADDITIONALLY, THE INFREQUENT, SPORADIC, AND RANDOM NATURE OF THE FAILURES FAILS TO ESTABLISH A DEFECT TREND CURRENTLY EXISTS. A SAFETY-RELATED DEFECT HAS NOT BEEN IDENTIFIED AT THIS TIME AND FURTHER USE OF AGENCY RESOURCES DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE WARRANTED.

    The new one posted by Antique widow is now online BTW.
  2. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    Brand new bike, 95km on it - I think that conclusion will change ;)

    Pete
  3. Barance

    Barance Adventurer

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    actually its 95 miles not k's and also on the report I note the bike had 7 or 8 miles on it when she picked it up. Thats more than the local dealers do as pre ride checks in NZ, things may be different in the US however I would be very interested in seeing what the dealer (assumedly the bike was from a local dealer?) has said. Again, assuming the bike has gone to the dealer which I would expect would be the first port of call?
  4. eepeqez

    eepeqez Long timer

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    I doubt it, this is a different model.
    And so far it is a one off sporadic failure. It hasn't yet been examined for defects or other obvious causes, but I doubt it will be a fatigue failure this early on. It may be a casting defect or the part may have been mistreated in some way, either as part of the bike (the owner says no), in the assembly process or in the manufacturing of the part.

    If the cause cannot be determined and the failure rate is extremely low, then there is no point doing a recall, since there you do not know what you are trying to fix.

    I expect that unless we see a rash of similar failures, this will reach a similar conclusion to the report quoted above.
  5. JDLuke

    JDLuke Ravening for delight

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    The problem I have with your post and what ought to be a reasonable position from you, is that this is not a new issue, nor is it a one-time event. Enough people have encountered this that it's got a thread of its own down in Thumpers, and BMW quietly introduced a redesigned fork slider a number of years back that seemed to fix it for the old F650GS. And yet, the problem appears to rear its ugly head again with a new version of the bike.

    This makes no sense. Maybe the engineers need to build the things for a buck fifty instead of a dollar, because something has gone wrong either with the models used for analysis or with the process used to manufacture the parts.
  6. sop

    sop Adventurer

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    Every single thing you stated in your last post is correct, Antiquewidow. The speculation and accusations here are irrelevant. This should never have happened, particularly to a middle-aged woman, gently cruising along on her brand new motorcycle, one specifically marketed as an off-road, dual-sport adventure bike.

    I'll state this again.....If you have not yet spoken to one, I would urge you to consult with a product liability attorney. Speak to your family attorney (if you have one) and they will refer you to a specialist in this field of the law. They will not charge you up front, they are compensated when they recover for your damages.

    Speaking from experience, something like this will likely not go to court, it will settle prior to suit being filed. The cost of litigation (doing an investigation, mounting a defense, hiring experts, taking depositions, etc.) in product liability cases can run into the tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars. I can assure you, any insurance company claims manager will see this claim as a "loser" and settle quickly.

    Insurance companies, or self-insured entities (perhaps BMW is self-insured), and their attorneys routinely evaluate claims, take into consideration the extent of the injuries (forgive me for assuming your injuries are not that serious, they could have been a lot worse), realize the obvious liability, the lack of contributory negligence on your part, the huge financial exposure to their client and then weigh the costs involved in defending such a case. It would not be in their client's best interest to undertake such a defense. It's a simple cost/benefit analysis.

    The people who criticize others for hiring an attorney and pursuing a claim, when injured as the result of someone else's negligence, are always the first to retain an attorney themselves when they, or any member of their own family, are wronged. I've seen it happen hundreds of times. Don't listen to that kind of advice, that's what insurance companies and manufacturers like to hear. Protect yourself.
  7. galland1

    galland1 n00b

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    I would like to know how these are shipped. Wheels on? Wheels off? If the dealer puts on the wheels, one might speculate the bent axle was forced and tweaked into the fork by the assembly monkey, resulting in the failure. Wheels on then maybe the crate got dropped hard. ???
  8. eepeqez

    eepeqez Long timer

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    It really shouldn't matter. The vehicle should stand up to anything it might plausibly experience in the process of assembly, delivery and operation, and either be safe to operate or be visibly unsafe.

    A hamfisted assembler or service mechanic should not be able to damage the fork in such a way that it would fail in the manner seen here, without the damage being clearly visible beforehand.


    I'll give a little example I was once involved in; we had a very popular model of car which was being stolen by breaking the steering lock. A new steering column was designed and I was asked to set up a test to destruction of the new steering column and lock in a "body in white" (a bare body), which was conducted in front of representatives of the major motor vehicle insurance companies in Australia and was filmed.

    Basically we fixed a bar across the steering wheel and pulling at a radius of about 1.5 metres we tore the column out of the car without the steering lock breaking. It took about 120 degrees of rotation btw.

    There were two issues we were concerned about here.

    One was the obvious; that brute force would not break the lock and leave a driveable and therefore stealable, car.

    The other was that there would be visible damage before there was sufficient damage to render the car unsafe to drive. (after unlocking it with the key!)

    The concern was that insurance assessors might otherwise authorise repair of the visible
    damage and send their policy holders away in a vehicle with dangerous hidden damage such as a deformed lock which might later jam in moving traffic.

    In other words, the car had to withstand a circumstance which it could reasonably be expected that some cars would be exposed to, without becoming "invisibly" dangerous.

    So all this debate about what might have been done to the bike beforehand is pretty much beside the point. If it can be shown that dropping the crated bike from a height of 2 feet causes the fork leg to break 50 miles later, yet leaves no visible marks to warn of the damage, then this is a problem.
  9. pilot

    pilot Slacker Moderator Super Moderator

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    It was confirmed by the original poster. I also don't like all the finger pointing at her saying the crash caused the fracture of the fork. If she says the fork fractured first, I have no reason to not believe her. The peanut gallery needs to start a thread in the bike forums if it is to be discussed in this manner any further.
  10. ontic

    ontic

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    I don't like to post in these sorts of threads when they have nothing to do with me, but having followed this thread from the beginning, I couldn't agree more with this statement.
    I'd be pretty pissed off if I told my story like antiquewidow has and then got told- essentially- that I am lying or mistaken.
    I don't know what actually happened, and this is all good reading, but I am more than willing to give antiquewidow the full benefit of the doubt and believe her telling of events.

    Heal well antiquewidow, and don't let this beat you. Do whatever you have to do, but follow your dream and keep riding (on whatever bike you end up riding on).
    Personally, like many others have said, I would be contacting a decent (and well recommended from someone you trust) no-win-no-fee lawyer and taking it from there and seeing what comes of it.

    Good luck.
  11. PT Rider

    PT Rider Been here awhile

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    antiquewidow, where would you like to go from here? You've already stated that you don't want any BMW motorcycle, and that is both your right and certainly understandable. Do you want a full refund from BMW, or do you want to try to punish them? Decide what you want before you get the lawyers deeply involved. A request for a refund vs. the threat of legal action might work. I agree with other postings -- don't let them have the broken parts until you get what you want. Does the New York state lemon law offer you any relief? (Myself, I'd want the refund and then buy a Suzuki V-Strom or maybe Triumph Tiger 800.) Expect BMW to offer you a warranty repair and nothing more. ...after they offer to repair your "crash damage" at your expense. You say, "Buuuull sheeeeet. Explain how anyone can break the fork tube without even denting the front wheel, etc."
  12. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

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    Antiquewidow, welcome to the world of online experts. All of us :evil

    It is quite maddening to read what some will say about you, your situation, your attitude, your intelligence, and more. The foul posts are usually written by ones who do NOT read your first post carefully and then they feel the need to make asinine comments, ask stupid questions, and say you are lying.

    One thing I learned long ago is that we are who we are.
    That means, if we are a person who does lie, cheat, steal, break laws, and so on, we expect that everyone is like us. So naturally, people like that post up poop. :puke1

    On the other hand if we are a basically honest person, one who does not lie, cheat, steal, etc., EVEN if we could get away with it, we accept what someone says as being true. And we are sad when we find at times that someone has lied to us, stolen from us, cheated us.

    Those who choose to be dishonest laugh at us "stupid people" who try to live honestly. Then they wonder why their relationships never last, they can't keep a job (or get a good one), get lied to, cheated, and robbed by their own "friends", and still they think they are smarter than the rest of us. They are very sad people, and I have known too many of them. I have learned to be more careful when dealing with unknown people, knowing that so many do lie. About everything. For the "fun" of it. :huh

    So, when you posted up your account of the crash, most of us accept what you say without doubt or question. The others, try to ignore their ignorance as best you can. Most of us want to help you in a bad situation.

    Many of us are very interested in the apparent bend in the axle on the RIGHT side of the wheel. I have not come up with a plausible cause for that to result FROM the crash. Once the fork broke there was NO load on that side of the axle. Axles do not bend easily, they are very strong. Have I missed a picture of the left side of the (wheel) axle? I don't recall seeing anything about the left side. When the fork broke it transferred all the weight to the left fork leg and the axle on the left side of the wheel. Even that load shouldn't be able to bend the axle without hitting something hard. If the bike had tumbled when it crashed it could have hit the street hard enough to bend the left side, maybe, but not the right side. And I don't think the bike tumbled, I believe it slid on its side, is that correct?

    I have been discussing this with the other engineers here in the office trying to figure out possible scenarios that could cause the fork to fail in that way and we don't have any real good answers. As has been suggested, we agree the leg casting most likely had a tiny flaw, few castings are without some weak areas and they are designed with that knowledge. But probably there was more involved to make it shatter. We do wonder about a few details that your lawyer (Jaws) will likely want to investigate.

    1. The dealer does the new bike set up from the crate. Who installed the front wheel? Was it installed by the dealer or did it come in the crate from the factory already mounted? (I have seen new bikes crated both ways)

    2. How many miles were on the bike when you bought it and can the odometer be run backwards?

    3. Did the front suspension feel "normal" to you? If the axle was already bent and forced into place by over tightening the clamp bolts it could have been forcing the fork tube(s) out of line and adding a lot of stiction. Meaning the suspension would seem stiff both down and up.

    4. Is there any sign of damage repair done that would show the bike had been wrecked in some way prior to you taking delivery? A good mechanic should be able to look real close for any signs. Paint overspray, tool marks on bolts, etc.

    5. Did the dealer ever have the bike out of his shop (and sight) prior to you picking it up? Like did one of the "new" guys disconnect the odo and take it for a ride? That has happened too often. (I knew one who did it regularly)

    Now, as for an attorney, I have some experience to offer suggestions for you to consider.

    They are all sharks. So, get Jaws on your side. :clap
    You don't need to like them, you just need to know they are smart and tough. And know that they will also try to get the most money in a settlement, for themselves, and give you what they can't keep. Just the way it is.

    BMW will not want to go to court, they will settle, they just want to get you to sign a release absolving them of any further responsibility. They, or actually their sharks, will want to get you to sign for the least amount of money they can so you need to decide, as has been mentioned, what you will settle for.

    Will BMW take this as a serious concern and replace all the forks on that model? Not a chance. Your failure is an exceptionally rare event that was likely caused by more than one thing. ( combination of: a faulty casting, a bent axle, a new kid doing the set up, etc.) Unfortunately you paid the price with a crash. Fortunately, you were not run over and killed by a soccer mom with a car full of kiddies that would live the rest of their lives reliving the nightmare. BMW will probably point at the dealer, the dealer will point at the factory and neither will do anything until forced to.

    A good shark (Jaws, remember) will research fatal motorcycle crashes involving BMW's and particularly your bike to see how many riders have been killed. Then he will get pictures of the wrecked bikes and look for failed fork castings. If he finds any, he will have powerful ammunition to take to BMW's sharks. (They are used to swimming with each other, it is just a game for them but beware the innocent victim!)

    One last point in dealing with Jaws.
    They will work on splitting the awards, nothing out of your pocket (ha!).
    Meaning, they don't make a penny until they win for you.
    Often the agreement is 50%.
    Don't agree to that.

    The fine print will say they get 50% PLUS expenses in that agreement and their "expenses" (research, filing, postage, and on and on...) will often be HUGE!

    One case comes to mind where the victim who hired the shark received 20% of the total even though it was the typical 50% agreement. She didn't even cover her medical bills but the shark came out great for doing basically nothing.

    I suggest you talk with at least three sharks who specialize in product liability and don't sign an agreement until you hear what each one says about your case. (Ignore the "You have a great case" crud, they tell everyone that). You want to know exactly what they are going to do. Most will want to just write a letter to BMW threatening a lawsuit and then recommend you take what they offer (if it is enough for him) and be done with it.

    I suggest you tell the one you decide to hire that you will not agree to the standard split. You (probably) want the complete purchase price of the bike back plus "pain and suffering". It is up to you to decide what that is worth to you but BMW sharks will not go for an unreasonable amount so you aren't going to be a millionaire as some seem to think you should.

    I suggest you write the agreement that you will split 50/50 the amount OVER the total above. (Bike price plus pain & suffering)
    He won't want to do that of course, but when you tell him that you can get a book like "Lawsuits for Dummies" and write your own letter to BMW and get that amount without hiring him, he may be more reasonable and willing to work with you, instead of just working you over. In reality, Jaws should only be entitled to that, a percentage of the amount over what is your just reward but the LAW has nothing to do with justice.

    A shark that won't go for a split of the award over the base (in this case, bike plus pain & suffering) is not going to try to do any more than you can do yourself as there is no money in it for him.

    You can skip the shark and go direct but BMW sharks will just drag their feet and stall and do nothing. May be worth a try though. Sometimes the sharks recognize the threat of getting another shark involved will motivate them to at least make an offer to settle. I have found this to be the way I prefer to go. Let them know I will bring in Jaws if I have to but would prefer to settle this without him. Works for me. So far anyway... :eek1

    I used "he" for Jaws but I have seen some vicious females too.


    Now, for all you sharks reading this, I mean no disrespect. :evil
    Sharks are a necessary evil in this society.
    If you have more suggestions to help our friend, speak up.

    For the rest of you BMW riders, there is no way to make sure your forks won't fail the next time you ride no matter how many miles you have put on them. However, this is exceptionally rare and if you have already put some miles of hard riding on them, they "should" be ok. You can make sure the axle slides through both forks without binding. You can examine closely for cracks but I doubt you will find anything. This type of failure is not a slow progressive cracking but it is a sudden fracture of the casting. No warning. You could look into replacing the forks with another brand as a few have done. There are lots of forks available used and some may bolt on without much work.
  13. gsyogi

    gsyogi Seeker

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    Here is the copy of the text that I sent to BMW-USA along with their wholly inadequate response (IMHO):

    Dear BMW USA,

    I am a returning rider and recently (this May) purchased two new 2011 BMW motorcycles: 1) G 650 GS and 2) R 1200 GS. While researching some modifications for improved lighting I discovered an apparent issue with the Showa forks on the G/F series bikes: see, 1) http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=700385&referrerid=187786 and 2) http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=371650&referrerid=187786 . While every motorcyclist faces a multitude of risks (and hopefully, manages them appropriately), a catastrophic front fork failure should never be one them! I am a father, a husband, a professional, and simply want to know if there is ANY reason I should be concerned about the casting/safety of the front forks installed on my G 650 GS? I will not be riding that bike until I hear back from someone at the appropriate level with BMW-USA who can give me such assurances.

    My Best,

    BMW's response:


    Thank you for contacting BMW Motorrad USA regarding your G 650 GS. We always enjoy hearing from our riders.

    The service team at your local BMW Motorrad dealer has the expertise to provide you with detailed technical support to fully address your inquiry. A list of our authorized BMW Motorrad dealers can be found on our website: www.bmwmotorcycles.com, under the "Find a dealer" link.

    If you would reply with the vehicle identification number, (VIN), we can certainly check the status of any recalls on your bike. We look forward to your reply.

    For any non-technical inquiries, you can contact the Customer Relations and Services Department at 1-800-831-1117, Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time.

    Regards,

    Jackie Miller
    BMW Motorrad USA

    -----

    My new '11 G 650 GS is approaching 600 miles and I am scheduled to drive it to the dealership (in traffic) this Saturday for the initial service (absolutely no issues to date during the run in period)!?! I really like the single but have not moved it out of the garage since discovering this post/issue. I am VERY concerned about this issue and would like some advice on what to do with the bike. As my intention is to keep the bike, I am most interested in what replacement shocks are available that would not void my BMW warranty (along with an idea of what this will cost to have the dealer "upgrade" the forks). Am I opening exposing myself to a new set off potential issues by replacing the forks? Heal quickly antiquewidow and thanks in advance for any advice that this community can offer me!
  14. lemieuxmc

    lemieuxmc Banned

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    "The price of the bike and the mileage are irrelevant; a 10 year old Chinese pit bike bought for $200 should not have this kind of fork issue. It is avoidable and completely unacceptable."

    "It is also undoubtedly a mistake
    ."

    We all understand that BMW has sold thousands of these bikes and only a few have had the axle mount snap off the fork casting.

    Most Ford Pintos didn't explode into a fireball when rear ended.

    Most 737's didn't have a problem with the horizontal trim jack screw.

    Most women didn't get Toxic Shock Syndrome from tampons.

    Most children didn't get strangled in drop side cribs.

    Most drunk drivers don't kill people.

    Would you fly an airline with a 99.9% safety record (whose tickets cost way more than the other airlines)?

    Truly, you should have known...

    :deal

  15. WayneC

    WayneC Long timer

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    For those asking re other damage to the machine

    There is no damage on the LHS, on the RHS there is scratching to the plastic cover over the fuel tank, fuel tank itself, exhaust cover, foot peg, brake lever and hand guard. Both RHS indicators are broken.

    The damage suggests it went down on the RHS & slid a short distance top & rear forward in the slide. All up about what you would expect from a low speed high side fall to the right. In this case with the bars turning right & front wheel going left.
  16. Dash2

    Dash2 Always Learning

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    antiquewidow,
    i hope your starting to feel better. dont let this keep you from riding again. there are a lot of good bikes out there that have never had this problem.
  17. antiquewidow

    antiquewidow Adventurer

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  18. antiquewidow

    antiquewidow Adventurer

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    Well dealership (or should I say the salesman) who sold me the bike contacted my emergency contact tues after my insurance co contacted the dealership. Upon finally speaking to him yesterday morning, I told him what happened. I sent him a photo of the fork failure upon his request. Of course I havent heard a thing back from them. But he knows I AM ONE UNHAPPY CLIENT to say the least.
  19. eepeqez

    eepeqez Long timer

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    That's right, the Pinto "was no more fire-prone than other cars of the time, that its fatality rates were lower than comparably sized imported automobiles".

    But it's common (and wrong) knowledge that they were a death trap.
  20. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    antiquewidow,

    Sorry this happened to you. I hope you're feeling better.

    Best Wishes,

    Rick