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What's Gone Wrong

Gear Indicator | Immobiliser | Brake Failure | Battery Failure
Loose Panel | Top Box | Paint | BMW Heated Vest

Gear Indicator

Not really a big problem but more a nuisance. A few weeks after purchasing the little LED display showing the gear selected started showing random numbers, e.g. it showed "5" when the gear was "2". I have never had a gear indicator on a bike before so was not worried until the bike started showing the green neutral light when it was in gear!!

Dealer solved the problem by fitting a new sender unit to the gearbox. It seems they are prone to water ingress and failure but it's been OK for the last two years.


Occasionally the bike failed to recognise the key so the immobiliser prevented it being started. Turning the key off and on a couple of times normally fixed it but then it failed totally, fortunately at home.

BMW Rescue turned up within 20 minutes of my call but could not fix it so arranged for the bike to be taken into the dealers. 10/10 for BMW Rescue, the bike was picked up inside 45 minutes, fixed and returned with a new antenna fitted to the lock. No problem since.

Brake Failure

Odd one this. Shortly after starting a Europe trip the bike started reporting a brake failure and entering the "residual braking mode". Basically this means bugger all brakes on a fully loaded two up bike. Stopping and restarting normally solved the problem but it got worse until it stayed in residual mode for about an hour, then completed the brake test and went back to full servo brakes. I did not notice the warning light had gone out when I had to stop sharp at traffic lights. Pulled the lever hard and stamped on the pedal as I was becoming used to and nearly launched wife over my head!!

Phoned BMW Rescue from a hotel in Darnstadt at 11:30 at night and they arranged for the bike to be fixed at a local dealer the next day. It turned out to be the front brake's brake light switch was jammed on and this prevents the bike's computer from completing the brake test as it indicates the brakes are being held on.

New switch fitted and back on the road by 10:00am. Well done BMW Rescue.

Battery Failure

The battery was becoming knackered so thought it sensible to report it before the warranty expired. It turned out that my bike had not had a software upgrade that cuts power to the instrument unit when the bike is parked.

This can be tested by turning the key from lock to unlock (without turning on the ignition). If the LED shows time and mileage the bike needs the upgrade. If the LED stays blank it has had the upgrade.

New battery fitted under warranty so should be OK for a couple of years.

Panel Came Off

Riding along at about 60mph and the left side aluminium tank panel came disconnected at the front and folded back. I bent it back to shape and refitted it but as there was now some stress marks on the surface a new panel was fitted under warranty. Dealer advised that the front lower panel latch is not very positive and care has to be taken to ensure the panel is secure.

Top Box Takes a Flight

This happened on Stelvio Pass. The top box had survived my wife leaning on it for a 100 miles or so but flew off on a bend. It survived intact (as did the laptop inside it) but was rather scratched and the backrest was torn. It seamed secure enough when I refitted it but held it with bungees for the rest of the trip.

New box supplied together with base plate under warranty. It seems this is a well known problem and there has been a design change to fix it. Hope I have the new design but it looks the same.

Paint Bubbling

The paint was bubbling around every bolt on the filler cap so I got a new one fitted before the warranty expired

BMW Heated Vest

Not a bike fault but worth a mention. This could be a great bit of kit but has a major failing. Read More.

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"I've never known one do that before Sir"
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