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GS/GSA Fork Stanchion Problems

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This has been becoming a bigger problem every day it seems.  I first saw this last November at LAB2V as it happened to Dennis Godwin's GSA (for the second time).   Another GS riding the event had a complete failure and separation. Then I've been hearing about it and seeing it more and more since.  Seems like kind of a big deal.

But I would like to point out that it does support what I've been saying for about four years now and that is the new liquid cooled GS/GSA is NOT more suited to dirt than the oil head generation.

 

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There's actually a group on Facebook started to follow this issue and as of now there are 201 likes and 240 people following it.

And let's not forget the issue with the first year and a half models that had the head tube cracking.  At least they fixed that one.

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This is the other guy who had the same problem at LAB2V.

Not sure how long this has been a problem but someone has a reinforcement clamp they're selling for it already.  I'll post a link to that when I find it.

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In situations where the part failed, was it under "normal" conditions? Meaning, could some of the riders exceeding the limitations of their bikes stock hardware? Or is did BMW make a change in the fork design that resulted in compromised front fork tubes? 

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33 minutes ago, 556baller said:

In situations where the part failed, was it under "normal" conditions? Meaning, could some of the riders exceeding the limitations of their bikes stock hardware? Or is did BMW make a change in the fork design that resulted in compromised front fork tubes? 

Yeah they changed the design.  I beat the heck out of my '11 GSA off road and never had an issue with the forks.  I wish I knew more about when they made this change because I didn't hear about the problem until last November.  One might assume they've had these same forks since '13 but I could be wrong.

9k reach on Facebook!  Seems like kind of a big deal.

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This Facebook page dedicated to the stanchion problem (now at about 491 followers) is reporting that BMW's going to issue a recall shortly and send some type of clips to the dealer to perform a modification of the fork caps.  Stay tuned for BMW's official announcement.

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Basically, from what you showed me on the GS front end is that the stanchions are the fork tubes. But interestingly the forks on a GS don't do the dampening like a traditional fork, the function of the stanchion is to hold the wheel, and dampening is done through a single shock much like the what you would see on a rear of a the bike. 

Riding with you and Dennis was the first time I had a chance to really look at a GS. Very interesting stuff, definitely different than any bike I've looked at. 

Any GS riders in the house? 

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More recon work on this from other forums and discovered a few tidbits...

Interestingly, either BMW and/or their dealers (BMW Denver) seem to be nullifying warranty claims on this if the rider had risers and/or scratches on their crash bars (basically blaming the rider).  Of course we all have seen how the bike are marketed (GS Trophy, BDR, etc...)

Very interesting speculation on the reason why they changed the fork design was to save weight.  Seems to be plausible.  Save money too though?  Perhaps.

There's a "fix" being marketed for this problem called the BT Cycles Stanch Clamp.  Link here.  $147

And a graphic from inmate Brokein2 that offers his explanation for the forces causing the failure:

Captureeee (1).JPG

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You have to figure this has been an issue for long enough that an aftermarket part has been made to address the issue. 

On a side note, do GS/GSA need suspension like other bikes? Meaning, majority of the bikes on the market have a fairly traditional front fork design, so there is a tremendous amount of aftermarket tuning options.

Everyone knows that KTM runs the worst suspension in the industry, WP. I would go as far as saying that if you have WP suspension, having re-valved, and re-sprung is a necessity. 

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Because the front telelever shock does all the damping and compression, the forks are simply stanchions that act to keep the wheel straight but don't perform and typical fork-like function.  They are basically just cylinders.

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Interestingly, either BMW and/or their dealers (BMW Denver) seem to be nullifying warranty claims on this if the rider had risers and/or scratches on their crash bars (basically blaming the rider).  Of course we all have seen how the bike are marketed (GS Trophy, BDR, etc...)
Very interesting speculation on the reason why they changed the fork design was to save weight.  Seems to be plausible.  Save money too though?  Perhaps....


I typically don't nose around in the BMW camp but saw Eric's post of FB and having friends who have GS models, took a look. Looks like they are safe, none are LC motors.

Has any of these riders mentioned noticing any warning signs before they let loose like a clunking?

Scratches on a crash bar? Sounds like the dealer didn't want to process it. KTM and Arctic Cat have great warranty service, especially goodwill warranties. I've been asked to warrant some sketchy stuff over the years but my guess would be the fork caused the scratches, as in a loss of control. Besides, crash bars are meant to be scratched! BMW should have threaded those like the lowers of a traditional fork. Those bikes aren't exactly svelte. Be interesting to see what the fix is.

Marketing has been the topic for this weekend's dual sport. Guys new to the Adv scene are wanting to ride our east coast dual sports, which are run on true enduro single track trails, on GS's with 50/50 tires. BMW and KTM do an awesome job of showing us what their beasts can do in the hands of a pro. It's not really fair to the consumer who finds out 30 yards down a muddy dingle track, just how difficult it is to ride an XL Adv. I'm a fairly confident rider/racer and my 640Adv is pushing the limits on those particular trails, it'd have to be bone dry to ride my 950. In fact, I'm opting to ride my 250 Sunday with all the rain today.
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I wrote this yesterday in my blog section after an anonymous source came forth saying that the crimping of the forks was just a band aid for a previously flawed design outlined in a service bulletin dated April 2013 (just weeks after the fatal accident of Kevin Ash at the GS launch).

I had read the crimping solution was designed from the get-go as a way to reduce weight (and cost?) but it seems it was to cover up another bad design.

In hindsight, BMW probably should have redesigned the forks but the cost, retooling, redesign with possible new geometry could not derail their launch.

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