Rapid Brake Pad Wear
I recently brought my '07 GS in to the dealer for warranty replacement of the wheels. The spoked wheels some GS's were sold with did not accomodate tire pressure monitoring sensors, so BMW sold me the bike "with" TPM and replaced the original wheels with new retrofitted replacements later.
So this was covered under warranty, but I got a call from the dealer while I was out at work, and they needed my permission to replace the rear brake pads and rotor. By 4,300 miles one of the brake pads had worn all the way down and scraped into the rotor. I wanted to see it for myself because I couldn't believe that at such low milage the pad was finished. I told them to go ahead and save the old parts for me. It wasn't just a scratch in the rotor, it needed to be replaced. I managed to talk the dealer into dropping some of the "carefully calculated" repair time, because they already had the wheel off the bike when they replaced the rotor and pads.
I'm appalled the the pads wore out so quick! I've been riding on city streets and freeways with no excess load, and I never ride the brake pedal. In fact, when I brake on my BMW I always use the hand brake first, rather than applying the hand and foot brakes evenly as I normally would on a bike. I leave distribution of load up to the partially-integrated ABS. (I'm glad to have an Italian street bike also, on which I don't lose the feel of the road and my responses as a rider. That said, I feel safe with the ABS on my BMW, riding wet roads, and I'm off the point.) I don't take my GS dirt bike riding, or on sandy beaches, or on anything but concrete and asphalt (yet), so sources of grit to my rear pads has been limited to urban street dirt splashed up from the road. We rarely get snow here at sea level, so no sand is put on the street.
The bottom line is my pads wore out quick without much cause. The dealer was unable to explain why some GS's get well over 12k on their original pads and others get less than 6k. The only explanation I got from the dealer was that since asbestos isn't used in brake pads anymore, they don't last as long. And that BMW has chosen to install "organic" pads on the motorbikes. When I got the call to give them permission for the work they DID NOT offer to install scintered pads. They just installed the same kind as had worn out so quickly. (Last time I looked in a mirror I did not look like a dairy cow.) I'll be doing the brake pad replacements on my bike from here on out. I feel fortunate to have a BMW Mortorrad mechanic whose gone independant nearby.
I found that someone else on the r1200gs.info forum had the same wear and rotor damage at 3k miles on his r-series motorbike and his dealer replaced pads and rotor under warranty. The general manager at the dealership in Seattle, where I bought my bike for upward of $20k, said that they consider it a regular wear-and-tear issue and that he was lucky they cought it at 3k miles on his GS. I changed the oil and filter myself, so they didn't catch the pad wear. It's too bad I didn't know how soft those stock pads were.
So, let this serve as a warning to check your brake pad wear as a part of every pre-ride inspection. And try wobbling the rear wheel to check the final drive.
Can anybody recommend where to get a good (and printed) maintenance manual for the '07 GS?