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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Picked up my 2017 GSA in Sept. I noticed it has very spongy front brakes. Taken on several hard twisty road, the brakes are fine they stop but they feel really close to hitting the bars. Mushy

I took it the dealer, they bled the brakes but still felt spongy. I have since ridden it hard and the brakes once again feel very spongy. I took it back second time and they bled them again. It felt good the first few days after long ride it went back to spongy feel.

Anyone else experience this?

I am not new to riding, have owned many bikes. I have 4 in the garage right now. Only the newest toy has this issue. I expect more from the top of the model bike. I have ridden 1000RR and expect the same feel from my GSA.

I have visited several dealership and have felt many front brakes of brand new GSA. They seem to have the softest/spongy front brakes. I have tried the new GS and they seem to be fine,harder feel than the GSA. I asked the salesguy why are some GSA spongy front brakes compared to the GS typical sales guy reply. I dont know.

I know another local rider with new 2017 GSA with same spongy front brakes. The dealer does not seem to understand why it's soft spongy feel. The local mechanic after bleeding told me they are better but since I come from Sportbike/Supermoto background I might not be happy with them. I am not.

Anyone else?



Separate Subject, I am not totally happy with BMW for not allowing me to take my pannier brackets home because of some sort of recall on how they covered the tail light reflectors or something. Becasue of that I could not finance my pannier ,I was told I could not order them because of this issue. They will give me back the brackets when they have been retrofitted. When ever the hell that is. I only got the top case. So if I want to add panniers to my brand new 2017 GSA Premium I would have to buy brackets.Give them a little credit, they tossed in a BMW dufflebag. Not as cool as panniers. WTF
 

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How did you get the bag from BMW? I was told it would arrive via mail but it has been over two weeks since I bought the bike - less the racks......?
 

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Using the 70/30 braking ratio by applying both brakes? To me they are softer feeling but they are linked brakes. It's my understanding the front brake actuates the rear brake, but the rear brake doesn't apply braking to the front brake.

Try using the front brake alone a few times, then use both. See a difference? I do.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I purchased my bike Saturday afternoon, picked up Top case Tuesday and the Buffle Bag the same day. Check with your dealer. Mine was sent to the dealership.

* I was kinda hesitant on the quality of the duffle bag , I was told it was about a $300 item. The instructions weren't too clear but after playing with it, it was easy install. I have used it twice and love them. I took it to Reno, Nv last weekend for Street Vibration. I was one of the few BMW there.


I noticed that you have a 15 KTM 690?

I have a 2009 KTM 690 SMC..love the hell out of it, unfortunately it fell victim to the dreaded rocker arm issue. Its in the shop right now $1200 engine damage. Still debating if I want to repair or sell as is. Only have 19K miles. I have a 2003 KTM 450 EXC street legal that has been doing the Supermoto/dirt duty till I decide to repair or not. I am assuming you have the endure since they stopped importing the SMC version.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Using the 70/30 braking ratio by applying both brakes? To me they are softer feeling but they are linked brakes. It's my understanding the front brake actuates the rear brake, but the rear brake doesn't apply braking to the front brake.

Try using the front brake alone a few times, then use both. See a difference? I do.

I have tried just using the front brake same feel. I spoke to my local dealer he is going to speak about it during his weekly BMW dealers meeting to see if it's a concern brought up by other adventure riders. I understand my local dealership is small and does not deal with high volume, so the spongy front brake he might not have heard about. But... I have visited several big dealership and 9 out of 10 2017 GSA bikes I have touched and worked the front brakes are very spongy feeling like mine. Just not something you would not expect from a $25K bike. It feels like it needs to be bled which is something a brand new bike should not feel like.

Other than that I am sooooooooooooooooooooo happy with my GSA


* took it in for 600 mile service(actual 751) - weekend of hard riding a lot of my bolts were loose. Dealer took care of it been great since. Now have almost 1500 everything running great.
 

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Try holding the front brake lever tightly to the handlebars with a strap of some sort overnight. Despite the multiple bleeding procedures there may still be air in the system somewhere.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Try holding the front brake lever tightly to the handlebars with a strap of some sort overnight. Despite the multiple bleeding procedures there may still be air in the system somewhere.
Been there done that. I was doing some research and this was one of the old school trick to slowly bleed air bubbles overnight. Zip tied front brake over 24hrs, felt better the first few pulls then back to sponginess.


Any more tips ? :)
 

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Well, I can tell you that the brakes on my 17 GSA can detach your retinas they work so well. I still think you have air in the system somewhere. I'd try going to a safe place and brake hard enough to activate the ABS several times. Then bleed the brakes. All I can think of at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update for 2017 R1200 GS Adventure owners.

* after several trips to local dealership with my spongy front brakes, and few attempts to bleed here's the latest

* there was some sort of bulletin from the "homeland" acknowledging the spongy front brake feel.
* they wanted to make sure all air is out of system. Which may include several attempts. One of which requires you to leave the bike overnight at dealership to let bleed overnight.
* that worked a little bit, the front brake did feel harder but after a few rides it went back to spongy lever feel. That was last week 7/24/18
* These steps have to be performed before they start replacing components. I am dropping my bike in this Friday 8/3/18 for dealership to do something else.

I will keep this thread going until the issue is resolved. At least my issue is being addressed unlike the initial response I received when i first brought it up at dealership like they never heard of issue and I am the only one. The bulletin acknowledges my issue.


Symptoms:
* mushy/spongy feel of front brakes especially when adjust close to the lowest adjustment.
* hard riding worsens the feel and at times brake lever almost hitting the bars
* the weird part- only way i can describe is reverse braking hardens the brake feel temporarily (instead of pulling the lever to brake, you flick the lever towards the front and i swear it hardens the brake feel. I don't recommend this while moving. Only at stops, because it will activate the brakes when the lever bounces back to position.
 

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Had the same issue with my GS (not an Adventure). I tend to brake using two fingers but found that the lever was touching my other fingers. If I pumped the lever the brake was ok. Made emergency braking entertaining! My dealer did tests and bled the system, with no effect. It was sorted by replacing the master cylinder.
 

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I have a feeling that some technicians don't know how to properly bleed the brake circuit and that many BMW dealers are not using the Low Viscosity (LV) DOT 4 brake fluid that BMW specs for these machines.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
8/10/18 a week since another attempt to bleed the front brakes. The tech claims that the brake feels harder and just as hard on my preference setting 2 click from lowest setting.

I barely felt the difference, on my setting. I did feel a light harder feel when it was backed out all the way which is very uncomfortable for me and my normal sized hands.

Rode it a few times this week and it feels the same. The bleeding is not working for me. I will have to return to dealer and let them know that the 4 previous attempts to bleed the brake is not meeting my BMW expectations. Side note the technician did acknowledge that that my brake does feel squishy from the start. I suppose the next step is to start replacing components. Start with master cylinder.


To be continued.
 

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One question remains:
Does the braking system perform or is it dangerous at times?
Not sure about consumer laws in your country, but if they have to try more than 3 times to get something right, you should have every right to return the vehicle.
You probably have no chance in returning the bike, if the braking system performs as it should and it is just a subjective "feel".
Have you ridden one of their demo bikes to compare?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The braking system performs as it should. But... very concerning when it practically touches the bar. The technician agrees with me on the lever feel, i have brought it in when it almost touches the bars ands that's not during a spirited ride.

* there is a bulletin from BMW that suggested they have to perform a number of bleeds/ 1 overnight bleed before they start replacing parts
* dealership is now awaiting response from mother land BMW to proceed with replacing parts.
* before I purchased, i test drove another GSA that had solid brakes

I am surprised that not many more are complaining about spongy brake feel. The fact that BMW has a special bulletin about it tells me I am not the only one.It took me 3 visits to have it bled before they (dealer) acknowledged that yes there is a bulletin. Before that it was "no, no one else has complained about it" A few months ago , i visited several dealership in Bay Area and Sacramento area (Livermore, Mountain View and Roseville)and felt the brakes on 2017 GSA and GS. I found the GS felt harder than the GSA's. I asked the sales guys if the lever are suppose to be this soft, they did not know or could not explain to me why some front brakes were hard and others were spongy almost hitting the bars. The best I got was , due to the ABS, and the telelever effect. (BS)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
As I previously said, having the master cylinder replaced sorted the same issue for me. INSIST that they replace it under warranty.

Thats the next step is to replace the master cylinder. Unfortunately the dealer cannot just replace the part they are waiting on word back from BMW. That was last week I know whats going to happen. They will get word back to replace, and will make me wait again to order the part.


Just as well , have 6K on bike and now I noticed that I have front and rear spokes that are loose. One very loose that I cannot tighten myself.
 

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Get the feeling the level of service with warranty work varies from dealer to dealer and country to country. Here in the UK my local BMW dealer sorts issues without hesitation or question.

In my experience Honda rarely go wrong but when they do Honda pretend that they don't and try to fob you off. Front fork seal went on my CRF250L. Had to take it back to dealer. They photographed it. They sent photo to Honda who then gave them permission to repair it. Did Honda think I was making it up???
 

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My 2017.5 GS Ralleye front brake feels "softer" than what I am used to. They work fine, but the travel is a bit long. I came from a Harley tourer which had the double Brembo system (ironically works pretty good) but with all that weight I was much more worried than the BMW.

You mentioned you have other bikes and their weights / lever action may be hard. My point is your experience could be subjective based on your history with smaller / lighter bikes. As one person mentioned, if they work and meet the manufacturer standard then maybe its just rider subjectivity.

Like you I love my BMW, very nice machine overall.
 

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After I bought my '17 GS last Fall I was underwhelmed by the power of the front brakes...Adequate but not at all what I have been used too..Never had the lever go to the handle bar but I don't brake like I am on a sportbike. I just assumed that BMW purposely designed a less powerful front brake because the GS is potentially an "off road" motorcycle. My KTM 950 had weak front brakes as well for that reason but with ABS control I have no idea why BMW would not give the GS brakes as powerful as those on the RT...
 

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As I explained recently I had the front master cylinder replaced which improved the problem of the spongy front brake lever. Today I noticed that the problem has returned. When two finger braking I YET AGAIN found the lever touching my other fingers. In fact, when I haven't used the brake lever for a short while (parked or waiting at traffic lights) it's possible to pull the lever back to the handlebars.

NOT GOOD! NOT GOOD AT ALL! IN FACT IT'S BLOODY DANGEROUS!!!

Tomorrow I am taking it back to the dealer and they can keep it until it is sorted.
 
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