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Discussion Starter #21
*******UPDATE*****

Checked in on dealer TODAY, since i have not heard a word fOr over 2 weeks. I spoke to mechanic that's dealing with my issue.

What's the latest from BMW, did you hear anything? Yeah they want us to try and bleed it again, another overnight process.

What are you going to do different this time, I don't think it will work?
reply: It doesn't affect all models just some- says Mr Mechanic. Which I reply. I rode a friends 2016 GSA in Idaho this weekend. Same spongy feel, very scary when we had it in Enduro Mode we rode over 150 miles Silver City to Jordan Valley loop. I asked what's the bulletin number for brake issue? HE didnt reply. I asked because my friend took his 2016 GSA under warranty to Idaho BMW and they charged him $175 to bleed. WTF I told my friend to get his money back since his brake lever feel was more spongy than mine. I relayed to mechanic.

This is when I heard a different tune. Now he is going to order master cylinder but I will still need to take it in next week so he can try another overnight bleed (i dont think it will work) if it doent work then he will replace the master cylinder. I asked him, why does he need to do it again, that didn't work last time? No reply. I said OK but it's a big inconvenience for me to take overnight (AGAIN) then wait to see if it works (I DOUBT) then he will replace the master cylinder. I left after that since i only stopped off on my lunch.

Sidenote- I had to follow up (AGAIN) for update.


I am getting closer to hopefully resolve my spongy front brake feel. But after hearing from "boringoldfart" how the master cylinder replacement temporarily worked but is now back to initial issues. (Maybe needs 2 overnight bleed HAHAHAHHAHA)


*******TO BE CONTINUED******
 

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This brake issue is obviously pissing us both off!!!!

The dealer is now saying that my brakes are binding (with wheel raised it is not spinning a freely as it should). They are now going to strip down the callipers and replace seals etc.

Speaking to someone who has been in the motor trade for decades, he thinks it won't make any difference. I tend to agree but if I have to cooperate or they will never get to the bottom of the problem.

Perhaps the replacement master cylinder is faulty? If it is I guess it's unlikely to be replaced again and the problem will persist.

Matter of interest. Can you hear a slight 'hiss' from the master cylinder area when pulling on the brake lever. Perhaps someone can comment as to whether this is normal.


*******UPDATE*****

Checked in on dealer TODAY, since i have not heard a word fOr over 2 weeks. I spoke to mechanic that's dealing with my issue.

What's the latest from BMW, did you hear anything? Yeah they want us to try and bleed it again, another overnight process.

What are you going to do different this time, I don't think it will work?
reply: It doesn't affect all models just some- says Mr Mechanic. Which I reply. I rode a friends 2016 GSA in Idaho this weekend. Same spongy feel, very scary when we had it in Enduro Mode we rode over 150 miles Silver City to Jordan Valley loop. I asked what's the bulletin number for brake issue? HE didnt reply. I asked because my friend took his 2016 GSA under warranty to Idaho BMW and they charged him $175 to bleed. WTF I told my friend to get his money back since his brake lever feel was more spongy than mine. I relayed to mechanic.

This is when I heard a different tune. Now he is going to order master cylinder but I will still need to take it in next week so he can try another overnight bleed (i dont think it will work) if it doent work then he will replace the master cylinder. I asked him, why does he need to do it again, that didn't work last time? No reply. I said OK but it's a big inconvenience for me to take overnight (AGAIN) then wait to see if it works (I DOUBT) then he will replace the master cylinder. I left after that since i only stopped off on my lunch.

Sidenote- I had to follow up (AGAIN) for update.


I am getting closer to hopefully resolve my spongy front brake feel. But after hearing from "boringoldfart" how the master cylinder replacement temporarily worked but is now back to initial issues. (Maybe needs 2 overnight bleed HAHAHAHHAHA)


*******TO BE CONTINUED******
 

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Discussion Starter #23
No hissing noise. The brakes function as they should, but concerning when you pull the lever and it feels like it will it the bar/fingers.


Sidenote: all the bikes I have owned (dirt bike, supermoto, sportbikes) will have some sort of brake drag and hiss. My GSA will have initial drag but freespins afterwards.
* Does yours not spin at all when you have on center stand or have to use alot of force to move?
* Im not a mechanic but if the calipers are binding , how would that create the spongy feels? I would think that the lever would feel even harder since it's already so close to rotors m when not retracting as it should. Just a thought.



My friend that I visited in Idaho last weekend with 2016 lowered GSA 9K miles , paid the dealer to bleed his brakes last week and it felt like sh*t(worse than mine). They charged him even though it was still under warranty. He re scheduled to get it re bled and I gave him my local dealership to contract to get service bulletin,and reference my name. They have open/ongoing work order for me.

Again, I am surprised that we do not hear more about spongy front brakes. I have been to several BMW dealerships in California. Idaho, Nevada and I have felt the spongy feels on new GSA. I hope they check these types of boards to realize that there is a "Service Bulletin" on it. Anyone having this issue, please feel free to PM me , I will give you my local dealership and my name to reference. I hate for others that will get charged for something BMW knows is an issue.


*******TO BE CONTINUED*******
 

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My front wheel will spin when off the ground but perhaps not quite as freely as it could (disc pads always slightly rub the disc since pads are forced against the disc under braking BUT are not pulled away from the disc after braking).

My dealer seems to think they are dragging enough to cause heat build up to effect the brake fluid and therefore causing the spongy braking. I don't believe it for one minute, but what the hell do I know.

Will let you (and anyone else who is remotely interested) know tomorrow the outcome.

Hey Ho.
 

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Collected bike from dealer.

Brake lever still feels spongy.

To be honest totally bored and frustrated by the whole issue.

Going to adapt my braking technique from two fingers to four when riding enthusiastically.

Warranty expires in 6 months. Need I say more!
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Boringoldfart:

Where do you have your levers set at? I have mine set 2 clicks from closest setting. I notice that when I have it set furthest setting it feels harder than when I have it at my setting. Unfortunately i do not have big hands and would compromise my safety if I have to reach for lever when i need them.

I mentioned all this to dealership mechanic. He acknowledges the issue, and i'm sure just as frustrated. I got over 7K on my 2017 and still under warranty. I will push this until I get resolved. I believe if you raised the issue while under warranty they have to resolved even when warranty runs out. Outstanding issue. Keep your work orders.

Even with my issue. I still ride the hell out of my GSA. Put in 488 miles this weekend, mostly on freeway and about 150 miles twistie roads. Gotta throw in 1 to 3 ratio of twistie road riding to even out the tires :)
 

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I have my lever set at '4' which is the position furthest from the handlebar. I have big hands!!!! Must try at position '2'. To be honest the front brake currently is not too bad but that's probably due to them being bled at my last visit to the dealer. Being a cynic I suspect they will deteriorate soon.
 

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This has now turned into a private conversation between two guys.
There would be more people involved, if it is such a big thing.

Lose spokes on wheels are a major concern and BMW should have had better quality control, issues with front forks not holding up to a task are also a major concern.
But the "spongy" feeling is not a major concern, as the brakes work and the bike stops.

It must be frustrating to deal with this, but you might want to look into your local consumer laws and get legal advice, if you think it is a technical issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Not a private conversation, we are utilizing GS board to inform others of issue we are experiencing. We are speaking from personal experience, i'm sure most can figure out that it's not a blanket statement on all GS/GSA front brake feel. Maybe not a big deal to you, it is a big deal to those experiencing it. Yes right now it is not hindering performance, but if left unchecked it could be. BMW acknowledges it and has a service bulletin on it,to me is a big deal. Matter of perspective. Who knows maybe next week it will be a big deal when I pull the brake lever and it doesn't stop. I have all the service record that I have been on this thing for almost a year. it's possible since it has been bled so many times that it has delayed the inevitable brake failure. That will make this the "big Deal" I don't want to be the guy who's brakes fail and have this "Big Deal" dedicated to post mortem.

Example: labor day weekend, I rode a friends bike in Idaho that had same brake feel. He took to dealership which charged him for bleeding the bike(under warranty) , i told him about the service bulletin regarding my bike and he was able to call up the dealership and have the cost reversed due to this thread i gave him.

I will continue to update this thread until my issue is resolved.

There is a thread in here about loose spoke that I am thankful for reading and subscribing to because when I brought up my loose spoke to dealership, they practically blamed me. I slapped that thread in their face and guess what, they will take a look at it now when they finish bleeding my bike overnight again this week. If I hadn't found loose spoke thread, i highly doubt that dealership would have brought up the bulletin on loose spoke. Same reason it took me months to finally convince them that there is something wrong with my front brake feel that they found the bulletin.
 

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Well put rrrdbw.

I have never had a motorcycle where, after a short break, it's possible to pull the brake lever back to the handlebars.

It can't be right!

I would ask that the members go to their parked GS' and grab the front brake lever FIRMLY and quickly. Will the lever touch (or very nearly) the handlebar?

Posting the result on this forum could be interesting (or not).

Thanks in anticipation.
 

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The Boring Old Fart and you turned this into a private conversation and the Fart always whines and complains about the GS.
Hence I lost interest following this thread for some time.

The brakes work apparently, just feel spongy. Feeling is subjective and there is no issue with the brakes stopping the bike, if I am reading your comments correctly.
If there was a safety issue, it would be a much bigger thing than it is, and it is a rare problem as well.

The spokes are a serious issue, but again, only happens since they changed suppliers and only bikes from a specific batch/manufacturing date.

I'm not sure what your consumer laws are like, but you might want to check this.
I personally wouldn't have the energy to go back and forth with the dealer and getting my braking system bled numerous times.
They would get two attempts to fix and would have the bike back the third time, with a letter from a lawyer attached to it.
You might want to get hold of that specific service bulletin, in case you want to go down this path.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
***Update***

9/14/18 bled overnight at dealership again. (2nd overnighter). Mechanic did not replace master cylinder but mentions removing or possibly replacing the piston pucks if I heard him correctly. The master cylinder did not arrive yet.

* surprisingly the lever felt as it should, not spongy or soft. Adjusted the lever to 1st and 2nd setting close to bar and it still felt solid.

* rode the crap out of her Saturday when I picked up at dealership. So far so good brake feel is still solid.

9/18 commuting to work all week, brakes still good.

For those experiencing soft, spongy front brake feel. Do yourself a favor and report to your local dealer to resolve, or at least get paperwork started . There is a service bulletin don't let them blow you off.


Sidenote: I also reported a loose front spoke that was suppose to be taken care of. That was forgotten and will need to be taken care of. Another trip to dealership.

So far so good on front spongy brake feel. Fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
****update***

It's been over a week and over 300 miles put on bike The spongy front brake feel seems to be resolved with the second overnight bleeding.

Those that are having issue, i recommend having dealership do it if your bike is still under warranty.
 

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I am curious what exactly "Overnight Bleeding" entails.

I block my calipers all the way open and bleed using a bit of force (so the fluid squirts out fairly hard and carries any air out with it) and low viscosity DOT 4, I do 2 complete rear reservoirs worth of fluid and my brakes come out nice and firm, the one time (free 600 miles service) the dealer bled my brakes they were horrible until I re-bled them myself.
 

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Had my front brake master cylinder replaced (under warranty) for some unknown (?leak?)reason. Don't know if it's a recall... Seemed to work fine before and seems fine after the replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
2 week's and the brakes are doing great.

* not sure of the bulletin number, sorry. I'm sure the dealership will know. If your not sure PM me and I can give you the name of my dealership to contact

* overnight bleed- not sure what the process is. I'm sure they are not running the bleed machine all night, most likely zip tie the brakes and let the air bubbles slowly rise to top to escape.

* Mechanic also mentioned either replacing or cleaning the pucks i'm sure he means the pistons. Most likely cleaned because it takes permission from the motherland to replace anything.


I've seen/felt alot of GSA in California with spongy front brakes. I am really surprised that i have seen very little on the internet about it. I suppose because the soft spongy feel does not affect the braking. Its more of the feeling that the levers are going to hit the bars at any given pull. Add some brake fade when ridden hard in my case where it really plays with my head. I'm glad i got it sorted out.
 

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While on a trip together a fellow rider had a similar issue while on a trip to Colorado. The difference was it was his rear brakes. I (being very mechanically inclined) spoke with the dealerships service manager in great detail about the problem and solution. This service manager had dirty fingernails, that tells me he still wrenches. His Knowledge of the problem and his solution immediately put me at ease. From their experience this happened to riders who ride off road more than on road. They also stated the ABS system has to be activated several times during the brake bleeding procedure. According to the SM the ABS pump is higher than any other portion of the REAR braking system and that's why the air builds up in it. Makes perfect sense to me. He went on to state this is only a problem on the rear, not the front as the master cylinder is higher and the air bubbles can escape with gravity.

Saying all that for 2 points and a question.

Do you ride off road?

I ask because of my theory on the cause of his problem. I believe its caused by riding lots of rough (washboard) gravel roads at high speed and he does it at street pressure, I ride the same roads at the same speeds at a lower tire pressure. Between hard braking and the constant high frequency cycling of the suspension I think that allowed some bubbles to form and settle in his ABS pump. Just a theory.

My second point is could the lines be installed in such a way on your front brake system that the same problem was forming with your bike?



My last comment will give praise to BMW of Denver. This dealership demonstrated a level of customer service that I have never experienced before. They set the bar very high and I will encourage my local dealer to be better because of it.


Curtis
 

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While on a trip together a fellow rider had a similar issue while on a trip to Colorado. The difference was it was his rear brakes. I (being very mechanically inclined) spoke with the dealerships service manager in great detail about the problem and solution. This service manager had dirty fingernails, that tells me he still wrenches. His Knowledge of the problem and his solution immediately put me at ease. From their experience this happened to riders who ride off road more than on road. They also stated the ABS system has to be activated several times during the brake bleeding procedure. According to the SM the ABS pump is higher than any other portion of the REAR braking system and that's why the air builds up in it. Makes perfect sense to me. He went on to state this is only a problem on the rear, not the front as the master cylinder is higher and the air bubbles can escape with gravity.

Saying all that for 2 points and a question.

Do you ride off road?

I ask because of my theory on the cause of his problem. I believe its caused by riding lots of rough (washboard) gravel roads at high speed and he does it at street pressure, I ride the same roads at the same speeds at a lower tire pressure. Between hard braking and the constant high frequency cycling of the suspension I think that allowed some bubbles to form and settle in his ABS pump. Just a theory.

My second point is could the lines be installed in such a way on your front brake system that the same problem was forming with your bike?



My last comment will give praise to BMW of Denver. This dealership demonstrated a level of customer service that I have never experienced before. They set the bar very high and I will encourage my local dealer to be better because of it.


Curtis
 

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I have owned both a 2010 R1200 GSA and now ride a 2013 R1200 GSA (last air cooled). I have the exact same spongy feel. Braking with two fingers gets scary when the lever pulls in an hits my other fingers against the grip. I bleed brakes every year with regular viscosity DOT4 and a GS911 and software to modulate the ABS pumps. I attribute the sponginess to the longer fluid routing and ABS pump and linked front/rear but will try the DOT 4 low-viscosity next time. Will follow this thread. I can't believe that the master cylinders are bad on your practically new bikes and wanted to add that I have always had the same concern since the bikes were new. It is obvious for anyone who rides and grabs the brake lever even without actually riding it.

If you pull the lever twice sequentially it is much more solid. Seems like you have built up some pressure at that point? I've never had a problem coming to a stop and often ride pretty hard including off-road. Brake performance is good but brake feel is not good.
 
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