BMW Breakdown

What happens when a small simple breakdown results in a total loss of the motorcycle? - A loss of NZ$10,000

(For the happy end conclusion, jump a page down.)

What happened?

My beautiful 2002 BMW K1200GT motorcycle is used as a rental bike for touring New Zealand. The brake fault light came on and the brakes failed. I asked Experience BMW in Auckland to diagnose the problem. They said the Antilock Braking System (ABS) control module/unit had a fault and needed replacing. The part costs NZ$4314 plus the installation, totalling a repair bill of $5,000. I was shocked.

The motorcycle is worth only NZ$10,000. The NZ$5,000 repair bill makes the repairs not viable. I am obliged to write off the motorbike as irreparable and carry a loss of NZ$10,000.

This is a disaster for my fledgling motorcycle rental company. I need to grow my fleet, not lose them to unaffordable breakdowns.


I now can conclude that BMW motorcycles have a designed obsolescence – a lifespan of 12 years and then they die – all designed and planned by BMW presumably to coerce the owners to upgrade, as a marketing tool.

Am I happy with the BMW loss? Hell No!!2_View_of_damaged_side.JPG

Would I recommend a BMW motorcycle to others? Hell No!

Will I keep my other BMW motorbike in my fleet? Hell no – it will breakdown.

Will I ever buy another BMW motorbike? Hell no.

I get many riders from all around the world looking at my website to tour New Zealand. This story will become part of my website

I will tell this story on my Facebook page

I will now dismantle my useless BMW K1200GT motorcycle for parts and sell them and tell my horror story on:-





Motorcycle Alley http://www.motorcy

Perhaps I can provide a link to the BMW Owners Club in New Zealand

and internationally

and go onto their forum site to ask for advice


I’m sure the Italian Motorcycle Owners Club in Auckland will be curious about the fate of 12 year old BMW motorbikes. I wonder what they could spin from this for Ducati and Moto Guzzi

Further (Happy) Outcome.

What happened since? - 

BMW in Germany were as helpful as a wet cow-pat in your shopping bag! - They acknowledged they received my invitation to help and I've heard nothing since.

Experience BMW in Auckland were very helpful, and sympathetic, and completed several hours of computer diagnostics, and serviceman's hours spent absolutely free - thankyou so very much, but they could not find the fault, and assured me the ABS Module still needed replacing at $4300+installation.

I had my own Workshop Manager, Peter Barnes, dismantle the motorcycle down to the frame to remove the ABS Module, and we sent it to GT Mechtronics in East Tamaki for evaluation of the electronic circuitry. They identified an electrical power spike had cooked the circuit board, and they repaired it for $250.65. Then sent it back to me.

When I had it returned, I asked Peter to reassemble the BMW motorbike with the hope of it running. Alas, the inevitable happened - the brake system continued to play dead. Si I transported it to Experience BMW and they diagnosed nothing because the ABS Module computer was still utterly not responding. My emotional state was tense and fragile at this point - I felt like offering the bike as a target to the army for cannon practice.

We took the bloody thing back to the workshop. Nigel Johnston came into the picture at this point. He is an A-Grade bike mechanic with a wicked sense of humour and a canny insight into things that should go but don't.

Nigel and Peter worked for a couple days on the bike together. They stripped it again to its basic frame and then followed the wiring from the ABS Module to every other part of the bike that had a wired connection including the 'L' and 'K' lines from the ABS computer to the bike's main onboard computer, there must have been dozens of wires. They noted eventually the brake fluid reservoir had 2 compartments - separated for eack brake the forward discs and the rear wheel disk. One compartment was empty, and had been refilled weeks earlier. But the float sensor didn't float with the filling, and stuck fast in the 'compartment empty' position. This was stumbled upon when the sensor float was tampered with and freed, rising to where it should be to indicate the fluid level correctly.

The source of the fluid leak was a partially perished (or damaged) hydraulic line close to the reservoir. It had an infintesimally small leak. The empty reservoir compartment was almost impossible to see, and always got missed in the maintenance checks.

Now, suddenly, all the lights and indicators and warning systems did their work correctly. The rest of the bike was reassembled, and a trial street run was chanced. 

The brakes worked. The ABS module functioned. The power brake booster functioned. The brake warning light on the dashboard went out indicating all was well. My motorbike was restored to its perfect functioning condition.

I am a happy man. In fact, ecstatic. The BMW K1200RS is now fully functional and in perfect running order. I am most thankful for Peter Barnes, Nigel Johnston and Experience BMW.