BMW R1200GS loose spokes issue - Explained

You might want to inspect your wheels as soon as possible

There’s a huge chance that your 2018 BMW bike has a problem with some loose spokes. The German manufacturer is reknown for its durable spoked rim design but it's a certain batch fabricated between February-June 2018 that encountered some issues.

Altought the spoked rims fitted on the BMW R series proved to be one of the toughest, there's a general rule when it comes to spoked wheels: you always have to keep in mind that a periodic check-up and maintenance is necessary.

What’s so special about BMW spoked wheels

The main advantage of these wheels featured on the German motorcycle is that they are tubeless. The holding point for the spokes is not the interior of the circle, but the exterior - this way you get rid of the tube problem. To make them bulletproof and increase the resistance, the engineers added a tiny detail that takes care of the loose spoke issue.

As you can see in the picture above the  spoke and nipple assembly is followed by Nr.13 on the diagram which is a grub screw. This way after the wheel is put together and balanced everything is secured in place by these tiny grub screws that go inside the nipple and locks the spoke.

Why the loosen spokes problem then?

The folks at BMW say that the problem was caused by the coating applied on the spokes nipples that made them cheat the tightening torque and then come loose. So the main reason for this problem is actually the nipple that although it came together with a securing bolt things got messy. 

The chances for this to happen are very small. The first to come loose before the spoke is the securing grub screw and this seems like a one in a million. Considering that any bond like loctite is out of discussion there’s only one way to make sure everything is seating tightly in place is to check them every once in a while.

The simplest way to check is by tapping every spoke with a key and check the sound they make - you should hear a sharp ding from every spoke you're tapping. Anything different indicates that the spoke might be loose.

Don’t rush to tighten the spokes by yourself because you can destroy the wheel’s balance and therefore the performance of your bike. Actually you should always pay attention to every new feedback coming from your wheels like wobbling or different noises. These changes might be clear indicators that one of your rims is out of centre. 

The rim truing is not an easy operation and it should be performed only by a trained technician. The operation is even harder when it comes to BMW wheels because the aluminium circle can be deformed very easy.


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