BMW R1200GS Loose Spokes Issue – Explained

BMW R1200GS loose spokes issue - Explained 1

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.

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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.

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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.

Spoked Wheel adventure Bike

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.


4 thoughts on “BMW R1200GS Loose Spokes Issue – Explained

  1. To Whom It May Concern,

    I am based in South Africa, and I have a 2015 R1200GS Adventure that had 8600 Kms on it when I discovered loose spokes on the front wheel.

    I have argued with BMW South Africa who started off by saying the bike was used off road, and it should have come in to have the spoke tensions checked more regularly as per the owner’s manual, and then finished off by saying the rim was within spec.
    I then proved them wrong in all of those areas and they resorted to the statement that my bike is out of warranty and that’s that.

    I'm asking for some advice regarding this situation as BMW South Africa simply don’t care that their expensive motorcycle fell short and have simply brushed me off. I have all the service records and they don’t have a leg to stand on other than the fact that the bike is out of warranty. But I feel, given the super low mileage on the bike, BMW should honour a good-faith claim.

    Any assistance would be much appreciated!

  2. Rory , i have the same bike and year model. This morning i found two loose front spokes. Very loose. I would not thighten any more. It was at its maximum. I,ve grinded away of a bit of the spoke at the thread end. This allowed for the spoke to go in deeper into the grub. Theres no dents which could have caused this. It,s as if the spokes are to long. I believe it is a manufacturing issue.

    1. You are wrong 🙂
      There, every spoke head has a counterpart threaded nut, actuable with a 2mm allen key, to fix head in position.
      If you want to straighten the spoke tension, must first loosen that forementioned piece. allowing spoke to infiletate more, then restrighten that.

  3. Im from the philippines and a proud owner of a 2018 triple black GSA1200 but since last year not that proud anymore bec of loose spokes problem. My front rim is with BMW dealer for more than a year and a half now. But still no solution, as they said they dont have the tools to fix it. I have been trying to ask for a replacement but they cannot provide it. Any suggestions in regards to this problem?

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