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R1200GS TOP CASE FLYES OFF THE MOUNTING PLATE


flynstp

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I have a 2005 R1200GS The bmw top case after hitting a pothole flew off the bike into incoming traffic and was crushed by a truck on 684 in NY this spring. Luckily I had no passengers in the back since the passenger leans on the case. Upon contacting BMW about the issue the result is that they denied any problems with the case claiming it was not mounted correctly and I bought another case. The dealer mounted the case and yesterday 8/15 on I95 in CT the second case hit me on the back first and bounced on the highway next, fortunately on the side of the road. Upon calling BMW again I was told that I was the only person it had happened to and that they have no info of any other rider worldwide with the same experience. They first demanded me to show up at a local dealer to see if there is a defect to either the case or the mount, but it would require me to ride the bike (for 90n minutes) with the case in the back and possibly flying off again which is not an option, then they asked me to tow the bike at my expense which again is not an option, then they suggested they would call a regional manager and ask if he is willing to stop by.

In the mean time I have discovered on several message boards that it is a known problem. Therefore I will be demanding BMW to reimburse 2 cases, I will get in touch with the local attorney general to see if there are enough grounds to push bmw to recall all the top cases sold. If you have had the same experience please get in touch, it would help make the case stronger. The story is still developing but at first when calling bmw you would be stonewalled, the issue is very dangerous, your passenger could be flying off the bike with the case or the case could fly into the windshield of following or incoming traffic.

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BMW is keenly aware of this issue.

 

You will find that several R12GS owners here and elsewhere ( also do a search at www.advrider.com ) have had this happen to them and have had their cases, and in some cases, their mounting plates replaced under warranty.

 

I've had one case and one mounting plate replaced due to my topcase taking flight.

 

If I had the time to find it, I'd show you a picture of the after-flight experience. eek.gif

 

Davis, you still have that shot that you enjoy throwing in my face so much? grin.giftongue.gif

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I once found a side pannier (left) by the side of the road, near Kingsley Crag, kettlewell, North Yorkshire UK. I did a u turn to see if my eye's were playing me tricks, it was just sitting there. It was from a 1200GS. I was just fastening it to my back seat with a cargo net, wondering what to do? and if I should swop my R850R for a gs now I have half a set of panniers, when the owner turned up in a car. says it just flew off in transit. He bought the pannier set second hand and it had a different key which he hadn't brought and so could no longer refit it to the bike. had to leave it by the road and return with the car to collect it.

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While exploring some rough back country of Colorado last week I noticed the rear mounting brackets had let loose. This is a pretty common problem with these top cases, so I always bungee mine down before I leave the pavement. I can think of three situations where had I not done this, the case would have parted company with the bike.

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At the Rally in VT I met a guy from Ontario who had the same experience w/ his topcase. His flew off his GS in traffic and impacted the windshield of the Mercedes behind him. He told me he was beginning litigation against BMW. I have a hard time believing that they are unaware of the problem.

 

My question for you guys... are the failures only afffecting topcases mounted back on the rear rack? I ask because mine is installed in the forward position (pillion seat).

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... are the failures only afffecting topcases mounted back on the rear rack? I ask because mine is installed in the forward position (pillion seat).

 

Mine has come loose in the forward position, so I don't think it cares where it is when it breaks free.

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Yes, this is a known issue. So much of a known issue that the newer topcases have a difference in the design around the hook area than the old topcases, making it look like BMW has tried to strengthen the plastic around the hook.

 

Old (with crack and broken "hook")

 

old.jpg

 

New (with a bump, or "rib," of plastic to strengthen?)

 

new.jpg

 

Whatever the case (no pun intended), whether it's to fix the case's design, the newer topcases have a different design in this area.

 

Also, don't they sell a metal plate called the "Topcase Enduro Lock" (at least someone over at ADV Rider claimed they ordered this part from BMW) that can be screwed in around this area so the plastic doesn't crack, or if it does crack, it's supported by the metal plate?

 

bolt-kit.jpg

 

It's funny how a redesign and a (purported) metal "Topcase Enduro Lock" plate fix can be ordered through BMW, yet they tell you of how they don't know of any other rider in the world having this happen. Funny. eek.gif

 

Maybe the difference in designs just ADV Rider members trying to figure all of this out and the "Topcase Enduro Lock" is just a fix one rider has come up with and the rest is all hyperbole, but one thing is true: something is just not right with the BMW Vario Topcase.

 

In the end, it's just not a reliable enough topcase no matter who mounts it, either you or the dealer. It's been discussed on ADV Rider that the mount itself is supposed to be bolted on with a certain torque according to the instructions, and if it is over-torqued, this will cause the plate to bow in the middle, sort of forming a slightly rounded surface instead of a flat one. To me, this probably will make no difference because of how poorly designed and constructed the plastic is around the metal clip that hooks the topcase into the mount. What I don't get is why did BMW go to a mount on top of the luggage rack with a metal loop clip inside of plastic with these new topcases when the old ones (like the 1150 GS and RT) that had solid hard plastic hooks that clipped into the actual luggage rack worked great?

 

With my new GS I simply went with an Ortlieb Dry Duffel Bag made of PVC material, making it completely waterproof, to use as my topcase. Not as secure as with a key that can be locked shut and to the bike, but I'm pretty sure being strapped down it won't fly off the bike. Plus, it was only $85 from Aerostich. Bummer too, because I do like the looks of the Vario cases and the topcase matches nicely, but after reading about all these fly-offs, I just couldn't stomach the $600+ it costs when it seems absolutely dangerous to use and ride with.

 

Here's the thread on ADV Rider talking at length about this:

 

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=147632

 

And here's one of someone posting the instructions that come with the topcase with torque values, etc.:

 

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158386

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That's a great solution, David, but really, for $600+, should you not have to do that?

 

True, but what's my option? Mine flew off and they replaced it for free, but it's one of the older models. At this point, I no longer trust it (with a computer, camera, etc. inside). So rather than spending valuable time whining about it, I just fashioned a simple solution for dollars and now I never think about it.

 

I should not have HAD to do it, but I did, and I've got bigger fish to fry. tongue.gif

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The BMW solution to this "unknown" problem, direct from BMW Germany and recommended in NZ, is to bolt the topcase to the mounting plate. Honestly. A couple of bolts through the bottom of the case and through the mounting plate. This makes the topcase non-removeable, which I thought was the whole purpose of having the topcase.

 

I've been riding with the earliest model topcase for more than 2 years now, and have never had it come off. But for much of that time I've had it tied down with a tie strap. Now I'm using a solution along the same lines as David. Several local riders have not been so lucky, and have had experience of one or more topcases going AWOL.

 

I could probably get the official BMW part number of those fixing bolts if you want a stronger case (so to speak).

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thank you for your help, at this point I have involved the state general attorney's office, I guess it is going to turn out to be like with the dell computers, first they deny then they recall 4mil batteries, here the number is much smaller but somebody has to make a big issue about it for them to take responsibility

thank you again for your help

marco

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thank you for your help, at this point I have involved the state general attorney's office

 

Marco, don't you think they have better things to do? I wonder at how we can make such huge issues out of things like this. confused.gif

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which part or an object of that size becoming airborne on a highway is small matter for you? are you a bmw employee?

 

No, I'm not a BMW employee. But I am very new here, so I can understand the confusion.

 

So this is all about saving drivers from flying objects? And not about you getting some financial settlement or satisfactory replacement? Because if that's your motivation, I've seen a lot more ladders, appliances, and wheelbarrows flying off vehicles than BMW topcases. You might want to start a little campaign about those things--to improve the safety of our roads--so that your efforts are well rewarded. grin.gif

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I agree with David's sentiments. I guess for discussion's sake, I just find it funny that BMW doesn't acknowledge or solve the issue. It's fine for all of us who use these Internet resources and know about flying topcases, etc., in addition to solutions such as David's bungie buddies + tether, or Ken's plate reinforcement, or the BMW "Enduro Lock" which is the bolting-it-to-the-mounting-plate solution, or some others out there, etc. I just find the whole Vario topcase thing crappy for the BMW enthusiast who doesn't use these resources, buys the topcase sight unseen, mounts it and uses it with a laptop or camera inside, then has it launched from the bike, breaking some expensive stuff inside, only to be told by the dealer or BMW, "You're the only one in the world to have this happen and too bad for you." Without the Internet, that enthusiast/motorcyclist probably would believe the dealer/BMW and just think it's a fluke.

 

I'm not whining about it, or looking to start a class-action suit, I just think it sucks. I mean, personally, what do I care? I didn't buy one and went with a cheap duffel bag alternative. I'm just here in this thread for the discussion. grin.gif

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well, I have a few BMW cars and if the bumpers start flying off and I get sued by survivors of those that get killed when avoiding them you bet I am all up in arms. If a topcase tht is designed for an enduro bile comes off in normal traffic there should be a huge sign on it warning those behind and requiring them to keep a proper distance (thrash haulers have those signs available) so proven that topcase equals thrash when whirling around cars at 75mph (legal limit)

 

It cannot be that hard for a german engineer to make a secure connection between case and holder unless the engineering is outsourced to third world...... won't go there.

 

godd luck and get it fixed

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No idea what you are talking about, Tasker wink.gif

 

 

.....oh...wait a minute.....this one????? grin.gif

 

 

24508830-S.jpg

 

BBBWWWWWUUUUHHHHHAAAAAA HHHAAAAA HA HHAAA lmao.gif

 

HOO HOO, HEE HEE, HAA HAA grin.gif

 

Whew. smile.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

BWWWAAAAAAAHHHAAAAAAAA AAAAHHHHHAAAAAHHHHHAAAA lmao.gif

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KiwiAdventure
thank you for your help, at this point I have involved the state general attorney's office, I guess it is going to turn out to be like with the dell computers, first they deny then they recall 4mil batteries, here the number is much smaller but somebody has to make a big issue about it for them to take responsibility

thank you again for your help

marco

 

I support what you are doing. I know BMW NZ tried to get BMW Germany to fix the problem, but Germany believe there is no problem. I had my top box come off and another almost did the same.

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well, I have a few BMW cars and if the bumpers start flying off and I get sued by survivors of those that get killed when avoiding them you bet I am all up in arms.

 

Now there's a typical American extrapolation on the internet. Now we've moved from top cases falling off to bumpers killing people. smile.gif

 

Unlike most of you, talking theoretically in internet-land, I've actually had my topcase fall off. I was leading a ride, going 65 mph or so, and it came off. I would never have known save for the fact that my two riding partners were following me. It sailed for a brief second, and then did a perfect landing on the road and kindly slid to the side. The late Bill Hawkins (no, he wasn't killed in this incident) zoomed past me to tell me to stop. The case was still sliding, so I knew what he was talking about. I pulled a quick u-turn, then another, and pulled alongside it.

 

My very first thought was this: "Damn, I"m going to have to call the attorney general."

 

Right. grin.gif

 

Truth be told, it never occurred to me. I reattached it, went to the dealer next week, kindly asked them to replace it, and waited on their response. The dealer and I have been nice to each other, and I suspect that had something to do with the "no questions asked" approach to their decision.

 

I promptly wrote up my experience on the web to warn people about this. Still no thought of calling the attorney general, by the way. I figured he was a busy man and I'd rather he be chasing criminal cases than top cases.

 

For the record, I think BMW has an arrogant engineering approach and arrogant reactions to known problems (though they are better now than before). But beyond that, it seems like the internet fosters a loss of perspective. With no known injuries (that I'm aware of), it becomes some big issue on the internet and we get government bodies involved.

 

And you all wonder why products marketed in the US carry such a hefty budget for litigation. And why some products (BMW helmets) aren't even sold here.

 

I think we've lost our way on this stuff, expecting product perfection, immediate reactions, and total satisfaction. There's a selfishness on BMW's part and ours.

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I think we've lost our way on this stuff, expecting product perfection, immediate reactions, and total satisfaction. There's a selfishness on BMW's part and ours.

 

Our Selfishness?

I haven't read any expressions here of expectation of "product perfection," only that the product perform and function as intended under normal use, i.e., that a large OE part of the vehicle doesn't unexpectedly detach and go bouncing down the highway.

 

Immediate Reaction?

Yeah, there's a safety issue here that is a very big deal and should be immediately remedied.

 

Total Satisfaction?

BMW concedes that their original design/manufacture failed to perform as anyone should expect under normal use, since they have redesigned the case, so replacing a customer's failed case with another one of the old design understandably should leave the customer with less than Total Satisfaction. The vehicle is, after all, a GS, not a boulevard cruiser.

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Arrrgh! Look, we all have different reactions to situations like this. Some may wish to engage in a crusade and others view it as an imperfection in an imperfect world and move on. It all helps to make the world a more interesting place.

 

I had a problem with mine. I knew it was a weakness before I bought the bike, thanks to David's original post on the matter, and took it upon myself to fashion a remedy satisfactory to me. It doesn't diminish my huge enthusiasm for this bike. In fact, I refuse to let matters like this detract (in a substantive way) from my enjoyment of motorcycling. I don't ride a motorcycle to become frustrated - quite the opposite. So....we will all respond in our own way, in our own time, with whatever energy we wish to put into the matter. Given the unpredictable amount of time we are allocated to enjoy life, I choose to pick my crusades a little differently. No biggie. smile.gif

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Yeah, there's a safety issue here that is a very big deal and should be immediately remedied.

 

Right. So much a safety issue that documented (or even anecdotal) cases of such are legion.

 

On, wait. I can't find any! Oh well. It's a fun crusade anyway. Don Quixote would be darn proud at the windmills we erect. tongue.gif

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Jim VonBaden
which part or an object of that size becoming airborne on a highway is small matter for you? are you a bmw employee?

 

No, I'm not a BMW employee. But I am very new here, so I can understand the confusion.

 

So this is all about saving drivers from flying objects? And not about you getting some financial settlement or satisfactory replacement? Because if that's your motivation, I've seen a lot more ladders, appliances, and wheelbarrows flying off vehicles than BMW topcases. You might want to start a little campaign about those things--to improve the safety of our roads--so that your efforts are well rewarded. grin.gif

 

He could call himself Oprah Hazzard, or DrTopcaseBreak! grin.gifdopeslap.gif

 

Jim cool.gif

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Don Quixote would be darn proud at the windmills we erect. tongue.gif

 

Perhaps Don would deduce that BMW's redesign of the case was a cavalier effort to stave off customers' windmills rather than to address a genuine safety issue. Others might deduce otherwise.

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Perhaps Don would deduce that BMW's redesign of the case was a cavalier effort to stave off customers' windmills rather than to address a genuine safety issue. Others might deduce otherwise.

 

No argument there. The case was clearly defective, and BMW clearly handled it poorly by not admitting such and offering to fix it. Remember, I'm one of the victims, here.

 

In all this, my only objections are twofold. First is the lack of perspective that the internet fosters. Second is the almost automatic "legal" issue people make out of this. I despise it.

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David I'm with you on your views about this but...

What is likely to happen if my top case comes off in traffic and causes an accident, perhaps injuring someone? Are they likely to have the same "shit happens" attitude?

I'm thankful for folks talking about this as it gives me another item to check pre ride. I like the case and have it mounted in the forward spot. It's nice to be able to remove it quickly and mount the rear seat in the event I want to take a passenger. It's attractive & holds alot when expanded. I just want it to stay put.

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Perhaps Don would deduce that BMW's redesign of the case was a cavalier effort to stave off customers' windmills rather than to address a genuine safety issue. Others might deduce otherwise.

 

No argument there. The case was clearly defective, and BMW clearly handled it poorly by not admitting such and offering to fix it. Remember, I'm one of the victims, here.

 

In all this, my only objections are twofold. First is the lack of perspective that the internet fosters. Second is the almost automatic "legal" issue people make out of this. I despise it.

 

 

Well you are probably not understanding the effort here, you can sit on the side of an issue like you have clearly chosen to, or take action not to profit out of it but to force a manufacturer to stop lieing about it. If I had chosen the venue of hiring an attorney and started legal action, then you might have had a point. I contacted the NHSTA(national highway safety ...) to report the facts so that bmw cannot say it has never been reported before...then I give them another chance to correct the issue which they have not taken again.. then I contacted the attorney general office. I thank god I live in this country where you can run but you cannot hide..eventually you have to face your responsibilities.

Again it is not for personal gain although I believe we should be reimbursed for the cases, the manufacturer could have stated on the case "warning" the case might take off when riding and then I would agree with you it would be a case of buyer beware.

There are many countries out there where you are on your own, I agree that the legal venues in this country are too many and too easy, but again understand the issue, I am not trying to get rich out of it I am trying to force them to assert the evidence and therefore either correct the issue or stop selling top cases!

If they handle such an evident issue this way how many other issues are they lieing about it?

enough get on your bike and enjoy the day and "watch out for flying cases..."

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You can sit on the side of an issue like you have clearly chosen to...

 

Wrong again.

 

1) I was one of the first to report this, and did so widely.

 

2) I had a relationship with my dealer that fostered them giving me a new one for free.

 

3) I developed a simple solution for a couple bucks and wrote it up for others to use.

 

Problem solved for me and anyone else who wanted to listen.

 

Meanwhile, BMW has changed the design.

 

If you think you'll get BMW to replace earlier cases for free in a public, legally-mandated way, I want to smoke what you're smokin' man! smile.gif

 

This is not my first rodeo. I was the main force behind a huge petition with data (not anecdote) on the surging issue, straight to BMW. And I was an innocent bystander during the servo brake fiasco.

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Yorkshire saying

"If it ain't broke don't fix it."

they fixed it, they must have thought it broke.

only question here is will they recall all the old ones?

as it is a safety issue (allbe it with a small amount failing (so far)) they should in my opinion recall all top boxes and fit them with additional matal plates as outlined in this thread.

If they don't, they deserve litigation from any and all damaged parties.

remember this could Kill someone.

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