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BMW ABS - See your Dealer in UK

Dan Gleebitz

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Clive Liddell

The South African letter from BMW is dated 9 November 2005 and, of course, involves the Integral part of the brake system.


It seems a good way to get a free brake inspection including a system test on their diagnostic equipment?


Neither of my bikes has needed to visit any dealer workshop yet - (The '96 R with 80kkm and '01 RT with 60+kkm).

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My 2003 1150RT is currently at the BMW Sawbridgeworth body shop (my next door neighbour ran into it and did some serious damage) and when I contacted them for an update they told me that the phones had not stopped ringing because of what was perceived to be a recall notice by many owners. Myself I have not received a letter, so I can't comment on how it was interpreted, but they did tell me that it was just as described in MCN, i.e. a request to come in some time for an inspection.

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... because of what was perceived to be a recall notice by many owners.

That'll be on account of it saying Safety Recall at the top of the letter ...


I received a letter from BMW UK and asked my French dealer about it -- he says it is, indeed, for the ABS check. (It's arranged for next week.) There was no mention of the Manual insert, though.

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When I bought my 05 R1200RT earlier this month the salesman was very careful to point out this issue to me and handed me an addendum to the manual that explains it.


The explanation was basically if you take your bike to an extended training session and you spend alot of time riding at low speeds, idling and combine that with repeated use of the ABS you may drain the battery to the point where there will not be sufficient power to engage the ABS and it will shutoff. Obviously if you've been playing with ABS all day and it suddenly doesn't work you might lock up a wheel and go down. My saleman suggested if I were to take the MSF ERC or something similiar where I might be using the ABS repeatedly I should definently take the bike for a good ride at lunch time or another opportunity to ensure that you're giving the battery an opportunity to take on a charge. It's just something to be aware of and shouldn't affect normal riding. Unless using ABS repeatedly is your normal riding then I figure you probably have other problems ;)

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I guess that anyone with these brakes had better make sure their battery and charging system is up to snuff. What happens if your bike is a few years old and the battery is starting to get old and tired (like me)? What if it is old and tired and you have pia's on and electric gear, and etc. etc.? Food for thought? Some people will be concerned with this, and others, not. Me; I'm anal. I know if I had one of these, and had my lights and electrics on, and was coming down a steep mountain grade where I was using my brakes a lot, I would start thinking about it,and it would lessen my enjoyment of the moment. One other question. If you are out on the road and your alternator belt breaks. Will you lose your brakes before your motor stops running if you choose to try and ride a little extra further to get off the road or to a rest stop? My thinking on this is that the servos drain a large amount of electricity, and I don't know which will quit first. The brakes, or the battery. Will the brakes quit working BEFORE the battery goes south, or vice versa? Or is my line of thinking completly off kilter?

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There is only one thing wrong with your line of thought, the brakes do not stop working, only the servo and ABS. Back in the days of Oprah I carried out an experiment, I killed the ignition and hit the brakes, I did this several times, checking single brake operation and joint operation. I could easily lock the rear, and managed a small 'stoppie' with the front. The hazard lies with the sudden loss of servo with it's attendant need for much more force at the levers. By the time you realise that you may need it, you could have run out of space.

FWIW, I have always treated batteries as 'lifed' items, and change them every three years regardless. The Alternator belt would be a much more significant issue, although here in the UK it would be less so, as we do not have very many areas of wilderness to cross.


Cya, Andy thumbsup.gif

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