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eliastfk93

Duolever Durability?

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eliastfk93

Hello all,

 

I've been riding oilheads for the last 8 years. Ive come to really love the telelever front suspension. Ive done some pretty extreme riding in pretty extreme places and have never experienced a failure on any of the 3 bikes that I've owned prior. I am considering moving on to a post 2005 K-Bike, as I want more power and water cooling. My question is this: how tough are the duolever units on these bikes? I ride daily in Houston, TX and our roads are among the worst in the country. Can the duolevers take the abuse?

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tallman

Don't recall issues 05'-13ish dealing with them.

Things change, maybe visit K site and look, haven't been over there much this year after selling my GT

but don't recall any issues.

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Dennis Andress

Get a K13, not K12.

 

Some reports of lower ball joints that wore out. Didn't fail, just got loose. The steering was described as "flopping from from side to side at low speeds." I think it happens on bikes with more than 30K. Other than that, there is nothing in the fork that will fail from bad roads. Extreme roads, maybe...

 

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BrianT

That was one of the few things on my 2007 K1200GT that I did not have a problem with. This included hitting a pot hole so hard that it bottomed out the suspension and bent the front rim. But no issues with the duolever in 85k miles over 10 years of use. I liked that it gave me a little feedback compared to the telelever setup on the other BMW bikes.

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Tri750

They are plenty durable.

I think in 09 (?) they did an upgrade to increase the input to the rider.

I rode two new ones back to back both gen, of the front ends and to me, there was a big improvement in feel .

Pretty sure it was changed in 09.

I worked at a dealership then so it was commonplace to do rides to ahem, enhance ones product knowledge.

 

 

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Dennis Andress

Yes, in 09 they changed the length of the arms.

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smiller

The duolever suspension (all years) has proven to be extremely durable. The one exception is premature wear of the ball joints on some bikes which manifests itself as a loose, squirrelly feeling at low speeds and poor stability at high speeds. The easy way to check for this on any prospective bike is to place the bike on the centerstand, raise the front wheel, and grasp the bottom of the wheel carrier near the axle and see if there is any fore-to-aft play (there should be none.) There is endless Internet speculation as to the cause, whether it was ever 'fixed' at some production point, whether the replacement parts are any better, etc., but since BMW has never acknowledged the problem no one really knows. It's one of those 'some bikes experienced it and some didn't' things without much apparent rhyme or reason. But again, very easy to check for so no big deal as long as you're aware and I'd check on any prospective purchase, regardless of model year.

 

Regarding the 1200 vs. 1300, endless conversations there as well. The early 2005-2006 bikes frequently needed sorting and got a bad reputation, but from mid-2007 on (after the BMS-KP ECU was put into production) the problems pretty much disappeared. There are also some complaints about the clutch, with the usual it was or wasn't fixed in the 1300 debates. Again, some bikes experienced clutch problems and some didn't, pretty much tolerance stacking and luck-of-the-draw. There were a few changes in the 1300 that were supposed to address some of the issues but by all reports the 'some bikes have problems and some don't' thing persisted into the 1300 line so choice of a 1200 or 1300 is no guarantee of anything, ya gotta check during a test ride, As always much depends on your budget, if you have the money to burn then 'newest / lowest mileage' is often the way to go, but if you're looking for a bargain (and there are some very good ones out there) then a well-inspected earlier bike can be a good deal at a very low price.

 

Lastly, on an early bike check for any cam chain noise as there were several updates to the tensioner system (all covered under recall or warranty so any dealer should be able to verify they were performed via the VIN), or just ask the owner and see if they appear knowledgeable. Some say that you need to use a manual tensioner on any slant K-Bike but this isn't really true, many of the tensioner problems were created by improper installation (even, or especially by dealers) who over-torque the mounting bolts which cause the piston to bind. When properly set up the auto-tensioner functions very well. When everything is in order you should hear no chain rattle at startup or any other time.

 

The K and R bikes are a very different breed so ride the K to be sure you like it. On the minus side they are heavier and more complex, and on the plus side they are eyeball-flattening fast while being much smoother than the R-Bike, they are really a mileage eater second to none. Luckily as above most used bike issues are quite apparent, all you have to do is know what to look for (and again that goes for any model year.)

 

 

Edited by smiller

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Lowndes
On 9/13/2018 at 3:00 PM, eliastfk93 said:

Hello all,

 

I've been riding oilheads for the last 8 years. Ive come to really love the telelever front suspension. Ive done some pretty extreme riding in pretty extreme places and have never experienced a failure on any of the 3 bikes that I've owned prior. I am considering moving on to a post 2005 K-Bike, as I want more power and water cooling. My question is this: how tough are the duolever units on these bikes? I ride daily in Houston, TX and our roads are among the worst in the country. Can the duolevers take the abuse?

 

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