NHTSA K1600 Steering Wobble/Oscillation Investigation - BMW K1600 Forum : BMW K1600 GT and GTL Forums
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post #1 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation NHTSA K1600 Steering Wobble/Oscillation Investigation

This is the first I've heard of this...focused on complaints from 6 owners: https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/inv/201...19002-8419.PDF

Not sure if its related to the left pull some seem to experience or this is something new.
Seems to be limited to 2018 & 2019 models..."B"s?
.
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post #2 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 11:24 AM
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At "highway speeds" or while decelerating. I've experienced nothing similar on my GT. But it will be interesting to follow.

James

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post #3 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 11:29 AM
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Interesting. Six complaints and here are the specifics of each case. Case #3 appears to be a GA model. VIN #'s are truncated so may not be a way to determine which model but I suspect they are B/GA's or just GA's. It specifically says 2018 and 2019 models but with 980 "population" that doesn't seem enough to be all K1600s sold in USA?

EDIT: Correction - it does state which model. All are B's except for the last one (6) which is a GTL. Wonder though if the B's were B - GA's.

1. PURCHASED THIS NEW BIKE AND WITHIN 600 MILES IT DEVELOPED A FRONT END WOBBLE. THIS IS THE 3RD WEEK IN THE SHOP AND BMW CORPORATE STATES THE ISSUE IS INHERENT TO THE BIKE. BMW CALLED TODAY AND SAID THEY ARE REVIEWING AND MAY GET BACK IN A WEEK.

2. ON (FIRST EVER) RIDE HOME IMMEDIATELY AFTER PURCHASE I DROVE ALL HIGHWAY AND WAS HORRIFIED WITH A "DEATH" WOBBLE, ESPECIALLY IN "DIRTY AIR". BIKE ALSO PULLS TO LEFT, ESPECIALLY OVER 40MPH. TOOK BACK TO DEALER AND MANAGER AND TECHNICIAN BOTH RODE BIKE AND IMMEDIATELY PUT BIKE ON A SERVICE RACK AND TRIED TO FIND A PROBLEM. MANAGER DESCRIBED HIS RIDE "AS IF YOU ARE RIDING ON A GROOVED ROAD". UNFORTUNATELY THEY FOUND NO OBVIOUS PROBLEM(S). THEY ADVISED THAT I (AND THEY ALSO OPENED A CASE WITH BMW) OPEN A CLAIM WITH BMW, AND I DID. BMW'S ONLY AND FINAL RESOLVE WAS "WE'VE RESEARCHED THIS ISSUE AND THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO, AND ARE CLOSING YOUR CASE". I PAID OVER $30,000 CASH, MY WIFE WON'T (NOR I) RIDE ON THE BIKE BECAUSE IT IS UNSAFE AND ALTHOUGH THE DEALER IS AND HAS DONE EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE, I OWN A 30K LEAD WEIGHT ! BMW DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO EVEN TRY TO RESOLVE THIS MAJOR SAFETY ISSUE !

3. TURBULENT AIR FROM TRAFFIC CAUSE THE FRONT END AND HANDLEBARS TO MOVE ERRATIC AND WOBBLE IN AN UNSAFE MANNER IN THE LANE. THIS HAPPENS AT 70MPH TRAVELING IN A STRAIGHT LINE BEHIND A GROUP OF CARS AND TRUCKS ON HIGHWAYS, FREEWAYS AND TURNPIKES. THIS IS A CONSTANT SITUATION. THIS DID NOT OCCUR ON MY OTHER BMW MOTORCYCLES, ONLY THIS NEW MODEL. THIS INSTABILITY IS SOMETHING THAT BMW WAS AWARE OF PRIOR TO PRODUCTION BECAUSE THEY PLACED A SPEED LIMITER ON THIS MOTORCYCLE. HOWEVER, IT POSES A DANGER AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS WITH THIS INSTABILITY AND MOVEMENT IN THE FRONT END.

4. THE MOTORCYCLE IS NOT STABLE AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS. MOTORCYCLE WOBBLES CONSISTENTLY LIKE BEING BUFFETED BY HIGH WINDS OR DRIVING ON GROOVED PAVEMENT. THE INSTABILITY FLOWS THROUGH TO THE HANDLEBARS ALSO. CAN BE VERY DIFFICULT TO CONTROL. DEALERSHIP SAYS THEY KNOW OF NO ISSUES, AS WELL AS BMW. THE MOTORCYCLE IS NOT SAFE, BUT NO ONE WANTS TO ADMIT THERE IS A PROBLEM. THIS HAS NOW BEEN CONSISTENT FROM THE DAY I PURCHASED AND CONTINUES AT 5,000 MILES.

5. MOTORCYCLE IS UNSTABLE ON HIGHWAY SPEEDS ABOVE 60 MPH AND HAS A WOBBLE AND CAN BE HARD TO CONTROL. WHEN CONDITIONS ARE WINDY OR YOU ARE BEHIND OR SIDE OF ANOTHER VEHICLE CONDITION IS WORST. IT FEELS LIKE THAT YOU MAY LOOSE CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE. TOOK THE VEHICLE TO THE DEALER AND DEALERSHIP MECHANIC NOTICED THE SAME CHARACTERISTICS. DEALERSHIP CONTACTED BMW AND BMW STATED THAT IT IS NORMAL FOR THE MOTORCYCLE TO EXHIBIT THIS BEHAVIOR. ISSUE STARTED HAPPENING WITH 10 MILES ON THE VEHICLE. VEHICLE CURRENTLY HAS APPROXIMATELY 180 MILES ON IT.

6. VEHICLE UNSTABLE AT HIGHWAY SPEED. REPORTED TO MANUFACTURER,. DEALER MADE ATTEMPTS TO FIX BY BALANCING WHEELS THAT DID NOT HELP. THEN REPLACED TIRES AND THAT ALSO DID NOT HELP. THIS IS A SAFETY CONCERN AND NOT GETTING PROPER RESPONSE FROM BMW TO RECTIFY THE PROBLEM. ATTACHED INVOICE FOR WORK DONE.
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Last edited by WillH; 04-03-2019 at 12:09 PM.
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post #4 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 12:44 PM
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Am I a kool-aid drinker?? They seem a little suspect in their reporting of the issue. Like number 1) what would change in first 600 miles??...if it was a design issue. And 2)...he paid cash for a bike he had never ridden?? And 3) referencing the speed limiter...seems like he was aware of potential before purchasing; perhaps he learned after the incident while researching. Idk...seems like motorcycles can have reactions to buffeting winds and it can be unnerving, but to the level of never riding it again seems excessive. I don't know what to think. I'm so happy with mine (GT). So smooth and solid and predictable. Perhaps if I knew these people personally I would have a deeper empathy for their complaints or a better understanding that their bikes were flawed. I'm so skeptical these days. If the platform (basically the Bs/GAs) was pushed through development chasing prospective sales to the point of endangering the consumer and the public in general, it needs to be addressed. But the complaints seem to be so random and so many others' reports are contrary, it's hard for me process and decide what's really happening. I'll try to keep an open mind as evidence continues to come in.

James

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IBA # 63673
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‘83 CB1100F Blue White & Red (in a garage);
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post #5 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 12:52 PM
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Thanks for posting the specifics, Will.

I'll also be reserving any final judgment and following the situation with interest, BUT I'm betting this is simply a group of people who should have bought a Wing. First, ALL K16s have:

-Smaller wheels than the Wings, which turn quicker.

-Increased agility of necessity entails at least a bit of decreased stability, especially in dirty air at "highway speeds".

-The uneducated can easily not trust the physics of gyroscopics, and get overly nervous about a bike which doesn't track perfectly, or wobbles/vibrates slightly behind a big rig on a superslab. In turn, I can easily see such a person then turning to google, seeing the scary term "death wobble," and think it's what they had, when in fact they had nothing of the sort or they would likely be in fact dead.

-We know, and BMW has admitted, that they don't "recommend" doing over 80 on a GA, and have governed it a little over 100. It seeming a bit squirrelly in some conditions is no secret.

I have to believe that if this was anything other than some overly nervous riders with B's and more likely BGAs, we'd have heard of it on this forum. As we say in Tennessee, "Ya'll stays on top o'stuff!"
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post #6 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 12:54 PM
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I too am skeptical and would need a lot more information before I formed an opinion either way. Can't help but wonder could these all be prior Harley owners use to riding a Bagger with more rounded front tires? A sport touring tire is much lesser round than the Harley style tire and can feel squirrely if you're not used to it or have never ridden one.

Duane
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post #7 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Luv View Post
Am I a kool-aid drinker?? They seem a little suspect in their reporting of the issue. Like number 1) what would change in first 600 miles??...if it was a design issue. And 2)...he paid cash for a bike he had never ridden?? And 3) referencing the speed limiter...seems like he was aware of potential before purchasing; perhaps he learned after the incident while researching. Idk...seems like motorcycles can have reactions to buffeting winds and it can be unnerving, but to the level of never riding it again seems excessive. I don't know what to think. I'm so happy with mine (GT). So smooth and solid and predictable. Perhaps if I knew these people personally I would have a deeper empathy for their complaints or a better understanding that their bikes were flawed. I'm so skeptical these days. If the platform (basically the Bs/GAs) was pushed through development chasing prospective sales to the point of endangering the consumer and the public in general, it needs to be addressed. But the complaints seem to be so random and so many others' reports are contrary, it's hard for me process and decide what's really happening. I'll try to keep an open mind as evidence continues to come in.
Yep. All of this echoes my thoughts. I even tell people I'm a BMW kool-aid drinker, but everyone here can no doubt give a laundry list of things they don't like about BMW, so it's not like the members on this forum have their collective heads in the sand.

Like you, I'd like to know more about the PEOPLE involved here: How long have they been riding? What types of bikes have they owned in the past? Did they not know of the "you might want to go a bit slower" situation with the GA? And if not, how did they not? BMW hasn't covered it up. Describe that "death wobble" in a lot more detail. What did you do to stop the "oscillation"?

In short, I'd like to put some of these folks on the superslab with tractor-trailers riding several bikes my wife and I have owned in the past:

Honda Shadow
F600GS
Yammy FZ6

If, for example, they had done the inadvisable, and learned to ride on an even heavier Harley Ultra-Glide or older model Wing, for example, and you put them behind a big rig on one of those three bikes, they might poop their pants.

But like you, that's just what I suspect. I don't know any of that, and evidence is evidence, so I'll be paying close attention.
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post #8 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 01:18 PM
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All owners should welcome the investigation but I wonder how they'll conduct it? Clearly, there are a large number of owners on here that haven't experienced what they'd call a death wobble. Has anyone here been asked by NHTSA for a problem bike to test? It makes me wonder if an assembly error could cause the problem so it's only happening to a few bikes that might be correlated to a few dealers with knuckleheads doing the assembly?

Things that make me go hmmmmm.....
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post #9 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 02:32 PM
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I did not send a complaint to the NHTSA, however I noted from my first ride (one of the first GAs Max NY delivered) that it was definitely more prone to side to side oscillation than my pre-order GTL. It is also more affected by "dirty" air than the GTL. My guess is that there were tradeoffs when the bike was designed as a modification of the GTL/GT. I bought the bike because it was easier for my wife to get on and off as I had originally planned to go back to an RT. I ride the bike now knowing what to expect and it does what I bought it to do, but it has always felt to be a compromise of the original design. That being said it still is a fun bike.
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post #10 of 157 Old 04-03-2019, 02:46 PM
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Could not agree more with Pitts. I am not an experienced rider. Started age 61 with Indian Scout. Now 20000 km. And added a GA last year. I did indeed experience some bad air on the first rides an got some left pull ideas too. Now 10000 km further I have figured out what made this happen to me: mostly holding on too tightly to the handlebar. Having trained myself in accepting that the bike knows better than me to go straight at speed, I now ride with very light touch. The next thing to master was to find my balance and let the handlebar go at increasing speeds. By getting the right position on the bike I know can comfortly let the bike run on cruise control. Next stage, as demonstrated by my mentor, do my turns without hands ond the handlebars. Am working on cruise control hands free to slalom by pushing the bar with a finger, not holding it. And then just without hands. Scary at first but I bet I can do it.
Bottom line: the soft touch and awareness of the position on the bike seem to make left pull and wobble go.
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