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Sir Robin’s Lead Minstrel
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Hi Joey, no one ever told me that Overheating was a known imperfection. If it is, BMW should stick a label on it and say so,

However, BMW doesn't not do that and people buy the bike and they have overheating problems and tie subject comes up again and again, I don't want to change this to an "Overheating" thread cause that means the thread will be closed. Just wanted to clear things up from my point of view.
I meant it's a known imperfection to this board, at least in terms of certain bikes in certain situations. To be clear likewise, I'm not claiming to speak for BMW as to what their knowledge is.
 

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International Man of Mystery
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Discussion Starter #102
Anything that is low volume and doesn't share a LOT of content with something high volume is going to have a much greater chance of undiscovered issues. In order to even make it to market, you have to project how many will be sold and how much you can afford to spend on testing it pre-market. If the sales are not going to be that high, you either have to not test quite as thoroughly or plan to charge prices that no one will pay. The high volume products can amortize the cost of testing across 10 times as many vehicles, making the cost of testing cheap.

I see it as just a matter of economics in a revolutionary step on a small volume complicated machine. You can pay for high tech, you can pay for highest quality, but if you want both, it will cost even more.
years ago when I was part owner of a Harley shop we did a number of custom bikes and each one of them was a prototype in some ways. The reliability of those one of a kind was way worse than the average Harley no matter how much effort we put in to get it right. When it comes to statistics, strength is in numbers and the larger the database the better are the odds to isolate a problem and solve it.
 
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Anything that is low volume and doesn't share a LOT of content with something high volume is going to have a much greater chance of undiscovered issues.
As someone who had Engineering responsibility for high value special purpose machinery, some types of which sold in single-digit volumes annually, I’m fully aware of that.

But the K1600 is not that type of product. There are 10's of thousands of them sold since introduction and the failure modes are (or at least should be) well understood - yet the same failures keep on coming. And other manufacturers (particularly the Japanese ones, but since their purchase by VAG, Ducati too) sell lower volume unique products with lower defect rates at lower price points.

More than half a century ago, Deming preached that Quality was a mindset that drove all processes from design through procurement and manufacture, and that you don’t end up with a high quality product by sifting the good bits from the bad bits. It seems BMW maybe didn’t get that memo.
 

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As someone who had Engineering responsibility for high value special purpose machinery, some types of which sold in single-digit volumes annually, I’m fully aware of that.

But the K1600 is not that type of product. There are 10's of thousands of them sold since introduction and the failure modes are (or at least should be) well understood - yet the same failures keep on coming. And other manufacturers (particularly the Japanese ones, but since their purchase by VAG, Ducati too) sell lower volume unique products with lower defect rates at lower price points.

More than half a century ago, Deming preached that Quality was a mindset that drove all processes from design through procurement and manufacture, and that you don’t end up with a high quality product by sifting the good bits from the bad bits. It seems BMW maybe didn’t get that memo.
Not arguing, but they also have to hit a price point that consumers can swallow. I can build you an FDA or USDA approved pharmaceutical suite, but the four sided box of Time, Quality, Cost, and Safety will pull in opposite directions from each other. That requires some sort of compromise. I suspect third party vendors to be the culprit for the majority of lower cost and lower quality items. The assembly facilities I've seen in videos look efficient, safe, and QA/QC reliable. I wish no one had to have post-purchase issues with these bikes. And if that was the case across the board, I would probably be priced out of that market.
 
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John, buying a BMW motorcycle should not be a trade off. After 10 years of development (or non development) the Flagship BMW motorcycle is still beset with issues, this thread has brought out a lot of unhappy customers.

As customers, we have the right to expect the motorcycle we have purchased to do the job it is supposed to do. That is a perfectly reasonable stance.

I get it that you budget for the K16 downtime in your life, but for others, life is too short to take that approach.
David, first, I never said I budget for "K16 downtime". I budget for maintenance costs that will likely be in excess of owning a Japanese bike. I've lost 4-months of riding this calendar year because my bike was in pieces at the dealer. That was unacceptable, but no new engines were available anywhere in the world, so I waited. Life is too short for me as much as it is for anyone else.

Otherwise, living in the Western USA, this bike does everything it's supposed to. A few weeks ago, I finished a trip by riding home in a day from Colorado to Los Angeles. That was 825 miles of higher elevation prairie, long sweeps, mountain passes, and deserts -- lots of desert. :oops: I covered the first 275 miles in a little over 3 hours. That's averaging close to 90 mph overall, where the first hour was averaging about 75 mph. Do the math on the rest. Much of the remaining 12 hour of the trip was spent riding in 100+ degree temps. About 2 hours was spent in 110-115 degree heat, while sometimes riding up thousands of feet in elevation. The GTL was flawless. I never went above 7 bars and I had total confidence in the bike.

This is the definition of "fit for purpose". Try achieving this on other bikes at your own risk. Everyone's cost/benefit for a bike will be different. I personally feel like I'm coming out ahead.
 

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Is this really not the same as comparing a Honda Accord to a Ferrari (or similar)? Cutting edge performance in the category vs. an everyday driver comes with its costs. If an Accord had the reliability of a Ferrari, it would have been dead a long time ago, yet both survive and fit their markets quite well.
The K1600 is by no means a Ferrari. It is marketed as a sport-touring bike. In the automotive world, i‘d compare the K1600 to a BMW 5-Series.
 

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The K1600 is by no means a Ferrari. It is marketed as a sport-touring bike. In the automotive world, i‘d compare the K1600 to a BMW 5-Series.
fair enough...and then you're probably getting about the same reliability of a BMW 5-Series vs an Accord.
 

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International Man of Mystery
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Discussion Starter #108
Oh boy, I ordered a new company car, this time an all new BMW 530 E xdrive Hybrid as a replacement for my bullet proof Audi A6 competition 3.0 biturbo Diesel. I had six Audi A6 in a row and except one they were all very reliable and never had any unscheduled visit to the dealer. Audi took over Ducati some years ago and it seems that their focus on built quality carried over to Ducati.
Good thing is that I get the BMW in about five months from now, they should have worked out the major bugs during assembly. Maybe my venture into the green car world of BMW gives me new experience with BMW quality or maybe I am just a masochist in the making.
 
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Oh boy, I ordered a new company car, this time an all new BMW 530 E xdrive Hybrid as a replacement for my bullet proof Audi A6 competition 3.0 biturbo Diesel. I had six Audi A6 in a row and except one they were all very reliable and never had any unscheduled visit to the dealer. Audi took over Ducati some years ago and it seems that their focus on built quality carried over to Ducati.
Good thing is that I get the BMW in about five months from now, they should have worked out the major bugs during assembly. Maybe my venture into the green car world of BMW gives me new experience with BMW quality or maybe I am just a masochist in the making.
You would have got a Lexus if you wanted the highest reliability luxury line. BMW is middling at best according to all the reliability surveys.
 

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International Man of Mystery
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Discussion Starter #111
Lexus is not on the list of Company car, which is unfortunate. Their hybrids seem to be top notch.
 

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Not arguing, but they also have to hit a price point that consumers can swallow. I can build you an FDA or USDA approved pharmaceutical suite, but the four sided box of Time, Quality, Cost, and Safety will pull in opposite directions from each other. That requires some sort of compromise.
I think we're on the same page. The point I would make is that BMW Motorrad position themselves as a premier brand (with premium pricing to match), with the implication that they are "better" than their competition, yet consistently fail to deliver when it comes to quality and reliability while making significant profits.
I suspect third party vendors to be the culprit for the majority of lower cost and lower quality items.
Which would be either a failure of specification, or a failure to manage their subcontractors, responsibility for both of which sits squarely with BMW...
 

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I budget for maintenance costs that will likely be in excess of owning a Japanese bike.
Like you, I have never had an issue with paying maintenance costs and when the switch gear broke and the ECU broke and it leaked oil, I took the time off work to go and get it fixed and didn't grumble (well maybe a wee bit).

Otherwise, living in the Western USA, this bike does everything it's supposed to. A few weeks ago, I finished a trip by riding home in a day from Colorado to Los Angeles. That was 825 miles of higher elevation prairie, long sweeps, mountain passes, and deserts -- lots of desert. :oops: I covered the first 275 miles in a little over 3 hours. That's averaging close to 90 mph overall, where the first hour was averaging about 75 mph. Do the math on the rest. Much of the remaining 12 hour of the trip was spent riding in 100+ degree temps. About 2 hours was spent in 110-115 degree heat, while sometimes riding up thousands of feet in elevation. The GTL was flawless. I never went above 7 bars and I had total confidence in the bike.

This is the definition of "fit for purpose". Try achieving this on other bikes at your own risk. Everyone's cost/benefit for a bike will be different. I personally feel like I'm coming out ahead.
I get that, all of it. The bike was designed for what you did and it did it without fail, so in your environment it was "fit for purpose" and you enjoy it and nothing else will do. Excellent.
However, Europe is different, sometimes we struggle to get 150 miles in a day.

I have three trips per year, Scotland in April for 4 days, Ireland or Wales in September for 4 days and a European trip for about 10 days between June and end of August. The European trip is usually 2,500 - 3,000 miles and I have been doing them since 2003. In the UK/Ireland I never had an issue with any of my K16's.

The European trips are run by professional tour companies and usually have 10-15 bikes, its follow the leader, but it can be good fun cause we use a technique called a "Drop Off".

In all of my tours I have never had the pleasure to ride with another K16 bike rider, so my experiences are limited to me.
In all of my tours the only bike that has ever failed, (including all of the other bikes on the tour and all the other bikes I have ridden over the years including a Honda Blackbird and 3 * RT's|) has been the K16.

Like you, I have put up with things and ran to the dealer, but, when you are stuck on the side of a mountain and 14 other bikes are waiting for you and the bike to cool down, it challenges everything you feel. You feel disappointed, embarrassed, ashamed, angry and most of all let down. Take all of those emotions and multiply them by the price you paid for the thing.

There were times I could have walked away from it and not looked back. In those circumstances the bike is "Not fit for purpose" or, "Not fit for my purpose" and I had to move on.

My main grievance is with BMW, you are aware (like me) of the quality, reliability and failure of design to improve that has been the story of this bike since it was launched and it the main point of this thread.

But we are caught in a trap, if people stop buying it because of these issues, BMW will stop making it and that will be sad, so, hopefully others like you will keep buying the bike and it will continue.

One thing we can do (in the hope that "The Mothership" is reading these articles) is vent our anger at this disgraceful way to treat loyal customers.
 

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Mr.Fix It
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"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."

Duane
 

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Why? The design wasn't changed. The spec wasn't changed. The supplier gave them some bad parts that, without extensive testing way beyond what manufacturers normally do, would never be detected.
You have read my post presumably. We aren't talking about a brief period, which may be deemed excusable; this was a lengthy production run & the problem should have been picked up far earlier. Indeed some say it replicated the gearbox failures several early adopters suffered, where whole gear cassettes were replaced, after the usual denial caper initially. Back then, as now, the supply chain was being blamed, rather than quality control at Berlin.

If you are a happy camper that's fine, but it's a fact that many riders/buyers/dealers have been hugely inconvenienced & the brand image has been damaged.
 

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International Man of Mystery
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Discussion Starter #117
Update 3
My very supportive dealer contacted BMW HQ area sales manager with the news that the pump is leaking again and this time it is coolant. Mind you, that this is pump number 2 in the third attempt to fix it.
Response from the area sales manager: The coolant leak is a new problem that has nothing to do with the initial oil leak and therefore they don't see themselves in any need to discuss a buy back with me. I am at a loss of words for now which believe me doesn't happen very often and I am contemplating my next step. This brazen attempt to push away the obvious brought me back into my pissed off mode very similar to the negotiations with the lawyers of my ex wife.
I still like the dealer as they are trying to keep me as a customer, but this arrogant, logic defeating, intelligence- insulting behavior of the sales rep leaves me with little options other than suing them next opportunity. I suggested to the dealer, that the only option they have to avoid a legal conflict, is to get the area sales manager in front of me and the bike with no preconditions and discuss a solution without any fixed expectations regarding the results. And this needs to happen within the next several days.
I am responsible for the strategic sourcing function of a good sized international company and deal with performance issues around equipment we buy from companies small to large on a frequent basis, but I have yet to see a similar brazen attempt to push away responsibility from any of them.
Maybe I need to hire this guy
 

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Maybe I need to hire this guy
Only if you want to destroy your B2B relationships 🤣

Hope you manage to get a sensible one-to-one with the area sales manager with a positive outcome. If he continues to be an ar$e when face to face, just try not to lump him!
 

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Sir Robin’s Lead Minstrel
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Not arguing, but they also have to hit a price point that consumers can swallow. I can build you an FDA or USDA approved pharmaceutical suite, but the four sided box of Time, Quality, Cost, and Safety will pull in opposite directions from each other. That requires some sort of compromise. I suspect third party vendors to be the culprit for the majority of lower cost and lower quality items. The assembly facilities I've seen in videos look efficient, safe, and QA/QC reliable. I wish no one had to have post-purchase issues with these bikes. And if that was the case across the board, I would probably be priced out of that market.
My wife works for a Fortune 100 company that manufacturers the highest quality-within-category products that usually cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for larger units, and she preaches this^^^^ regularly. I've said many times since learning about these bikes that my bike would've probably cost at least $40k to accomplish this:

-Backlit switchgear
-New TFT (count me among the haters on that one; I don't care for the new one, but most seem to want it)
-New Auto-adjusting suspension from the RT
-Never overheats
-No QC issues from suppliers, e.g. on the outside diameter of the swingarm
-No parts of any kind from China or any 3rd world suppliers, down to even plastic fasteners
-Better stock windscreen
-Better stock seat
-Trans recall would have never happened due to sterling supplier QC
-No bikes pull to the left
-Add in anything I missed

I've seen lots of "Don't tell me it can't be done!" As far as the statement goes, I agree with all saying that. It CAN be, or at least the vast majority of it can. BUT that's not the point. The point is whether it can all be done, with a very low failure rate, at this price point, at German labor costs (Don't throw up the Goldwing, as they had to move production out of Ohio, and back to Japan, in part to save labor costs; they don't have to pay German organized labor) and that's the rub.

Assume that all of this could be done for a base of $40k. Still interested? If not, and you're BMW, tell me where you cut corners to get the per-unit cost down, because you have to either not sell the bike at all, or make some compromises or concessions somewhere. How about if all the above could be done at the current price, if all production moved to Vietnam. How many takers would believe this German bike was $30k of awesome if made in Vietnam?

@st13phil, have you ever sat in one of those meetings with the bean-counters, where you tell them "this" is the right way to do it, and if you don't do it that way, it won't work perfectly, and then they tell you the company will lose money if they do it your way? The engineers are far-too-often blamed when things don't go right, but it's also true that if things were all engineered for utmost reliability and design, most premium products would be killed outright, or could only be afforded by the uber-wealthy.
 
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I get that, all of it. The bike was designed for what you did and it did it without fail, so in your environment it was "fit for purpose" and you enjoy it and nothing else will do. Excellent.
However, Europe is different, sometimes we struggle to get 150 miles in a day.
Europe is an incredible continent. My wife and I have traveled there several times since retiring and plan to visit more. To your point, Europe is different. It has its own unique beauty, but it's dense with an old highway infrastructure. In our last 2 European trips while owning the GTL, I asked myself why a K16 here? From my perspective, It's too much bike for what you can ride in most places. There are many other sport touring bikes clearly better fit for purpose in that environment. You found one of them in the RT.

The K16 excels at covering lots of diverse geography over vast distances going really fast. Probably better than any other other bike made. Ride it extreme 2-up and it's superiority is unchallenged. Hours of beating up the K16 in high heat, speed, elevation, sweeps, and twisties don't tickle it's capabilities. What I just described IS its design purpose, and for me, mostly worth the hassle of BMW ownership. BUT, the K16 has an Achilles heel. It hates being lugged in slower situations. I get the potential for overheating in lug mode because I've been there. Conquering lug situations might be your purpose, but it's clearly not the design purpose of the bike.

We agree on the well documented BMW quality issues. What @ViennaK is currently going through is unacceptable. No need to beat that one further. Where I'll disagree is that any organized boycott is going to force BMW to change its ways. There is always an eager new wave of buyers wanting to experience the BMW mystique, motorcycle or car. That's the way it's always been, and always will be. If the product doesn't work for you or anyone, move on without the drama. It's wasted effort.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."
:):):):)
 
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