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BMW R1200GS Handguard No Longer Supported

Following on from a repair to my R1200GS after a SMIDSY attack back in December 2007, I have just heard that the last part on order, a bracket for my hand guards, wont be arriving. It seems that there is a design flaw with the handguards that could result in an accident.

The problem occurs when the handguard gets pushed down, for example as a result of dropping the bike or rubbing against something. This can cause the handguard to prevent the brake or clutch lever to fully release. In the case of the brake level, if the brakes aren’t fully disengaged, the brakes can over heat and lockup, potentially causing an nasty accident.

With the brakes, the only warning of a problem is that the brake warning light comes on. This is great but, as I’m sure any R1200GS owner will testify, this could be anything from the ABS failing to the power assist servos not working to the brake light not working. The handbook doesn’t say anything about failure to disengage brakes fully.

In the six months that I’ve been waiting for the replacement handguard bracket (mine is held on with zip-ties at the moment!) I have experienced this problem once on my way home form my parents. Luckily I only had three miles to ride and I took it fairly slowly as I realised the brakes weren’t working for some reason. It was only trawling through owners forums that I found this as a possible cause.

The initial response from BMW was “there is no problem – rides just need to be careful”! However, following warnings from the European Commission and German Federal Motor Transport Authority, BMW has officially acknowledged the problem as has taken action. The new R1200GS and GSA have completely re-designed handguards. Existing owners of older bikes will receive a letter with some warning stickers to put inside their handguards to remind them to check lever free-play, and the old style guards are no longer going to be supported with spare parts but a new retro-fit kit is available for approximately £90 (€110).

Since I wont be able to get the bracket for my existing guards, I’ve checked with my insurance and they’re happy for my to completely replace the handguards. So I’ve decided to go for a nice pair of Touratech guards instead of the BMW ones. My bike repairs might finally be finished by the end of August, only 9 months after the accident.

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About The Author

Adrian Ritchie

Aidy has been riding motorbikes since just after he left university in 2003. His first bike was a 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750 bought for £1000. His second bike was a Suzuki GSF600 Bandit, bought for his adventure to Norway in 2005. Two years later he sold the Bandit to Shane (for him to learn on) and upgrade to a BMW R1200GS... which was promptly trashed one month later by a SMIDSY. Having had the R1200GS repaired, Aidy has spent the next three years giving it a damn good thrashing off-road. 2011 saw the R1200GS take to the remote tracks and desert pistes of Morocco... it managed to keep up with the 650 enduro bikes that make up the rest of the group and made it back to Guernsey in (mostly) one piece. In January 2012, he traded in the R1200GS for a new R1200GS Adventure, planning to use the Pegaso 650 for off-road racing. However, the lure of smaller enduro bikes proved too strong and in April 2012 purchased a BMS G450X