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Noelk1200 01-05-2013 08:19 AM

I need help down-changing impossible
Hi all, kind of new to this, so please be nice to a relatively new 1200gs rider only passing my test in September. The bike has been fine since then, apart from a leaky seal at the rear transmission which i got replaced and renewed the oil etc etc.

New problem is that the bike will refuse to go back down the gears. This happens more often when the bike is at temp. Today on approach to a roundabout in 6th, changed to 5th fine and then BANG, no further movement. It feels like it is no longer an option. Has to dangerously coast round and eventually by going back up to 6th and sometimes even having to turn the bike off and back on i can go back down. I am also experiencing incorrect display at the gear indicator, this usually just consists of nothing just blankness, then it will appear again.

I never ever experience any difficulty going up through the gears.

I telephoned my most local BMW garage (Edinburgh), i live in South West Scotland, a significant distance away and the Senior Tech was of the view that it would most likely be my gear linkage. When i asked about the clutch, he said no. He advised me to strip down the linkage and clean and re-lube. How easy a task is this as i have never worked on a bike in my life and only have a basic tool kit.

Any useful advice would be gladly accepted.:cry:

Foot dragger 01-05-2013 08:22 AM

If you are going to attempt such a thing,a shop manual would be real important. And keep the shop mechanic's # at the ready. If you dont normally work on bikes then read the procedure in a manual and see if it looks doable.
Google that task online and see what comes up.

Ayrshire Bull 01-05-2013 09:54 AM

welcome to the site Noel - sorry to hear your first post is one that involves a challenge with your bike.

I don't have any ideas for your gear problem - but there'll be lots of suggestions from folks here soon, with way more experience than me. I'd check or change the gear oil ...... (but I'd be just guessing in the dark) starts at about 2 minutes in this video:

good luck - and please post again to let us all know how you get on

mouthfulloflake 01-05-2013 10:07 AM


this may or may not help.

I have an 1100gs, one time I adjusted the shifter to fit my boots better

got on bike pulled out of drive way, no gear but 1st was available.
like you described, just felt like the shift was locked up.

went back to garage, re-adjusted, was fine.

so in my opinion it could be as simple as the gear shifter adjustment.

def 01-05-2013 11:23 AM close are you to Loch Ness?

Niseag could be involved maybe.

jzeiler 01-05-2013 11:53 AM

Since you are new to riding and the GS I'll advise you to make sure you remove your foot from the shifter completely before trying to down shift to each lower gear. That ensures the ratchet mechanism is released. If you are still holding it (even a tiny bit) after the shift it will not go any where no mater how hard you try. Ever see a video of automobile drivers that thought they were hitting the brake pedal but the foot was on the gas pedal instead? No matter how hard they press the foot (brake) the car accelerates! If that does not help then try some of the other suggestions offered here.

Noelk1200 01-06-2013 04:51 AM

Thanks everyone for all the advice so far. I'm 30 miles away from Stranraer, so quite a bit away from Loch Ness. Can any of you GS riders recommend any independent garages in Scotland that are spot on with BMW bikes. I'm a wee bit scared of taking it to Motrorrad from fear of paying through the nose, plus I have read quite a few reports of no faults being found at the Garage and your back to square one again.

I have been lifting back of the gear but it just seems welded. Going back up and back down the box whilst stationary appears to solve it eventually but this definetly needs fully sorted before the Summer so I can get some monster mileage in!!!: clap

kimokk 01-06-2013 05:03 AM

When and where did you get the tranny seal replaced? Can you remove the tranny filler plug and check that the fluid level is correct? Did you get a Haynes R1200 service manual yet? HTH.

Noelk1200 01-06-2013 05:32 AM

I got the transmission seal replaced at the end of Sept at the most local bike garage 50 miles away. They were not BMW trained but it needed done as the fluid was leaking quite badly. They may have also used a general fluid, which i dont know if that will do the bike any good?? I haven't purchased the Haynes manual as im not the best mechanically! There are a few older men in the town who have had a couple of GS's, who I could ask for help? I'm just always scared incase I f**k up...

kimokk 01-06-2013 05:55 AM

Check out JVB's website for tips. He also sells "how to" videos for the R-series bikes.

Here's a link on the 24k service down middle of the page he shows how to service the tranny.

Ayrshire Bull 01-06-2013 09:15 AM

Noel - definitely check that the last guys to work on your bike REPLACED the gear oil - and it wouldn't hurt to change it our yourself (quick, easy, cheap) just to be certain, before you go digging into more complicated solutions. Stranger things have happened.

PS - Spent many a day (in my youth) battering round the SW coast, on road bikes - many fond memories ..... (Murray's Monument, New Galloway Forrest, the back roads up to Dalmelington, used to stay in Minnigaff Youth Hostel a lot [always raining], the coast road back up to Ayr was always one of my favourites, and that little zig-zagging one that ran parallel to the coast, but just inland, that ran south out of Girvan. ..... and I still have a lump of granite in my office I picked up off the Ailsa Craig, after paddling out there with friend in sea kayaks.......must be 25 years ago now - ah the sweet taste of nostalgia!

Looking forwards to hearing you've got that bike up and running smoothly again - and to seeing your first ride report posted in the Spring.

Steptoe 01-06-2013 12:04 PM

As the mechanic advised you. It'll be the gear linkage. All that shitty weather and salt on the road up in scotland will have seized it up. :D.

Noelk1200 01-06-2013 12:24 PM

Ayrshire Bull, that must have been some paddle to the Ailsa Craig!! The Youth Hostel is still live and kicking! I know a lot of them roads, good ones to! My personal fav is the Girvan all the way to Stranraer road!

GSWayne 01-07-2013 07:45 AM


Originally Posted by Noelk1200 (Post 20408396)
. Can any of you GS riders recommend any independent garages in Scotland that are spot on with BMW bikes. I

Might get some hints at
if you have not checked there already.

JimVonBaden 01-07-2013 08:35 AM

Pop you head down under the left side of the bike and look at the linkage. It is very easy to disassemble, clean, lube and reassemble. The little ball joints have a locking pin that unhooks from around the top of the ball, then pulls out. This will release the linkage.

I can post some photos of this tonight if you like.

Jim :brow

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