I've now clocked 23'000 km on the bike, and about 19'000 km on this trip, in 4 months. I'm happy to report that the bike has been running great until now, in fact just 3000 km back in Dubai I would have reported almost a perfect score, but I had to deal with a few problems recently.
I had the 10'000 km (8'500 km) service done in Istanbul, nothing to report there (except a hefty bill, but I need to keep the warranty running..). I also dumped the street tires and put TKC 80s on.
I had a minor crash when I tipped the bike trying to get back to the road on a very steep shoulder. That's where I bent the right-hand side pannier rack (Caribou cases). The thing is, one of the attach points on the right hand side, under the frame is through a 15cm long bolt. It's ok to hold a downward force, but when the whole weight of the bike acts laterally on it it can only bend. I haven't fixed it because it still holds and I'm afraid of making it worse by undoing it, and it's not easy to find a nice big long high quality bolt over here. I just had a welding on another point that was cracked. Oh, and the pannier latch bent as well, but I had a spare.
Then in the middle of Iran, on a gravel track in the middle on nowhere, the bike started to stutter and then stopped, as if running out of gas. I was thinking about my options and remembered the problems about the fuel pump controller. But when I opened the tank it made a suction noise: the breather hose wasn't doing its job. What a relief, I was back on the road in 2 minutes. I haven't researched the fault since it hasn't happened again since then.
Also in Iran (about 16'000 km) I noticed a slight leak on the left-hand side cylinder, at the valve cover gasket. Not too bad, just some sweat but still, for a 6-month old bike, that's pretty bad quality control if you're asking me.
In Dubai I went to BMW again for the 20'000 km service. I had the valve clearance checked and the brake fluid changed (I bought it with a dark fluid int he read break, as often reported, now it's back to normal). I asked them to change the gasket under warranty, but they had to order it and that would take 2 weeks. I didn't want to stay that long in Dubai so I gave up, I can live with it. I also discussed what looked like splashes of coolant on the cylinder, I noticed it in Iran but it hadn't happen again and the coolant level didn't move. They hadn't a clue.
I think those guys don't see a lot of bikes (there aren't a lot to begin with in UAE), and lack experience. Is it a coincidence that problems started to happen right after I left the workshop ? probably.
The brake pads were 2/3 gone so I bought some spares to change later on. I changed the tires again (the rear TKC was gone after 12'000 km), putting Karoo T instead.
The front rim has a nice dent, I had heard of the weak stock rims, so I0m not surprised but it's no problem so far. I haven't tried to bang it back in, I would probably make a mess of it.
So a pretty good picture really. Then in Oman, maybe 1000 km later, in a pretty tricky mountain road that I was doing in 1st gear, I noticed the bike overheating. It had never happened before, even in Albania where I rode in 1st and 2nd for long stretched and it was warmer than here. I had to stop a few times to cool it down. But as long as I kept the bike running at a fair speed, it wouldn't overheat. So I kept going for a few 100s km until I got back to Muscat. It was fine on the highway except for a somewhat higher fuel usage.
The radiator never got hot, even when the fan was kicking in, and the fan didn't help the overheating (read light on the computer). Note that the temperature gauge is a joke, it always shows about 2/3 whatever the real temperature, until it flashes when it overheats. So obviously the water wasn't circulating in the radiator. I hadn't read about a weakness in the water pump, but I was prepared to head back to Dubai (450 km away) for a chat with the BMW mechanic, but I first looked up the forums, where I found the instructions to bleed the coolant (thanks PackMule
Hello BMW, if that's something that happens all the time, why not put the instructions in the manual ? Anyway, I bought some coolant and it did the trick: now the radiator it's doing its job and the fan is blowing hot air on my pants.
Finally, almost simultaneously I had a blown headlamp and the 2 rear turn indicators stopped working (LEDs, so no blown lamps). I didn't mind the blown bulb, in fact there is no way to turn off the headlight and that's quite annoying as everybody is flashing their light at you because in these countries it is considered very wrong to drive with your lights on during daylight. But the indicators are more annoying, it adds to the safety while driving in the traffic. I had planned on those being the first parts to break after a crash, so it's not such a big deal, indeed I got rid of them altogether on my Tenere. That's probably the harness since both went off at the same time. Heck, with this central computer, I'm not sure I want to try and figure out what's wrong..
That's about it. No problem with the battery so far, and the chain and sprockets are running strong, no adjustment yet.
Oh, one last thing about the Touratech tank: it's doing its job fine, the only problem so far is the lid: it's leaking when the bike is tipped, and at the same time it has given me some trouble opening the lock. Lock ? why do you need a lock when there are quick release on the fuel lines sticking out from it.. in fact it's those quick releases that worry me most, but so fat they're doing fine. The tank also acts as a protection for the radiator when I drop it, which has happened a few times already.
I just hope I will be able to say as much when I reach Capetown! (next BMW dealer)