Ordinarily, a recall affecting 29,281 motorcycles would be big news, but in this case, the news is overshadowed by confirmation that the next-generation of BMW R motorcycles are on their way.
The recall itself is pretty innocuous: BMW is recalling multiple models because optional aluminum luggage may obscure the rear side reflectors, a violation of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108. The recall affects the 2013-2017 R1200GS, F800R and F800GT, the 2014-2017 R1200GS Adventure, the 2016-2017 S1000XR, and the 2015-2017 R1200R and R1200RS.
Recall documents released submitted by BMW and released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration includes one particularly interesting nugget of information: apparently, the reflector issue was discovered “on May 8, 2017, during a review of the next generation BMW R model motorcycle” (emphasis ours). It was only after noticing the problem on a next-gen model that BMW took a look at current models and found the same problem in production.
The timing of BMW’s review of the model is also notable; if BMW was reviewing the model in May, then the new motorcycle will likely be ready for the 2018 model year, with the full introduction at EICMA in November.
At this point, it’s hard to come to any conclusions about the new R line. Germany’s Motorrad magazine reports the next R models will introduce variable valve timing, a technology already offered on the Ducati Multistrada 1200 (which we also expect to get updated to a 2018 Multistrada 1260.) Like Ducati, BMW may also be increasing the engine’s displacement, going from its current 1170cc to somewhere around 1250cc.
Typically, BMW leads off recent iterations of R models with a new GS. The current R1200GS was introduced in 2013 with only minor incremental updates in the years following and most recently new fairings plus Euro4 updates for 2017, so we’re about due for a more extensive update, to be followed by GS Adventure, RT, R and RS versions. It remains to be seen which models will be the first to herald this “next generation” of boxers. We’ll have more details as they become available in the months to come.
As for the recall, BMW will contact owners asking those who had purchased aluminum cases to visit a dealer where they will fix a new reflector on the outside of the cases. Owners that purchased the mounts without the aluminum cases are also covered, with BMW installing an additional reflector bracket.