Sloppy Shifter Fix!!! - - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 172 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2009, 8:08 pm Thread Starter
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Sloppy Shifter Fix!!!

Ok, first let me say I am new at this posting and picture thing so be patient.

What most of us 2005 to 2008 K1200GT,R, and S owners know is the shifting of the gears seems to be a little sloppy. We deal with the clunking and missed shifts, all the while, wishing we could solve this problem without having to buy 2009 model. Well, recently I was at my favorite BMW shop and was looking at a 2009 GT and S. I was poking and pulling on various parts to see what was different from my 2007 GT. I was most curious about the recent claim by BMW that they had “fixed” the sloppy shifting issue. So, I took a real close look at the shifter and noticed it was far more precise in the movement than my 07. Closer inspection reveals the shifter appears to pivot on a bearing and not the plastic bushings that mine does. As you are most aware, our K1200s have a linkage and not a direct connection to the transmission. Therefore, any play in the linkage will be greatly increased the sloppy shifting.

Well armed with this new knowledge, I pulled my shifter off, pushed out the plastic bushings and measured the bore. 14mm exactly. The bolt measures 7.5mm. I surfed around and found a bearing supplier in So Cal called “VXB Ball Bearings” and found sealed 8x14mm bearings. 10 for $19! I replaced the OEM plastic bushing with a stack of 4 bearings and the mod transformed the shifting into a smooth and precise action. I was so impressed I shared this with my K1200S buddy and he was skeptical until he rode my GT around. We then changed out his K1200S shifter too!

Follow along,

Here are the tools you need:

On the S and GT, remove the single fairing bolt (T2) located behind the shifter to allow the fairing to flex down enough to get the Torx driver on the shifter bolt (T40):

Remove the shifter bolt:

Once free, remove the linkage (10mm):

Wipe the shifter down with a rag and remove the bushings. Mine fell out but my buddy’s S required a small screw driver as a punch to push them out:

Clean out the bore with brake cleaner, MEK, or acetone. I lightly scuffed the bore with emery cloth to aid with loctite adhesion. I used Loctite brand, bearing and stud locker (green), but high strength thread locker (red) will work as well. There are very little side to side forces so this will do.

Here are the bearings I bought from VXB:

Check out their site, oh yeah, super fast delivery too!

You will need to take 2 #8 (I think) stainless washers and bore them out with a 5/16” drill bit. They will rest on both sides of the bearings. They have a smaller OD than the OEM washer and act to allow the free rotation of the bearing. Leave the OEM washer on the bolt.

Ok, now place the shifter in a vice, gently, so the bore is horizontal. Take the OEM shifter bolt with OEM washer, add one #8 washer and four bearings then a #8 washer. Now, lightly coat the bore and outer bearings with loctite. Very little. Slide the bearings into the bore as if you were bolting the shifter back on until the inner most bearing is at the edge of the inner bore of the shifter (side that points to the transmission). I put a nut on the bolt and finger tightened it once I had the bearings in the bore to hold the bearing pack together. Now, to speed up the setting process I uniformly heated the shifter bore area with heat gun to 180 degrees in two heat cycles. Loctite sets in one hour and fully cures in 24 hours. Since I was not in a hurry, I left it in the vice over night for my GT and two hours for my Buddy’s S. He was impatient!

This is too far:


After the bearings are set, simply reinstall the shifter. Torque the shifter to the OEM spec of 19nm. Now on the S we needed to have two #8 washers on the bolt between the shifter and the bracket to ensure the shifter did not rub against the bracket. You will need to adjust it for own application. On my GT only needed one.

Total cost plus CA tax and S&H was, $30 for the bearings (10pk). Another $10 for the new tube of loctite. That’s $20 per bike. Not bad.

As I stated before, please feel free to PM me for details if I did not do this well enough. Also, I live in Cen Cal and would be willing to do the mod for you. (Bring beer money!)


2007 K1200GT
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post #2 of 172 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2009, 8:44 pm
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Now that is an absolutely brilliant mod!!!! Only thing I would change is using a specific bearing locking compound made for this type of application.

I've gotta measure the bushings on my HP rearsets as well.

Definitely HoW stuff.

'06 K1200R- in pieces
'73 Honda CB500F- slow but fun.
'77 Yamaha XS 750 triple- kinda

Last edited by JCW; Feb 28th, 2009 at 8:57 pm.
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post #3 of 172 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2009, 9:11 pm
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What an awesome post! Definite Hall of Wisdom material.

I noticed the shifter on my GT is particularly sloppy (not surprising after 77K miles), but hadn't chased this idea down yet.

My only question is whether the original bushing washers could be used to retain the bearings in the shifter, rather than the Loctite. Obviously, the extended inner section would have to be removed.

But since Anaheim is pretty close to me, I may just have to pick up some bearings and try it myself. And perhaps come up with a kit that others can use as a drop-in install, including the required washers and needing only normal tools to install.

Again, great post.

Pacific NorthWet
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post #4 of 172 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2009, 10:06 pm
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Very much a HoW article. I put it under "Maintenance" and "Gearbox". Thanks man!

What was that middle thang?

Last edited by grifscoots; Feb 28th, 2009 at 10:12 pm.
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post #5 of 172 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2009, 10:08 pm
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ok just ordered a set of bearings going to do this mod when they show up!!!!


*** Any one need HID's for their bike let me know Kits start @ $60.00 Lo Beam or $100.00 Hi/Lo beam ***
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post #6 of 172 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 2009, 4:44 am
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Excellent post, thats great.
This issue has been bugging me for ages.
Just found the same guys selling the same bearings on ebay and ship worldwide
Cant wait to get them

Last edited by 1coolbanana; Mar 1st, 2009 at 5:03 am.
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post #7 of 172 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 2009, 8:40 am
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My tire life are gonna now be shorter

'91 K75S
'06 K1200S
'05 R1200GS
BMWMOA # 119240
Yankee Beemer # 153
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post #8 of 172 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 2009, 9:02 am
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Very nice Vince. I think I have another project to do to keep me busy until riding weather arrives.


2006 K1200GT Blue
2008 F800ST Blue (Wifes)
2006 R1200RT (Traded)
2006 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (Traded)
1999 K1200LT (Sold)
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post #9 of 172 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 2009, 9:18 am
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Exellent write-up!!! I'm going to do this as soon as I get around to ordering the bearings... Unless Meese gets his do it yourself kit together first. Thanks!

2007 K1200GT
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post #10 of 172 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 2009, 9:57 am
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Slick. So the intent is that the bolt tension will keep the bearing from moving in the .5 mm clearance?

David Littlefield
Clute, TX
09 K1300S
70 Commando
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