Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
There has been a lot of pressure on BMW to respond to the final drive failure issue. The NHTSA investigated final drive failures for the "flying brick" K1200LT model, but that did not force a recall. The NHTSA did not look at "slant 4" K1200GT, K1300GT, plus K1200R and K1200S final drives, despite urging from some riders. I know of riders who had more than one final drive failure on the same motorcycle.
Some people were able to get BMW to cover their final drive replacements as a post-warranty courtesy, working through their dealer. Others had partial reimbursement (BMW pays for parts, you pay for labor, or something like that). Success or failure was very much related to how much the dealer was willing to push BMW on behalf of the affected customer.
BMW made various modifications on the final drive design throughout the 2006+ K1200GT and K1300GT model period, and into the K1600GT model. The consensus is that the design with venting resolved much of the issue, which appeared to be related to pressure build-up under use. The original design for the K1200GT was sealed, with no need for a final drive oil change. There were no drain plugs on those early models. Later, BMW instructed dealers to change the final drive oil through the sensor hole.
Tom Austin wrote a superb, very detailed article describing BMW final drive issues for Iron Butt magazine, but I do not remember which issue. If you can find a copy, I recommend that you read it.
To date, there has been no formal recall or extended warranty on 2005+ K1200x and R1200Rx final drives. BMW continues to operate as if final drive failure rates are not unusually high, but they have never disclosed failure rates to the public.