Folks, I have been put on this earth to warn you that if you own a BMW F800 GS, you need to have your wheel bearings checked. Here is my story and my warning to you:

I was riding from Bear Lake in Utah, through Evanston, Wyoming. As I was approaching the outskirts of Evanston after having passed through Woodruff, Utah, I felt a slight wobble in my rear wheel, almost like some grooves in the pavement, although there didn’t seem to be any. It bothered me enough to pull over. As I was slowing down, my rear wheel wobble was more pronounced, like a rear flat tire. I put the bike on the side stand and visually inspected the tires. First mistake. I should have lifted it up on the center stand and spun the wheel and checked for any side to side play, but I didn’t. I got on the bike and proceeded cautiously into Evanston to get a full tank of fuel. Everything seemed normal. No noise, and the wobble seemed to have disappeared, so in my mind I thought I had just gone through some wavy pavement. After fueling up, I proceeded on Route 150, otherwise known as the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, a motorcyclists favorite around these parts. I kept the speed at a decent clip, 65-70 mph or so. As I approached the climb to Mirror Lake, my ABS warning light came on. While I thought it was odd that it just popped on, there was nothing else giving me any feedback there was something wrong with the bike. Then, I went around an uphill switchback, and mid turn, my rear wheel skipped, as if I had just run over a gummy snake, otherwise known as the road sealant they use to fill cracks in the pavement. Now I was starting to get the creeps. I decided I would stop at the scenic turnout a few hundred yards further. As I clutched in and started to coast into a nice spot, my rear wheel seized up. Good thing I was barely moving. I could not move the bike a centimeter. I shut her down, leaned it on the side stand, and prepared myself mentally for the coming to grips with the concept of WTF. I never could have guessed the horror I would then see. The rear brake rotor was covered in smeared silver metal, it almost looked like metallic grease. But this was no grease. It was molten metal from a disintegrated wheel bearing that had cooled and welded my rear wheel in an unmovable state. The ABS sensor was melted from the obvious heat that was transferred through the rear brake caliper. The forged caliper mount, discolored brown from the heat. As I write this, my bike is sitting on a trailer, waiting to be taken to my local mechanic to have the damage assessed, but for sure, the rear wheel is completely toast, as is the rear brake caliper, caliper mount, ABS sensor, and who knows what else, at this point. How can a small part that costs less than a hundred dollars fail and be responsible for thousands of dollars in repairs? How can BMW put a product out on the market with this lack of quality? I suppose it could have been worse. I could have kept going through the downhill switchbacks, having the rear wheel fail and cause a deadly crash. After doing some research on ADVrider and seeing a few threads with stories such as mine, it seems I have been lucky to walk away from this.

BMW F800 Wheel Bearing Failure

Liquified wheel bearing. That silver stuff is metal.

BMW F800 Bearing Failure

ABS Sensor completely melted

BMW F800  Bearing Failure

So Much Heat Transferred Through Rear Brake Caliper

BMW F800 Bearing Failure

Note the Discoloration of the Forged Caliper Mount, and the Metal on the Rotor

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8 Responses to BMW F800 GS Wheel Bearing Catastrophic Failure

  1. […] BMW F800 GS Wheel Bearing Catastrophic Failure | It's All About … […]

  2. Phil Parker says:

    UNSTOPPABLE – NOT. BMW seems as if they don’t understand the principles of real wheel drive engineering. If its not a final drive issue, then its a bearing issue. I’ve never seen so many real wheel incidents. I was the owner of 3 BMWs. The newer they got, the more proprietary and expensive they were to repair. And when the manufacturer doesn’t offer a service manual, that means that you can’t do much of your own work and you become reliant on a very small dealer network. I didn’t trust my dealer (FT LAUDERDALE BMW (441 BMW)) one bit.

  3. Moto Cynic says:

    Glad you weren’t hurt. I broke my leg badly when this happened to me with much less warning.

  4. Moto says:

    I wasn’t hurt, but easily could have imagined being so if a variety of scenarios had been different. For example, had I gone over the pass and started going down the steep grades on the other side. Gnarly. Sorry to hear about your leg. Was it also on an F800 GS?

  5. Brian Crafts says:

    how many miles were on the bike? I have 30k on my 2010. Maybe time to replace?

  6. Moto says:

    I had about 11,000 miles on my bike when this happened. I’ve done a bunch of research on this issue, talked to quite a few folks, read posts on ADV, etc. I can’t say it’s time to replace them just based on mileage, but I’m sure it’s worth the effort to pull the wheels off the bike and have them checked.

  7. Eric says:

    A possible connection between this, and the recent 51,000 bike BMW F800S and F800ST recalls from 2007-2009?

  8. Moto says:

    Eric, do you have a link to any news of a recent recall? I discussed this with my dealer when I had the work done to salvage my bike after this incident, and there was nothing on the books at that time. Happy trails…

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