How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

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kfrogzx7
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How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby kfrogzx7 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:02 pm

https://www.morebikes.co.uk/52367/video ... m_content=

In the light of ( increasing liberties being taken with the basics of engine design ? ) modern design and materials technology I wonder how long BM's engineers are expecting their products to last ?

One of the basic design parameters must be longevity and whilst I'm sure it's sensitive info, indeed virtually "top secret" in commercial terms, I do feel that the customer should really be informed in the specs along with other info of weight, power etc etc.

Be interesting to see how the figure is evolving over the years ?

PS I asked a salesman in the new Witham Cannon BMW shop this am, he hadn't got a clue he said ...... I think it's a relevant question if you're parting with best part of £20k
Simon.
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milleplod
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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby milleplod » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:39 pm

I think they're designed to last up to the point where the warranty expires. Why go to the expense of designing something that will last for donkey's years? There's no point any more, because the days of the vehicle consumer buying something to last a long time are gone - bikes, cars...people swap them every couple of years or so, courtesy of PCPs and the like. Why would a manufacturer bother to spec a given component to last, say, 100k miles when their responsibility for it ends at 3yrs/12k miles? I don't think longevity is a big selling factor any more, people aren't particularly interested in how long something will last because if something fails, they're covered....and they get rid at the point they're no longer covered!

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SP250
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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby SP250 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:17 pm

Seem to recall an European law which says that manufacturers have to be able to provide a product and all the spare parts for it for a minimum of 10 years. But that may be a figment of my imagination, or not...............
John M

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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby kfrogzx7 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:21 pm

I see what you're both saying but I'm sure the engineers will be thinking of considerably higher mileages than that. They certainly need their GS's to comfortably tackle a round the world trip ( 20K mls ? ) and not expire immediately on return, that wouldn't be good PR or corporately acceptable for a premium brand.
How many miles do BM themselves put on their bikes in development ?
The drive towards greater performance and user-friendliness is bound to gradually compromise longevity I imagine but how much has that changed over the years I wonder ?
I'm sure there are a lot of R65's and R90's still going strong with well over 100k mls having had no more than assiduous servicing and perhaps a new clutch and valve regrind, how many of todays models will fair as well ?
Simon.

R1100s, R1200st, R1150rs. K100rs.

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Hay Ewe^
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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby Hay Ewe^ » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:24 pm

I think the drive train and mechanicals will go for a long time, they are mature technologies.
I think it is the wireing / computers / touch screen / electric windscreen type things that will fail first.

I recent (again) started looking at / researching MegaSquirt and MicroSquirt systems.
I think that more and more people will do this type of work when the factory systems fail / difficult to replace but the mechanicals are still fine. At the moment, the electrical system can detect if another ecu is installed, things like that, but if you remove the entire electrcal system from an engine, you still have the suck squeeze bang blow from 1936.

Maybe difficult for average Joe to get some features working like traction control where it reduces the throttle body or cuts the injection, but hay, people were able to ride motorbikes with out that feature for a lot longer than traction control has been availble

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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby boxerscott » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:17 am

Most manufacturers are are not designing or building in longevity any more. Furthermore it is impossible with technology moving so fast. Systems are becoming obsolete within no time. lot of the tech we are now enjoying in rider aids today will become cost prohibitive to repair replace tomorrow. Who really cares anyway? most volume sales today are by way of renting a vehicle for a short period of time.

An earlier example of this was the linked servo assist bmw braking system.
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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby kfrogzx7 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:52 pm

I agree with a lot of what you're all saying and I'm probably not expressing myself very well, what I'm interested in is not so much what can go wrong ( of course that's part of it though ) , I'm interested in when the engineers expect the bike to "wear out" or to reach the end of it's useful life.
Decades ago bikes were basically designed to last "as long as possible", now I'm sure that the pursuit of performance and the economics and competitiveness of the industry dictate that a finite life is factored in.
I disagree that the mechanicals are old technology too, ceramic cylinder barrel coatings, hollow sodium ( ? ) filled titanium valves, camshafts that slide across the valve followers and pistons with virtually no skirt are all things that engine designers only 20 years ago would only have thought of as hypothetical features.
So, if none of the repairable / replaceable / adjustable ancillary components ( which basically leaves engine internals ? ) are responsible for the eventual terminal failure of the bike, when would the designers expect, or more pertinently intend, that to be ?
Simon.

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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby boxerscott » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:10 pm

kfrogzx7 wrote:I agree with a lot of what you're all saying and I'm probably not expressing myself very well, what I'm interested in is not so much what can go wrong ( of course that's part of it though ) , I'm interested in when the engineers expect the bike to "wear out" or to reach the end of it's useful life.
Decades ago bikes were basically designed to last "as long as possible", now I'm sure that the pursuit of performance and the economics and competitiveness of the industry dictate that a finite life is factored in.
I disagree that the mechanicals are old technology too, ceramic cylinder barrel coatings, hollow sodium ( ? ) filled titanium valves, camshafts that slide across the valve followers and pistons with virtually no skirt are all things that engine designers only 20 years ago would only have thought of as hypothetical features.
So, if none of the repairable / replaceable / adjustable ancillary components ( which basically leaves engine internals ? ) are responsible for the eventual terminal failure of the bike, when would the designers expect, or more pertinently intend, that to be ?
they would have no say in that today. The accountants and marketing persons dictate. The engineers, designers are left frustrated until the short term bubble bursts.
I am the Village Green Preservation Society. God Bless Strawberry Jam and all it`s variety.

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kfrogzx7
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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby kfrogzx7 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:14 am

I wonder what the accountants / marketing dept's / company executives stipulate to the engineers ?
Simon.

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SP250
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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby SP250 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:19 am

Kfrog

I think you'll find that most if not all of those technologies are a lot older than 20 years - i.e. sodium filled valves on the 1930's RR Merlin V12 & post war Manx Norton.
John M

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kfrogzx7
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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby kfrogzx7 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:47 am

SP250 wrote:Kfrog

I think you'll find that most if not all of those technologies are a lot older than 20 years - i.e. sodium filled valves on the 1930's RR Merlin V12 & post war Manx Norton.


Oops, sorry, I didn't know that !!
Simon.

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milleplod
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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby milleplod » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:11 am

kfrogzx7 wrote:I wonder what the accountants / marketing dept's / company executives stipulate to the engineers ?


The accountants, I've no doubt, control all, because the whole raison d'être of the business is to make money. The engineers will be told to have something made that can be expected to last just beyond the point where the warranty ends....3yrs/12-15k miles. OK, the odd rider will rack up a round-the-world tour and higher miles....the warranty still works if they do it within 36 months, and if it takes longer....they pay for it, same as your 'average-miles' owner.

There's simply no incentive whatsoever for a manufacturer to produce long-lasting transport of most kinds, never mind something that's predominantly a toy. HGVs are a different story of course....but look at the price of them.

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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby popsky » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:39 pm

I do know that in Munich BMW Motorrad the accountants share the same office as the designers, I know a UK gent who is an accountant in that very office so the above is correct :mrgreen:
Phil.

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Grip Fast
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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby Grip Fast » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:08 am

Interesting discussion. I'm not sure if the views expressed so far are cynicism, pessimism (both of which I'm renowned for) or a realistic view of the current world of manufacturing motorcycles.

Having grown up with motorbikes of the fifties and sixties, where you needed to be able to wield a spanner before setting off into town, and weren't sure if you would get home again, I was amazed when I came back to bikes in 1997 that I could set off on a 900+ mile round trip home to Dundee and not worry about completing the journey. (1960/1970 cars anyone? - lucky to drive them out the showroom without a breakdown).

Famous last words possibly (touch wood etc), but apart from one rear tyre puncture two miles from home, I have not had a single breakdown on the road with any of the bikes I've owned since 1997, and they've all been well over 10 years old and over 30k miles when I sold them. So in my experience, bikes from early 1990s up to say 2010 have all been rock solid reliable (anyone remember the poor Kawasaki engine that Bike magazine tried to run to destruction?).

My Tiger 800 is 2013, had an oil leak that was fixed under warranty (first modern British bike and it had an oil leak!). It's well out of warranty now but hasn't done high miles yet (8k), so can't be certain about its longevity - though I'm not aware of Tiger 800s not lasting well.

So, we're really asking about bikes being designed and manufactured today. A sudden mass decision by manufacturers to design in obsolescence (an accusation that we've been making for decades, BTW) so bikes fail catastrophically shortly after the warrant period. Or alternatively, and much more risky it seems to me, build them of such poor quality that they wear out at the end of warranty (back to 1970s cars then).

Hmmm. It sound a bit conspiracy theory to me, and I'm not sure even I'm that cynical/pessimistic. Time will tell (and not much time if the theory is correct).

I remember meeting a designer from our manufacturing plant, back when computers had high mechanical content (printers, card/tape readers etc) - I made my living at that time in computer maintenance - and he claimed, slightly tongue-in-cheek, that the design philosophy was, "design and build a prototype, test is and if it works, cost-reduce the design. If it doesn't work, it is cost-reduced".

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Re: How long is a modern Beemer designed to last ?

Postby wicker » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:53 pm

Longevity depends how you look after and service the vehicle. Lots of people complain about poor quality finishes who don't clean their bikes or dose them in ACF50 ahead of the winter. I've seen a few manky looking bikes going back under the PCP agreement because the 'owner' only saw it as 3 years before they swapped to something else.

I tend to buy and have run my two bikes, a 2000 R1000S now at 92k and a 2010 GS at 85k with relatively few issues. S has needed replacement discs all round although the fronts were only after 75k. I also has an R1200ST which I ran to 45k within nothing more than a rear bearing replaced.

The consistent issue I have had with all BMW's is that the rear shock absorbers fail - anything from 18k to 34k. Fortunately BMW replaced the original rear shocks under warranty on all three bikes however these also eventually failed and, given the mileages, every bike I have had has eventually been fitted with aftermarket shocks - Wilbers on the ST and GS, and Hyperpro on the S. The BMW warranty on shocks is apparently limited to 30k which could catch a few people out if they are doing serious miles in 2 / 3 years.

Shocks is one area where BMW do cut costs by making them non-serviceable. The price of replacing ESA shocks on the GS with BMW items is eye-watering. Whilst not cheap, Wilbers are serviceable and you can replace both front and rear shocks for the price of the BMW ESA rear alone.


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