What Happens to the Recalled BMW R1200RT?

Finally, the customers who bought the 2014 BMW R1200RT equipped with the Dynamic ESA suspensions have received updates on the status of their recalled bikes. After around three months of riding ban, BMW is finally delivering the replacement parts to dealers, and the customers will be able to get back on their bikes and ride what’s left of the summer.
While those who agreed to cash in the compensation BMW offered for keeping the bike and waiting for a solution, some preferred to just accept a refund and return the bike through the buy-back scheme. After reading tons of internet comments, a question must naturally be asked: what happens to the returned bikes? As in… how will BMW sell them?

Basically, the affected R1200RT customers have been offered a three-way solution: don’t ride and wait for updates, get compensation, ride another loaned bike, get smaller compensation and wait for updates or send BMW the bike back, get fully reimbursed (though apparently without registration taxes and all) and get some compensation towards getting another BMW. Don’t want another BMW, so long, then! I know of several guys who asked BMW to come and pick their unrideable bike and then went for other brands.

I am pretty positive that more than two or three such fellows have called it quits with the altogether very nifty tourer. I don’t have exact figures, but maybe someone will have the nerve and time to delve deeper into this matter… or maybe we’ll get to hear about this from BMW themselves. Fact is that BMW has some of the defective bikes back, and they will be refurbished. In the absence of any official statements, a thing that has already plagued the relationship between BMW customer care department and the very unhappy customers, we can only speculate.

Around the world, even exclusive brands such as Apple are selling refurbished goods for a discounted price. Even though the nature of the initial flaws or defects is not mentioned, some of these products are sold for quite a lower price than the similar “brand-new, unopened” counterparts. Will BMW do the same?

Truth be told, maybe mentioning that a laptop had a cracked display, or the whole body had to be replaced after taking a fall on a concrete floor is not exactly good for business, and most customers would be just fine with the discount and the “refurbished” sticker placed somewhere on their product. But MP3 players, laptops and many other products which may be sold in a refurbished state are not directly dealing with customer’s safety, at least not in the way motorcycles do.

Will BMW (at the eleventh hour) be transparent and openly say why these bikes have a lower price? Will the corporate decision-makers be that cynical to simply invent a rebate campaign to sell these bikes? Are they even that greedy to simply repair them and sell them as if nothing ever happened? While offering an answer to these questions is impossible at the time of writing, we hope that someone comes up with it in the coming months.

Around 8,000 R1200RTs with the Dynamic ESA have been affected by the problem (950 in the US, which seems to be the market that also received the biggest compensations), and I assume that most of them remained with their owners. Those whose vacations or vacation plans haven’t been ruined, those with no vacation plans at all, and people who just love the R1200RT no matter what are most likely to have accepted the solutions they’ve been offered.

Reports of people riding different (loaned) bikes and hating them used to come in, with some of these guys either planning to ditch BMWs altogether or just resign and wait for their RTs to be fixed. As BMW mentions that new rear shocks are on their way, I suppose that all of these fellows (including me) are a bit skeptical when it comes to them.

Some say that BMW took such a long time to announce the replacement because they had to test the hell out of the R1200RT with the new shock… which honestly, sounds like a very good and decent idea, possibly the only reasonable one. If anything wrong happens to these bikes (though the likelihood for such a scenario is rather low), then BMW will be in a lot of trouble and I would not be surprised to find out that the customer safety and protection agencies make a bolder move against the German manufacturer.

The warranty will be extended with the time these bikes have been immobilized, but this is only normal. What happens after they’re back on the street is the only thing that really matters, alongside the way BMW will decide to put the refurbished bikes back into the showrooms. Since many of the BMW enthusiasts probably know by now what happened to the Dynamic ESA R1200RTs, the discount should be a pretty big one, because we’re not talking about scratched or cracked bodywork or other minor things that had to be replaced.

I can only hope that BMW will stand proud and accept the loss, regardless of how hefty it will turn out to be, and try to restore the customer’s faith in this particular model. Still, it would be awesome if we could find out how could this happen to one of the most iconic sport-tourers of modern times. A rear shock piston rod doesn’t simply break, especially since we’re talking about a bike supposed to travel tens of thousands of miles...
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