Originally Posted by DavidTaylor
But I'm sure as soon as someone has any issue whatsoever they will decry the newest design as completely flawed and BMW as the worst company in the world, and they would be wrong.
OK, my turn.
I've had two clutch replacements (36K & 65K) and two final drive replacements (63K & 73K) in two years on my '07 GT.
The multi-plate wet clutch is inherently a very robust design. It's what 90% of the bikes out there use. BMW has only been using it since 2005, so they're a bit new to the party. As such, they've had some teething problems related to poor oil flow, sticking clutch plates, and interference with other components. Most of these items simply mean the clutch is excessively noisy, but not necessarily prone to failure. Each year they introduce more minor changes to help fine-tune the clutch, and after riding a K1300 I think they've gotten pretty close.
BMW has been using the Paralever final drive for ~20 years, and it's their own proprietary technology. Because of an excessive number of failures on the LT's and RT's, they completely redesigned the Paralever for the 1200cc Boxer bikes in '04. The new Slant/4 bikes also have this newer Paralever, but mirrored to the other side due to engine layout requirements.
The newer Paralever is also experiencing a higher than normal failure rate. And BMW has made incremental changes for '08 and '09 to address these failures. In '08, they beefed up the input pinion bearings and added a drain plug. In '09, they changed the drive shaft to a 2-piece version. So theoretically, the newest bikes have the least chance of failure.
But when my factory-fitted '07 final drive failed last summer, they replaced it with the latest-greatest '08 final drive with all the improvements. Then 3 months and 10K miles later, that one failed as well. So much for incremental improvements.
As I said, the only evidence I can find between the '08 and '09 drives is changes to the drive shaft, not the drive itself. I want to believe that BMW has finally gotten it right, and I'd buy a K13 today if I knew for sure. But the fact is that we don't know for sure. So the best we can do is hope that they got it right, and wait until lots of folks start putting lots of miles on the new bikes and see how it all shakes down.
Note that I never said BMW was the worst company in the world, but they do have a few things to learn about reliability and standing behind their products. My dealers have been great, but quite honestly the factory should have found and definitely fixed the root cause of these failures long ago. Anything less is simply sub-par.
Note that I'm not telling anyone not
to buy a new bike if you really want one. But you should be aware of the potential issues. At least as aware as we can be given the randomness of the problem and the complete lack of hard evidence here.
So as with everything else, in the end it's your choice.