Last week, BMW Motorrad made the interesting move of releasing a worldwide service campaign for the BMW R1200GS and its fixed fork tubes, which may get damaged from hard impacts.
The service campaign affects R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure models made between November 2013 and June 2017, which by our math means that over 155,000 motorcycles are involved in this service campaign.
Taking things a step further now, Visordown now reports that BMW Motorrad UK has issued a recall for the affected liquid-cooled R1200GS and R1200GSA motorcycles, within its market.
Before we dive deeper into this development, what is interesting in this story is the fact that BMW Motorrad chose initially to remedy this fork issue with a service campaign, not a recall.
Though some may see the two things as analogous (including some motorcycle journalists, who should know better), there are important differences between a service campaign and a recall, especially when it comes to their differing legal obligations. As such, it is very much incorrect to consider them the same.
The easiest way to look at the two approaches is to realize that a recall is an active remedy to a safety concern, whereas a service campaign is a passive remedy to a technical issue.
In BMW’s own words, the fork damage can change the drivability of the motorcycle, which generally speaking is a large enough safety concern to warrant a motorcycle manufacturer to issue a recall – as safety to the rider is always the central issue when it comes to issuing a recall, as opposed to using a mere service campaign.
As such, it is not surprising to hear that BMW Motorrad UK has announced a recall for the R1200GS units affected by this issue, erring more on the side of caution for this defect in the front fork tube design. The issue now is whether other markets will follow suit.
As one of BMW’s largest markets for the R1200GS, the United States likely has the lion’s share of affected GS models to inspect for damage, but will we see a recall here in the USA as well?
That has yet to be announced, though one would expect with the number of units involved, and the specifics of the defect as they relate to safety, that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would issue a recall for the R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure.
But, we will have to wait and see. Stay tuned.