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Clutch / Shift assist question on still new-to-me '16 R1200GS


Active member
Feb 8, 2022
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Virginia, USA
A couple of questions on my '16 R1200GS, possibly related, but may not be at all! Observations from ~5 hour ride yesterday -

1) Once warmed up, the entire clutch operation seems like it's in about the last 5% of the lever travel (when releasing it). I've read up on the ability to adjust the plunger so I might look into that to at least bring it back towards the bars a little. I don't feel any slipping when I'm accelerating but I haven't had a bike/car with a clutch that has the take up point so far out so wondering if there could still be some residual pressure on the clutch when released. By comparison, for the first mile or so it is much more "normal" and I get about 1/3 of the lever travel from the initial bite point to lever all the way out.

2) Again, once warmed up, the quick shifter seems very abrupt. I've had quick shift on a different BMW (S1000R), but only on upshift and on that one it was buttery smooth. Up or down it doesn't seem very smooth, and especially down, I really feel like I have to press hard. A couple of times yesterday when I downshifted from 2-1 it went into neutral because I didn't stand on it hard enough. Maybe I shouldn't be using it for 2-1 but after those 2 times I ended up manually downshifting. Anything to look for with the quick shifter for adjustments to make sure it is set up correctly?

Otherwise I'm really enjoying the bike. I bought this one and sold my '11 RT on the same day and I'm really happy I switched - the GS just "fits" me better than the RT. More comfortable for me and the power seems much more than the specs would suggest.
Check your clutch fluid level. It should be no less than 1/4" from the top edge. It is possible to adjust the rod, but do it in 1/4 turn increments to avoid slipping the clutch. Speaking of slipping, how many miles on your bike? It is possible the PO wore it out and it is nearing the need for replacement.
I didn't mention - right after I got it I took it to Motorcycles of Dulles and they installed a new clutch slave so the clutch fluid has just been checked, but it doesn't mean it was done right so I'll double check! No change in bite point from when I dropped it off though. When I had it checked for a (still outstanding) fork cap recall, they said the clutch slave was also outstanding (recall or service bulletin, I'm not sure), it wasn't based on anything I'd said at the time.

30K miles, one owner. It's possible the clutch is worn but I don't think this bike was ridden hard and 30K miles would seem low for a new clutch. Also forgot to mention - fresh oil change with T6 5W40 (not trying to start an oil thread, just FYI on recent change to what I believe is a "compatible" oil).
Clutch fluid level was good. I adjusted the shifter position (apparently it came with it adjusted all the way up) so I moved it down to point at my toe. Some of the problem might have been with it being so high it wasn't getting full throw for the upshifts. That still wouldn't explain issues with downshifts, so I adjusted the clutch master rod. The first time I removed the lever so I could see eveything, after that it was easy to see/recognize what needed loosening and what needed adjusting without removing the lever. Only a couple of short rides so far and I could feel an improvement, hopefully this weekend I'll get a longer ride in and will have my 2mm hex with me to fine tune it if needed.
The quick shifter on the 12x0 GS is not as slick as the S1000 or the 850GS, I don't use mine between 1st and 2nd or around town, its good out on the open road. It does get better with use, mine works pretty well now at 70,000kms. You can also reset the adaptations for it with a GS911 etc. and see if that helps.

The friction zone on these clutches is quite small, and because they have a centrifugal lock up they can be very abrupt if you try to pull away with a lot of rpm's while slipping the clutch.
I was able to get a longer (6 hour) ride last weekend after adjusting the clutch and shift lever and that was definitely better. The quick shifter still seems to take more pressure on the shift lever than I'd expect, especially downshifting but no missed shifts and no unplanned neutrals. Seems like I just need more seat time to get used to it but I'll double-check the adaptations too.

I had an issue with the shift assist on my 2016 R1200GS Rallye last week on a ride, it just quit working after a while. Once I shut down and started her up again at a traffic light all was well. My guess is that the ECU sensed something funny and shut down that system as a precaution, then started it back up again following the shutdown and restart.

I really like upshifting with the shift assist when briskly accelerating from a stop, and I also like how it blips the throttle when downshifting from second to first when approaching a stop. I didn't realize how much I liked it until it wasn't working, and I'm glad that a quick shutdown/restart cycle fixed the issue.


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