STANCH CLAMP: R1200 Fork Fix
In mid 2017 BMW Motorrad officially announced a production flaw with the fork stanchions on all R1200GS motorcycles, which, they confirm, if not “immediately reinforced”, could lead to catastrophic fork failure. A worrisome thought for any rider!
This short video, worryingly showcases the near fatal experience of just one "fork-victim"
The, now recognized, upper fork weakness affects all motorcycles sold worldwide between October 2013 and July 2017, which means a staggering 250,000 riders and their bikes could be at risk.
According to industry insider’s, “BMW have scrambled to patch together a solution, in the way of a thin collar kit, which the dealer must install ”. At present, dealers are expecting to receive, only a small number of collar kits (2-3 kits per week). Due to BMW's "Stop-Sale" order, each dealer has no choice but to install a portion of the supplied kits, to bikes already sitting on the show room floor. This suggests that many riders may be forced to wait weeks or months before their motorcycle is made safe. To me, on a personal level, this is unacceptable.
For the back-story You can read our post announcing the news here: http://22.214.171.124/news/bmw-north-america-r1200gs-lc-fork-tube-inspection
With the frequency of fork related incidents reported online around the world, and several note-worthy cases of near fatal accidents caused by fork slider failures, BMW recently escalated their globally announced “recommended Service Inspection” to a full “STOP SALE” order to their dealer network.
I’ll confess that since hearing of the BMW “R1200GS STOP SALE” order, I’ve wondered if each ride I take on my 1200 might end in disaster. It’s a sobering thought, but terminal illness aside, no-one who died today, got up this morning and realized this was their last day.
Contrary to BMW’s initial warning that the fork failure might only be induced under “extreme” riding conditions, an increasing number of reported fork failure incidents, has emphatically shown that hitting a pothole on the way to work can also be catastrophic. Many R1200GS riders have stated that they had “no warning” of fork failure before it happened. Some ‘fork-victims’ confirmed that that their bikes were not ridden in anything other than normal road conditions.
If, like me, you are a concerned 1200 rider, you need to know that there is a simple solution available immediately! Simon Thomas, 2 Ride The World
Before BMW officially recognized the fork stanchion weakness, BT Cycle owner and R1200GS LC rider Brian Tome, decided that the fork issue’s being reported posed a genuine risk to himself and his friends. Waiting for BMW was not an option.
Crucially, he chose to act and invest in a solution. Alongside local aerospace engineers and specialists, BT Cycles designed and produced the “Stanch Clamp” fork collar kit. It is available right now, and, can be fitted by anyone without the need for special tools.
The Stanch Clamp’s production was outsourced to a CNC specialist who has been in business for 15-years and has worked on parts for both NASA and GE.
The Stanch Clamp has already been tested in the real world by hard-core riders, and GS Trophy riders, who regularly push their GS’s to the limits. The Stanch Clamp has performed flawlessly.
In essence, both the BMW kit and the Stanch Clamp tackle the fork slider issue in a similar manner, by using a ‘collar’ to reinforce the upper stanchion. However, upon first glance, it is obvious that the Stanch Clamp takes an even more aggressive and serious approach to solving the problem and protecting the rider.
What’s In The Box?
The cost of the Stanch Clamp is $189.99 plus shipping. bear in mnd that the shipping charges will vary, depending on where in the world you live.
Holding the clamps in my hand, my first thought was, “These look serious”. Well, they should be, shouldn’t they? I take my safety and the safety of my friends pretty seriously.The Stanch Clamp Set Kit includes:
- Two professionally and precisely machined milled clamps. This is a set and enough for one motorcycle.
- 12 stainless steel SAE 5/32”10-24x1” bolts
- A set of clearly written and simple to follow instructions.
Materials & Construction
I used the word “serious” above for a reason. The designers and Brian obviously also take their safety seriously, and this shows when you look at their material selection. The clamps are precision milled from aircraft grade, 6061 billet Aluminum blocks.
The clamps are kept in place using 18-8 stainless steel socket head screws with a 10-24 thread count.
Although a cast process would have been a cheaper and faster production method to produce the clamps, BT Cycle chose to create the clamps from the same materials used in Aero engineering. The final product is both ultra-lightweight and incredibly strong. Attention to detail and quality sing out from the moment you unwrap the clamps. I was actually excited at the prospect of this installation.
A single page of clearly written instructions was included.
In other reviews I’ve written, including details on the install is always intimidating. That wasn’t the case with the Stanch Clamps.
It’s worth mentioning that the clamp kit was initially designed, prototyped and now fabricated by a leading aerospace company that uses SAE fasteners and not metric. So, the bolts are SAE, although based on my experience a 4mm Allen key works well.
I used the following for the install:
- Ratchet with a small extension.
- A 5/32” socket made fast and easy work of tightening the 12 bolts (six per clamp) An Allen wrench could also be used.
- Blue Loctite
- Torque wrench
I’d read that some Stanch Clamp clients had chosen to loosen the upper fork tube, to enable them to slide off the small rubber booty, which normally covers the upper crimp section of the upper fork. I chose not to do this and simply slid them down to get access to the upper fork.
With my R1200GSA LC on center-stand, I laid the bolts on a small tray and applied a spot of blue Loctite to each bolt.
I then paired up front and back of each clamp and positioned the clamp at the top of the left upper fork area. With the clamp in position, I inserted a bolt in the top right position and the lower left position to hold the clamp in place. I then inserted the additional bolts and did each one up only pinch tight. I then torqued the bolts to the recommended 4nm, making sure that the gap between the two halves of the clamp was equal on both sides (left and right). I then did the same on the right-hand fork.
What struck me, after the install was complete, was how much I enjoyed the visual impact that the clamps had made. I installed these clamps because of the serious weakness and now, officially recognized danger, of fork collapse. However, in hindsight, I think I might have installed them anyway as they add a symmetrical balance and presence to the forks, that wasn’t there before. They look great, substantial and far superior to BMW’s rushed and (I think) flimsy solution.
There’s not much to write here. The Stanch Clamps are like your keys (or fob, for all us key-less riders) you shouldn’t go anywhere near your bike without them.
There are, I’m sure, many riders that will want to install the BMW fork fix as and when it becomes available. However, in the interim, the Stanch Clamp may just save your life, whilst you wait for BMW to get themselves organized!
The Stanch Clamp’s are precision built, Aerospace designed and engineered to last. If you want to arrive alive, or simply want some peace of mind before slinging your leg over your GS, then this is an immediately available solution that bolts on in under 45 minutes. What are you waiting for? This is a no-brainer!
Based on current demand for the Stanch Clamp, BT Cycle has recently partnered with the online based, adventure gear specialist 4THEOUTDOORS.com, to ensure that this product is quickly and easily available to all.
Visit the Stanch Clamp Shop Page here: or use the banner links on this page. There is one just below.
|▲ Available immediately||▼ None|
|▲ Anyone with an Allen wrench can install it||
|▲ Instant peace of mind|
|▲ Amercian made|
|▲ Can be removed for easy inspection of the forks|
|▲ Can be used as a temporary measure while you wait for the BMW fix
|▲ Quality material used
|▲ Professionally designed, engineered and produced
|▲ Already has months of both lab and field testing by me and other GS riders,
|▲ Currently the only viable alternative to the BMW sleeve.