Parts that fall off of a BMW motorcycle
This page is about all models, but especially the R50/5, R60/5, and R75/5 models. Some of the items apply to other models too. My list was enlarged by many submissions of our rider friends sharing their experiences. A “one of a kind” part falling off isn’t considered typical and therefore is not included.
1. Center stand bolts and springs. Both the original and Reynolds hardware can fall off. Check the fasteners often to prevent this. Check that the Reynold’s Ride-Off Stand springs don’t “catch” on something when it is raised and lowered.
2. Swing arm dust covers. They are kicked off accidentally by passenger’s toes and sometimes rider’s heels. These can be glued into place with a spot of glue in 2 or 3 places.
4. Carb float bowl. These are kicked off by the riders. With this failure, you will be walking or riding on one cylinder. The float bowl spring wire retainer can be safety wired so that it can’t move.
5. Control wedge, sometimes called the perch wedge. It falls out when the owner/mechanic removes the throttle or clutch casting and doesn’t know that it is there. It gets lost on the floor. Often the person finds it and has no clue as to what it is or where it goes.
6. Valve cover center nut and stud. The center stud that has the fancy nut often strips its threads. They can be repaired with a Helicoil or other thread repair device. This nut usually gets over-tightened. It only needs to be very slightly tight, just enough so that it doesn’t fall off. Falling off from being under tight is far better than stripping out the threads in the head from over tight.
7. The pan bolts. These fall out for only one reason, they were over-tightened. That “idiot” wanted to ensure that the oil didn’t leak out, so he/she leaned on them. I prefer a socket on a screwdriver handle to tighten these up. When one of these falls out, there goes your oil and maybe your engine. Use your favorite thread repair.
8. Chrome battery side covers on the 72 and 73, plastic on later models. These were held on with two rubber bands. They would break, and the cover would fall off on the road and usually get run over quickly. There are several ways to prevent this. One can attach them by replacing the rubber bands with tiny bungee cords or springs, or they can be tie wrapped on. The grab handle captures the left, but the right one is free to escape.
9. Clutch arm circlip on the /6. Go almost to the bottom for the explanation, click here
10. Engine badge. This long slender badge is glued onto each side of the engine, just under the starter cover and above the cylinders of the /5 and later series. To prevent them from falling off, check them yearly. Try to stick something under one edge and try to pull it off gently. Pull it off and reattach it with good glue if it starts to come off. If you don’t try to pull it off often, then it will fall off, and now you must buy one and glue it on. Save the “buying” part. If you aren’t confident about fixing it, then leave them in your garage and ride around with them missing. If one falls off, then you are now riding around with it missing, really missing. A common adhesive to use is a 3M product called Super Weatherstrip Adhesive, or the slang is gorilla snot. It is nasty stuff, so follow directions carefully.
11. Cruise control screw. They seem to work their way out from time to time. After all, gravity and vibration are working together on this one. For a picture and more info, click here.
12. Clutch lever bolt. This is the lever up at the handlebar end of the cable. The nut can fall off, and the bolt work upwards. It is easy to notice that the lever feels funny. One should use a Nylock nut. That is the type with the small plastic insert that acts as a lock washer.
13. Battery Strap. The rubber battery straps on all models from the early 50s till they stopped using them in the early 70s would get old, crack, break and then fall off. Replace when you can see them start to crack where they bend over the edge of the battery.
14. Top mounting bolt for the right-side shock absorber. A few have had this one fall off, but I don’t know why.
15. Seat rear hinge breaks off of the frame. This is due to improper adjustment of the seat. For some partial information about this, click here.
16. The terminal screws that hold wires into the posts on the board inside the /2 and /5 headlight shell. They can come loose and even fall out, but you may find them at the bottom of the shell. Check them yearly for tightness.
17. Krauser bags. The early Krauser bags from about 74 to 82 often fell off. The hardware seemed secure, but the bag would still fall off, usually on the freeway and in traffic. I know that the early BMW bags were the same. The most common fix was to wrap a strap around the bag and frame.
Thanks to these generous contributors, Duane Carr, Erik, William Wilson, George in Toronto, Steve B, Dave Sweeny, davep, Lyman, and Kurt Henry.
Updated 13 July 2022