Difficulty Finding Neutral on BMW R1200GS LC? It Could be This!

I purchased my 2014 BMW R1200GS Wethead pre-owned, and I’ve always accepted the clunkiness of the gearbox. In fact, some owners have described the gearbox of the R1200GS as “very industrial”. Also, from Day-1, I experienced difficulty finding neutral on the bike. When the bike is at complete rest, it would typically take cycling between gears 1 and 2 several times before settling on neutral. Very often, I would have to blip the throttle a little while applying a slight pressure on the gear lever, just to get it to slip into Neutral.

Not cool.

In my recent road trip, I experienced occasional difficulty in changing gears – especially at low’ish speeds. When clutched in, the gear lever would sometimes refuse to shift – seemingly “stuck”. The feeling’s exactly like trying to shift down in gear 1, or trying to shift up in gear 6. It’s only with a slight blip of the throttle would the gear lever then move into the intended gear.

Not cool at all.

And then this – at 55,000km on the odometer, my clutch started exhibiting signs of slippage. I’m very conscious of using only JASO MA / MA2 spec’ed engine oil – so it couldn’t be the oil causing the clutch to slip. 

So, I did a little research, and found this in the Haynes repair manual:

Haynes repair manual for the BMW R1200GS LC

Note 3: Poor clutch disengagement and clunky gear changes in GS models up to engine No. 122EN36130280 may be caused by a clutch component that has since been upgraded – refer to your BMW dealer for details. Similar symptoms in all models may be caused by too much oil, incorrect oil, or oil additives.

Poor clutch disengagement and clunky gear changes? Yup! That exactly describes the condition of my R1200GS. In fact, with the engine turned off and bike on the main stand, put in 1st gear, clutch lever pulled fully in – there is still a tremendous amount of resistance at the rear wheel; Almost as if the clutch wouldn’t completely disengage the gearbox from the wheel:

And since my clutch was also slipping, I took it in to the dealer for an opinion. Almost immediate after testing my bike, the service advisor recommended a clutch package replacement.

Item #5 – clutch package

And when I asked him about the “upgraded component” in the older water-cooled GS that resulted in better clutch disengagement and gear changes, he immediately mentioned that there was an “upgraded” clutch push-rod that might solve the issue. This appeared to be a batch issue, where the old part was manufactured a tad shorter than originally spec’ed, causing the clutch to not completely disengage.

The offending part that may cause poor clutch disengagement – item #9: Thrust adapter.
The new thrust adapter seem to be introduced in mid 2013, with the earlier versions of the water-cooled boxer engines all being affected.
My poor GS spent 3 days in the dealership for the clutch replacement.

And the result after 3 days? BEAUTIFUL gear changes on the R1200GS LC!! Finding neutral at a complete stop is now a breeze – just like how a proper gearbox should be! Gear shifts are now significantly smoother and easier. And I can’t be happier with the bike now! The clutch slip issue is also gone – making the R1200GS a pleasure to ride again!

29 thoughts on “Difficulty Finding Neutral on BMW R1200GS LC? It Could be This!”

  1. Hi, nice share..
    Mine, R1200GS K50 2014 faced 100% same condition. Mileage 25,000 km on going.
    I’m living at Surabaya, Indonesai.
    May I know detail cost at yours and perhaps you have another advise for ths case..
    **You can send me DM, chat or email, or write down here 🙂

    Thx a lot bro..
    Hv nc adventure..

    ig: @yudyharto
    fb: yudyharto indrotjahjono
    e: yudyharto@yahoo.com

    1. The cost here in Singapore will be different from that in Indonesia where you reside. Why don’t you send your bike in and get your dealer to have a look at it. If it’s indeed the clutch, go ahead, bite the bullet and get it replaced. The improvement is dramatic and I’m absolutely certain that you’d be so glad you went for it!

  2. Did you replace just a clutch push-rod or you had to replace whole clutch set, please.
    Many thanks in advance.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience. I just got my bike back from the dealer. It has the same exact symptoms. They said it was normal and refused to fix it.

  4. I brought my 2014 GS to one dealer and they said it was normal. Another dealer said I need a new transmission, clutch etc. The new transmission requires a new starter. $8,900 US to fix. I just ordered the thrust bearing rod. I will try it first.
    Thank you for sharing
    Link to my video.

    1. Wow! And I thought that my bill of SGD1,100 (approx US$815) was steep!

      A new transmission and a new starter to resolve difficulty finding neutral on the bike? I find that really hard to believe and comprehend. Don’t let them BS you into unnecessary repairs. Take it to another dealer for assessment. Else, if you’re confident it’s the clutch, just ask for a clutch replacement and a new pushrod. Period. Nothing else.

      1. Yes it did! But then again – I too replaced the clutch package, and thus am not sure if it was the thrust rod or the clutch package that fixed the problem.

  5. Hi just to ask did BMW replace the parts under warrenty or did you have to pay for it? If under warrenty do you still have the communication between you and BMW. I am trying to get BMW here in South Africa to replace as the Workshop manager has confirmed it is as design fault.

    Thanks in advance.


      1. Hi Thanks, just heard back from dealer that they are not replacing it either on my bike and I need to buy a new gearbox and clutch rod system. I am fighting with BMWSA to get them to agree to replace entirely on their expense.

        Lets hold thumbs

        1. Hi Lodi,

          What was the outcome I have the same issue on my 2018 R1200RS and dont know what to do?


  6. This is an amazing write up. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this.

    Question. I am experiencing the same quotes symptoms and clutch drag(center stand symptoms) but mine are not nearly as extreme(also no slippage either). My 1st-2nd upshift if more clunky than I would like. Do you know if the “thrust adapter” can be changed without opening the front oil sealed housing? IE if I could just remove the slave cylinder and swap this rod that seems like fairly easy. Any idea?

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