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Top 10 biggest bike recalls

Thousands of bikes are recalled every year; here are the biggest ones on record

THERE are two ways to look at recalls. Pessimists see them as an admission of a failure on the part of the manufacturer in either the development or production of the bike. Optimists applaud positive preventative action from responsible bike firms.

Which camp you fall in is likely to depend on how well your bike’s maker has dealt with recalls, because the fact is that these days most new models seem to be subject to a recall of some form or other.

If you have any of the bikes listed here, particularly if you got it second-hand, it’s probably worth checking that the recall work has been done.

Bear in mind that these figures don’t represent the ‘severity’ of a recall, just how many bikes were involved – so popular models are likely to be over-represented simply because more of them were sold. The recalls also aren’t a reason to fear these bike; they show that faults have been remedied, rather than left alone.

The figures and info here come from the UK’s official list of recalls. If you want to check whether your own bike has been hit by one of these recalls, or any other recall for that matter, you can check online.

10. Yamaha YZF-R125 - 7,741 bikes recalled in January 2012

With so many R125s on the road, it’s no surprise to see it on this list. The 2012 recall came after it was found that the sidestand switch could work loose, in extreme circumstances allowing the bike to be ridden with the sidestand down.  A replacement mounting bolt kit sorted the problem.

9. Yamaha XV125, XV250, XV650, XV650A, XVS1100 and XVS1100A - 7,920 bikes recalled in March 2005

It's not unusual for recalls to hit multiple models, particularly when they share a common component. In this case, that part was a bolt that helped hold the pillion seat in place, which could work loose; clearly bad news for your passenger. A redesigned attachment was created to fix the problem and these days it would be a surprise to find a bike with the original part still in place.

8. Honda CBR125R, CBF250 AND XR125L - 8,585 bikes recalled in October 2005

Another 2005 issue hitting multiple models, this time it was a problem with water getting into the ignition coil and corroding it. For most, that meant the bikes were hard to start, but it could also lead to engines cutting out. Unsurprisingly, the fix was a revised coil.

7. BMW K1200RS, K1200GT, K1200LT, R1150RT, R1150RS, R1150GS, R1150R, R1150GS Adventure, R1200C, R1200CL, R1200CI, R1200 Montauk, R850R and R850RT - 8,673 bikes recalled in April 2005

It seems that 2005 was a bad year for big recalls. This one hit multiple BMW models because it was due to a problem with the quick-release fuel coupling between the tank and the rest of the fuel system – a part used on most of the firm’s range. Bikes got new O-rings in the coupling, and a complete replacement part in some cases.

6. Honda VFR800, ST1300, CBR1100 XX, XL1000V and GL1800A - 8,687 bikes recalled in July 2005

Can you spot the component that connects the VFR800, Pan European, Blackbird, Varadero and Goldwing? Yup, it’s the CBS linked braking system, which in this recall was found to be prone to leaking fluid due to a manufacturing fault in some proportional control valves used on the bikes. The fix was simply to check the bikes and replace the dodgy parts with ones manufactured to the correct specification.

5. Yamaha YZF-R1, FZ6, FJR1300, TDM900, MT-01, XV1700PC and XT660R - 14,384 bikes recalled in October 2006

Electrical components are commonly shared between multiple models, which explains how the same recall can hit bikes as disparate as the Yamaha R1 and the XT660R. The issue here was a dodgy throttle position sensor, which led to some bikes having an unstable idle speed or even stalling. The recalls simply involved checking whether the bad part was fitted and replacing it with a good one.

4. Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R6  - 14,885 bikes recalled in March 2000

Funnily enough the problem here was virtually identical to the issue that hit the YZF-R125 a dozen years later (in 10th on this list). The sidestand switch bolt could come loose or fall out, making the switch inoperative and allowing the bike to be ridden even if the stand was still down. A new set of nuts and bolts solved the issue, so at least it was a cheap fix for Yamaha, even though it was spread over nearly 15,000 bikes.

3. Suzuki DL100, GSF1250, GSF650, GSX1300, GSX-R600, GSX-R750, SFV650, VL800, VL1800R - 16,255 bikes recalled in April 2011

It's one of those pesky electrical issues again, this time a regulator/rectifier used across a massive range of Suzukis. It could fail, leading to a flat battery that might, in extreme circumstances, lead to the engine stalling. The fix was simple; replace the regulator/rectifier unit with a good one.

2. Triumph TT600, Speed 4, Daytona 600, Daytona T595, 955 Speed Triple, Sprint ST, Sprint RS and Tiger - 16,421 bikes recalled in June 2004

This multi-bike recall was down to a risk that plastic fuel pipe connectors on the fuel pump mounting plate could break, leading to a fuel leak. The fix was a redesigned part made of metal instead of plastic – simple, but effective.

1. Suzuki GSX-R600, GSX-R750 and GSX-R1000 - 29,422 bikes recalled in November 2013

With approaching twice as many bikes involved as the next biggest recall, we have a runaway winner here. The problem itself was also the reason it involved so many machines; it involved a brake master cylinder that could corrode over a period of time after water had been absorbed by the brake fluid. The corrosion itself wasn’t even a big problem, but the gas created during the corroding process stayed in the brake system, making for a spongey lever and possibly reduced braking force. Given the complex and lengthy process leading to the problem, it’s understandable that it wasn’t spotted during development; it’s the sort of flaw that takes years of real-world use and abuse to emerge. The fix was a new master cylinder for all 29,422 bikes.

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