C 400 GT: Anyone Figure Out A Way To Add A TPMS?

wspollack

Member
One of the two* major disappointments, to me, of my new scoot is that:

1) It doesn't come with -- or, so far as I know, have an option for -- a TPMS, and;

2) The Schrader valves being sideways, up in a wheel "spoke," preclude adding a typical TPMS sensor, such as the ones FOBO makes (which I added to my Burgman 650, for instance), because there is insufficient clearance with the brake calipers.

I don't know whether BMW thinks this non-standard valve position is a convenience for the owner, when checking or adding air, or if it's one of those cases in which BMW is just being BMW, i.e., weird for weird's sake. But the bottom line is that you can’t add an external sensor.

So, has anyone come up with a solution?

- Can those in-spoke valves be replaced with a low-profile right-angle valve, for instance, which might allow clearance for an external sensor?

- Has anyone just drilled through the wheels, in the way a normal valve is positioned in a normal wheel, added a new metal valve and a sensor to that, and just sort of ignored the existing valves (except maybe to add air)?

- Is there an internal TPMS sensor (the way cars have) that can be put in the stock C 400 GT wheels?

- Something else, that I haven't thought of?

Thanks for any help here. I've added TPMS to my last two bikes, and I really miss it here, if only for a pre-ride check that doesn't require me to get on the ground or a low stool, and break out a gauge.

* (BTW, the other major disappointment I have is that there is no cruise control. If I were a religious person, I might consider it a sin, when a bike has ride-by-wire but no factory cruise is offered.
 
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Delray

Active member
Your farkling skills are way more advanced than mine, so I won't presume to give you advice.

On a positive note, there must be a solution. When the rear sensor on my 2013 C 650 GT failed, I bought a Chinese knock-off for $10 (vs. BMW's $300 version) and a "wake-up" tool for another $10 and fixed it. Easy enough to put a sensor in the tire, just not sure how you read it.

Quick Google turned up a TPMS product for the C 400 GT but shipping to the U.S. costs twice what the product does! Have any European friends who could help you out with an NGSC? (Non-Gouging Shipping Charge) Here's the link: https://www.motea.com/en/tyre-press...400-gt-x-tpms-rdks-tourtecs-digital-a259573-0

I commiserate fully. TPMS is a critical piece of equipment. I had FOBO on three Burgmans. When I flew to Charleston, South Carolina in May to buy my current C 650 GT, I was greeted with, "Oh, by the way, I just had a flat tire." I trust my tire-plugging skills enough to ride it 555 miles home, but that ride had a lot less anxiety with the constant reassurance of live TPMS readings (or, in German, RDC ... Reifendruckkontrolle).

Speaking of which, just for grins, here is a German-language forum for the C 400. Google makes it easy to copy & paste for translation if you see a subject header that interests you, or wish to post a question (writerly tip: use short sentences, more likely to be translated accurately). I searched "RDC" but didn't get any hits. https://www.bmw-maxi-scooter.de/index.php?sid=a5423d3262d7b43b4536b17495222c22
 
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wspollack

Member
Mike, thanks for your reply, the research, and your time and effort!

I may have to revisit getting some new FOBO sensors. What I did a week or two was rotate the front tire -- in the stock configuration, no sensor on it -- and it looked MIGHTY close to part of the brake caliper.

Now, taking a look at the Motea sensor you cited, if I understand the write-up correctly, it's 24mm in height. I don't think there's that much room, even if it says (remarkably, IMO) that it fits a 2022 C 400 GT.

Meanwhile, back to FOBO. I have the Gen 1 sensors. According to the manual I have: "Sensor Dimension H x D: 15mm x 26mm."

Regarding the newer FOBO Gen 2 sensors:

FOBO_BIKE_2_Image_PS001162916.png

And that page (my-fobo.com/product-family/FOBO_Bike_2) says, "Sensor Dimension H x D: 13.8mm x 20.2mm." So, I guess the H is height and D is diameter, based on the pic. This is a little smaller -- the height is the critical dimension, vis-a-vis the GT -- than the Gen 1, and significantly less than the 24mm of the Matea.

As I implied, I just used a calibrated eyeball is dismissing my FOBO Gen 1 sensors as being inappropriate for the GT. The stock Schrader end just looked WAY too close to the caliper to me.

What I have to now make the effort to do is get on the ground again, maybe use a pack of feeler gauges or something, and, depending on those results, maybe actually take off a FOBO sensor and give it a try ... or see how much it might ALMOST work, given that the Gen 2 sensors are slightly smaller. (I wouldn't mind buying those new Gen 2 sensors, because I have been very pleased with FOBO for a few years now.)

Thanks again for your help. Looks like this is the impetus for me to crawl around some more, especially given Matea's assertion that their product fits a 2022 400 GT.
 

Delray

Active member
Sounds like the smaller Gen 2.0 FOBO might work nicely. I love FOBO. Can't see how anyone rides a motorcycle without TPMS. Before it, constantly checking tire pressure by hand was extremely unpleasant. That's not a feeling you want associated with riding.
 

wspollack

Member
I just emailed FOBO, asking them if they know how much the Bike 2 extends beyond the end of a Schrader valve ... when a Schrader valve is completely screwed inside it (assuming there are sufficient threads on the valve). That is, how much it ADDS to the end of the valve, as opposed to those 13.8mm or 16.2mm physical dimensions of the sensor. I'll report back when they reply (and I've asked them a couple of questions over the years, and was pleased that they actually got back to me).
 

wspollack

Member
Gen I FOBO: Not Even Close

Yesterday, in the course of doing some other things with bikes in the garage, I removed one of my original (i.e., Gen I) FOBO sensors from the 2008 Burgman 650, to see what would happen on the 2022 C 400 GT.

Rear Wheel:

No problems: screws nicely onto the stock sideways "in-spoke" valve stem, and rotates freely, without contacting anything.

Front Wheel:

Insurmountable problem. First, the sensor sort of brushed against a bolt or rivet head, or something; at that point, I gave the wheel a little more of a rotation, and the sensor came smack dead against part of the caliper. Pics or it didn't happen:

2022-07-02_11-48-34.JPG
2022-07-02_11-49-31.JPG

This is not something that a Gen II sensor (which at best, if I understand the data correctly, might be 1.2mm shorter) can fix. In fact, a sensor would have to be remarkably more low profile, completely unlike any external sensor I have ever seen, in-person or in pics.

This is looking more and more like the solution is an internal sensor, or a new valve-stem hole drilled right into the rim (probably voiding every warranty known to humankind and BMW's lawyers), or a different wheel.

BMW ought to be ashamed of itself for not offering factory TPMS on the C 400 GT, in concert with apparently preventing an owner to adding a typical aftermarket unit.
 

Delray

Active member
Interesting, thank you for sharing that. And discouraging, but if anyone can figure out a solution, you can.

No TPMS is a deal breaker for me. My dream bike now is the BMW CE 04, the new electric scooter. It has TPMS as an option (ka-ching!), along with optional higher windscreen, center stand, top case ... (ka-ching! ka-ching! ka-ching!).

You still have the Burgman? I figured it would be gone by now. Yesterday a 50-year friend in Rochester said if I ever buy a bike up there, I can store it in his garage during the winter. Heck of a nice offer and has me thinking.
 

wspollack

Member
TPMS:

Well, maybe I'll just buy a pair of the new FOBO Bike 2 sensors, put one on the back wheel, and keep the other in the box. That'll cut my bending over in half.

FOBO responded to my email overnight, thusly:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Bill,

Thank you for highlighting your concern.

The FOBO Bike 2 sensor will need at least 5-ish thread counts to get it properly tighten on your bike’s valve. From there, you can estimate the actual height of the sensor after it has been screwed onto the valve stem.

Since you have the original FOBO sensors, attached information might help you to estimate the height differences between the two. We found out the sensor are not compatible with most of the BMW bikes with this valve arrangement as it will hit the brake calliper. However, you may check the dimension differences prior buying.

Let us know if you need more help.

Best Regards,

Hazwan Nazri
Engineer - Sales & Field | Salutica Allied Solutions Sdn. Bhd. (a subsidiary of Salutica Berhad)
3 Jalan Zarib 6, Kawasan Perindustrian Zarib, 31500 Lahat, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
M + T +605 320 6886 F +605 322 2029


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He included a pic, similar to the diagram at FOBO's site (under "Specifications"), which didn't add much to the discussion.

The bottom line is still this:

- A mm or two difference isn't going to matter.

- I believe that the Motea30 site that you found is complete BS, regarding suitability for my 2022 C 400 GT. It's possible that those sensors will work on earlier years on a C 400 X (I never bothered to look at the valve stems on our rental C 400 X last month -- maybe they come through the rim, as on a normal bike) or maybe even a GT, but they certainly won't fit on my 2022 bike. And notice that there are NO user reviews on that page.

- If some sort of sideways valve can be substituted for the stock valves, that might be a solution. But I don't think the internal nut on the typical low-profile sideways valves will fit inside the spoke area, so this is unlikely.

- Maybe BMW will add a TPMS option in the future, before I die, and maybe that could be retrofitted.

Burgman:

The 650 is essentially sold. By that I mean that the gentleman from Scranton has already paid me for the bike (via PayPal). So that shows his good faith, his adulthood, etc.

I haven't marked it as sold on BUSA yet because I'm waiting for him to show up here -- which we've penciled in for a week or two from now -- look over the bike, see that my pics and descriptions are accurate, and take it for a test ride, and head back home; if it does NOT meet his approval for some reason, I'll return his money. When, as I expect, the bike is gone, I'll mark the ad paid. If they had a "Sale Pending" option, I'd note that.

I changed the engine, trans, and final drive fluids two days ago, so he will not have to deal with that for another 5K (my usual interval, and it was c. 4K past my last change), as a final bonding with the Big Burger, and for a possible increase in good karma.
 
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Delray

Active member
"Well, maybe I'll just ... put one on the back wheel ... That'll cut my bending over in half."

That's probably what I'd do. You may know most flat tires on a motorcycle happen in the rear. That's because the screws or nails or pieces of metal that cause flats are rarely standing upright waiting for the front tire to roll over them. They're laying flat on the road. As the front tire rolls over them (harmlessly), it stands up the screw or nail or propels it with great force at the back tire. Front-tire flats are more likely to be valve-stem related (which unfortunately, can be catastrophic -- so use metal valve stems, folks!). Two summers ago I had a bad string of luck where I had three flats in 90 days on a Burgman 650. I learned a lot about flats that summer.

Another fascinating flat tire fact I learned firsthand: If you're riding over 50 mph and pick up a nail in your rear tire that penetrates enough to cause a flat, a motorcycle tire is spinning fast enough at that speed to hold the air inside, so you don't experience a high-speed blowout. When you slow down, the air begins to leak out, and that's when you get the "bike weaving through mud" feeling that tells you the rear tire is flat. Never had a front flat so I don't know what that feels like.

Congrats on the B650 sale. Mr Scranton is getting an excellent buy and bike.
 
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wspollack

Member
Great minds think alike. While you were reading, thinking, and then typing, I had already convinced myself (who better to listen to than one's self?):

Screen Shot 2022-07-04 at 10.37.58 AM.png
 
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