Getting new keys to your locks

I've been trying lately to get my locks fixed, following the advice on the /5 website. It turns out that things are not always as easy. Mainly it is a question of finding a good locksmith.

As far as numbers are concerned…or cutting from code…just forget about it. The codes are part of quite a general system also used by BMW on their later bikes. The code looks like AA and then five numbers from one to five which indicate the depth of the cuts reading bow to tip with 5 shallowest and 1 deepest. If you know this number for your motorcycle, a locksmith can cut a key for you.

If you don't …he can't.

Your BMW dealer won't be able to help you. He can sell you a new steering lock and a new seat lock, but won't be able to get a set with matching numbers. At least in Europe this is the case. He will not be able to look up the code of your lock with the help of your framenumber. I mailed BMW AG directly and they told me that they didn't keep this information for the /5 series, if it was ever there in the first place.

The first thing to do is to get the steering lock out of the steering head. This requires picking. Find someone good. You have to turn counterclockwise and pull. Keep the front forks completely leaned over to the far side. Not only will this make working on the lock easier, but it will avoid that the locksmith locks your motorcycle by pushing and releasing the lock. Finding someone to pick the lock will take some time, since most "locksmiths" won't admit that they're absolutely shit at it, and will be poking and prying away for half an hour muttering things like "I can't get a grip on this …" or "it's really an awful lot smaller than a door lock…". Don't even bother going into shops that just duplicate keys or calling 24/7 lock opening services. Look in the yellow pages and find the advert which explicitly states "lost your keys ? no problem …making of new keys on a lock" or such. This will probably be the right guy. Anyway…the fourth one I tried was able to pick the steering lock and get it out of the fork. Maybe there is a number stamped on it. On two old ones there was, on a new one i've seen there wasn't. This number is M0317. It won't help you. It's a serial number or something. You'll have to have a key made on the lock. Point out to the locksmith that if he is going to open the lock to get at the cylinder, there are two metal pins locking it in place, and the only way to get the cylinder out is drilling those out. If he confidently says it's not a problem and that he knows what he's doing, you've just been lucky and you've found the right guy. If he kind of talks over anything you say, you'll probably have to wait a week, after which he'll point out the two locking pins to you, telling you that he's not up to drilling those out, and that you better go look for someone who can. Out of 48 "locksmiths" in Antwerp…there was one guy that could do this job. That's one in 400.000 residents. It takes some searching. Once you've found the right guy, he'll make two keys on the steering lock for the same price it would cost you to buy a new steering lock with two keys that won't fit the seat lock. If your lock configuration is still original, this key you got made will operate the seat lock. If, for some reason, you can't get the bike to the locksmith or vice versa, and hence the steering lock not out of the bike, one might reason that taking the seat lock out (which is an awful fumbling with a ratchet drive, a philips screwdriver bit, a lot of WD40 and your fingers, but does not require picking of the lock) and taking that to the locksmith is just as good. It isn't. The steering lock has five tumblers, the seat lock one less. One cut of the key (the one near the bow, or the first one in the key code) is not used in operating the seat lock, so five keys will fit. If the first number of your code is a five, you're lucky, and the key will operate the steering lock as well. If it's not, it won't, even if your steering lock is still original.

If one of the locks is broken and beyond repair, BMW still sells them new. Take them to a good locksmith (see above) to rekey them. It probably takes less effort to do this on the steering lock.

One final note : If you have the optional tank cap with the lock, this one has a different key, even if it was put on in the factory. I haven't ventured into the realms of having a key made on this or have it rekeyed to match the rest of them. I need it to ride J

Best of luck,


Pictures I have of the locks (just for your curiosity ;-)

Seat lock. The locking pin is at the downside of the brass piece. There's another one hidden in a groove under the retaining ring, which is on the lock in this picture.

Seat lock without retaining ring. The groove with the pin is at the lower right, just visible. The groove is, the pin isn't. There are two spring assemblies in this lock, which allow you to take the key out in both the open and the closed position.

Complete seat lock assembly. When fitted together, it all fits very neatly. The back cover is used to pressurise the spring that presses the lever forward which catches the seat pin. You can puch the lever back by pressing the button. "Locking" the seat is done by turning the brass catch on the lock behind the lever so it can't move.

This is the lever and the spring in the lock assembly. You can clearly see the wear of 30 years of use on the lever, the lever is supposed to be straight. This one here needed to be replaced. If so, the complete housing with the lever, button and spring must be acquired.

Here I took it all apart and you can clearly see the lever, the pin holding it (flat piece on top !) the button and the spring, and the lock.

This is a picture of the steering lock out of its housing. What is usually on top is down in the picture, and both locking pins are hidden. One is to the left and slightly below the screwhead you can see. The other one's about half a centimetre from the front of the lock, right at the back in this picture.