Hex GS-911 review | Motorcycle diagnostics and service reset tool

Hex GS-911 review | Motorcycle diagnostics and service reset tool


Date reviewed: September 2022 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £366 | www.hexgs911.com


While some riders lament the ever-growing dependence on electronics in our motorcycles, the fact is that they’re here to stay. And while I do love the simplicity of working on my 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R, I can’t deny that the 2019 BMW S1000XR I used to own, and the 2019 R1250GS I now have, do some pretty amazing stuff with the aid of silicon.

It’s true though that a mechanic’s increasing reliance on computers to diagnose any issues – and to reset service indicators – has been pushing home maintenance further out of the reach of many of us, but as with anything… someone always finds a way.

I’ve been using the Hex GS-911 diagnostic tool for the past three years on my S1000XR and the GS, as well as lending it to a professional mechanic to see what they thought…


Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding access to your bike’s systems
  • Excellent technical support
  • Latest update makes it much easier to use

  • Would be great if it worked with more brands of bike
  • Enthusiast version restricted to 10 VINs, but that should be fine for most people
  • Can take a little setting up

The Hex GS-911 is supplied in a handy case


Hex GS-911 pricing and compatibility

The Hex GS-911 works with a huge number of BMW motorcycles (and four BMW-derived Husqvarnas); this function chart shows every bike that the Hex GS-911 can used with, and what options you have, though be aware that some of the much older machines listed use the old three-pin interface, which is no longer in production.

All of the latest bikes have an OBD-II port, the same as you’ll find in cars, while earlier BMWs have a round socket with ten pins. The GS-911 is available with either connector built in, but adaptor leads are also available for £30.

Most riders will only need the ‘Enthusiast’ version of the GS-911, which is restricted to 10 VINs (Vehicle Identification Numbers). In either the 10 pin or OBD-II WiFi models, this costs £366. Realistically, it seems unlikely that most riders would need to use this with more than 10 different bikes, but the WiFi models can be upgraded at a later date to ‘Pro’, which allows unlimited VINs, for $400 (about £350 in Sep 2022).

It’s important to note that there’s also a USB version of the Enthusiast OBD-II GS-911 that can NOT be upgraded at a later date. This costs £276, and only works when plugged into a PC (not Mac) computer.

The ‘Pro’ version – with unlimited VINs – is only available on the WiFi devices, and costs £690.

Note that at the time of writing, BikeSocial members can save 10% on all Hex Innovate products.


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An adaptor cable is available for the GS-911 to work with old and new BMWs


What does the Hex GS-911 do?

I first used vehicle diagnostics on my wife’s Toyota Rav 4. I’ve always serviced our cars and motorcycles myself, but when this 2003 model threw up an engine warning light, I had no idea what to do.

Having previously been stung by VW for a fault code reset after an airbag warning light had to be turned off, I bought a relatively cheap unit that would give me some control (the cable to the Golf’s airbag in the seat had been wrapped around the slide lever during manufacture, and had eventually ripped itself out. I fixed it, but had to pay the dealership to switch off the warning).

The Autel MaxiScan MS509 was a basic generic code reader, so like many was restricted to only working on emissions-related error codes (this is all the vehicle manufacturers were obliged to keep standard), but it was enough to tell me that one of the four lambda sensors on the exhaust had failed. I didn’t know which one, but by disconnecting each one at a time and re-scanning, I was able to pinpoint it and replace the part.

That code reader had paid for itself, but the Hex GS-911, being dedicated to BMWs, does much, much more…

This function chart will tell you what systems you can work with on your bike, but let’s look at my 2019 R1250GS…

ECU information, fault codes, real-time sensor values and service function tests including output tests and calibrations are available for the following:

  • Engine controller
  • ABS
  • Instrument cluster
  • Body controller (integrates all the separate systems)
  • Semi-active suspension
  • Tyre pressure monitors
  • Alarm
  • Keyless ignition (no output tests/ calibration)
  • Emergency telematics (No real-time values or output tests/ calibration)

The 2012 onwards BMW R1200GS is actually slightly more supported, offering output tests / calibration on the immobiliser / keyless ignition system.

Hex Innovate is constantly developing the features available to bikes; for instance when I first got the device, the S1000XR was brand new, and some of the features were limited, but it’s now supported to the same extent as the R1200GS, and new features are being added for models fairly regularly.

But what does all this mean? Well, basically, you can see pretty much everything that the bike is doing in real-time on a graph while it’s running, you can activate things like the horn, fan, brake light etc to diagnose faults, and you can read any fault codes as well as clear them.

And you can reset the service interval warning.


Hex GS-911 review service reset diagnostics_15a


The real-time values can be extremely useful, with the option to view as data or as a graph, and to record that data on the phone. You can select any number of fields to view, and here’s everything that’s available from the engine controller on my R1250GS:

  • Battery voltage
  • Air temperature
  • Coolant temperature
  • Front wheel speed
  • Rear wheel speed
  • Calculated wheel speed
  • Ambient air pressure
  • Fuel pressure
  • Engine RPM
  • Target Idle RPM
  • Camshaft RPM
  • Fuel sense voltage
  • Lambda sensor voltage
  • Gear position
  • Side-stand switch
  • Clutch switch
  • Clutch switch 2
  • Oil switch
  • Start switch
  • Kill switch
  • Mode switch
  • ASC button (if fitted)
  • Fuel pump
  • Exhaust flap position
  • Exhaust flap adjustment completed
  • Immobiliser starter release
  • Starter enable release
  • Starter protection
  • Ignition angle
  • Ignition coil closing time
  • Injection time bank 1
  • Injection time bank 2
  • Throttle twist-grip position
  • Throttle valve sensor 1
  • Throttle valve sensor 2
  • Lean angle
  • Immobiliser allows start
  • Lambda control factor 1
  • Lambda ceramic temperature bank 1
  • Lambda pump current bank 1
  • Lambda control factor 2
  • Lambda ceramic temperature bank 2
  • Lambda pump current bank 2

Just some of the functions the Hex GS-911 offers


Hex GS-911 now works fully on Mac and mobile

When I first got the Hex GS-911 it had to be connected to your home WiFi and to a PC. The WiFi on the unit itself can be set up using a Mac or PC app downloaded from Hex, but the actual diagnostics software had to be installed on a PC only. There’s also long been an Android or iOS app, but this too was limited in that it wouldn’t allow you to access the service functions.

But that’s all changed… now, the Hex GS-911 can access everything via a web app on PC, Mac, Android or iOS, making it much quicker and easier to use.

Of course, to access all the functions, the GS-911 must be connected to the internet, but that can be done using a phone in WiFi hotspot mode, or – as will be the case for most users – via your home WiFi.

Having a good signal is important; I first connected to the WiFi booster inside the house, which is very strong in the garage but was unreliable for the GS-911 (you can test the connection strength on the WiFi Utility app). Once I’d switched over to the main router though, the GS-911 worked flawlessly.

As the PC I was using was very old and slow, I now only use the Hex through my Android phone or an iPad. The OBD-II port on the R1250GS is underneath the right-hand battery cover; remove one screw and it’s easily accessible to plug the GS-911 in. The unit quickly connects to WiFi, then open the app, turn on the bike and it’s all up and running.


Hex GS-911 review service reset diagnostics_16a

With the iPad running the GS-911 app, there’s more screen space to view a real-time graph of data.


When there’s no data connection available, the GS-911 will still work in a limited functionality ‘device to device’ mode, which is intended for use when you’re out and about, and could be a real essential for adventure riders and long-distance tourers. Obviously a well-maintained bike should have no faults, but if something does go wrong, this mode still allows the user to connect to the GS-911 with their phone to view the ECU information, read and clear fault codes and check real-time sensor values for the engine control units.

The Hex comes with a good-quality carry case that can also fit the USB cable and a 10-pin adaptor, but while small, it’s potentially a little bulky for those who want to carry this on a long-distance adventure and might be looking to save space. A simple slip-on cover for the GS-911 would be a great addition, though if you have access to a 3D printer, I’ve designed one you can download here.


The Hex GS-911 is not a generic piece of kit inside


Alternative to the Hex GS-911

The Hex GS-911 is a professional-level tool that’s relatively easy to use and has excellent customer support. I twice emailed to query a fault code when I first had the device and was very impressed with the extremely quick response. Granted I was emailing during working hours, but I got a reply in just four minutes!

At £366 it’s quite an investment, though one that should pay for itself very quickly and last a lifetime. However, there is an alternative in the MotoScan app, which is only available for Android devices. It costs £10.86 for the ‘Basic’ version that allows the reading and deleting of fault codes and displays real-time data. £21.82 gets you the ‘Professional’ version, which adds actuators and the ability to reset service intervals, while the ‘Ultimate’ version unlocks the service functions and encoding of control units for £35.54.

You also need to buy a Bluetooth OBD adaptor £69.99. The ELM327 is another adaptor option, with many very cheap units available, but the MotoScan website warns that there may be functional restrictions with these devices.
I’ve not been able to test the MotoScan app so can’t compare the two directly, however forum users report it working well, if some say it’s less full-featured and not as easy to operate as the GS-911, especially with some missing translations from the developer’s native German.

Ultimately, the Hex GS-911 is an extremely well-made piece of kit, with very solid after-sales support. There can also be no questions of hardware compatibility as it’s sold as one package.

I must admit to having been nervous when I first saw the full range of options in the Hex GS-911 software, but the well-explained interface and excellent build quality put me at ease when plugging into the heart of what is a very expensive machine.


Hex GS-911 review service reset diagnostics_17

Andy Pilkington services his R1200GS himself, using the Hex GS-911 for a lot of the work


Second (and third) opinions

I lent the Hex GS-911 to professional mechanic Andy Cartledge at BSD Performance when I first got it; “We used it on four bikes – an F800, S1000RR and two GSs – and pretty much every service item was on there.

“A lot of things let you just reset the service lights, but this does so much more. We had a bike in that had the date set to 100 years in the future! This allowed us to reset it.

“The cheapest USB version of the GS-911 will let you do everything, but having the WiFi model really does help – we were working on a bike that was outside while sitting at the desk with the computer.

“Obviously you need a little bit of computer knowledge, but this’ll do everything you need to do. This is the ultimate for BMW, and much better than generic readers.

“If you’re a BMW enthusiast, it’s a must have.” And since then, a lot more features have been added, due to the constant development being carried out by the South African company.

I also spoke to Andy Pilkinington back in 2016: “My 2013 BMW R1200GS Adventure is out of warranty, so I self-service now. I have a GS-911 diagnostic tool for resetting the service indicator, analysis and resetting of fault codes, and a myriad of adjustments, like synchronising the throttle bodies. I just get a local BMW specialist to check the valve clearances and stamp the book.”


Hex GS-911 review service reset diagnostics_12


Hex GS-911 review: Verdict

It can be hard to describe all the benefits of the Hex GS-911 to someone who hasn’t had the need for one. At its most basic, resetting the service code could quickly save the cost of the device for someone who does their own maintenance, but it’s the diagnostic abilities that really make this so valuable.

Real-time data could flag a fault in a sensor, or the throttle, for instance, but being able to actuate items will also be a massive help. For instance, if main beam has failed, turning it on via the GS-911 would help you work out if it’s a switch or a lamp fault. You can turn on the heated grips individually, or sound the horn, indicators and every other output. If the bike’s overheating, you can check that the fan’s working correctly by turning it on, and you can monitor the coolant and oil temperatures as the motor warms up.

Bleeding brakes on any machine with ABS can be tricky, and usually needs a dealer to prime the pump, but the Hex GS-911 allows you to do that yourself. It can also recalibrate the semi-active suspension. Replaced a tyre pressure sensor? This will allow you to pair it with the bike…

You could even use the real-time values as a datalogger to plot speed, revs, throttle position and lean angle. It’d take a little spreadsheet work, but the data’s all there.

The Hex GS-911 won’t turn every rider into a home mechanic, but it will allow those who can do their own servicing, to be able to fully navigate, interpret and operate the various electronic functions of the bike. As such, the Hex GS-911 is an essential tool and thoroughly recommended.

Be sure to regularly check for discounts available through BikeSocial membership.



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