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(In the hope I am not duplicating an already-existing thread)
Courtesy of the R1200GS forum,
Just in case anyone in this forum has this issue and had not found the time to look into it.

A summary of a quick glance at that thread, the 2 main causes pointed out seem to be:
  • Defective FOB, multiple users reported that replacing the FOB has resolved the issue
  • FOB remains/is too close to the motorcycle
Another worthwhile mentioning comment/troubleshooting tip in that thread is to use a multimeter to measure the electrical consumption of the fob, which should vary when near-vs-away from motorcycle, and should be very low when far away.
 

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I’d say option number two is the likely culprit. I’ve replaced mine once already, but I don’t know the range of the fob and I don't know if being out of range makes the battery work harder or less.
 
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I’d say option number two is the likely culprit. I’ve replaced mine once already, but I don’t know the range of the fob and I don't know if being out of range makes the battery work harder or less.
Out of range in this case should make it work less. Unlike cell phones, the fob shouldn't (I say this with a large assumption) be trying to maintain a weak connection. It should only transmit when it KNOWS there is a receiver nearby. Cell phones, on the other hand, try harder to find any signal when there isn't one available.

For instance, similar to a submarine, it shouldn't be blasting out range-finding active pings trying to find a targeting solution all the time. It should be passively waiting for some evidence of a target until it knows there is something close and within range before actively trying to allow a bike to connect and start.
 

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I keep the fobs of both my bikes on the bikes. My 1200 at almost 6 years old shows low key fob battery at 2 year intervals. My car (Honda) key fob which is stored out of range also lasts about 2 years. So my bikes are not “eating” batteries. I don’t know what the life expectancy should be. Maybe some of you who use your bike regularly can let us know your fobs lifespan.
 

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Not that this is going to help you in any way, but I’m so happy I resisted the ridiculous pressure from the BMW salesman to tick the keyless option...
If I bought my R12R new and could get a package with all the other electronic goodies I would also opt for a keyed ignition and gas tank. Does your R have the tour and performance packages? Electronic suspension, etc. I am asking just to know if the keyed option was a stand alone thing?
 

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Does your R have the tour and performance packages? Electronic suspension, etc. I am asking just to know if the keyed option was a stand alone thing?
Unfortunately for us yanks, the extras come in packages, and we can't choose "a-la-cart" features. In Europe and elsewhere, they get to pick individual items...
 

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If I bought my R12R new and could get a package with all the other electronic goodies I would also opt for a keyed ignition and gas tank. Does your R have the tour and performance packages? Electronic suspension, etc. I am asking just to know if the keyed option was a stand alone thing?

I’m in the UK and we can pretty much pick from the entire menu of individual options rather than having to accept whatever’s included in the packages.
 

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My 2017 R1200r (!Canadian model) has every option except keyless.

I almost took the other bike at the dealership with keyless instead, but it was the wrong colour and was missing the gearshift assist and rides mode pro.
 

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Not that this is going to help you in any way, but I’m so happy I resisted the ridiculous pressure from the BMW salesman to tick the keyless option...
Indeed. The salesman was keen for me to select keyless ignition. I explained to him that if necessary, I’d pay extra not to have to suffer such mince.

I almost took the other bike at the dealership with keyless instead, but it was the wrong colour and was missing the gearshift assist and rides mode pro.
I fancied the green one, but that would mean suffering keyless ignition, so I went for the black bike. The demo bike had a quick-shifter, but I thought it was pretty crude. Quick-shifters must be the most overrated gadget on modern bikes. I’m not interested in rider modes either – I just wanna switch it on and go.

Anyway now in the UK, you can select your colour without adding a whole host of options you may not want. There are packages, but everything is available as a separate option.

I have to say BMW are so mean with their standard spec that it comes almost as a surprise that the bikes comes with tyres and handle bars.
 

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(In the hope I am not duplicating an already-existing thread)
Courtesy of the R1200GS forum,
Just in case anyone in this forum has this issue and had not found the time to look into it.

A summary of a quick glance at that thread, the 2 main causes pointed out seem to be:
  • Defective FOB, multiple users reported that replacing the FOB has resolved the issue
  • FOB remains/is too close to the motorcycle
Another worthwhile mentioning comment/troubleshooting tip in that thread is to use a multimeter to measure the electrical consumption of the fob, which should vary when near-vs-away from motorcycle, and should be very low when far away.
Keep the fob away from the bike when not in use. My BMW dealer told me that the day I bought my 2018. I have never replaced the batteries and have about 15k miles on it currently.
 

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Another worthwhile mentioning comment/troubleshooting tip in that thread is to use a multimeter to measure the electrical consumption of the fob, which should vary when near-vs-away from motorcycle, and should be very low when far away.
I doubt anyone has a multimeter capable of measuring the very low current taken from lithium button cells in something like a key fob. The figure of 0.004A mentioned in the link would flatten a typical lithium button cell in less than 2 days (I cannot give a precise figure as I don't have keyless). Also, low power circuitry is usually pulsed on/off so you need additional circuitry to measure the true average current.

While I don't have keyless on my BMW, my wife's car (Ford) does. Her batteries last a couple of years or so and I have just changed mine after 6 years. The fob is always a long way from the car when not in use.
 
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