According to Consumer Reports, motorcycles from Harley-Davidson and BMW are less reliable than machines from Japanese manufacturers Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha.
The magazine published a story this week which gathered information about 4,424 motorcyclists and their experiences with 4,700 motorcycles bought new between 2009 and 2012. They compiled that data into some very interesting findings.
According to the article, BMW fared the worst. About one in three BMW riders needed major repairs in the last four years; about one in four Harley-Davidson riders had needed major repairs in the last four years.
Yamaha had the best record of all the bike manufacturers, with only about one in ten riders needing major repairs. Honda and Kawasaki were close to that number.
Consumer Reports split the repairs into several categories (frame, wheels, brakes, transmission, etc). They found the most-frequent repairs were done to accessories, like the bike’s lights, meters, switches or radio; 21 per cent of riders had repairs to accessories on bikes they’d bought in that time period.
Brake repairs came in second at 20 per cent. The electrical system was the third most common system at fault, with 16 per cent of bikes needing repairs, and 15 per cent of machines needed their fuel systems repaired.
No matter what the numbers said, Harley-Davidson and BMW owners were happy with their purchases. Seventy-five per cent of Harley-Davidson owners said they’d buy from the MoCo again, and 74 per cent of BMW riders would buy another Beemer. Honda had similar brand loyalty – 72 per cent would buy another Honda – but Yamaha and Kawasaki only had 63 per cent and 60 per cent of owners willing to re-purchase their brands.
Expensive repairs to transmissions, motors, etc. seemed to be low for all manufacturers. And of course, the survey only looked at machines built in the last few years, and the sample size was fairly small.
The report also emphasized the importance of routine maintenance as a method of preventing more expensive repairs.