The 10 Most Reliable Motorcycle Companies - Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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The 10 Most Reliable Motorcycle Companies



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Here at Motorcycle.com we get to ride all of the newest, latest, and greatest motorcycles on the planet. However, more often than not, our time with each bike spans the course of weeks, maybe months (but definitely not years), as new bikes are constantly flowing through our proverbial garages, waiting to get tested. This means we have reviews of almost every motorcycle on the market, but it also means that we lack firsthand experience learning about long-term durability and maintenance. So, when our readers ask about the reliability of a certain make or model, it’s a difficult question to answer, as reliability testing requires ownership for several years – something we simply aren’t in a position to provide.

Thankfully, the folks at Consumer Reports have compiled a motorcycle reliability study, gathering information from more than 11,000 riders, sharing their experiences on more than 12,000 motorcycles purchased new between 2008 and 2014. With this data, CR adjusted for mileage ridden over a 12-month span and estimated failure rates. Like golf, the lower the number (or percentage, in this case), the better the score. CR’s language in the link above is vague, using words like “trouble prone” and not defining what constitutes a failure. Nonetheless, the results are still relevant. Here they are, from worst to best.
Read more about The 10 Most Reliable Motorcycle Companies at Motorcycle.com.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 04:55 PM
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It didn't do Victory any good to be reliable did it.

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 05:43 PM
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Read a paragraph, click next, want for page to load, read a paragraph, click next, wait for page to load.....am I on Facebook? Did I just get suckered into a click bait website?
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 06:30 PM
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Looks like it covered most major brand.


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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 07:37 PM
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 10:28 PM
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Same old recycled crap where they asked riders their opinions of the brands they owned?

If anyone did an actual study based on real facts I'd be interested in reading that. Like, compare repair costs vs. miles ridden. Warranty claims vs. miles. Etc., etc.

But as far as I know that information isn't published by ANY motorcycle company.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eye_m_no_angel View Post
Same old recycled crap where they asked riders their opinions of the brands they owned?

If anyone did an actual study based on real facts I'd be interested in reading that. Like, compare repair costs vs. miles ridden. Warranty claims vs. miles. Etc., etc.

But as far as I know that information isn't published by ANY motorcycle company.
It would be a safe bet that they all keep repair figures in detail. They just aren't telling anyone.

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 04:59 AM
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I think you are wrong Dods, they did tell. There is only one brand that was in production that was dumped. One could read not enough repairs to make money. We have proof on this site that that brand can make it to the north pole and back without problems. Yet it was dumped.

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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 07:32 AM
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Since manufacturers don't make money on repairs maybe that brand had too many warranty claims to be profitable? Who knows. More like they just didn't sell enough because not enough people liked the way they looked.


"North Pole?"
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 10:23 AM
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I work for a large manufacturer (not a motorcycle one, mind you) and have worked in warranty and repair related jobs there for the last 5 years (nearly). Nowadays I am probably responsible for processing about 30 to 40% of their jobs for the UK and have worked in customers services and also dealt with complaints, I would agree, yes, manufacturers are not so forthcoming here. :P From the working in customers side of it, we get the awkward question "is this common?" and when they're calling about a known fault, it's a difficult question to answer, you shouldn't lie, yet you're not supposed to go around advertising known faults. Why? We'll cover them anyway, but at the same time, it opens a can of worms, because suddently any troubleshooting is irrelevant and the customer is convinced they're one of the people affected by this known fault, even when they're not or may not be eligible for free repair for another reason. Whilst we do not carry specific amounts of data, we do keep tabs on issues that end up more common, report them back and give an idea of where problems lie. Can be useful to the factory, can also be useful for being prepared for customers with these issues and also how known faults become known faults in the first place and get covered outside of warranty. But I have never seen this information come out in any way that is forthcoming. Usually, this sort of stuff comes from independent review and they're not going to know how many repairs we get, for what fault and product and how many we sell of each. I guess from a sales perspective too, there's issues, with bad press and all that, but I haven't sold my soul yet, so I avoid working any sales jobs and therefore do not care about sales. :P But to my mind, I would like companies to be more forthcoming, but I understand why they're not.

So statistics are generally quite unreliable and can be skewed, but are still more reliable than anecdotal evidence, which for a number of people is enough: "my mum had a Sony TV, it was terrible! Poor picture and only lasted three weeks! Don't buy Sony, they're awful!!!". There's a lot that stats don't tell us, to play the stereotype game, how many people who ride Harleys fall into the "mid-life crisis" category? And how many of those know how to maintain their machine and respect it? How many Ducati riders are boy-racers who don't take care of their bike and abuse their engine? And what about specific models? Which could be skewed by 1 or 2 poorly build products? Where the rest of their line could be acceptable. Like Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 exploding its way into the market (literally)? I suspect all those recalls have messed up any statistics on Samusng's reliablilty of phones after the last couple of years.
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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 11:08 AM
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So I guess I'm going to have to read the link!!!!!

Come on, help a BRO out

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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 02:00 PM
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Spoiler:

Yamaha won. With Honda/Suzuki tied for second and Kawasaki coming in after them with small margins between each.

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Eye_m_no_angel View Post
Since manufacturers don't make money on repairs maybe that brand had too many warranty claims to be profitable? Who knows. More like they just didn't sell enough because not enough people liked the way they looked.


"North Pole?"
Well not all the way but way north. You know, Alaska and other points north where no sane person would ride a street bike.

And no they don't make money on repairs but do getting the customer back in to look around and ultimately buy something.
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 03:50 PM
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Thanks Mate!

Now I don't have to waste grey matter any more than possible

That works out good then because my new Cruiser is a Yamaha and and my Adventure bike is a Suzuki!

I still would trade both of them for Hog's Indian

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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 04:31 PM
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Nope, you ain't getting it Porky. It's right at the top for the best bike I've owned.

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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 04:44 PM
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DANG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 09:47 PM
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Would you really want to ride around on a seat that Hog's had his sweaty butt on?
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 09:52 PM
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I see what ya mean EYE

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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 10:04 PM
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 10:11 PM
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A good leather cleaner would take care of that!


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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Porky View Post
I see what ya mean EYE

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You looking at my butt too Sam? Now that's a....Dang!!!

Leave butt alone too.

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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Porky View Post
Thanks Mate!

Now I don't have to waste grey matter any more than possible

That works out good then because my new Cruiser is a Yamaha and and my Adventure bike is a Suzuki!
No worries.

From what I have understood, going Japanese in general is good for reliability and at least with the big 4 you are less likely to go wrong with them. Though I recall in another thread somebody mentioning reliability of Honda Goldwings, but could be the product rather than the manufacturer, as in my exploding Samsung Galaxy Note analogy. Honestly, don't know why Samsung just didn't give all their faulty Notes away to ISIS.

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A good leather cleaner would take care of that!
Are we talking about for his seat or his butt?

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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogcowboy View Post
Well not all the way but way north. You know, Alaska and other points north where no sane person would ride a street bike.

And no they don't make money on repairs but do getting the customer back in to look around and ultimately buy something.
I did ride to North Pole, North Pole, Alaska and then another 500+ miles north.


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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 11:38 AM
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Sweet awesome & totally factual review by motorcycle.com!!!

..I'm going to take my Yamaha/Star Raider out for a cruise right now to celebrate

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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Rollin' View Post
I did ride to North Pole, North Pole, Alaska and then another 500+ miles north.


Yes, there it is Eye, our number 1 crazy rider.
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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 10:06 PM
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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 12:54 AM
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And darn it, I ride a Yamaha RoadStar (now called Star) because I'm a swell guy. Actually, I ride two. But not at the same time. Usually.

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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 08:23 AM
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It doesn't matter what anyone rides---just do it

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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porky View Post
I still would trade both of them for Hog's Indian
you made me check to see what he had. That thing is purdy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hogcowboy View Post
Nope, you ain't getting it Porky. It's right at the top for the best bike I've owned.
How about me? I got a 85 Yamaha XJ700 with 30k miles showing on the broken odometer and needs a new back tire for trade.

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Are we talking about for his seat or his butt?
Just give him the stuff and see what he does with it. You get to watch.
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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eye_m_no_angel View Post
Since manufacturers don't make money on repairs maybe that brand had too many warranty claims to be profitable? Who knows. More like they just didn't sell enough because not enough people liked the way they looked.


"North Pole?"
Not on the repairs, but on selling the parts to make those repairs

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post #31 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
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Not on the repairs, but on selling the parts to make those repairs
Harley, for example, doesn't make any money on parts for warranty repairs. Or not very much, anyway. They reimburse the dealer at cost, and the dealership breaks even on parts, but loses slightly on operating expenses. The Moco covers it's costs and has a small profit margin, but that gets eaten up very quickly by the labor costs in warranty repairs.

On parts for non-warranty repairs they both do better, of course, and the dealer makes a profit on non-warranty labor, but the Moco doesn't.

I don't know how other brands do it, but I'd guess it's a similar sort of system. Too many warranty repairs can really kill a company.

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post #32 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 03:05 PM
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Well quality sometimes has little to do with success, one only has to look at a McDonald's or Chickfila drive thru with cars wrapped around the building to determine that. Victory is a great example. I also think there was a lot of mismanagement going on there as well... and on the "big" bikes, polarizing designs. Too many hates, not enough loves. Fantastic machines though...

The problem I have with these studies is they don't really qualify the circumstances around a "failure". The vast majority of people I know leave a motorcycle "stock" for all of about 3 days (ok, minutes) after purchase. Many of us have parts sitting around BEFORE the bike is in the garage. And most of said "sweet mods" consist of garage bolt ons and piggyback fuel controllers, in which the actual true running condition of the machine is never tested. I just wonder sometimes, how many of the failures are due to these reasons, and not necessarily the as-produced machine from the factory. We'll never know I suppose... but it sure would be interesting to have real data on 100% stock machines.

My mind drifts to a Pirsig quote, after Porky posted about his death today:

“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn’t any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it’s right. If it disturbs you it’s wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”

When it comes to "satisfaction", that pretty much nails it I think..
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One name that isn't on the list is Moto Guzzi. Is the failure rate that high on them or did it get "left out?"
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post #34 of 36 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
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One name that isn't on the list is Moto Guzzi. Is the failure rate that high on them or did it get "left out?"
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I wouldn't be macho enough for one of those.

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post #35 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 06:00 AM
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Logic tells me that most or all established companies are
going to sell models that last with good maintenance and
not pushing the bike past it's limits on rpms, fluid levels, etc.

That being said, my KLR 650 was dead-on reliable for 23,000 miles
when I sold it. One time ever did it leave me stranded. Looked up
factory weak points and addressed them early on was probably key.

The Sporster never broke down in 30,000+/- miles, and the Dyna only
suffered a cooked stator in roughly the same mileage total.

These things just don't "blow a rod" or "lose 2nd gear" unless there's a
neglect issue or some seriously hard throttle on parts that are engineered
to work but not overly beefy. Beefy costs money. When good enough is called
for, that's what goes into a production run. Riding within the realms of the machine's
design usually gives a long and happy life.

Yeah, HD's have stator issues, Ducati's have valvetrain issues, Beemers seem to
have driveshaft failures but most are minor and traceable to a model specific
or year specific problem and time has shown that those
issues get dealt with at the company level. One can see the changes they sneak in for
reliability fixes in the advertising: "Improved oiling system", "larger capacity generator" for
acccessories, New 7 plate clutch, etc (which was a fix for a warping issue with 5 discs)
Too many dead batteries alleviated by the previously mentioned larger output charging
system and similar ads. They make it sound great and actually is overall. Yeah, the
dealerships need some high dollar infusions here and there, but hopefully make the big
bucks to stay in biz with brake pads, chains n' sprockets, batteries etc at a higher volume
and lower profit per unit sold. I dunno the behind the scenes details of how all their income
flow is broken down by category.

Just another point of view. The bikes I took care of returned the love.
The ignored rides of younger years didn't last without many repairs.

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeap
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post #36 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:59 AM
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Turd, that was a great post and point of view

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