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I've had two bikes now- a Suzuki boulevard, and a Kawasaki Vulcan. Both started having engine issues between 55-70k miles. I'm not a motorcycle buff; just looking for a solid commuter bike that is going to last a bit longer than 55-70k miles. Is there A bike with better lasting power, or should I just buy as cheap as possible (used) and expect to throw them away in a few years? Thanks
 

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I heard of very high mileage on V-strom 650's which has a proven bullet proof V-twin engine.

Another bike used by couriers in London is the Honda NC700 which was designed with commuters in mind. The gas tank is actually a trunk that will hold 22 liters of stuff. You also can find leftover 2014-17 brand new models at a good price.

2017 NC700X Overview - Honda Powersports
 

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Ace Tuner
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I've had two bikes now- a Suzuki boulevard, and a Kawasaki Vulcan. Both started having engine issues between 55-70k miles. I'm not a motorcycle buff; just looking for a solid commuter bike that is going to last a bit longer than 55-70k miles. Is there A bike with better lasting power, or should I just buy as cheap as possible (used) and expect to throw them away in a few years? Thanks
"Is there A bike with better lasting power,"

Yes, a liquid cooled Yamaha or Honda in-line four cylinder machine that does not use hydraulic lifters.
 

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Save them all!
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I have a buddy who has over 200k on his Vulcan. I think he rebuilt it once during that, but he swears by the bike.

Goldwings are known to go well over 200k if taken care of. Some folks swear by BMW. Modern HD bikes also..
 
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BMWs boxer twins are famous for lasting forever. They come in everything from the air cooled R9T models to the very long legged R1200RT, which is probably my favorite motorcycle in the universe except that it's too tall for me.

Another good choice is Harley. Some people will scoff and laugh at that, but the 1980's were a long time ago and for the last 10 or 20 years, HD has made bikes that last and last and last. They have a dealer network to beat the band, and you don't need a 45 inch inseam to get a bike with real highway credentials.

HD makes about 230k bikes per year, BMW about 165k. So, both are really big companies that can back up their product and have quality dealerships that (generally) take care of you over the long haul.

According to consumer reports in 2015, over a four year period the most reliable bikes were as follows:

1. The Big Four Japanese, with Honda at the top, Suzuki at the bottom, but all in a tight group, with about 13 to 17% of bikes needing repairs in the first four years.

2. Harley Davidson (gasp!) with about 26% of bikes needing repairs in the first four years.

3. BMW with about 40% of bikes needing repairs in the first four years. :surprise: (Yep - a shocker. But, I don't have the info on which models and they have had issues with kickstands on several models. I speculate that the boxer twins contributed minimally to this group, and that the "repairs" on those models were for on peripheral do-dads like the heated grips or the little motor that moves the windshield up and down on some models. Gosh I want a bike with a motorized windshield that goes up and down. So cool. /sigh)

Victory was almost on par with the Japanese brands, and had the highest owner satisfaction, to boot.
 

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Ace Tuner
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BMWs boxer twins are famous for lasting forever. They come in everything from the air cooled R9T models to the very long legged R1200RT, which is probably my favorite motorcycle in the universe except that it's too tall for me.

Another good choice is Harley. Some people will scoff and laugh at that, but the 1980's were a long time ago and for the last 10 or 20 years, HD has made bikes that last and last and last. They have a dealer network to beat the band, and you don't need a 45 inch inseam to get a bike with real highway credentials.

HD makes about 230k bikes per year, BMW about 165k. So, both are really big companies that can back up their product and have quality dealerships that (generally) take care of you over the long haul.

According to consumer reports in 2015, over a four year period the most reliable bikes were as follows:

1. The Big Four Japanese, with Honda at the top, Suzuki at the bottom, but all in a tight group, with about 13 to 17% of bikes needing repairs in the first four years.

2. Harley Davidson (gasp!) with about 26% of bikes needing repairs in the first four years.

3. BMW with about 40% of bikes needing repairs in the first four years. :surprise: (Yep - a shocker. But, I don't have the info on which models and they have had issues with kickstands on several models. I speculate that the boxer twins contributed minimally to this group, and that the "repairs" on those models were for on peripheral do-dads like the heated grips or the little motor that moves the windshield up and down on some models. Gosh I want a bike with a motorized windshield that goes up and down. So cool. /sigh)

Victory was almost on par with the Japanese brands, and had the highest owner satisfaction, to boot.
I'm not surprised to see Honda on top and Suzy at the bottom.

My service list goes like this..... (IMHO)

1 ~ 2 .. Honda/Yamaha tied, sort of, kinda, depending.
3 .. Kawasaki third and sometimes giving Suzuki a run for fourth.
4 .. Suzuki

IMHO only
 

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I have a Honda Valkyrie which has the same motor as a Goldwing and while I don't put a lot of miles on mine there or plenty of people with 100s of thousands of miles on them. I would buy a Goldwing in a heartbeat if I had the money! I had a number of bikes over the years none of them every had a lot of miles me Yamaha Virago was a great bike but it started having problems with the starter early on then the carbs started giving me trouble. I had a hard time keeping it running but I loved the bike. I also had a Kawasaki Vulcan 1500 I loved this bike as well but I didn't use it enough to keep the carbs working and then the clutch froze on me so I sold it. I just got my Valkyrie this year and like the others I don't put a ton of miles on it which mines it sits a bit I try to start it just to keep the carbs clean so far it seems to be working. I had to let it sit and idle this week to get it running smooth but it didn't take much and it runs like a top now. There is nothing like a 6 cylinder it runs so smooth it purrs not roars like a V-twin.
 

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On The Road Again!
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William, I think that if you do your reading, you will find that Hondas, partcularly the Goldwings, will run further with no trouble than anything out there.
Forty years ago, it was the BMWs that went the distance.
But not anymore.
I bought a '74 BMW when I was young and ran that thing up to 172,000 trouble free miles. But I wouldn't own a new BMW. Too many reports of problems.
I currently ride a '99 Goldwing. I regularly see reports on the Goldwing forums of people with 200,000, 300,000 even as much a 500,000 miles on these bikes. I know a guy who recently sold a '89 Goldwing with 475,000 miles on it!!!! They were built to last. Period.
 

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I had a Honda ST1100 when I was working in Australia, it had over 200,000 km (120,000 miles) on it. Only problem I had with it was it was a little high for my dimensionally challenged inside leg measurements. But it'd cruise at 180 km/hr - 115 mph (even 200 km/hr - 125 mph) all day long. At more legal speeds I'd get over 500 km/300 miles out of a tank at 110 km/hr - 65 mph.

So it might be worth looking at Honda ST1300s. I've heard good reports of the Yamaha FJR100 as well.

The Honda ST1100 and ST1300 are real Sports Tourers. Just give them regular oil and filter changes and they'll last forever.
 

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FYI, Goldwings (2001-2016?) needs a final drive just after 100,000 miles if not maintained correctly. The good news is that the final drive are very cheap ($200) used due to part gets discarded when converting to trike. Goldwings and NC700x have a few issues with water pumps but they may be due to people not changing radiator fluid at proper mileage thus increase on wear. Goldwings better than nc700x since no chain and sprockets to deal with.

Several BMW have problem with final drive and very expensive to fix ($2000-$3000) and happens with even less than 20,000 miles. Happen to my friend.

Brake fluid should also be changed on time method, 2 years, due to water getting into the fluid over the years.

Tires is your next issue for long term bike usage. Car tires last a lot longer and available for goldwings & FJR. See darkside for more details.

On other hand, Suzuki boulevard used are very cheap for the 40s and 50s and still have shaft drive. Would not buy new.
 

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Goldwings last forever, liquid cooled and shaft drive so they are a bit more complicated but they have a proven track record A used Goldwing could be a great value depending on if it suits your commute, not so good for city traffic but great on the road. I think smaller Hondas are known for going the distance too.

Yamaha bikes are known to last and not expensive, I had excellent reliability with a Vstar.

Victory isn't made any longer but they are cheap because of it and long lasting too, 150-200k isn't unusual at all. Simple air cooled Vtwin with hydraulic valves and belt drive so very low maintenance. My daily commute ride is a Victory Vision with 93K, I expect 150k-200k out of it. My commute is all interstate so a big touring bike suits me perfectly.

Indian hasn't been around long enough to find out but they are made by the same guys that built Victory. Not cheap though.
 

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V65 Junky
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Old BMW K bikes are bullet proof.

I was at a rally in August and a 1989 K100RT was there with 426,000 km's on it. Never had any mechanical work done to it. The long time owner said he still rides it 100 km's back and forth to work during good weather each day. The cosmetics were tired on it, of course.

Lot's of K bikes with 100's of thousands on them.
 

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I’m not gonna comment on what bike to get as you already have some good info concerning your question. However, since you mentioned Suzuki, and specifically the Boulevard, I’ve read that the smaller sized ones were only good for @ 50k , but the older model larger ones are pretty solid mechanically. I have a 2003 Intruder VL1500 myself,rebranded as a C90 in ‘05, they’re known to be pretty long lasting. Mine was low miles when I got it about six years ago. I have less than 40k on it now , so I’m told it’s just broken in .Some are over 200k without a rebuild.
 

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If you're killing an engine in ~50k miles, sorry, but you're not properly caring for that engine. I've ridden for 45 years and I've never killed an engine despite riding, roughly, around the equator ~6 times. I've sold them at various, high (~60-90k) odometer readings with the engine still going strong. Have a buddy that just flipped a 100K miles on an 84 Honda 650 that he bought new in 84 and he got there on nothing but routine maintenance.

Rules:
1. Don't ride it like you stole it.
2. Buy the best oil and change it often (Mobile1 and Amsoil).
>For bikes where 1 oil lubes everything, change the oil every 2000 miles.
>For 3 hole bikes, Harley, change the engine every 2500 (use energy conserving Mobile1 car oil; 15w50), the primary every 2000 (Mobile1 Racing 4T 10W40), and the gear box every 4000 (Amsoil 20W50).
>Buy a reusable, stainless steel micron mesh oil filter from K&P or Pure Power (Both Made in the USA)...they are pricey, but they'll last the life of the bike and do a far better job than paper filters.
>Do not buy a cheap reusable, MADE IN CHINA, filter from places like ebay...they are JUNK and have been shown to pass more and larger particles than the cheapest paper filters.
3.Buy the service manual and do what it says when it says to do it.

No way you'll kill a bike in 50K miles following those 3 rules.

PS> The oil you're taking out is still, technically, "good" except for the abrasive particles floating in it...you can use it in some other engine. Head to ebay and buy a 1 micron filter sock, run the oil through that, then put it in an old car or lawn equipment.
 

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OP: I'm surprised to hear you had motor issues at those mileage points. The question is how detailed you are on Maintenance? I just sold my '09 Hay Ultra with 90k at it ran perfect (it has hydraulic lifters, I call BS on the post that said they're not good). I am anal about my maintenance and cleaning my bikes. Maintenance is more than just a quick oil change.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

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If you're killing an engine in ~50k miles, sorry, but you're not properly caring for that engine. I've ridden for 45 years and I've never killed an engine despite riding, roughly, around the equator ~6 times. I've sold them at various, high (~60-90k) odometer readings with the engine still going strong. Have a buddy that just flipped a 100K miles on an 84 Honda 650 that he bought new in 84 and he got there on nothing but routine maintenance.



Rules:

1. Don't ride it like you stole it.

2. Buy the best oil and change it often (Mobile1 and Amsoil).

>For bikes where 1 oil lubes everything, change the oil every 2000 miles.

>For 3 hole bikes, Harley, change the engine every 2500 (use energy conserving Mobile1 car oil; 15w50), the primary every 2000 (Mobile1 Racing 4T 10W40), and the gear box every 4000 (Amsoil 20W50).

>Buy a reusable, stainless steel micron mesh oil filter from K&P or Pure Power (Both Made in the USA)...they are pricey, but they'll last the life of the bike and do a far better job than paper filters.

>Do not buy a cheap reusable, MADE IN CHINA, filter from places like ebay...they are JUNK and have been shown to pass more and larger particles than the cheapest paper filters.

3.Buy the service manual and do what it says when it says to do it.



No way you'll kill a bike in 50K miles following those 3 rules.



PS> The oil you're taking out is still, technically, "good" except for the abrasive particles floating in it...you can use it in some other engine. Head to ebay and buy a 1 micron filter sock, run the oil through that, then put it in an old car or lawn equipment.
I agree with most of your post except to use car oil in a bike... especially the one you suggested. Maybe a lot of years ago you could do that but not today. Go with Mobile One synthetic MOTORCYCLE 20/50 V-Twin for a Harley it's the go to oil and it will work well in "all three holes". My point isn't so much the brand but to stress not to use car oil.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

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OP: I'm surprised to hear you had motor issues at those mileage points. The question is how detailed you are on Maintenance? I just sold my '09 Hay Ultra with 90k at it ran perfect (it has hydraulic lifters, I call BS on the post that said they're not good). I am anal about my maintenance and cleaning my bikes. Maintenance is more than just a quick oil change.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
" hydraulic lifters, I call BS on the post that said they're not good "

It's just that I've had to tell toooo many people that their bike is not worth fixing after failed hydraulic lifters 'took out' so many other parts that it would not be cost effective to repair.
I will admit that I believe the bikes owner is mostly at fault for skipping an oil change or two but it's very, very rare for a non-hydraulic set up to be so sensitive to a couple of missed oil changes.
I've seen a few hydraulic lifter failures on big twin Kawasaki's that can not be explained by a lack of fresh oil.
I stand by my statement... It comes from experience.
 

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Swamp Rat Rider
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" hydraulic lifters, I call BS on the post that said they're not good "

It's just that I've had to tell toooo many people that their bike is not worth fixing after failed hydraulic lifters 'took out' so many other parts that it would not be cost effective to repair.
I will admit that I believe the bikes owner is mostly at fault for skipping an oil change or two but it's very, very rare for a non-hydraulic set up to be so sensitive to a couple of missed oil changes.
I've seen a few hydraulic lifter failures on big twin Kawasaki's that can not be explained by a lack of fresh oil.
I stand by my statement... It comes from experience.

Many Harley EVO's have gone well over 100,000 Miles without a lick of trouble with Hyd Lifters and Many Twin Cams have as well .. Adjusting the Valves, Especially the Bucket/Shim Type can be a Major PITA to do, main reason decided to let my Scout go for Trade in rather than my 15 year old Dyna which is doing just fine with Hyd Lifters .. On the other hand my Harley 1951 Panhead with Solid Lifters was a piece of Cake to Adjust , 10 Minute job ..
 

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Visionary
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What exactly goes wrong on a bike with hydraulic valves? Usually they last forever, if a hydraulic lifter fails it makes an awful racket, you get it home or to a shop, change the lifter, and get back to riding. My experience is based on Victory..Victory engines have hydraulic valve adjusters and cam chain tensioners. Both are very reliable but occasionally one fails, it's changed, and that's it. Never heard of any damage. What did people do, ride with a collapsed lifter for 10,000 miles? I'm not even sure that would hurt much but it would take a clueless idiot to ignore the noise long enough to hurt anything.
 
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