Japanese bikes score over BMW & Harley on reliability, but owners least bothered

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BMW less reliable than japanese

Consumer Reports National Research Centre in its survey concludes that Japanese motorcycles outscore BMW and Harley Davidson when it comes to reliability. The trio of Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha were found to have one issue among ten motorcycles when compared to BMWs  reported to have one problem for every three motorcycles with  owners experiencing major problems during their ownership in the last 4 years. Surprisingly Harley Davidson scored better points when it comes to their motorcycles with one problem reported for every four motorcycles.

Harley Davidson less reliable than Japanese

But reliability issues deter them from making a similar choice with 75% of Harley Davidson and 74% of BMW owners choosing to buying the same brand of motorcycle again. Honda owner’s aren’t too distant with 72%  vouching to go in for a Honda again. 63% of Yamaha owners and 60% of Kawasaki owners would make a similar choice.

japanese bike most reliable

The survey indicates that reliability alone isn’t a factor towards purchase of a a particular brand of motorcycle.

Rik Paul , Auto Editor, Consumer Reports states “Reliability is one of many factors consumers might consider when purchasing a motorcycle. However, other factors like sculpted lines and rumbling engines also strike the right note among motorcyclists.”

The other deciding factor is the type of issues cropping up in the motorcycle. The Survey reported that 75% of the issues were inexpensive at below $200 towards repairs (though that’s too costly in the India context). Most of the issues faced were non mechanical with 21% problems reported in lights, switches, instrumentation etc. Brakes accounted for 20%, Electrical malfunctions at 16% and fueling issues stood at 15%.

Damn that still a long list when put together. We’d love to ask as to what factors do you consider before buying your dream bike?

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  • jerry says:

    63 ? Just a Pup, still riding my 2000 Honda Valkyrie…:)

  • jerry says:

    63? just a pup, still riding my 200 Honda Valkyrie..:)

  • Rahul Nair says:

    Well all the 600cc and above sports bikes are closely matched,, there perfomance figures are so close that only a pro rider can make out the small differences here and there between these bikes. So as a normal avg rider the most important thing for me before buying a bike is its looks.. Bramd.. Specs and one of the most important is how cofortable it is, and yes if a particular bike has major reliability issues then it would definitley have an impact on my buying decision.

  • Thanks for commenting Vic. It was a pleasure reading your experience. And still riding at this age- hats off! BTW I too ride a Honda- though the aftersales experience is a different story in this part of the world.

  • Vic Peters says:

    I have owned two motorcycles. The first, a Honda Shadow. I Bought it in 2001 and rode it 42000 miles in a year. I had just retired and my children were adults, so I decided to ride. That bike never had a repair. I then bought a 2003 Gold Wing and put 56000 miles on it in 4 years. My wife liked it more than the Shadow and was not afraid to ride on it. Again I never had a repair on it except for the recall on the frame, which was handled quickly and for free. I am 63 years old with a back problem and can still ride my Wing 600 moles a day and not be exhausted. It will also beat any stock Harley to 147 mph (redline). I did it once and it rode like it was doing 70. I get 50mpg at 65 mph. I know this is an anecdotal comment and therefore not scientific. Bu I would never buy anything but a Honda. I am currently riding a 1984 Honda cb125 Street that starts on the first kick every time. If you want a reliable bike, BUY A HONDA!