What type of motorcycle would you guess would be the most reliable. The expensive Harley Cruiser? Your Japanese “crotch rocket”? That BMW touring bike?
Well know we have the first glimpse of answers to these questions. CONSUMER REPORTS has released its first ever study of motorcycle reliability. The study analyzed the reliability of 4,680 bikes owned by CR subscribers and found that Yamaha had the best ratings, with just one in ten bikes built between 2009 and 2012 requiring a repair over a four-year period. The makers of the R1 and R6 sport bikes were closely followed by Kawasaki and Honda, while one out of every four of the rumbling bikes from Harley-Davidson experienced an issue. BMW had the worst rating of the brands represented, with one in three bikes having problems.
As for which parts of the bike caused the biggest headaches, CR cites things like lights, instrumentation and switches as causing 21 percent of repairs. Worryingly, brakes were the issue in a fifth of cases, while the electrical and fuel systems were problematic 16 and 15 percent of the time, respectively.
Overall, CR claims 20 percent of the 4,680 bikes surveyed had problems, but 75 percent of the issues cost less than $200 to repair. Touring bikes were the biggest troublemakers, followed by dual-sports, sport tourers, and cruisers. As far as I’m concerned, this is just one more reason to own a bike. Low maintenance costs. Even if you are unable to work on your own bike, it’s cheaper for others to do your repairs than it would be to keep your car running properly. And it’s a lot more fun.
Take a look at the Consumer Reports website for the full breakdown.