The 10 Most Reliable Motorcycle Companies - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-21-2017, 12:48 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 8 Old 04-21-2017, 04:27 PM
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Not terribly surprising....

"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-22-2017, 02:37 AM
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Anecdotes do not make truths. This is all bullshit. At least use current data before you post this shit.
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A play on words, or words on play
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-22-2017, 02:42 AM
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Anecdotes do not make truths. This is all bullshit. At least use current data before you post this shit.
Not to mention that it's a little weird to say "most reliable", but then brands like Victory are described in terms of customer satisfaction. True, I'm more likely to be satisfied if my bike spends more time being ridden than repaired...

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post #5 of 8 Old 04-22-2017, 03:14 AM
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Consumer Reports accepts zero advertising . Their data is as close to unbiased as they can manage. Vehicle history data is all survey based and analyzed..... actual owners reporting on their own experiences. There's more than 30 years of car and truck data which covers nearly every mfg, for nearly every model (by model year) sold in the US.

It's more difficult to get the same level of data on bikes.... There's a much smaller sample pool. I don't know the current ratio, last time I saw a published number, motorcycles amounted to about 1% of the vehicle population. CR typically reports model data when there is 5 year's of mfg. The bike market is often more fickle than that, and bikes are crashed out of service at a higher rate than cars or trucks.

I have been waiting for CR to publish bike related data, for nearly 30 years. I have used them to determine my car purchases for that long. Every model of vehicle I have owned, has followed the data they have published. If they say that a particular make and model is reported to have issues with electrical, cooling, engine, transmission, exterior or interior........it happens.

I drive Toyotas and Hondas, because they have the lowest rates of failure, bar none.

At this point, I have had to rely on personal experience for this sort of data, on bikes. My personal observation is similar.... the Japanese have been making bike that are on the whole more reliable than anything else.

That stands to reason, as they are also out producing everyone else. If the product doesn't make it through the warranty period, the company goes broke. The less recalls, the greater the profit.

02

"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-22-2017, 04:49 AM
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The companies that make the most thorough use of statistical control during the mfg process, seem to be the manufacturers who have the most consistently reliable products for sale.... I think there is a reasonable correlation between the two.

I was a bit disappointed that companies in the lower tiers of mfg were not included in the write up.... Kymco, Hyuosong, the Indian mfgs, etc. One could presume they would have fared worse than the 'less reliable' companies as reported here. Confederate, etc.... the 'boutique' mfgs were left out entirely. Not surprising, if the production run is measured in less than 100 units a year; but it would have made a stronger case one way or the other.

Most of the recent start ups -- the reborn Norton, Royal Enfield, A couple of others whose names escape me at the moment, have died off due to lack of market penetration, and the ability to sustain themselves through the first 5-10 years. Victory is a prime example of NEARLY making it through the painful years..... so close. Polaris is still at it in the bike market, just moving name plates to Indian.

The problem for Polaris, is almost all of their product lines have not been street vehicles. Warranty work on ski mobiles, and watercraft are not reported with the same level of visibility as things the DOT has a hand in. they don't have a long history selling into the DOT environment. With the 3 wheelers they are now marketing, they will learn the rest of it, I think. (I believe they are the overall corporation for both the CanAm Spyder, and the Slingshot?)

"Basic stuff fellas. Use your head for something other than to break your next fall."

"There's this adage that we have 2 ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately with the Internet people have taken this old adage and turned it around. They have two eyes and 10 fingers so they think they need to post 5 times as much as they read. And since they have 10 fingers and one brain, they only have to think 10% of the time! "
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-22-2017, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ2112 View Post
The companies that make the most thorough use of statistical control during the mfg process, seem to be the manufacturers who have the most consistently reliable products for sale.... I think there is a reasonable correlation between the two.

I was a bit disappointed that companies in the lower tiers of mfg were not included in the write up.... Kymco, Hyuosong, the Indian mfgs, etc. One could presume they would have fared worse than the 'less reliable' companies as reported here. Confederate, etc.... the 'boutique' mfgs were left out entirely. Not surprising, if the production run is measured in less than 100 units a year; but it would have made a stronger case one way or the other.

Most of the recent start ups -- the reborn Norton, Royal Enfield, A couple of others whose names escape me at the moment, have died off due to lack of market penetration, and the ability to sustain themselves through the first 5-10 years. Victory is a prime example of NEARLY making it through the painful years..... so close. Polaris is still at it in the bike market, just moving name plates to Indian.

The problem for Polaris, is almost all of their product lines have not been street vehicles. Warranty work on ski mobiles, and watercraft are not reported with the same level of visibility as things the DOT has a hand in. they don't have a long history selling into the DOT environment. With the 3 wheelers they are now marketing, they will learn the rest of it, I think. (I believe they are the overall corporation for both the CanAm Spyder, and the Slingshot?)
I was surprised that KTM didn't make the list over Polaris. My experience with them is one of bulletproof, nigh on Japanese levels of reliability. There are a few smaller-named makes here in Europe, but the reliability factor can vary. Husqvarna makes pretty solid rides, but fellow Swedish manufacturer Husaberg appears to make bikes that are seem more at home in the workshop.

Royal Enfield has been going for decades. They have decidedly lower-end build quality, but their archaic and agricultural design means that you can stick a roll of gaffa tape and an adjustable wrench under the seat and fix pretty much anything in minutes.

Triumph was really revived when Bloor took over the works in the mid 80's. They've had a few shonky items here and there, but over the last couple of years, they've been pretty solid.

As far as Honda, I'd trust them to last a lifetime in either two or four wheel variety. Gear-driven cams may add a tiny bit to the weight, but it means you'll NEVER have a problem with cam chains or the timing of the cams at high revs again. I've seen a VFR750 with a genuine 200K+ odometer, and you'd never know it had done more than 20.

I'd have a genuine interest in seeing Toyota make a motorcycle.

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The best advice I ever received was "Just look pretty and try not to break anything."

1999 ZX6R (G2) - Pipewerx exhaust (dB killer removed) | Dynojet Stage 1 | K&N air filter | flushmount front LED indicators | Clear LED tail light with integrated indicators | Scottoiler eSystem | Pyramid Plastics hugger | HID headlight | Stubby levers | HEL braided steel lines | 07 ZX6R radial master cylinder | Bar-end mirrors | Double-bubble screen | Crash bobbins | one hell of an anal-retentive owner.
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-10-2017, 10:46 AM
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I'm not sure if I missed it, but what is their definition of "failure" I wonder if 40% of BMW's have a total failure within 4 years.
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