Survey Says Japanese Motorcycles More Reliable Than American and German Bikes

Image courtesy Yamaha

Image courtesy Yamaha

Consumer Reports has just released its first-ever motorcycle reliability survey and – as if mimicking recent automotive surveys – Japanese motorcycles ranked better than American and German models.

The survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, says about one in four Harley-Davidson owners reported a major problem in the first four years of ownership, and that BMW motorcycles had even more problems reported than that.

By comparison, the study showed only one in ten Yamaha owners had issues, followed closely by Kawasaki and Honda.

Despite experiencing a higher rate of problems with their motorcycles, Harley and BMW owners are apparently the most loyal. When asked if they would buy their bike again (with hindsight being 20-20), 75 percent of Harley owners answered a resounding “Yes” followed by 74 percent of BMW owners, yet only 63 percent of Yamaha buyers would repurchase, and a mere 60 percent Kawasaki owners would make the same choice.

Top issues reported were related to accessories such as lights, instruments, switches and radios (21 percent), followed by brake problems (20 percent), and fuel system (15 percent). Most of these repairs were reported as being fairly inexpensive, running under $200.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.