Consumer Reports conducted a study with over 12,000 riders to determine the reliability of certain motorcycle brands within the first four years of ownership, specifically focusing on major or minor mechanical failures that required repairs. Harley-Davidson was ranked as the least reliable brand on the list, with 26% of their bikes predicted to require repairs.
Victory came in fourth place with 17% of their bikes requiring repairs, followed by Kawasaki in third place with 15%. The top two most reliable brands were Indian with 11% and Yamaha with 10%. It is important to note that regular maintenance and oil changes were not considered as repairs in this study. While American brands have some representation on the list, it would be interesting to see an American-made bike with European style at a Japanese price point. The study sheds light on the need for motorcycle manufacturers to focus on improving reliability and meeting consumer expectations.
According to Consumer Reports’ deputy editor Jeff Bartlett, BMW motorcycles have a four times greater chance of mechanical failure within the first four years of ownership compared to other brands. In fact, almost half of all BMW and Ducati models require service before their fourth birthday, indicating that BMW motorcycles are not as reliable as some other brands. While BMW motorcycles may have a higher initial cost, the increased repair costs can add up over time, making them an expensive choice for riders.