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Which motorcycle brand has the highest owner satisfaction?

Comfort and low-maintenance costs are key factors in revving up a happy rider

Published: April 09, 2015 11:00 AM
2015 Victory 8 Ball and High-ball

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If you want to know how satisfied someone is with their motorcycle, ask them how comfortable it is. In our latest motorcycle survey, we found that fun, styling, acceleration, even handling (with one exception) don’t distinguish motorcycle brands. The best differentiator is comfort.

In analyzing data from over 12,300 motorcycles across 10 brands, Victory leads the pack with best overall owner satisfaction. Plus, it gets a top mark for comfort, followed by Can-Am and Harley-Davidson at better than average in comfort. Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Triumph each got the lowest mark for comfort, which may have had an impact on their overall satisfaction.

Impacting overall satisfaction and reflecting reliability, we saw cost of maintenance and repair be a satisfaction issue with BMW, Can-Am, Ducati, and Harley.

Owner satisfaction

Brand Would definitely buy again
Victory 80%
Harley-Davidson 72
Honda 70
BMW 68
Can-Am 67
Ducati 66
Yamaha 65
Triumph 63
Kawasaki 59
Suzuki 58
2015 Can-Am Spyder F3
Photo: TYLER GOURLEY

Most other satisfaction categories saw close ratings across the brands, with handling being the other exception. Can-Am, with its distinctive three-wheelers, was judged to have average handling satisfaction—lower than every other brand. Based on our experience, the Can-Am Spyders don’t have the natural agility associated with traditional motorcycles. Not a bad thing, but the riding experience is quite different. (New Spyder F3 models aim to address some criticisms, by boosting power and agility, and adding more adjustability for comfort.)

If you’re considering a big V-twin cruiser or touring bike, it would be wise to take a Victory for a test drive. Victory not only excelled in owner satisfaction, but the company had a strong showing with reliability—putting it almost on par with leading Japanese brands.

For a more diverse model selection, Honda stands as a safe choice, performing well in both owner satisfaction and reliability.

No matter the brand, an important insight from our more than 11,000 responding subscribers is comfort is important. Be sure to focus on this factor when taking a test ride, and if necessary, explore options for dialing in the handle bars and pegs to improve on the default factory set-up. Many motorcycles, especially newer models, have significant options for such adjustments.

Visit our motorcycle buying guide to see our full motorcycle reliability and owner satisfaction ratings.

Jeff Bartlett

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