Who makes the most reliable motorcycle?

We rate 10 big brands

Published: April 07, 2015 02:00 PM
2015 Star 1300

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What began as a battle of the motorcycle brands to show who makes the most reliable motorcycle has resulted in a nationalist showdown. Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki are all among the more reliable brands, based on our survey of more than 11,000 Consumer Reports subscribers. The predicted failure rates for four-year-old motorcycles ranged from 11 to 15 percent in this group.

The domestic brands Victory and Harley-Davidson fell in between the extremes, with 17 and 26 percent, respectively.

The remaining brands—Triumph, Ducati, BMW, and Can-Am—were among the more trouble-prone. In fact, BMW and Canada-based Can-Am are both estimated to have failure rates of around 40 percent by the fourth year of ownership.

Reliablity by brand

Brand Percent failed
Yamaha/Star 11%
Suzuki 12
Honda 12
Kawasaki 15
Victory 17
Harley-Davidson 26
Triumph 29
Ducati 33
BMW 40
Can-Am 42

With a larger sample size than in our previous motorcycle survey, now counting 12,300 motorcycles, we were able to add more brands and resolution this year. For this analysis, we adjusted for mileage driven over a 12-month period and estimated repair rates for 4-year-old models without a service contract.

Reliability is but one measure. We found that owner satisfaction creates a much different picture. For more details, including methodology, see the full report.

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

Jeff Bartlett

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