Harley and BMW Owners Say Their Brands Are Less Reliable, but More Satisfying

moto mechanicConsumer Reports magazine has conducted their first ever motorcycle reliability survey and they say that a quarter of all Harley-Davidson owners reported experiencing a major problem with their motorcycle in the previous four years.  BMW owners reported their motorcycles are even less reliable, with 33% of owners reporting problems in the previous four years.  Japanese import owners reported fewer problems,.(10% or less)

The full report will be released tomorrow, March 28th.  In the advance release of the report, no mention was made of responses from Triumph, Ducati,  Victory or Indian owners.

Interestingly despite the higher percentage of owners reporting problems with their motorcycles,  BMW and HD owners reported being the most satisfied with their motorcycles.  An overwhelming number of Harley-Davidson owners, 75% told interviewers they would buy their bike again.   BMW and Honda owners also reaffirmed their purchase at 74 and 72 percent respectively.

"Reliability is one of many factors consumers might consider when purchasing a motorcycle. However, other factors like sculpted lines and rumbling engines also strike the right note among motorcyclists," said Rik Paul, Auto Editor, Consumer Reports.

Among the bikes that needed repairs, survey respondents reporting having the most trouble with accessories, such as lights, instruments, switches, and radios (21%), brakes (20%), the electrical system (16%), and the fuel system (15%). Fortunately, most repairs were fairly inexpensive. Three quarters cost less than $200 out-of-pocket.

What about you?  Are you happy with your bike?  Take our poll below and tell us!

Web Staff


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  2. According to one of the reporters I saw covering this, it is because motorcycles with the hard luggage tend to need more repairs to those components and HD and BMW have larger lineups with these options it put them over the top. I am not a BMW fan but I don't think BMW would actually be the least reliable as far as mechanics, but it made least reliable on this report solely based on overall number of repairs. Not based on what kind of repairs.

  3. I ride a 2009 Road Glide. Had to buy a wind shield to cut down on severe buffeting at speed that would make my head rattle so hard I couldn't focus (a known problem I discovered after spending well over $20K), a seat for long mileage comfort (a known problem I discovered after the fact), and suspension so it would send me to the chiropractor when I hit a small, square edged bump that all my other motorcycles absorb without notice (a known problem I found our just AFTER the nick of time). Yes, I like the sound. Yes, the chassis is stable for a big, heavy motorcycle. But overall, I'm really disappointed. Basically, I spent over $20K to get a good basic kit. It's now up to me to make it a good motorcycle. It's my last Harley, for sure.

  4. I prefer my motorcycle MADE IN AMERICA. WHich is why I ride a VTX1800 instead of a Harley….lol.

  5. I am throughly happy with my Honda VTX 1800. Very reliable with plenty of power. Unfortunately Honda has TOTALLY abandoned the V-twin touring market!

  6. I have a 1998 harley electra glide classic which I ride daily now have over 260,000 miles on her,yes I would buy her again and again. She is getting repainted the same colors,police peace officer colors 2 tone blue cant wait to get back on her.


  8. "Ah it's a piece of shit, but I like 'er anyway….Cuz she's a Harleeey!"

    I love the braindead Harley moron mentality.

  9. Hmmmm.. Have no problems with my HD. Maybe it's because the satisfied customers don't complain?

  10. I ride a 2003 Suzuki VL 1500 LC. Although I would like to have a Harley, I am very happy with my Suzy. She has been dependable and I have learned to keep her running just fine.

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