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Here at Motorcycle.com we get to ride all of the newest, latest, and greatest motorcycles on the planet. However, more often than not, our time with each bike spans the course of weeks, maybe months (but definitely not years), as new bikes are constantly flowing through our proverbial garages, waiting to get tested. This means we have reviews of almost every motorcycle on the market, but it also means that we lack firsthand experience learning about long-term durability and maintenance. So, when our readers ask about the reliability of a certain make or model, it’s a difficult question to answer, as reliability testing requires ownership for several years – something we simply aren’t in a position to provide.

Thankfully, the folks at Consumer Reports have compiled a motorcycle reliability study, gathering information from more than 11,000 riders, sharing their experiences on more than 12,000 motorcycles purchased new between 2008 and 2014. With this data, CR adjusted for mileage ridden over a 12-month span and estimated failure rates. Like golf, the lower the number (or percentage, in this case), the better the score. CR’s language in the link above is vague, using words like “trouble prone” and not defining what constitutes a failure. Nonetheless, the results are still relevant. Here they are, from worst to best.
Read more about The 10 Most Reliable Motorcycle Companies at Motorcycle.com.
 

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Super Moderator
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11,820 Posts
Yamaha. Never had a problem with any I have owned. Granted, have not owned a Honda yet, but both Kaw and Suzuki would be in third or fourth place if Honda could get the two spot from me.

And so far....other than a faulty oil temp sensor...my Triumph Bonneville has been trouble free.
 

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Headbanger/Popes of Hell
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1. Yamaha
2. Suzuki/Honda (tied)
3. Kawasaki
those are the top three. I maybe wrong on #3 but I know that the first two are right.
 

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How did HD get 6th. I have so many friends that regret they got HD's cause its either always in the shop or something that "cant be fixed" or "is normal for Harleys" as they put it. LOL..

My list is: (based on what ive owned and what I hear from others in local clubs)

1: Suzuki
2: Honda
3: Yamaha
4: Kawasaki
5: CanAm
6: Triump
7: Asprilla
8: Victory
9: Ducati
10: Everything else
 

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FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY
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16,076 Posts
Harley makes so much money on their overpriced parts and clothing line that they bribed their way into sixth place

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I think anyone buying a new Harley is too ashamed to say anything bad about it. Peer group pressure or whatever...;)
Oddly because even those that have complaints about the bike will still say they'd buy another one. Harley's brand loyalty borders on being a cult...;)

Keep in mind if the government didn't step in and tax the larger bikes Japan was planning on importing back in the 80's, Harley would have likely gone out of business.
 

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Of all the bikes I've owned, have to say the VN750 has been the most problematic, though it's never stranded me. Being able to use this forum to identify and fix many of the potential problems has helped immensely, and it's actually a reliable bike now.

Harley racists - That's my term for the brand loyalists that can't speak to riders on any other brand. They start to wave... "oops, that's a metric ... just scratchin' my helmet, not waving, nope, not me, my helmet was itching".

Speaking of helmets, WV almost ditched the helmet law, but failed.
 

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1986 VN750
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3,255 Posts
1. Honda
2. Honda
3. Honda
 

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Super Moderator
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1. Honda
2. Honda
3. Honda
That was my guess before I read the link. Given the fact most of the Big Four were so close in the survey, I think it's more of what your small circle includes.
Every Honda owner I talked to ...from ST, Goldwing and other models...they all said the bike was rock solid.
Surprisingly....got the same response from Bonneville owners....so you kinda have to take surveys like this with a grain of salt....
 

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1986 VN750
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3,255 Posts
I honestly had zero issues with my triumph, but at under 5000 miles.. I didn't have a chance to see any real issues. Sold it recently, just wasn't for me. Well made machine, though.

I just love 90s/00s Honda fit and finish. These VFRs were life-changing. :D
 

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Headbanger/Popes of Hell
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6,688 Posts
Of all the bikes I've owned, have to say the VN750 has been the most problematic, though it's never stranded me. Being able to use this forum to identify and fix many of the potential problems has helped immensely, and it's actually a reliable bike now.

Harley racists - That's my term for the brand loyalists that can't speak to riders on any other brand. They start to wave... "oops, that's a metric ... just scratchin' my helmet, not waving, nope, not me, my helmet was itching".

Speaking of helmets, WV almost ditched the helmet law, but failed.
"Harley racists", that's great! :laugh:

so what the hell happened?! not that it really matters to me, I always wear a helmet. but I'd still like to know what happened. how did it fail? :frown2:
 

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FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY
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on the Ok Yoke run Wolfie was giving me ****. said "you know this is a helmet free state?why ya still wearing yours? " so I say" ya really think my head can tolerate any more damage? " he says" you've got a real good point there.

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2014 KLR 650!
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Well, I owe a Harley, A 1995 Sportster and maybe these should be in a another class by themselves. The EVO engine is almost bulletproof. I've read so much bad about Harley Big Twins that I will have to be content with the 1200. The defects in the Big Twin cams alone is legendary. I can work on my sportster...and when I say work, I mean maintain. Ive never had any engine troubles in the almost 20,000 miles I've owned her. I did just fix a stripped out forward pulley which is probably my fault. I have gotten a flat tire. The engine has only ever NOT started when the negative ground was loose on the battery.

The fact that this bike is air cooled and can run fine in 100 degree weather is the best. Air cooled means less to worry about. Want to rebuild the the thing? No problem. Take off the tank and go to town. Want tot work on the tranny? You have a trap door into the innards. Big Twins and newer sporties suck in that department.

If I retire and can actually cruise for weeks at a time, then I'd think about a jap bike that is smooth as glass under my azz.
 

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That was my guess before I read the link. Given the fact most of the Big Four were so close in the survey, I think it's more of what your small circle includes.
Every Honda owner I talked to ...from ST, Goldwing and other models...they all said the bike was rock solid.
Having owned several Hondas, I can definitely confirm. Honda is the only brand of bike I have never had a single issue with.

It's why old CBs are so popular today. You will never go wrong. even the worst barn find will still have a solid engine that keeps going.

And they did make the single best motorcycle the world has ever seen (from mechanical/functional POV). The VFR750. Ultra-smooth V4 with gear driven cams.
It's one of the few bikes I would buy with 200K on the clock.
 

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FREEBIRDS MC CENTRAL NY
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Having owned several Hondas, I can definitely confirm. Honda is the only brand of bike I have never had a single issue with.

It's why old CBs are so popular today. You will never go wrong. even the worst barn find will still have a solid engine that keeps going.

And they did make the single best motorcycle the world has ever seen (from mechanical/functional POV). The VFR750. Ultra-smooth V4 with gear driven cams.
It's one of the few bikes I would buy with 200K on the clock.
love the old Goldwings too

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