Consumer Reports: BMW & Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Are Less Reliable than Japanese o

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ta-rider, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Nevada

    Nevada Been here awhile

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    Nope. The S1000 is a better liter bike than anything coming out of Japan.
    The K1600GT is a "better" SPORT-touring bike than anything out of Japan.
    The K1600GTL is a "better" luxury touring bike than anything out of Japan.
    Reliability and cost are the two areas where the Japanese beat BMW. As the above examples, plus the GS series demonstrate, BMW can and often does beat the Japanese in performance, style, utility, and fun.

    Well, if you take a Honda CBR1000RR aka Fireblade over a BMW S1000R, then you're going for image over performance and quality is about the same. On the other hand, if you take an F800R over a FZ-8, other way around. While reliability can be somewhat fairly judged across entire brands ("somewhat fairly"), other factors can't quite so easily be generalized. Of course, if they could be, then 25% of the electrons expended on m/c forums would never be called upon to pass their lit'l charge along for our arguing pleasure, eh?
    #41
  2. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    You may be onto something with the S1000, but what about the Gold Wing? The standard to which all other luxury tourers are measured against? Methinks you forgot about that one.
    #42
  3. steelerider

    steelerider Southafricanamerican

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    Interesting, being that as far as I know the GS is one of the best selling bikes in the world. Also, I've noted over the years that BMW owners are the cheapest bastards (self included) that you will ever meet, and fully expect that just because they paid $20K for their shiny new bike it should NEVER EVER break down. A lot of BMW riders do their own maintenance, and I wonder how this affects the reliability rating.
    #43
  4. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

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    Similarly, I wonder if and to what extent HD reliability is affected by all the tinkering with after market stuff done by the pirates and other faithful.
    #44
  5. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    A tour operator here did a Trans-Africa eastern route (in just 2 months) a few years ago. Out of 8 bikes, 7 were 800/1200GS's and one guy was on a Honda XL700. That was the only bike with zero issues on the whole trip, the rest were being fixed here and there, and sometimes transported on pick-ups to get somewhere to be fixed. They only had a few days off from riding on the whole trip, and soon found out, that those were proper rest days only for the Honda pilot, and the rest were always trying to fix something.

    That said, the tour leader still rides an 800GS, made a similar trip with it to the Stans last year, and thinks it's much more fun and more rideable on the dirt, than an XL700 (and I agree on that).
    #45
  6. /dev/null

    /dev/null Been here awhile

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    I trust CR to tell me what kind of blender to buy, but I don't trust them for vehicle purchases.

    I formed this opinion when I compared their reliability data of the Chevrolet 1500 pickup to the GMC 1500 pickup. The results were radically different. These two vehicles are identical but for some minor styling differences.
    #46
  7. JeffinTD

    JeffinTD Long timer

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    Yeah, I don't have 100% faith in Consumer Reports either, especially when it comes to pickups. They seem to evaluate full size 4x4's as though they were to be used as grocery getters for little old ladies, where most buyers don't care about high step in height.


    Anyway, one of the things that bugs me about BMW is they seem to be engineered to make owner repair more difficult, especially road side.

    Every vehicle I've owned that was equipped with electronics was capable of giving diagnostic trouble codes without special equipment, even if just by blinking out a code. That includes the Harley and the ATV's I've had.

    With the Beemer, you can't even reset the service reminder without propriatary computer equipment.
    #47
  8. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    This always befuddled me too. That, and their idiotic use of internal torx heads EVERYWHERE. JUST USE FUCKING HEX HEADS GUYS! I bet just by eliminating all of their stupid fasteners and using more standard stuff, they could knock $100 off the price of a finished bike. I don't get it.
    #48
  9. verdelac

    verdelac Rust never sleeps

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    Ya know....I think this is right. I've had a couple Harley's and assembled a couple bikes too. I think every problem comes back to my incompetence as a mechanic. I have learned to be better, but at this point, I keep away with wrenches.

    For the most part.

    And garbage aftermarket parts. Wow, what a lesson.
    #49
  10. Red9

    Red9 Been here awhile

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    Just because you "don't get it" doesn't make it idiotic...
    It just means you don't understand the application.

    And if they start trying to "knock $100 off the price of a finished bike" wouldn't they just ultimately end up selling a low resale Japanese type machine?
    You pay more for quality.... :D

    1/ Torx heads will accept more torque for a given bolt size.

    2/ They also are better for shallow bolt applications like disc brakes or for use of a thinner bolt head where there are clearance issues.

    Just remember to always use the proper size bit or tool.

    (Hex heads tend to be about 50% deeper because (like a slot screw head as opposed to a Phillips) there is less usable surface area to spread torque over).
    #50
  11. EricD10563

    EricD10563 Been here awhile

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    From my experience I would consider HD less reliable than the Japanese models, but HD's large dealer network makes it easy to take care of a problem.

    In less than five years I've rode more than 75k miles on two HD's an 09 Road King and a 11 Electra Glide Limited; had some issues with the RK that was quickly fixed under warranty and had one problem with the Limited also fixed under warranty.

    Would I buy another Harley yes I would at this point I'm still happy with what they make and the dealer network. Would I buy a Beemer maybe, I just have to keep in mind that if I have a problem the nearest dealer is more than 80 miles away and if I'm not happy with the dealer I'm SOL.
    #51
  12. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    In certain situations, they are very useful. Most of the time, they are not. I had never worked on a Bimmer before, but bought a crashed frame/engine from a local shop for $100 to steal the engine out of. Torx EVERYWHERE, and most were in places they had no reason to be, like holding the plastic sprocket cover on. Really? Torx? Just one more tool you have to throw in your bike's tool kit for roadside repairs. I also found a number of hex heads requiring the seldom used 9 and 11mm sockets. MAKE THEM 10 and 12 GOD DAMNIT.

    Methinks torx and the like help BMW ensure people without a real toolbox take their bikes to the stealership for repairs (granted, most people shouldn't be allowed to work on their own motorcycles for their safety and ours), further adding to the cost of ownership.
    #52
  13. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    That applies to all makes of bikes, not just Harleys, so it affects the statistics evenly.
    #53
  14. Red9

    Red9 Been here awhile

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    I currently have an 05 Ultra Classic.
    50,000 miles and the only issue I have had is with a wire behind the fairing that shorted. Fixed by myself 2 years ago.
    There isn't a spot of rust anywhere on it. (and I am notorious for not cleaning it often and riding year round).
    New brake pads twice on the front and once on the rear.
    #54
  15. Wasser

    Wasser Spilt my beer

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    I wouldn't trust their blender recommendation either.

    As far as the Chevy & GMC, the two are actually built on the same assembly line. It was quite common when I worked for Chevrolet to have new Chevy trucks roll off the transport with Silverado emblems on the right side and Sierra emblems on the left or, a bowtie on the grill and a GMC emblem on the tail gate.

    GMC Truck division actually designs the trucks. A Chevrolet plant builds them.
    #55
  16. Red9

    Red9 Been here awhile

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    sheesh....
    Your argument holds no water. A set of Torx is no more expensive than a set of Hex.

    Engineers determine the stress load of a given application and the required bolt, fitting etc. Do you honestly believe a manufacturer needlessly increases their cost of production by $23,500,000 just to piss you off! lmao
    (using your numbers by the way, $100 per bike vs 235,000 sold in '12).

    Methinks you just wanna bash Harley and haven't got a frickin clue what you are talking about...
    #56
  17. Red9

    Red9 Been here awhile

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    lol
    I used to work for GM.
    Both trucks are built in the same plant and other than cosmetics are the EXACT SAME FRICKING TRUCK!
    Chevy was designed and advertised as the workingman's truck.
    GMC was designed and advertised as the gentleman's truck.
    GM was just trying to attract both consumer segments.
    I too can relate many instances of trucks arriving at dealerships with CHEVY badging on one side and GMC on the other.

    If CR found a difference in reliability it was in the owners "perception."
    Not statistically verifiable by any means.
    #57
  18. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

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    I've studied fastener stress/choice thoroughly, and in fact I have a degree in vehicle design. I know how fucking bolts work. There's no reason to use torx heads to hold on a fucking sprocket cover. I'm just saying that BMW seems to make things overly complicated for the DIY'er for no reason. One of the very basic principles of designing a new product (say, oh, a motorcycle) is that you use the simplest, most readily available parts possible, and you standardize. That means if you can get M6x1.0 bolts with a 10mm hex head cheaper than the same with a torx head, and you need 40 of them on a bike, you fucking use the hex head so long as it meets all of the requirements. It will save the company money, save the customer money, and be generally "better" in the long run. The whole bolt thing is just an example of one of my gripes with BMW. I'm not saying I refuse to buy one because of their fastener choice :lol3
    #58
  19. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Thread moved out of the garage....:clap

    :lurk:lurk:lurk

    :lobby
    #59
  20. Red9

    Red9 Been here awhile

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    And yet you don't understand the inherent benefit of a Torx head over a Hex...

    My suggestion is not to be a DIY'er.
    #60