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. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Oddometer:
    19,318
    Location:
    Jax, FL
    You and I use a lot of the same techniques.
  2. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Oddometer:
    19,318
    Location:
    Jax, FL
    I've been pondering BMWs recently and I've come to the conclusion that they are engineered to the nth degree, then assembled by baboons. This is the company that designs a suspension that takes hundred of readings per second and makes tiny electronic adjustments to your rebound damping. It's also the company that can't make a transmission and engine fit together well enough to keep from stripping the transmission input splines.
  3. oughtsix

    oughtsix Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    378
    No... I joined because I've been lurking around here for a year now and figured it was about time to get in on the pissing contest, or whatever. I fail to see where I made an economic assessment of the situation. Of course a 5000 dollar KLR/DR/XR is cheaper than a new Road King. What I did say is that this one Road King made that trip with two stoppages. Maybe HD has never made another bike that can do anything more that ride down to the bar on saturday night, and these handful of examples are statistical outliers. Maybe all Harley sells is leather attire, self-image, and really, really shitty bikes. I seriously doubt it, but hey, I'm just a public school kid.
  4. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,345
    Location:
    Central MA
    We must be doing something wrong, having had four, going on 5 (with one on order) BMWs in the family with nary a problem. Maybe we're just not riding them correctly. Then, I remembered there were two Harley's, one of which is still with us, that had no problems. Since none of these were garage queens, perhaps we are an outlier. For those of you who're accustomed to having transmission issues, get yourself one of those ghost-shifting Goldwings and be in the in-crowd.
  5. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,353
    Ya know, I don't think I've ever made a motorcycle purchase based on reliability.
  6. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    WNC SWFL
    Every time I go to the local BMW/Triumph/Ducati dealer in Fort Myers,FL and look in the service department I see newer BMWs torn all to pieces getting repaired. I mean stripped down to the frame kinda repairs.
  7. ianbh

    ianbh Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    326
    I've decided not to buy a particular brand because of poor reliability. Ian, Iowa
  8. windmill

    windmill Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,085
    Location:
    Kent, Washington State
    Oh, that's just the fuel filter service..................:evil
  9. Handy

    Handy Sunburnt

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,667
    Location:
    The great state of Idaho
    Are you saying you don't have to remove the blinkers to do an oil change on your bike?:lol3
  10. GapRunr

    GapRunr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    552
    Location:
    East TN / Smokies
    I was a BMW "dis-liker" for years. I wouldn't say a 'hater', as that's too strong of a word, but I had formed opinions about higher service costs and higher parts costs based on anecdotal stories of other riders.

    Then I bought an 02 VFR800 with the VTEC, which I later discovered stood for "Very Terrible Electrical Connections". In the first 3 years and 50,000 miles it left me stranded at least a dozen times on the side of the road. A cam chain tensioner was required every 16,000 miles as well.

    I was on vacation riding the Continental Divide Trail in late 07 when a series of events ended up with me spending the day on a demo R1200 GSA. When I got back to the dealership I bought the one they had sitting on the showroom floor.

    It has been far more reliable than my VFR ever was, but not as reliable as most of the other Japanese bikes I have owned. Sure it has it's quirks, but of all the bikes I have owned and ridden, it's still my first choice when taking a trip or tearing up some back roads or exploring off the beaten path.

    Maybe that speaks to the character of machine and the emotional attachment we have to inanimate objects. My DR650 and my PC800 were both very reliable, but even when I owned them I was always looking at other bikes thinking of replacing them. Even though I have ridden several newer GSA's, I still like mine with 75,000 miles on it and have no desire to upgrade yet.
  11. Doktor

    Doktor Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    127
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Better go look on eBay then. There is about 5000 ten year old, 4000 mile Harley's for sale on there
  12. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    WNC SWFL
    Yeah butt, I see more Harleys touring around here in the mountains of WNC than all the other makes combined.
    Or maybe I just hear more.:rofl
    Not a Harley or BMW hater.
  13. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,090
    Location:
    WNC SWFL
    Not on the three air cooled simple non fairing bikes that I currently own.
    Which is good for the Ural's sake because it requires a lot of routine maintenance like ever 2500 kms.:rofl
  14. The Jerk

    The Jerk Bring us some fresh wine!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,688
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Consumer Reports: sky is blue, water is wet.
  15. GapRunr

    GapRunr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    552
    Location:
    East TN / Smokies
    Every manufacturer has their own reasons for using whatever fasteners they use. The part that gets me is that they use so many different fasteners on the bike. Two different sizes to get the side covers off, three different tools to remove a fairing, three different wrenches to adjust my chain, etc.

    I've been working on friends Buell 1125R lately, and I can tell you one thing they did right and that every manufacturer can learn from. Every single body fastener, every single bolt that holds a non critical component to the chassis has the same size head. I removed all the body work, the seat, the radiator mounts, the electric fans, etc. using the same tool.

    I'd like to see more of that in todays bike designs.
  16. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,949
    Location:
    Bisbee, AZ
    Reliability has a somewhat different meaning if you do your own mechanical work.
  17. InsideThePerimeter

    InsideThePerimeter North GA bound

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    140
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    I'd love to have a Ducati but everyone I know who had one sold it because if the never ending maintence and electrical problems.

    If I want something to sit around the house and look pretty I'll buy a painting.

    Motorcycles are for riding.

    I got 3 Suzuki's and had a Honda. None leak(ed) fluid and all crank(ed) everytime and never left me stranded.
  18. garandman

    garandman Wandering Minstrel

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,802
    Location:
    Dorchester, MA / Goshen, NH
    Oh - then carry on!

    I like to tease the roundelled and tattooed about the article but don't really care. I've owned five different brands (including BMW and HD) soon to be six. Keeps 'em guessin'!
  19. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,281
    Location:
    Santa Maria, CA
    I'd heard all the horror stories also about Ducs. Don't buy one, is what they told me. So I bought one. And I realized that most of the people sniveling about Ducati maintenance and reliability, have never owned one, and most are just repeating bullshit they heard somewhere. "Oh, my brother in law worked with a guy, who knew a guy, that lived next door to a guy......."

    Mine was reliable. In 5 1/2 years, I replaced a Sprag clutch for the starter. And that was it. I've known a few other owners, same thing. Seemed more reliable than couple BMW owners I know, and my co-worker had nothing but problems with his new Big Twin for a year before he gave up and unloaded it, at a great loss. Anecdotal evidence, but still, probably all depends on each individual bike. None of them are really bad, but some seem better than others.
  20. MiteyF

    MiteyF Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,117
    Location:
    Michigan... temporarily
    Perhaps you care to elaborate? If your bike is "unreliable", it will break whether you do the work or the shop does the work (assuming "you" know how to wrench). I don't see how being your own mechanic plays into things at all...