Let this be a warning to anyone thinking of buying a new bike from Honda.

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by ADVNeil, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. ADVNeil

    ADVNeil n00b

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    So about a week and a half ago I bought a brand new old stock 2018 Africa twin adventure sports. I had owned the bike for 2 days and was absolutely loving the bike, when I started to notice some pretty serious defects with the quality of the paint finish, and more importantly the welds on the frame (particularly concentrated around the head stock area!). As soon as I noticed these issues I called my dealer and was told to bring the bike in "so they could take some pictures to send to Honda UK", so I skipped my lunch break at work so I could leave early to make it to the dealers in time that evening. I managed to get there 15 minutes before they closed and by the time I arrived there all the staff were kind of milling around and packing things away. They were immediately much less friendly than they were before I bought the bike (big surprise I know) and I could tell from the expressions on their faces I was not really welcome. A couple of the Technicians (I think) came straight over and asked where are the issues? I assume that one of them had carried out the PDI (Pre delivery inspection) and was anxious to see what he had missed. I went inside and asked for the service manager who came out and took a few photos on his phone. He said he needed to send the photos to Honda UK and asked me to forward any of my own photos. I emailed my photos over first thing the following morning and by lunch time that day the service manager called me to tell me that "Honda UK said the bike is within spec" (so basically saying we don't care).

    I must admit I was a little taken aback at this point. Maybe I was expecting too much to have my "entire" frame painted and have "all" the welds without cracks/cold lap? The service manager suggested I should contact Honda UK customer services and take the issue up with them. "Surely" I thought, the mighty, infamous for their build quality Honda would not allow this shoddy second rate crap to bare their fabled name. Well It turns out I was wrong. Apparently Honda UK don't give a **** about the quality of the bikes that they sell (as this last week has proven).

    After having my bike picked up and taken to a different dealer to be inspected yesterday, Honda UK came back to me today (after many phone calls) and still insisted the bike was "within spec". I asked Honda to tell me what the "spec" is for their frames but they are yet to provide me with a copy of the "spec". I imagine is says something along the lines of " Don't worry about setting up the welding machine properly, most people probably wont even look, get as much welding spatter everywhere as possible, and dont worry if it has cracks around the edges of the welds, this spec says that's fine" and the painting section probably has something along the lines of; "just paint the outside parts you can see easily, don't worry about painting all of the bare metal, that way we can save money". It must say these things somewhere as Honda assure me my bike meets said "spec";

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    These are just the things I have found without any strip down. I may decide to do a full strip down and document ALL of the defects for everyone to see so they know what they are getting with their new "within spec" Honda (one of the reasons I created this thread). I may even decide to have the welds properly examined using non destructive test methods including, xray etc. I am still weighing up my options and have not fully decided what to do next. If anyone else has had/is having similar issue then please post as much info/pictures in this thread as possible. We need to get the word out and try and make Honda do something about these issues, not to mention all the other common issues these bikes are prone to which Honda just seem to ignore/not give a **** about.
    #1
  2. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    Sorry you're dealing with this man. I'm extremely happy with mine, but definitely sympathize with the folks having trouble. Keep us posted.
    #2
  3. Tytan

    Tytan Been here awhile

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    Black framed bikes are probably the same just not as noticeable.
    #3
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  4. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    Same thing happened to me. My DCT was suffering from intermittent stalling issues and over the period of a more than year the dealer swapped out the ECU and a bunch of other parts trying to fix it to no avail. Finally I told Honda HQ in Japan that I wanted it fixed permanently, i.e., a different engine or bike. That's when they told me that the stalling was a characteristic of a big twin and normal.
    #4
  5. swimmer

    swimmer armchair asshole

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    The reality is that the issues you are complaining about have not yet nor will likely ever affect the performance of your bike. I don't disagree it looks bad. If your frame cracks or breaks at least you have documentation backing up the possible cause.

    Those who have had the issue on their ATAS involving poor fuel delivery due to issues with the fuel tank have a more well founded complaint, IMO.
    #5
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  6. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    Looks like the welding robots were asleep or on strike the day your bike was on the assembly line. Bummer. While those welds do look like shit (@Hodakaguy 's father would probably have a stroke if he ever saw those!), I cannot imagine Honda would be willing to take your ("used") bike back and give you a brand new one with nicer welds unless the welds broke or otherwise affected the useability of your moto. While those welds are fugly, I don't know if they impact the strength of the frame. I sympathize with you if you are worried about it's integrity while riding as that is not a good feeling. What brand moto did you own previously?
    #6
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  7. NewYorkLuke

    NewYorkLuke Been here awhile

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    Id be interested in the cost analysis on this. How many customers does this post have to discourage that itll cost honda more then it would to just make this right I hope the post discourages ten times that many ppl. Customer service is king as far as im concerned. I love bikes, all kinds. Poor customer service is a reason triumph will never see another dollar of mine. I hope you feel the same about Honda.
    #7
  8. ADVNeil

    ADVNeil n00b

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    I have had lots of bikes over the years from all the main japanese manufacturers and a couple of italian bikes as well, and I have never owned a bike with a frame that looks like this. I also currently own a 2000 cbr929, and its immaculate with 25k on the clock.
    #8
  9. budsboy

    budsboy I crashed the swing too. Supporter

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    The outward appearance of the weld has little to do with the strength of the joined component's.
    The "prettiest" welds fail too.
    #9
  10. ADVNeil

    ADVNeil n00b

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    So is the lack of paint ok as well?
    #10
  11. CROSSBOLT

    CROSSBOLT Been here awhile

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    "Normal?" What has happened since 1960? Honda welds were pretty crappy then but things should get better between then and now. But the attitudes of these dealers and importers! Not just in the UK, but PERSONALLY AWARE of similar stories in the US and Greece!
    #11
  12. CROSSBOLT

    CROSSBOLT Been here awhile

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    Yeah, the paint (preservative) is important, too!
    #12
  13. Reagan

    Reagan Adventurer

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    The welding while not pretty looks structurally fine. The painting is a disaster.
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  14. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    My dealer did everything they could so I don't blame them. The fault lies with Honda HQ's attitude. Like the OP I thought Honda was proud of its quality and would want to promptly solve the problem. I was wrong.
    #14
  15. MCGMB

    MCGMB Been here awhile

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    Damn, that is sloppy welding and painting (or lack of).

    Considering two dealerships have looked at it, don't know what else you can do unfortunately. I'd probably chalk it up to slipping standards and keep an eye open for future cracking.

    Not sure this would make me write off the brand though. The AT feels like a bike that was built to a price point, the incredibly low prices for new overstock around here reflect that. Probably doesn't make you feel any better, but that's how I'd look at it.
    #15
  16. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    I've been around the block a bit. I was lead painter for kawasaki north america.

    Painted these, which were our largest, all the way on down to the smallest models.

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    The paint is rough on that frame. I'm not sure how you can get a robot to paint in those tight spaces. It takes a lot of finesse and gun control.... adjusting to get it in there without running it all over the place. I'm not a fan of robots, but would be curious to see what the price of these would be if all done by hand. Kawasaki was very cool about letting me be anal and do a thorough job.

    The only thing I can guess, is honda didn't count on people inspecting that closely. I inspected my 17 very closely and it appears to be much cleaner welding... And of course it didn't need to have white penetrate into the nooks and crannies.
    #16
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  17. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

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    I'll stick to my amazing ktm 1290 s.a.r.. that I've had 2 amazing years from new
    #17
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  18. tag3

    tag3 Doofus

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    I'll ride it till it breaks. Just PM me where to pick it up.
    #18
  19. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

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    Surely there powder coated frames?? I may be wrong...

    A factory tour would be interesting
    #19
  20. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

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    I think the main two questions to ask is...

    How many a.t. owners actually have a corroded frame from lack of paint..

    How many a.t owners actually have a failed weld on their frame



    Is there any one, I dont own one but when I brought my 2017 1290 s.a.r , the Africa twin was my second choice.......I've never once doubted that I brought the better " orange" bike
    #20