Your thoughts- BMW Vs. Japanese dual sport for long hauls?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by kaspilo, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. ABDriver

    ABDriver Been here awhile

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    Thanks.

    Would be better to have a survey showing the % of major failures... as it is now, guess I'll join the "CR report is crap" group.


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    #81
  2. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    The CR stuff is, at best, a clue, but never the definitive word. Events of late effectively demonstrate problems with statistical polling techniques.
    #82
  3. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    Yeah. I wouldn't say it's crap. I'd just say that it's one perspective, gathered from a specific group of people. It treats all failures and all respondents as equal, so all you really know is the comparative odds of something going wrong. It's up to the customer to decide if that's all that matters. Apparently, based on who in this study like their bikes the most, for a lot of riders it isn't.
    #83
  4. appliance57

    appliance57 Long timer

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    It's also misleading to extrapolate solely from personal experience, though your point about expectations is well taken. I think, for the most part the Japanese are the best manufacturers in the world. Many machines aren't cutting edge, - or, rather niche engineered - but in terms of rational design and quality of assembly they are unmatched.

    Another consideration for long distance is availability of parts and the dealer network.
    #84
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  5. appliance57

    appliance57 Long timer

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    Consumer reports buys cars blind from dealerships, has no advertisers to answer to, and provides pretty neutral reporting. In the case of Geo, weren't they Korean? Also, even though a car may come off the same line, that doesn't mean the accepted quality controls were the same.
    #85
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  6. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    CR evaluations need to be included in about a ten part system for selecting... almost anything. They are NOT infallible, and they should never be perceived as the absolute final word. I would think that even they would make that same recommendation.

    FWIW, we are long term (20+years) subscribers to CR, and DO read the articles, etc. Been burned a few times, so we hesitate to touch that stove too easily again. Like I said, use it as one of many research resources, not as the singular source.

    The word "best" is always a fire starter. I sometimes believe that there really isn't a "best" of anything. Usually a tie between many offers and alternatives.
    #86
  7. Fattytwocakes

    Fattytwocakes Long timer

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    The more that you do research into buying something, especially on line, you will find more reasons not to buy something. The haters, the whingers, the biased and the stupid, will all have their say. Except here of course, would never see any of that.[​IMG]
    #87
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  8. eddie bolted

    eddie bolted BOING!!! Supporter

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    I have an 08 KLR WITH 65,000 mi. And never had not 1 problem and a2014 DL 650 with 23,000 mi... no problem yet and I hope no problems for few more days at least being that I'm in Florida On the DL right now .
    #88
  9. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

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    Nope. Geo was a joint venture between GM and Toyota, Suzuki or Isuzu, depending on the model, all built in North America. Its US plant is now home to Tesla, amusingly.
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  10. Harpomark

    Harpomark Adventurer

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    My personal feelings on this tend to mirror the findings of the polls. IMHO high-dollar bikes tend to have more technology, more gizmos, to break. Japanese bikes tend to be marketed toward a lower price point. Oftentimes that encourages them to keep basic, timeproven systems. On more high priced/highet tech bikes there's more stuff to break which is directly coordinated with the number of breakdowns. Reliabilty and simplicity of design are very high priorities for me so I ride a DR650. It's just a personal thing but I like having less to worry about. If you like all the latest bells and whistles, BMW or Triumph will be glad to hear from you.
    #90
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  11. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    That's a good point - companies change over time. I remember the first Kaw I had...a two-stroke triple I got for a song. Relatively low mileage. I only kept it two months, because the chassis was so wonky, coupled with the rocket-thrust of the smoker three, I could see my n00b self getting killed on it.

    Today, no one talks of Kawasaki problems with poorly-braced frames or wonky handling...their Ninja series are classic and the KLRs are benchmarks in the dual-sport market.

    BMW, at the same time, was the gold standard of cycles. Reliable as the sunrise. Cost more, MUCH more, to own - but it was the thinking buyer's touring choice. Odd appearance, and not much thought given to visuals, but by the 1980s, BMW was learning the art of styling.

    Compared to today. Engineering is still there - on some levels. They're engineered to perform, but not-so-much to hold up. Certainly not with ease of service in mind. And who would have thought that BMW would not only jettison their longitudinal layout, for a chain drive, but do it with a Rotax engine, for some models, some years? When you take away the layout, and the boxer engine, and the shaft, what IS there to recommend the brand over, say, a Honda?

    Change is not always good.
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  12. appliance57

    appliance57 Long timer

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    In terms of reliability and engineering, there has never been a reason to by a BMW over a Honda since - say - 1960. It's taste.
    #92
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  13. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    That's part of my point. Compare an R60 to a Hawk 305...entirely different machines. Different layout. Different suspension geometry and setup. Different ergonomics.

    Now, compare the F-series GSs to the Africa. Both are chain-drive. Both have parallel twins. Both have mono-shock rear suspensions. Both FI; both ABS; and they both are not cheap.

    About the only thing that differs now is the styling, Asian versus understated for the upmarket North American rider; and ergos, which, never having sat on an F, I assume are better for a large frame with the BMW than with Honda. So it's better full-body ergos versus higher reliability and easier, less-expensive service on the road.
    #93
  14. genka

    genka SUV hater Supporter

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    I lost my faith in Consumer Reports over 20 years ago, when they rated GE TVs as twice as reliable as RCA (or wise versa). At that time I worked in a TV repair shop. The only difference between the brands was the label.
    Back to the bikes... In my opinion, problem with the BMWs is not how often they fail, but how expensive. Just page through the parts fiche. Most people, myself included are happy, while those who had replace a final drive or ABS module may be bitter.
    #94
  15. FredBGG

    FredBGG Long timer

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    A good review of 4 bikes here.

    Italian, Austrian, German and Japanese.

    It's interesting to see here the opinion on the BMW and that in the reviews opinion the BMW GS1200 is increasingly a street bike and that the Multistrada has become more dirt oriented.

    The Africa Twin sort of described as a Super Enduro for long haul.



    Another test that includes the Super Tenere..... also somewhat confirms that the BMW is a bit more street oriented.

    #95
  16. tlub

    tlub Long timer Supporter

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    Having worked in an independent shop in a college town in the 70s, and seeing inside a lot of Japanese bikes, I'd say your view of 60s bikes is somewhat ...interesting??
    Were you actually riding then? I started in 1971, so saw a lot of 1960s Japanese bikes. Although with good engineering, they were not machines to put many miles on. I believe they actually were engineered with a certain (shortish) defined lifetime, so that the first owner would have no problems for 15K or so, then it would eventually die in the hands of the 3rd owner around 25-40K, depending on the bike (except the Honda 750). By the time the first happy owner sold his near-trouble free bike at 10-15K, he would happily buy another. And another after that, but never putting on the miles per bike like the BMWs did. It might actually have been a good economic model.
    Up until the Gold Wing, there was nothing- but nothing- that could match a BMW for reliability and quality. The pre-1970 BMWs are works of industrial art. Japanese bikes were recreational devices with a design life of maybe 40,000 miles if you were lucky, with 25,000 miles more normal. And those were certainly not trouble free miles. I know; I made my living off of it. Even the stone-reliable Honda 350 required points and tuning every 2000 miles or so. And lasted only about 20K miles, in the real world. They were gold mines in the shop. A college student might do 2000 miles a year, so that was a service once a year. Remember cars required points and plugs and carb adjustments and timing and greasing and all that at short intervals, too, so a 2000 mile interval for a bike was acceptable.
    BMWs were, and are, transportation. Other bikes are now, too. While I was seeing Honda 305s and 350s that were dead, worn out at less than 25K, and plenty of overheated, leaky Honda Fours (500/550/750) with mileage in the 30K range, I and my brother (and many, many other folks) were running the odometers to 100K and more on our BMW /5 and /6s, with no troubles and just tires and lubricants.
    Now, many bikes, from all manufacturers, can do what the /2, /5 and /6 BMWs used to do exclusively. (And being 40 years later, better!) But that was not the case in the 1960s, and not for the first half of the 1970s. From about 1975 on, the market was drastically different, with many good bikes, including the Wing, the XS11, GS750, and many others.
    #96
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  17. marmota

    marmota Adventurer

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    Bmw used to make reliable bikes. Family has owned everything: r90s r100rs r100rt r1150rt r1150rs f650gs single, r100r, but the most problematic has been my 2008 f650gs twin.

    I had a steering bearing failure in the first year with just under 12000kms not covered under warranty. Only bike we've had with this failure. Then at 40k three years out the stator died, they recognized it was a design flaw and the part was like $700 and wasn't covered because of the three years. Now at 90k eight years later a drive bearing is gone and pretty much everyone tells me, just let it go, cheaper to get another. It also burns light bulbs quite often, so much, that the headlight is smoked.

    Maybe because it was the first year of the model, but quality is not particularly good compared to the rest we've had. Made me think twice about another BMW.

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  18. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    Has anyone else ever noticed that in almost every case, for every brand and type of motorcycle, you will ALWAYS have one person saying they rode theirs for 100,000 miles plus with zero mechanical issues, then immediately another will chime in who notes that his had a mechanical failure at 100 miles. Add to that the fact that their are many critics who have never owned nor ridden the bikes they condemn - they are merely repeating something they heard or read, as it was what they wanted to hear.

    They are machines folks, designed by and built by mortal men, and they are all capable of failure, or success, very much like mortal men. Sometimes you get lucky and buy a bike that was built on a good day, with parts and components that were manufactured or assembled on a good day, by a group of men who were all paying attention that day. Sometimes the opposite happens, and more often, a variation of those two occurs.

    Good news is, if and when things go bad, almost anything can be repaired or resolved, you just need the technical knowledge and means to perform the proper repair. My guess would be that there are many examples of bikes out there from the "Best" CR recommendation list that are failure prone, and there are also examples of bikes from the "Not Recommended" list that have run for many trouble free miles. Very often, the deciding factor is the Owner/Rider, and his/her care (or not) for the bike.

    Sometimes it's actually the Boat that sinks, but more often... it's the Captains fault.
    #98
  19. appliance57

    appliance57 Long timer

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    I stand corrected and appreciate your insights.
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  20. FredBGG

    FredBGG Long timer

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    And that is another can of worms.

    Technical knowledge:
    Much easier to obtain with a Japanese bike. Shop service manuals are readily available and very detailed.
    Good luck finding the same thing for a BMW.

    Repair and service.
    With the exception of the newer GS boxers you had to split the entire motorcycle in half to replace the clutch.
    With most Japanese bikes you get to the clutch from the side of the bike and can do the job on a kickstand.







    So when your in some small town in the boondocks with a failed clutch what clutch would you prefer to change....
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