Consumer Reports Survey: Harley-Davidson and BMW Less Reliable Than Japanese Motorcycles

 Consumer Reports Survey: Harley-Davidson and BMW Less Reliable Than Japanese

PR Newswire

YONKERS, N.Y., March 26, 2013

Antilock Brakes on Motorcycles Seen as Lifesaving Feature

YONKERS, N.Y., March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Harley-Davidson may
be an iconic American maker of motorcycles but its bikes have been
repair-prone, according to Consumer Reports' first-ever motorcycle reliability
survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

About one in four owners of Harley-Davidson motorcycles reported experiencing
a major problem in the previous four years. The full report is available at and in the May issue of Consumer Reports, which hits
newsstands on March 28. 

BMW motorcycles were even less reliable than Harley-Davidsons with about one
in three owners reporting problems in the previous four years. Only about one
in ten Yamaha owners experienced issues during that time, followed closely
Kawasaki and Honda.

"Reliability is one of many factors consumers might consider when purchasing a
motorcycle. However, other factors like sculpted lines and rumbling engines
also strike the right note among motorcyclists," said Rik Paul, Auto Editor,
Consumer Reports.

Despite the higher number of problems, Harley and BMW owners were among the
most satisfied with their bikes. When asked whether, considering everything,
they would buy their bike again if they had to do it over, 75 percent of
Harley owners said definitely yes, closely followed by 74 percent of BMW
owners and 72 percent of Honda owners. By contrast, only 63 and 60 percent of
Yamaha and Kawasaki owners, respectively, were as emphatic in this subjective

Among the bikes that needed repairs, survey respondents reporting having the
most trouble with accessories, such as lights, instruments, switches, and
radios (21 percent), brakes (20 percent), the electrical system (16 percent),
and the fuel system (15 percent). Fortunately, most repairs were fairly
inexpensive. Three quarters cost less than $200 out-of-pocket.

A welcome trend in motorcycle technology is the growing availability of
antilock brakes (ABS). Bikes equipped with ABS are 37 percent less likely to
be involved in a fatal crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety. This critical feature is now standard on many high-end models and adds
only a few hundred dollars to the price of more basic bikes – an investment
Consumer Reports believes to be worthwhile and potentially lifesaving.

About Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing
organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey
research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services
annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to
its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division,
Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial
reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the

MARCH 2013
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SOURCE Consumer Reports

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