Consumer Reports, best known for hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners, multi-brand toaster-oven comparos, has taken its first look at motorcycle reliability, and the results aren’t good if you own a BMW or a Harley-Davidson. Both brands were rated less reliable than Japanese motorcycles, with about a quarter of Harley owners reporting serious problems in the last four years. BMW fared even worse, with one in three reporting problems in the same period. By contrast, only about 10 percent of Yamaha owners had problems, and Kawasaki and Honda scored only a little worse.
Most of the problems reported by BMW and H-D owners were trivial, costing owners less than $200 to rectify. Among them were issues with accessories, brakes, and electrical and fuel systems.
Give these stats you’d think owners of the least reliable bikes would make tracks to some other showroom next time. In fact, three out of four BMW and H-D owners said they’d buy the same brand again. Honda owners were equally committed to a repeat purchase, with Yamaha and Kawasaki slightly behind.