Harley and BMW Owners Say Their Brands Are Less Reliable, but More Satisfying

moto mechanicConsumer Reports magazine has conducted their first ever motorcycle reliability survey and they say that a quarter of all Harley-Davidson owners reported experiencing a major problem with their motorcycle in the previous four years.  BMW owners reported their motorcycles are even less reliable, with 33% of owners reporting problems in the previous four years.  Japanese import owners reported fewer problems,.(10% or less)

The full report will be released tomorrow, March 28th.  In the advance release of the report, no mention was made of responses from Triumph, Ducati,  Victory or Indian owners.

Interestingly despite the higher percentage of owners reporting problems with their motorcycles,  BMW and HD owners reported being the most satisfied with their motorcycles.  An overwhelming number of Harley-Davidson owners, 75% told interviewers they would buy their bike again.   BMW and Honda owners also reaffirmed their purchase at 74 and 72 percent respectively.

“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.

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

What about you?  Are you happy with your bike?  Take our poll below and tell us!

Training Class Fail!

grab it lightly....

grab it lightly….

Either this guy wasn’t paying attention when the instructor told him “not the grab” the brakes or he didn’t have a clue what “grabbing” the brakes meant.  Either way,  he’s lucky to come away with nothing more than being a little stiff and sore.

The typical training class “fail!”

What’s interesting for us is that this training is taking place on a public street, not the best venue for a new rider learning how to ride in wet conditions.

HONDA INTRODUCES NEW MODELS FOR 2013

Torrence CA:  American Honda unveiled it’s offering of 2013 bikes to the press at its secret company museum and it looks like they’re going after two distinct different markets, the younger buyer and the nostalgia buyer.

The retro CB1100 is a throwback (at least visually) to the days when you’d meet the nicest people on a Honda and Elvis was still in the building.  Featuring a 1140cc air-cooled DOHC fuel-injected engine; twin-shock rear suspension; 41mm fork that’s adjustable for pre-load; dual-disc front brakes with ABS as an option; 18 in. wheels. Available in candy red at $9,999, add another $1,000 for ABS.

The “old man’s road sofa” has been tweaked ever so slightly and the result is a funky looking  Gull Wing F6B.   It’s not “minimalist” by any stretch, but there is far less plastic on it than the Gold Wing.  The F6B features a iPod connection, waterproof locking hard saddlebags, a glovebox and multi-function gauges.  The Deluxe model comes with a passenger backrest, center stand, self cancelling turn signals and heated grips and starts out at $20k for the standard, $21k for the deluxe model. 

Europe Set to Require Mandatory ABS for Motorcycles

According to different sources, and at least one supplier, legislation establishing mandatory anti-lock brakes on motorcycles may soon be sanctioned by the European Parliament before the summer recess at the end of this month.

The imminent decision follows a long consultation process with industry bodies, manufacturers and trade associations.

It’s expected that the law will insist that all new 125cc+ motorcycles manufactured after 2017 will have to be fitted with OE ABS braking systems in a bid to increase rider safety.

This move would likely result in ABS on all motorcycles imported for the American market  since the manufacturers are not likely to remove ABS on bikes imported into this country.


Little Sturgis Kentucky Rally Out of Gas

(editor’s note*  There is a new rally at the Union County Fairgrounds on the same weekend as Little Sturgis.  For more info, visit www.kentuckybikefest.com)

The economy has done what the lawyers could not.

It’s put the brakes on the Little Sturgis Rally and Races.

Featured on national television shows and in every major motorcycle magazine in the USA, Little Sturgis was, at one time the largest outdoor display of flesh and motorcycle eye candy in the Southeastern USA.

It was so popular, the Chamber of Commerce of South Dakota sued the Chamber of  Sturgis Kentucky claiming the small town was stealing it’s name.

Citing a drop in attendance and a huge operating loss in 2010, the Sturgis Kentucky Chamber voted today not to hold the 2011 rally, according to a well placed source.

The Chamber issued a press release that stated; “Due to various circumstances, the Board of Directors of the Little Sturgis Rally and Races for Charity, Inc cancelled its annual fundraising motorcycle event that was to be held July 14th-17th, 2011 in Sturgis KY.  The Board of Directors thanks all the volunteers and participants over the past eighteen years that made it possible to raise over $2 million dollars for various charities and educational entities.”

(added 5:30pm) According to a report in the local paper, Board Secretary Lisa Jones said that the economy and the ongoing lawsuit with Sturgis South Dakota over the use of the name “Sturgis” is the reason the rally is taking a “sabbatical” and that it may return in the future.  Both sides in the lawsuit have filed a motion to have the 2008 suit dismissed but that the suit is a “cloud” hanging over the Sturgis Kentucky chamber.