US advocacy magazine “Consumer Reports” made a reliability study of 4680 motorcycles owned by its subscribers (Triumph & Suzuki were not included in the results due to insufficient data.)
Japanese motorcycles are considered the most reliable (1- Yamaha, 2- Kawasaki, 3-Honda) with an average of only 10% of having a problem over a 4-year period. On the same criteria, 25% of Harley-Davidson motorcycles had a problem and surprisingly 33% of the “rugged for adventure” BMW motorcycles had a problem.
Of course, some motorcycle issues are more serious than others and can be more or less expensive when not covered by a warranty. According to the survey, 25% of all repairs cost at least $200 out-of-pocket. Potentially expensive engine, transmission, and suspension problems are very few. The chart below details the frequency of problems cited by consumers who bought a motorcycle new from 2009 to 2012 and reported needing a repair. None of these motorcycles were covered by an extended warranty or service contract purchased at an additional cost at the time of service.