When purchasing a motorcycle, reliability is one of the key factors to consider, and unfortunately, not all manufacturers are known for making reliable products. If you want to make an informed decision, we have looked at consumer feedback and specialized reports to compile a list of the most reliable motorcycle brands.
Since its debut with the 125cc YA-1 model in 1955, Yamaha has continued to innovate the market of both on-road and off-road vehicles. Today, Yamaha is positioned as the second top-selling motorcycle brand in the world. A lot of that has to do with the quality and reliability that can be found in each of its many available models.
While the company started in 1887 manufacturing musical instruments, nowadays, it builds almost everything from electronics to sporting goods, music instruments, furniture, and motorcycles.
The brand is known for providing customers with a wide selection of models to choose from, including plenty of affordable bikes that can be enjoyed by riders of all skill levels, regardless of the available budget.
It is also rated by customers as one of the most reliable motorcycle brands in the world. According to Consumer Reports, the failure rate on a four-year-old Yamaha motorcycle is just 11%, which is the lowest number among all motorcycle brands.
As part of the “Big Four” from Japan, Suzuki is a well-known brand around the world, and its road racers and off-road bikes have won multiple world titles across the years. The Raider model has been a popular choice for beginner riders for many years thanks to its reliability, excellent control, and affordable price point.
This brand has been consistent in reliability in recent years, and it is situated just behind Yamaha. One advantage of choosing Suzuki comes from the affordability and the low maintenance costs that its models offer. This makes the brand a good choice for beginners or anyone who is on a tight budget.
When compared to other motorcycle brands, Suzuki doesn’t offer the best-performing models you’ll find on the market. Even so, they are among the best if you are looking for a basic and reliable motorcycle.
The Hayabusa model is Suzuki’s fastest motorcycle made since 1999, and it has won the brand worldwide acclaim. It comes equipped with a 1340cc engine, and it is capable of reaching top speeds of around 192 mph.
Honda is one of the most popular brands of motorcycles in the world, and it has managed to sell more than 300 million models since it was officially founded in 1948. Its first motorcycle released under the Honda brand was the Dream D-Type. Its best-selling model is the Honda Cub, which achieved more than 100 million in sales from 1958 until the present day.
As is the case with all the brands on this list, Honda is known for its outstanding reliability. However, the average maintenance costs tend to be higher when compared to other brands, such as Suzuki and Kawasaki.
Even so, for most buyers, Honda motorcycles are still a great choice for the money, especially since the brand prides itself with a wide variety of models that are bound to please all riders. Honda has more than 2000 varieties of motorcycles ranging from affordable beginner models to top-of-the-line road racers.
This is yet another Japanese brand, and it is known primarily for its off-road and street bikes. The brand is geared more toward the beginner market. Most Kawasaki motorcycles boast a lightweight design, are versatile, and relatively cheap since models, such as the Ninja 400, will start at under $5,000.
Being a brand focused on the beginner market hasn’t stopped Kawasaki from innovating since, currently, the Ninja ZX-14R model is the second fastest production motorcycle in the world. It comes equipped with a 1441cc engine that propels the bike to speeds exceeding 205 mph.
One of its popular models, especially for beginners who are just starting, is the Versys 300x. It is a great all-round motorcycle thanks to its lightweight construction, 4.5-gallon fuel tank, and excellent ground clearance. Most of the models this brand has available have garnered very positive customer feedback, and the failure rate is very low as well.
The history of Harley-Davidson starts in 1903 when Wiliam S. Harley started working to build a motorcycle together with Arthur Davidson, his childhood friend. At that time, they only had one small wooden shed as their factory, but nowadays, Harley-Davidson is the biggest motorcycle brand in the USA.
It is the most reliable USA-made motorcycle brand, and for most people, the brand is known for its larger displacement cruiser type motorcycles that carry a rather hefty price tag. However, in recent years due to the pressure from the lower-priced motorcycle coming from Japan, Harley-Davidson has started to diversify its model line.
Nowadays, customers can get smaller and more affordable models, but the focus still remains on the larger displacement bikes.
Ducati is one of the most appreciated motorcycle brands in the world. This Italian brand was first founded in 1926, and during its first years, it specialized in producing vacuum tubes. It took another 18 years for the idea of manufacturing motorcycles to come to life.
In the past, Ducati has had a poor reputation as far as reliability was concerned since the bikes were quick to malfunction, and the maintenance costs were very expensive. However, the brand has corrected most of these problems, and today, it is one of the most reliable motorcycle brands that you can get.
Nowadays, Ducati bikes are known for their head-turning good looks, reliability, and smooth moves. The current lineup of motorcycle models is very diverse, and it includes popular options, such as the Diavel, Multistrada, Supersport, Superbike, and the Monster.
This brand has a very troubled history since, at one point in time, it seemingly died off only to rise again later after receiving substantial financial investment. The British-made motorcycle brand is now one of the key players in the motorcycle world. The company was founded in 1884, and it produced its first motorized bicycle in 1902.
People look at this brand as the British alternative to Harley-Davidson since, similarly to the American brand, Triumph focuses mainly on producing larger displacement bikes, and it doesn’t offer a lot of options for novice riders. As such, Triumph motorcycles tend to be quite expensive, especially when compared to the Japanese brands.
Such a list couldn’t be complete without a quick mention of this brand since BMW motorcycles are known for their superb engineering and comfortable riding. However, BMW doesn’t rank as well in reliability as some of the above brands. That’s because BMW bikes are known to be unpredictable, and the repair costs are exorbitant.
With that said, this hasn’t stopped BMW from maintaining its spot as one of the most popular brands of motorcycles in the world, especially since it has an impressive model line that includes motorcycles for most budgets and needs.
Nowadays, BMW enjoys intense brand loyalty that is only rivaled by Harley-Davidson. With new models coming each year and continuous innovations, there’s no denying that BMW is a motorcycle brand that will always be on the mind of motorcyclists worldwide.
This is an iconic brand that focuses on classic motorbikes, and thanks to a recent revival, Indian is now producing new motorcycles once again. The brand started back in 1897, and over the years, it has produced motorcycles under various brand names, such as Silver King, Silver Queen, or American Indian.
In 2011 the brand was purchased by Polaris and the models it has produced ever since have garnered positive customer feedback thanks to their reliability and performance. Indian is the oldest American motorcycle brand, but it is not as popular as Harley-Davidson for a couple of reasons.
In general, the larger models from Indian tend to require repairs more frequently and are costlier than a similarly-sized Harley-Davidson. However, Indian also has a smaller lineup of motorcycles that tend to outperform most of the similar options from Harley-Davidson.
Indian is still trying to catch up to other brands, and judging from the new models that it has released over the last few years, the journey ahead for this brand will be an interesting one.
Royal Enfield is an Indian-made brand of motorcycle that has a long history. The original home of the brand is the United Kingdom, but after partnering with Madras Motors in 1955, India became the new home for the company.
In the US, the brand wasn’t very popular since, for many years, the models that arrived in the American market suffered from inferior build quality, poor reliability, and a lack of spare parts. However, in the last few years, the brand has focused on reversing this perception by putting a bigger emphasis on the American market.
The Bullet 500 model, in particular, is gaining a lot of popularity, outpacing models from brands such as Harley Davidson. Royal Enfield is certainly a brand to keep your eyes on, and it will be interesting to see how public perception will change in the coming years.