Motorcycle ownership in the U.S. is at an all-time high, with the Motorcycle Industry Council reporting that 8 percent of households owned a bike as of 2018. Honda motorcycles are known for their affordability and reliability, making them a perennial favorite among buyers. But do the facts support Honda’s reputation? Whether you’re a new or experienced rider, it’s important to do your research before purchasing a new bike.
What Makes a Motorcycle Reliable?
According to 2015 Consumer Reports survey of over 11,000 subscribers, the most reliable motorcycles have a failure rate of 11% - 15% after four years of ownership. Of those surveyed, a total of 12,300 motorcycles were purchased between 2005 and 2014. When determining the failure rates for different makes and models, those polled were asked about their estimated repair rates, along with any serious problems they’ve experienced.
It is important to note here that a motorcycle’s reliability rate is calculated differently than its satisfaction rate. Just because a bike is more reliable does not mean you will be happier riding it than you would another make or model. In fact, when it comes to comfort and style, many riders prefer bikes that offer lower reliability rates. What makes the “best” motorcycle is unique to each owner, but some brands have a definite advantage over in terms of reliability.
The Most Reliable Motorcycles Have:
The most reliable motorcycle brands are those that have the lowest repair rates across a certain number of miles. The electrical system is typically the most vulnerable part of a motorcycle, accounting for 24 percent of motorcycle repairs in the 2015 Consumer Reports survey. This was followed by repairs for accessories, which accounted for 19 percent of repairs, then another 18 percent for braking systems. Fuel systems rounded out the top four most common repairs, with 13 percent of bikes going to the shop for them.
Are Honda Motorcycles Reliable?
Of the bikes surveyed by Consumer Reports, the most reliable were deemed to be Japanese brands. These included Honda, which had impressively low failure rate of 12%. People love Hondas because they offer a diverse range of products. Honda motorcycles have been around since the late-1950s, and today they are known for not just their reliability, but also for their high performance and sought-after features.
Honda's Top Motorcycles
On top of their superior Japanese reliability, these Honda models have other features you’ll love.
Super Cub C125 ABS– You can’t go wrong with Honda’s Super Cub, which offers a 125cc air-cooled engine, fuel injection, and some of the most comfortable seats you will find on any bike. The S-shaped silhouette of this bike means you’ll be sure to turn heads wherever you go.
Monkey – The Monkey Z Series is powered by a 125cc single-cylinder, four-stroke engine, and it’s the go-to bike when you want something that’s easy to handle. This model is available with ABS brakes, which means increased safety as well as dependability.
CB300R ABS – Want to ride in style without breaking the bank? Weighing in at just 317 pounds with a base price of just $4,949, this bike is as light on the road as it is on your wallet. It also packs a punch with a 286cc DOHC four-valve engine.
Shadow Phantom – This bike offers a sleek design with a modern, minimalist look, all with a 745cc V-twin engine and programmed fuel injection. Add in this model’s cold weather starting feature, and this bike looks like a steal at a base price of $7,899.
Rebel 1100 – The heaviest of the sleek Rebel class, this bike combines the timeless look of a cruiser with the blistering performance of a street bike. With a base price of $9,299, this bike will be as light on your pocketbook as it is on the road.
Africa Twin – With construction based on bikes from the world-famous Dakar Rally, the Honda Africa Twin has inspired riders since its introduction in 1989. Available at a base price of $13,499, this could be the perfect bike for your on- and off-road adventures.
CBR1000RR – This model is the perfect choice if you need to take it from the racetrack to the street. This bike offers your choice of three different riding modes, so you’ll be able to adjust it to accommodate different uses and road conditions.
Gold Wing – This model has been described as “peerless” because it offers unsurpassed performance along with features that were designed for optimum comfort during long rides. If you’re looking for a touring motorcycle, this is “the one.”
Looking for The Most Reliable Motorcycles?
Honda traditionally competes with fellow Japanese manufacturers Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki for the position of most reliable motorcycle brand. The reliability of a bike will depend upon the type of engine, the type of brakes, the frame, and the terrain you’ll be riding it on. With broadly similar performance across the four brands, your tastes will be more important than reliability in determining the best motorcycle for you.
More than almost any other factor, a motorcycle’s reliability depends upon how faithfully you service and maintain it. You’ll want to make sure you’ve gone over the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations carefully and that you follow them to the letter. If you’re thinking about buying a Honda motorcycle, check out our inventory to find the one that offers the right balance of performance and price for you.