Over the last four years alone, over 1.5 million American households purchased a motorcycle, increasing ownership rates in the U.S. from 6.94 % to 8.02%. 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.
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.
2019’s Top Hondas
On top of their superior Japanese reliability, these Honda models have other features you’ll love.
CB300R – This bike offers a lot of style for a base price of just $4,649, and it weighs in at just over 300 pounds, offering many of the features of a heavier bike without the bulk, along with a 286cc engine.
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.
Super Cub C125 – 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.
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.”
Shadow Phantom – This bike offers a sleek design with a modern, minimalist look, all with a 745cc V-twin engine and programmed fuel injection. If you live in a cold-weather climate, you’ll appreciate this model’s cold weather starting feature immensely.
What's the Most Reliable Motorcycle Brand of 2019?
While Yamaha remains the most reliable brand going into 2019, Honda is a close second. When you’re talking about the top four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, which one is the most reliable is more a matter of the model you choose than any one particular make. 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.
More than almost any other factor, a motorcycle’s reliability depends upon how faithfully you service and maintain it. However, it may not be the most important factor for you, but just one of the many things you take into consideration before you buy. Whether you ultimately decide to go with a Honda or another manufacturer, you’ll want to make sure you’ve gone over the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations carefully and that you follow them to the letter.