8 reliable motorcycles to own
10 May 2019
There is nothing quite like the total freedom of the open road, the wind in your face, and the rumbling roar of an engine. Motorcycles, as every rider knows, simply make everything more fun. It’s no wonder we get attached to them. We treat them as a part of who we are. So, when your bike starts to vibrate as soon as you get up to a decent speed, it coughs out smoke, or the engine suddenly won’t start, it’s more than just an inconvenience; it’s personal.
A good insurance policy can ensure that you and your bike get back on the road—or off it—as soon as possible, but it’s even better to avoid the frustration of a breakdown in the first place. All motorcycles are not created equal, and it’s worth it to take the time to find one that has the benefit of a reputation for reliability and relatively low maintenance costs.
Here is our list of motorcycles of all types that deliver all the joy of the open road with a minimum of breakdown and repair hassle.
Indian FTR 1200
The 2018 Indian FTR 1200 is a beautiful example of a high power motorcycle that doesn’t sacrifice its reliability to deliver maximum enjoyment (and torque!). While it still has less power than Ducati’s Monster 1200R, the FTR 1200 is priced much lower, and Indian enjoys a reputation for excellent reliability, especially for an American manufacturer. Along with Victory, Polaris’ other brand, Indian is giving Harley Davidson a run for their money in the American market, and this effort is led by the brand new Indian FTR 1200.
While some riders revel in spending full days cruising across the country, others work to pack as much excitement into as little time as possible. Yamaha’s YZF R3 is a favourite choice for this purpose all over the world, both for the sheer fun of riding it, and its unparalleled reliability.
For those who crave rapid acceleration, and top speeds that literally take your breath away, maintenance can become a serious issue. Sport bikes are made lighter and somewhat more fragile than heavier cruisers, and need to be treated well to keep them running properly, especially considering the stresses riders will typically put on the bike when putting it through its paces.
This is an important part of what makes the R3 the world’s favourite and most-purchased sports bike. According to the latest studies by Consumer Reports, Yamaha is hands down the most reliable motorcycle manufacturer, with a failure rate of just 11 per cent after 4 years.
The Honda Rebel is the result of over 30 years of making a good thing better, and that’s obvious just by looking at how little the design has changed in that time. The original CMX250, released in 1985, enjoyed a reputation for reliability and easy maintenance, and that reputation has only grown with time. According to a study by Consumer Reports, Honda enjoyed a failure rate of just 12 per cent for bikes after 4 years of use, making it the second ranked manufacturer in the world on reliability. A relatively light cruiser, it makes a fun and easy ride for learners, while offering reliability and low cost for riders of all skill levels.
Suzuki Boulevard S40
For riders with a preference for a little bit more power than the Rebel, the Suzuki Boulevard makes an ideal and highly reliable cruiser. Like the Rebel, it embraces its long history, building on a design that has stood the test of time. Also like Honda, Suzuki was found to have a 12 percent failure rate in its vehicles after 4 years, placing it in a tie with Honda as the world’s second most reliable motorcycle manufacturer. Not only is the Boulevard unlikely to break down in the first place, its overall design has also changed little since its original release in 1988, which has kept it relatively simple to maintain and repair.
2018 Honda Africa Twin
Honda conducted a major overhaul of its Africa Twin in 2018 in an attempt to make the best affordable adventure bike on the market. As a vehicle that needs to be at home off the road as well as on it, adventure bikes need to be able to take a lot of punishment without complaint. Getting stranded in the middle of nowhere while off-roading because of an engine malfunction could ruin your whole day, so reliability standards need to be fairly unforgiving. The 2018-2019 Africa Twin delivers, both in terms of short term performance, and long term reliability.
Kawasaki Versys 650
The Kawasaki Versys 650 is a versatile adventure bike that’s as well suited to touring as it is to simple commuting. Unlike an attentive hobby-motorcyclist, someone who uses their motorcycle to get to work in the morning is likely to put a lot of kilometres on the odometer without being as religious about proper maintenance. Kawasaki, like Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha, has an excellent reputation for reliability, and offers a perfect workhorse in the Versys 650.
2015 Yamaha SMAX
Bigger isn’t strictly always better when it comes to motorcycles. Yamaha’s SMAX scooter is a modest 155cc commuter that’s designed to get riders where they’re going with a minimum of fuss. It’s environmentally friendly, easy to ride, and particularly easy to maintain. As a Yamaha bike, and one that’s intended for casual riders rather than experienced motorcycle enthusiasts, it’s made to operate smoothly for thousands of miles, even with relatively little TLC. This not only makes it a perfect choice for everyday working stiffs, it also makes an easy entry-level bike for learners.
2019 Zero DS ZF 14.4
It might come as a surprise to see an electric motorcycle on this list, but electric motorcycles have earned their place. Proper electric motorcycles have been on the market for over a decade, and reliability has improved year over year. The biggest benefit for an electric bike in terms of maintenance is that there simply isn’t as much to do to keep the bike in top shape. After all, there is no oil to change, no gearbox, and generally far fewer moving parts that can wear out. Those that do can typically be replaced quickly and easily.
Zero’s DS offers a maximum range of 328 km, finally taking electric motorcycles out of the realm of mere commuter vehicles. Considering its inherent advantages with regard to reliability, and technological and cost improvements on the horizon with regard to batteries and charging, it’s feasible that electronic motorcycles will soon be setting reliability standards of their own.
While the motorcycles we’ve highlighted here are excellent picks for reliability, it’s still critically important to always properly maintain your bike. Even then, breakdowns can and do happen due to unforeseen circumstances or simple accidents. To protect yourself and your motorcycle, a proper insurance plan is a must-have. Star Motorcycles offers the coverage you need, with roadside assistance, coverage for mechanical breakdowns, coverage for any damaged gear, and much more. Reach out to us today to get more information about how Star Motorcycle can help you get the coverage you deserve.