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Top 10 Most Reliable Motorcycle Brands

Top 10 Most Reliable Motorcycle Brands

Nowadays, motorcycle riders have so many options to choose from due to there being so many motorcycle brands that produce aesthetically appealing and powerful motorcycles. Some motorcycle brands produce expensive motorbikes, while others produce affordable motorbikes. Japanese motorcycle manufacturers like Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki are some of the most reliable motorcycle brands in the world. Meanwhile, American motorcycle brands, including Harley Davidson, Victory, and Indian are also very popular and reliable, but have more expensive motorcycles.

Almost every popular motorcycle brand produces sports motorbikes, cruisers, baggers, tourers, and naked motorbikes. However, not all of them produce motorbikes with the same quality, engineering, and design. Some motorcycles require frequent repairs and maintenance, while others require fewer, minor repairs. How long a motorcycle lasts depends on its make, model, type, and how well it is maintained. This article lists the top 10 most reliable motorcycle brands that have been producing high-quality motorcycles for decades.

1. Honda


Photo Credit: @honda-mideast

Founded in 1959, Honda is the largest motorcycle company globally. Honda not only produces motorcycles but is also the largest producer of internal combustion engines in the world. Honda also specializes in manufacturing engines for marine vehicles, lawnmowers, and power plants. The extensive research and use of artificial intelligence (AI) are what help make Honda stand out.

Honda’s journey began during World War II when the company started making piston rings. The company found it difficult to survive due to the war and failed shortly after its founding. Later, Honda Motor Co. was established and began manufacturing motorized bicycles. Honda has one of the most outstanding engineering teams in the world, contributing to its success as a motorcycle brand. Honda has sold more than 300 million motorbikes worldwide so far and is expected to do even better in the future. The classic Honda Cub holds the title of the highest-selling motorcycle model in the world.

Honda has produced many popular motorbikes from various categories, including baggers, tourers, sports motorbikes, and off-roaders. The most prominent Honda motorbikes are the Honda GoldWing, Honda Africa Twin, Honda Shadow, Honda Fury, Honda CBR, and Honda CRF series. If you are looking for long-lasting, reliable motorcycles with innovative designs and technology, then Honda is one of the best options.

2. Yamaha


Photo Credit: @suprememotos

Yamaha quickly became successful after its introduction in 1955. Yamaha motorbikes may not be as common as Honda motorbikes on the road, but they are popular on race tracks and in MotoGP. Yamaha became immensely popular when Valentino Rossi, a legendary motorcycle racer, won nine MotoGP World Motorcycle Racing Championships titles with his Yamaha YZF-R6. The Yamaha YZF-R6 is a popular sports bike that has ruled the race tracks for years.

Yamaha is the world’s second-largest motorcycle company, despite initially specializing in producing pianos. Yamaha has a lower mechanical failure rate of 11%, better than Honda’s mechanical failure rate of 12%.

Yamaha specializes in producing all types of motorbikes, including tourers, cruisers, sports bikes, and naked bikes. The most popular and best-selling Yamaha motorbikes include the Yamaha MT-09, Yamaha MT-07, Yamaha YZF-R series, Yamaha MT-125 ABS, and Yamaha Ténéré 700. Aside from being one of the most reliable motorcycle brands, Yamaha is also reputed for producing affordable motorcycles.

3. Suzuki


Photo Credit: @Superbike Club

Suzuki is another Japanese motorcycle company, securing the third spot in the list of most reliable motorcycle brands worldwide. Suzuki gained popularity after World War II when it introduced the motorized bicycle. The company only produced two-stroke motorcycles until 1970. Suzuki’s reputation grew when the company won the 250 cc division in the 1970 Motocross World Championship.

Suzuki produces almost every type of motorbike, including cruisers, sports bikes, and dirt bikes. However, this brand is famous for its successful sports bikes, including the GSX-R series, or the Jixxer series . The most famous of all the Jixxer models is the Suzuki GSX-1300R, also known as the Suzuki Hayabusa. The Suzuki Hayabusa remained the world’s fastest motorcycle for years until the Kawasaki Ninja H2R broke its record.

Suzuki motorbikes are reliable and do not often suffer major mechanical problems and breakdowns. If they are well maintained and a strict service schedule is followed, they can last for more than 15 years or travel at least 250,000 miles.

4. Kawasaki


Photo Credit: @insidemotorcycles

Before manufacturing top-class motorbikes, Kawasaki was well-known for building aircraft. Kawasaki was not one of the mainstream motorcycle brands in its initial years, but later, Kawasaki motorcycles started to become stiff competition for the world’s top motorcycle brands. Kawasaki became popular due to its high-performance and fast sports bikes. The most popular Kawasaki sports bike is the Ninja H2R, which took the title of the world’s fastest bike from the Suzuki Hayabusa. Other well-known Kawasaki motorcycles are the Kawasaki KLR, Kawasaki Vulcan, Kawasaki Z, and Kawasaki Ninja series.

5. Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson

Photo Credit: @wallpapertip

Harley Davidson is America’s most popular motorcycle brand, with a huge fan base around the world. Founded in 1903, Harley Davidson has gone through several ups and downs. However, due to its loyal fan following worldwide, improved marketing strategies, and dedicated motorcycle clubs, Harley Davidson has become a reputable motorcycle brand.

Harley Davidson became popular due to its chopper-style motorbikes. Later on, the company also began producing top-quality cruisers, adventure, and touring bikes. The Harley Davidson also produced motorcycles with smaller, low-powered engines that successfully appealed to the beginners’ market. The Harley Davidson Street 500, Harley Street 750, Harley Super Low, and Harley Sportster Iron 883 are best-selling beginner-friendly motorbikes.

Harley Davidson does not have an extensive adventure motorbike lineup. However, the Harley Pan America 1250 introduced in 2018 became the best-selling adventure bike in North America.

Harley Davidson motorcycles are built with high-quality parts, with the latest models becoming more classic and stylish over time. This has resulted in Harley Davidson motorbikes retaining 84% of their original value even after five years.

With a successful and rich history producing classic cruisers, choppers, and touring bikes, Harley Davidson has recently started producing electric motorbikes under the brand name, LiveWire.

6. Ducati


Photo Credit: @exhaustnotes

Ducati is an Italian motorcycle brand founded in 1929, but it did not start producing motorcycles until 1950. Ducati is owned by the famous automobile producer Lamborghini. In 1926, the company started out producing radio components and condensers. Ducati had trouble staying in business during World War II. However, the company managed to continue production. The first motorcycle manufactured by Ducati was the Ducati Cucciolo. From the Ducati Cucciolo to the Ducati Panigale V4, Ducati has come a long way since then and has become a successful motorcycle brand. Ducati has become well-known for producing stylish, innovative, fast, and expensive motorcycles.

Many popular Ducati motorcycles include the Ducati Panigale, Ducati Scrambler, Ducati Diavel, Ducati Monster, Ducati Hypermotard, and Ducati Multistrada 1200. These motorbikes are famous for their unique designs, comfortable ergonomics, and powerful performance. However, almost one-third of the current Ducati models require repairs within the first four years.

7. BMW


BMW is a German automobile brand that began by producing aircraft engines. BMW has different branches for different automobile categories, including the Rolls-Royce and the Mini. However, the branch responsible for BMW motorbikes is known as BMW Motorrad.

BMW Motorrad has produced many popular motorbikes for different categories, including the BMW RnineT, BMW RnineT Café Racer, BMW S1000RR, BMW S1000XR, BMW R, and BMW K series. BMW is also popular among custom builders due to their motorcycles having rigid frames and reliable engines. BMW motorbikes are widely used as a motorcycle base to build café racers, being well-liked and trusted by motorcycle enthusiasts.

The BMW R1200GS and the BMW R1200 GS Adventure became the most popular and best-selling BMW motorcycles after they were featured in a popular TV series, Long Way Round. Because of the exposure, these BMW motorcycles got due to this TV series, off-roading soon became a popular trend all over the world. The BMW R1200GS and the BMW R1200 GS Adventure sales accounted for almost 33% of the total BMW motorcycle sales.

Nearly 40% of BMW motorcycles undergo mechanical repairs within the first four years. However, BMW’s touring and sports bikes are widely popular, reliable, and comfortable. BMW motorcycles are also more expensive than Japanese brands, including Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki. However, the company provides good warranties that cover the costs of the early repairs. 

8. Triumph


Photo Credit: @wikimedia

Triumph is the youngest motorcycle company on this list of reliable motorcycle brands. It started operating in 1984, eventually becoming Britain’s largest motorcycle brand. Triumph produces reliable motorcycles in almost every category, including cruisers, bobbers, tourers, sport-tourers, and sports bikes. The Triumph Tiger 800 XC is the most successful and best-selling Triumph motorcycle. Other notable Triumph motorcycles include the Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster, Triumph Street Twin, Triumph Scrambler, Triumph Thruxton, Triumph Rocket III, Bonneville T100, and Bonneville T120. Triumph motorcycles tend to be on the expensive side, even more so than Japanese motorcycle brands.

Triumph motorcycles are built with high-quality parts and have a failure rate of 29%, meaning that almost 29% of Triumph motorbikes require repairs within the first four years. Nonetheless, the company provides good warranties that cover early repairs and maintenance costs.

9. KTM


KTM is the leading motorcycle brand when it comes to off-roaders, having produced some of the most reliable enduro and dirt bikes. KTM is an Austrian company established in 1934. The company became widely popular after riders using KTM models consecutively won the Paris-Dakar Race for 18 years.

KTM being a successful off-road motorcycle brand for years helped the company expand into the street and adventure bike markets. KTM has been producing the same street motorbikes and off-roaders for the past seven years. Examples of popular KTM street and adventure motorbikes include the KTM Duke 390, KTM RC 390, KTM 1290 Super Duke R, and KTM 1190 Adventure. If you are looking for a rigid, reliable, and high-performance enduro bike, KTM is the best option.

10. Victory

Photo Credit: @motorcyclenews

Victory is another American motorcycle brand that started manufacturing motorcycles in 1998. Within a short period of time, it became a well-known, reliable motorcycle brand. Victory produced touring bikes, sports bikes, and cruisers. Its first motorbike was the Victory Vision introduced in 1998. Over the years, more reliable Victory motorcycles were introduced to the American market, including the Victory Judge, Victory Octane, Victory Hammer S, and Victory Vegas Jackpot.

Victory motorcycles have a low failure rate of 17%, which means that only 17% of Victory motorbikes require minor repairs within the first four years. However, Victory was discontinued in January 2017 and merged with Indian Motorcycles owned by Polaris Industries.

11. Takeaway

Several factors determine the popularity and success of a motorcycle, including speed, maneuverability, handling, and aesthetics. A motorcycle is often seen as reliable if it is easy and cheap to maintain and has a low failure rate. Japanese motorcycle brands like Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki are the top four most reliable motorcycle brands in the world. Meanwhile, Harley Davidson also produces high-quality, reliable motorbikes which last longer, but they are more expensive and difficult to maintain. Other motorcycle brands including Ducati, KTM, Victory, Triumph, and BMW are also reliable, but they have slightly higher failure rates.

Also, if you want to buy a motorcycle, make sure to research the specific make and model before making the payment. This will help you learn about the merits, demerits, and potential issues with a specific motorcycle. Also, a motorcycle’s lifespan depends on how often and how well it is maintained.

Apart from keeping your motorcycle well-maintained, it should look good as well. A motorcycle’s look can be improved by adding aftermarket parts, including saddlebags, sissy bars, fairings, handlebars, and crash bars.

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