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Author Topic: What has been your most reliable motorcycle?  (Read 24249 times)
Doug Doolin
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« on: January 20, 2009, 04:44:29 PM »
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Of all the bikes you have owned,which was the most reliable?
Mine was a 1971 CB750 Honda.
owned it for 2 years,rode it for about 16,000 miles.
Never ever let me down.
Sorta wish I had it today.

Doug
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2009, 04:56:54 PM »
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Hand's down, a 1986 Goldwing Aspencade.  I sold it to a cop around 1993 with 156,000 sidecar miles on it.  Last time I spoke to him it was still going strong at over 300k.  I put in a stator just before he bought it and he says he put in a clutch at around 250k.  Otherwise just tuneup, oil change, and brake pads. 
I also kind of wish I still had it.
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2009, 04:59:44 PM »
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2002 Harley Heritage.  Bought new, sold last summer. 12K miles due to damn Guzzi riding.
0 repairs, 0 problems.   Even the battery lasted until 2007.

I am not unhappy it is gone.   It made a lot of heat.
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2009, 05:22:38 PM »
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All my Yamaha's and Kawasaki's from the 70's and 80s' were totally reliable. 

Two recent bikes come to mind:

* 1983 BMW R80RT (50,000 miles - no issues other than a snapped clutch cable) Smiley

* 1995 Harley FLHR Road King (50,000 miles) - just normal consumables - tires / battery Smiley

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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2009, 05:27:13 PM »
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Every Yamaha I've owned has been incredibly reliable. DT90, RT360, YZ250, YZ450, Fazer, 750 Virago, FJ1100 never once in the shop for anything other than tune up.
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2009, 05:30:31 PM »
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2002 Harley Heritage.  Bought new, sold last summer. 12K miles due to damn Guzzi riding.
0 repairs, 0 problems.   Even the battery lasted until 2007.

I am not unhappy it is gone.   It made a lot of heat.

 Grin Grin Grin I will resist the urge to pick on a guy named Panhead who doesn't miss a Heritage with 12K.  Grin Grin Grin
 My last HD, a 96 Roadking, was a lemon.  Saying nothing about any other model or meaning to bash the brand, this one was just a dog.  The dealer had the nerve to tell me I had unrealistic expectations because I put 12,000 miles on it in just under a year.  His exact words were, "That's like putting 200,000 miles on a car and expecting it to still run like new".  
I know a guy who just sold a 96 RK with over 100k.  Like I said, mine was just a lemon.
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2009, 05:35:31 PM »
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My 94 BMW K75RT w/ABS was a real gem.  Put over 100k miles with very few problems.  Had an issue with my starter @40k and at @80k my water/oil pump started to weep.  In the 12 years or so that I had it, about 3 weeks total were spent in the shop for the former mentioned problems.  I would gladly purchase another older K bike, but probably not a new one.  Too many issues with the final drives. 
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2009, 05:40:06 PM »
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CJ360T got just routine maintenance.
Kawa 550 LTD spent more time than I wanted in the shop due to some crashes.  Roll Eyes Otherwise rock solid.
Did have some electrical gremlins - after I installed a QuickSilver fairing. While stock it the only bad thing it would do was swallow those little flappers on the choke slides in the carbs. Even then it only affected colds starts (living in Minnesota this was not a small matter Smiley  ).
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2009, 05:44:00 PM »
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2009, 05:44:36 PM »
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The dealer had the nerve to tell me I had unrealistic expectations because I put 12,000 miles on it in just under a year.  His exact words were, "That's like putting 200,000 miles on a car and expecting it to still run like new".  I know a guy who just sold a 96 RK with over 100k.  Like I said, mine was just a lemon.

Frankly speaking, the dealer that told you that was a moron....  

I am sure there are examples of "lemons" for ANY brand of motorcycles, so there are always exceptions, yes? Newer Harleys, airhead Beemers / Guzzi's will all run >100K no problems... Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2009, 05:49:01 PM »
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1985 BMW K100RT with 126K miles. Had to replace the rear main seal, water pump seal, fuel pump and holder and a couple of master cylinders. The engine and transmission are unbreakable.
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2009, 05:59:07 PM »
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My Yamaha 125cc two stroke twin, Honda CA160, Suzuki PE250, Suzuki T500 Titan, Suzuki GT550 Indy, Suzuki GT750 water buffalo - all were stone axe reliable.

I sold the Titan to buy my V7 Sport. I soon bought the GT550 to commute to work and tour when the Sport and R60/2 went down. I weirded out and traded the Indy in on a Vespa P200E...

To me, "pretty is as pretty does"; those Japanese bikes had one type of "character" that I value as much as the Guzzi "character" which enflames my passion.
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2009, 06:13:24 PM »
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I had a 1977 BMW R75/7  I put 44,000 miles on the bike only service items, tires, battery, filters and spark plugs.   in 2nd place are various  moto guzzis 72 eldorado, sport, and V11. all very dependable. now an 04 moto guzzi stone and an 03 HD V Rod its out  look is very good so far.
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2009, 07:45:24 PM »
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I'd have to say that in terms of issues/mile the Rodekyll, '76 Convert, has been the least trouble of any vehicle I've owned.  That includes my '96 GMC Safari AWD cargo van, which has also been pleasingly trouble-free (but not pleasing when and where trouble occurs), but which lacks the years and miles I have into the Rodekyll.
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2009, 07:49:18 PM »
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my Dad bought us a Trail 90 in 1972... the first summer I burned up 3 auto clutches and was banned from riding it..  I was 18 and didn't ride it for 23 years,  since then it's been bombproof.
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2009, 07:49:28 PM »
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Three bikes that I owned, I never had any problem with in 23,000, 21,000, and 40,000 miles respectively.

1976 Yamaha RD400C

1981 BMW R65

1984 Harley Electra-Glide Classic.

The other 21, there's always been something.

Lannis
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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2009, 07:53:35 PM »
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Interesting that so far I'm the only one to list a Guzzi.

But OTOH, I have only my pre-60s harleys and pre-75 brits and hondas to compare to.
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2009, 07:58:51 PM »
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No doubt, the few Honda CX500s I've had. Not once ever did one let me down,
Least reliable was a 1967 350 Junak but didn't have it long enough to sort it out.
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2009, 08:02:35 PM »
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Interesting that so far I'm the only one to list a Guzzi.

But OTOH, I have only my pre-60s harleys and pre-75 brits and hondas to compare to.

It is interesting.  It must mean that "Best", "Sexiest", "The Bike I'd Most Like To Own", and "The Bike I Own" don't have "Most Reliable" as a major component!

We ARE just like Ducati riders!

Lannis
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« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2009, 08:17:08 PM »
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My 92 BMW K75S. Owned since new and she has never let me down. Did regular service and now have around 75k on her. I will never part with this bike.
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« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2009, 08:25:10 PM »
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My 1982 Honda CB900F was very reliable.

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« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2009, 08:34:33 PM »
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My '69 Ambassador - in the 56k miles I've ridden it so far, the only failure was a wiring terminal broke. Crimped on a new one and off I went. Oh yeah, it blew a taillight bulb once...  Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2009, 08:43:39 PM »
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My first bike was a R90/6.  Put 30K on it in 2 years in college before a farmer took it out with an impromptu U-turn.  I replaced the oil sending unit.  I did clean the plugs and file and set the points once or twice, in addition to changing the oil and filter.

That bike was a mule!

I also had (well it was my ex-wife's) a V50II for 15 years.  Bought it with 14K on it and sold it after the divorce with 30K on it.  Oil and fliters only.  It was a smaller, more nimble mule.  Bullet proof!

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« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2009, 08:46:17 PM »
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Interesting that so far I'm the only one to list a Guzzi.

But OTOH, I have only my pre-60s harleys and pre-75 brits and hondas to compare to.
I haven't had my Guzzi long enough to class it as reliable.  In 6,000 miles I've replaced the Hi/Low switch, the rear turn signals, the switch on the kickstand shorted out, the petcock quit working, the low fuel light sensor stopped working, and I replaced the mufflers and rear shocks.  Of course, most of it I blamed on the PO.   Grin  
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« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2009, 08:46:34 PM »
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My 2000 Jackal of course.
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« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2009, 08:56:07 PM »
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And my 2000 Jackal!   Bulletproof!
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« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2009, 09:10:03 PM »
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I don't think i have ever been seriously stranded by any bike. in the  35 years i have rode.
But because i owned my Laverda SF2 the longest, 13 years I have to say that was my most reliable bike
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« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2009, 09:20:16 PM »
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1995 cali 1100i and a 1975 Honda cb500t
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« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2009, 09:32:28 PM »
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1980 Honda FT500...bought new, kept 10 years 45,000+ miles, only tires, chains, brakes, and tuneups...Loved that single, wish I still had, great around town bike, light weight, great gas mileage, and handled very good for its time.
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« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2009, 09:58:18 PM »
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A long string of Hondas.
'82 Goldwing 247,000 miles and still takes the current owner to work every day.
'91 ST1100 - bought used with about 40K.  Added another 32K with no issues at all.
'96 ST1100 - Bought used with about 6k.  Added another 97K in 18 months.  No issues. Current owner still riding it with 187K.
'97 Valkyrie - Bought new - 84k in a little over two years.  No issues.
'98 ST1100 - Bought used with about 3K.  Rode it about 40K.  Wish I still had it.
A whole long list of dozens of GL1500 Goldwings that I bought and sold to pay for my traveling.  Rode many of them thousands of miles with no issues.

I can't say the same for a couple of low mileage Yamaha cruisers, nor three BMW oilheads, and a Triumph triple.  All of them left me on the road at one time or another.  So did an '82 Guzzi Cal II (that I never should have sold).  The CalII left me stranded twice.  Both times in city "warzones" (not a good place for a deaf white guy who can't walk far).  Wife insisted it had to go.  To be fair, the bike had over 150,000 miles when I bought it.  The engine had recently been rebuilt.  The wiring was the cause both times.

I've never had a long term relationship with a bike.  They stay awhile and discard me like a used Cheng Shin.  It's sooo embarrassing.
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« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2009, 10:00:42 PM »
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So far my 73 Eldorado. Bought new in March of 73. So far it has never left me stranded on the road.

Jim
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« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2009, 10:01:56 PM »
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'85 Kawi GPZ750
'87 Kawi Ninja 750R changed the oil, tires, brake pads... and rode them.

The only problems I have experienced with my Eldo is a broken throttle cable (borrowed the choke cable to get back on the road) and a loose wire in the ignition (snugged up the screw with a dime, locktite when I got home)
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« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2009, 10:04:05 PM »
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this is an interesting question.  and a good one.  its easy to say.  i owned a yamaha and it ran for 30,000 miles, started right up every time.  just put gas in it, never changed the oil. etc etc.  versus the i have a honda goldwing that has 300,000 miles on it.  i guess it depends on your definition of the word reliable.  and really.  if you never had to fix it, what fun would that be.
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« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2009, 10:17:34 PM »
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I put 45k miles on a 1995 Honda VFR750.  Only consumables were replaced.  Didn't leak a bit of anything.  I HOPE to add a Guzzi to the list.  My Griso has been quite reliable.  It will take me about 3 years to get to 40k+ miles.  The Eldo I bought has 52k miles on it & I rode it home at highway speeds (probably not too smart).  I had a ground wire work it's way loose on the ride home from Houston near Refugio, TX.  About 20 minutes of scratching my head  Huh and I had it fixed.   

I will be replacing the cylinders and cleaning up the electrics along with some paint and polish.  I then plan on putting at least 50 miles a week on her.  Difficult part is deciding which vehicle to take to work.  Sadly my old 1954 Dodge doesn't see the road too often.   Cry  I'll have to work on that.  I could take a different vehicle every day, but it usually ends up being the Griso or my F-150 SuperCrew (has the childseat).  I have a feeling a hack is in the future.  Currently the state won't let me put the kiddo in a sidecar (we are trying to adopt him).

AJ

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2005 MZ1000S (1 of maybe 35 in the US)
2004 Honda F4i (toy that will be sold soon)
2001 Aprilia Falco (boom-a-rang bike, sold it & bought it back)
1974 Eldorado California
1972 Eldorado (w/ Dnepr sidecar)
1972 BMW R75/5 Cafe Racer
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« Reply #34 on: January 20, 2009, 10:30:03 PM »
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this is an interesting question.  and a good one.  its easy to say.  i owned a yamaha and it ran for 30,000 miles, started right up every time.  just put gas in it, never changed the oil. etc etc.  versus the i have a honda goldwing that has 300,000 miles on it.  i guess it depends on your definition of the word reliable.  and really.  if you never had to fix it, what fun would that be.

So true. Reliability and comfort are king when traveling far.  The bike is just a tool.  Not so with an old Guzzi.  You and the bike have a special relationship.  No matter why you went to the garage, you flip on the light, look at the bike and smile.  The relationship commands you to pull out a tool just to check something.  There's a never before considered desire to clean and polish the tools.  Old Guzzis are special.
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« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2009, 10:36:58 PM »
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Early to mid 80's Suzuki GS's
GS450ex replaced clutch pushrod under warranty, no other problems
GS1100e no problems
GS700es no problems
GS850G-Shaftie-Bulletproof!  Energizer Bunny bike....just kept going...
XN85D 650 turbo  no problems till I totaled a Volvo with it! Roll Eyes

Believe Suzuki had the lowest ratio of warranty claims of the big 4 for the lat 70's early 80's
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« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2009, 11:20:52 PM »
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65 BMW R69S would love to have it back. I had the only 8.5 gallon tank in the USA-it did have a bad habit of going in to a high speed tank slapper at 105mph.
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« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2009, 12:34:49 AM »
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I bought a brand new '78 Honda Goldwing when I was a senior in highschool. Including vetter fairing, bags and trunk it was $3,600. Rode it for 12 years and put on 230,000 miles until the stator failed. I sold it after a very serious dirt bike wreck and went 16 years without a bike until I got my Breva 11. I don't expect to be without a bike ever again.

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« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2009, 12:55:20 AM »
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Well I had zero problems with my '98 EV.  I didn't have to fix or replace a single thing.  Not one.  Just gas and go.  Never even changed the oil or tires.  Though to be fair I had it for a week.   Wink

Other than that, I blame nothing on my T3 because the problems it had were from the PO who cobbled it into a cafe and had lots of wiring issues.  The Sport has been great so far minus the usual little things that can all be fixed.  It's never left me on the side of the road.  My little Yamaha melted the engine down but it was great before that/after it was bored out and rebuilt.

But the one bike in my mind that had absolutely the least amount of problems has to be (and keep in mind my age/lack of experience on other things) my little Honda z50 Mini Trail.  I rode that thing to the ends of the earth and back when I was a kid.  Started off when I was tall enough to swing my leg over the saddle (can't remember exactly how old) and the best day of my life was when those training wheels came off.  It still sits out in the shed at my Dad's waiting for me to restore it.  Probably only needs cleaned up and the carbs rebuilt and it would go.  If I ever have kids, it's going to them.  I beat the unholy heck out of that little bike and it just wouldn't die.  Sure were simpler times back then....
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Robert Oler
1987 Yamaha SRX 250
1998 V-11 EV
2001 V-11 Sport
2007 Breva 750
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Age: 53
Location: oregon
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« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2009, 01:01:58 AM »
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  1981 Yamaha XV920R, but the 850T is a close second...
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