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gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/5/19 9:47 p.m.

I'm going to get back into motorcycles after about two decades away from them. They sure have come a long way. Last bike I had was a yamaha radian in 1997.

Some of these makes that I never really considered have really caught my eye but the internet says they are unreliable and to stay away.

I really would like some insight into ducati and triumph in particular the motard group and street and speed triple respectively. Also Husqvarna and KTM I hear about these four makes in particular having issues.

That said I really also like look of the the kawa z900 and the yam mt09 and other streetfighter style bikes. the only thing I know for sure that i want is an upright riding position.

Whats the consensus on Ducati and Triumph as far as reliability? I do all my own maintenance but major repairs I still will probably rely on a shop.

Also, looking at used no more than 15 years old but focusing on newer than 2013.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
7/6/19 7:24 a.m.

Triumphs are no problem. Any of the FI models will be the equal of any Asian brand. I own a 2008 Bonneville and a 2012 Tiger 800. Other than 'normal' maintenance I haven't fixed anything. The Bonnie has almost 9000 on it, the Tiger is around 37000. The worst thing about the triples is the valve adjustment. They use shims and getting to them is take-half-the-bike-apart time. Generally they stay within spec so all you do is check them at the proper interval.

The Z900RS is a fantastic bike, BTW. It's not a 'street fighter', more of a retro classic.

Haven't owned a Ducati nor a BMW. Ridden several of the latter, never liked any of them.

The Husqvarna Vitpilen is an interesting machine, super light weight. Too new to really tell us about reliability.

KTMs seem to be hit/miss depending on the model and who you ask.

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
7/6/19 7:51 a.m.

Are you buying new or used?   If you are buying used, the prior owner's habits and service history will be a bigger factor than interweb rumors.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
7/6/19 8:26 a.m.

Ducatis tend to need more specialised maintenance with regular timing belt changes and adjustment of the desmo valvetrain. Most of the people I know who own Ducatis do the work themselves - it's not that hard to do, but relatively expensive at shop rates. They're not quite up there in reliablity with, say, Honda, but assuming you keep up the maintenance they're pretty good.

As to Triumphs, again, a lot depends on maintenance. I've owned an early 2000s ST that was using a lot of oil (not unusual), and during that period it was made some genius also thought that having FI quick disconnects made out of a plastic that turns brittle over time when it comes into contact with petrol was a good idea. It's nice when the bike starts pissing out fuel right on your boot at FI pressures. You can get replacement metal ones, and IIRC they resolved that issue later on.

As with most bikes, the reliablity is more defined by how well they were looked after rather than the make and model itself.

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/6/19 1:32 p.m.

In reply to ddavidv :

Thanks. There was a point where I really wanted a Bonneville and then instead a tiger. Such beautiful bikes. I still may get a tiger for an adv bike one day.

I found out that specific nomenclature is super important nowadays where I love the z900 the z900rs is not my cup of tea. Kind of like the gsx-r is too sporty for me but the gsx-s is one I'm considering.

I have found a new 2014 vfr800 interceptor that intrigues me as well. That may be more sporty than I'm wanting.

 

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/6/19 1:38 p.m.

In reply to Cooter :

Unless I can find a nos bike hidden at a dealer for way under original MSRP probably used.

You make a great point.  I figure there's a better chance of finding a well cared for bike in the 3k to 8k range than a car in that range (outside of subscribers to grm).

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/6/19 1:43 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

Excellent. I'll have to check out maintenance intervals on ducs then. If I feel I can do it I'll start looking for a motard pretty exclusively.  If not I'll be doing some more research.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
7/7/19 6:11 a.m.

It really isn't hard to find nice, well cared for bikes. The vast majority of people don't ride them much so they don't get miles put on. Your choices will often be low mile bikes that have sat a lot (which can create their own problems) or cheap bikes with lots of miles that someone rode a lot. The latter category will have two subsets, the fastidious maintenance guy or the I-just-put-gas-in-it guy. I think with higher end, weirdo brand bikes like Ducati you are more likely to find the former group than the latter.

lotusseven7
lotusseven7 Reader
7/7/19 10:40 a.m.

We used to own a Kawasaki/Suzuki/Ducati/BMW dealership and have heard this type of question hundreds of times. But, I believe that the much more important questions are:

1. What type of riding are you going to do? Commuting, pleasure, group riding/cruising, touring, adventure, dual-sport, sport, motard, trackday or any other sub-type?

2. How many miles per year do you plan to ride? What region of the country do you live in and how many months of the year do you think you will ride? What weather conditions are you planning or willing to ride in?

 

If you plan on touring for example and will be looking at traditional touring bikes, BMW K-LT, Honda GWing, etc, then maintenance for those previous owners will have been done to a much higher standard than most other categories of bikes. 

If looking at a sport bike, since they are more “disposable” to the younger demographic, maintenance was probably not on the top of their list and unless there are service records to back up any claims, I’d be suspect.

 

 

I would be so bold and say that most bikes made in the last 20 years are going to be very dependable for the type of riding and the amount of riding most people do. Most think that they will ride 10k miles per year and actually end up riding 2-3k miles per year. This is just based on my experience. 

 

When someone came in to our dealership asking “new rider type questions”, the best answer I could give them was to pick the bike that they liked the look of and get started riding. It’s not going to be the last bike you are ever going to own, so get yourself on 2-wheels and begin riding. You are the only one who knows when, where, how and how much you are going to ride and your second motorcycle purchase will be a much better buy than the first one as it will suit your needs better.

 

My .02¢

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
7/7/19 10:52 a.m.

I've had a few really low mileage bikes and like cars, they get sad from non-use. The last one I had like that was a BMW K1100LT with 13k on the clock, that amongst other things required a full brake rebuild. ABS bike, too. I had done this before but it's still a PITA even when you know how and where to get the part from.

I'd aim for the middle market of regular, limited use with an owner who looks after their stuff.

That's what I did with my GL1500 - relatively low miles for the year (a bit below 40k) but two fastidious owners - father and step son who inherited the bike. Step son builds trucks and tractors for tractor pulling as a hobby, and those were so clean you could eat off them. The bike was the same.

Edit: Make sure you know about maintenance foibles that can cost a lot of money. I don't know that much about Ducs, but for BMWs there are often overlooked maintenance items like flushing the brake fluid annually or bi-annually that can get really expensive when they're not done on schedule, especially in a humid environment. Like "changing a $2k ABS pump and servo that requires dealer software to install" type expensive.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
7/7/19 4:44 p.m.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/cars-sale/il-2007-triumph-tiger-1050/138763/page1/

This may fit the bill nicely for you. It's been nothing but reliable/good to me.

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/7/19 7:51 p.m.
ddavidv said:

It really isn't hard to find nice, well cared for bikes. The vast majority of people don't ride them much so they don't get miles put on. Your choices will often be low mile bikes that have sat a lot (which can create their own problems) or cheap bikes with lots of miles that someone rode a lot. The latter category will have two subsets, the fastidious maintenance guy or the I-just-put-gas-in-it guy. I think with higher end, weirdo brand bikes like Ducati you are more likely to find the former group than the latter.

That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy since a buddy of mine just bought a 2005 HD fat boy with 1000 miles on it. I guess the guy that owned it never rode it but had several inches thick worth of records for the bike. 

cdeforrest
cdeforrest New Reader
7/7/19 7:55 p.m.

 Bmw era huskys are to be avoided at all costs. They’re German complicated (can bus for a dirt bike ?) and orphaned. 
Ducati hasn’t changed much and has a solid grassroots support system so it’s hard to go wrong. Their routine maint intervals have stretched as the company became more stable. However there’s support and fixes for the older stuff. 
Bmw eh.  Bring more wallets. Unless it’s pre 90. 

Edit: if you want to ride vs wrench, buy a Honda. I’ve had all of above and the Honda’s are the ones I can always count on. 

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/7/19 8:04 p.m.
lotusseven7 said:

We used to own a Kawasaki/Suzuki/Ducati/BMW dealership and have heard this type of question hundreds of times. But, I believe that the much more important questions are:

1. What type of riding are you going to do? Commuting, pleasure, group riding/cruising, touring, adventure, dual-sport, sport, motard, trackday or any other sub-type?

2. How many miles per year do you plan to ride? What region of the country do you live in and how many months of the year do you think you will ride? What weather conditions are you planning or willing to ride in?

 

If you plan on touring for example and will be looking at traditional touring bikes, BMW K-LT, Honda GWing, etc, then maintenance for those previous owners will have been done to a much higher standard than most other categories of bikes. 

If looking at a sport bike, since they are more “disposable” to the younger demographic, maintenance was probably not on the top of their list and unless there are service records to back up any claims, I’d be suspect.

 

 

I would be so bold and say that most bikes made in the last 20 years are going to be very dependable for the type of riding and the amount of riding most people do. Most think that they will ride 10k miles per year and actually end up riding 2-3k miles per year. This is just based on my experience. 

 

When someone came in to our dealership asking “new rider type questions”, the best answer I could give them was to pick the bike that they liked the look of and get started riding. It’s not going to be the last bike you are ever going to own, so get yourself on 2-wheels and begin riding. You are the only one who knows when, where, how and how much you are going to ride and your second motorcycle purchase will be a much better buy than the first one as it will suit your needs better.

 

My .02¢

Oooh, this is interesting. So I'm going to answer even if the questions were rhetorical. 1. No idea. Some and/or all of the above, which is why I'm having a bit of trouble zeroing in on a genre just yet. The only thing I am sure of is I do not want a cruiser, they are nice bikes, just not for me.

2. I live in middle America say, northeastern arkansas, southwestern missouri. 9 months minimum of decent riding weather, I have always ridden in, heat, rain, cold but not snow or ice. No idea how many miles a year I will ride at this point.

BTW It puts me at ease to hear that most any bike made in the last 20 years will probably be decent as well if taken care of.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
7/7/19 8:06 p.m.

Without knowing more about your intentions, Honda. Cockroaches that are almost unkillable. They are almost never cutting edge, but what they might give up in the nth degree of performance is traded for the reliability of gravity.

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/7/19 8:08 p.m.

In reply to clutchsmoke :

I looked at your Tiger when you posted it back in april. Sweet bike. I've only wanted a Tiger for about a decade. I hope you sell it soon but if not I will probably be in contact with you when I get my BMW sold.

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/7/19 8:10 p.m.

More votes for Honda. Huh. Making that new 2014 800 interceptor I found very compelling.

cdeforrest
cdeforrest New Reader
7/7/19 9:02 p.m.

Interceptor 800 is the bomb! V4 is like a little Chevy V8. It’s sporty when you want to sport and toury too. Factory hard bag options and a loyal following. If I didn’t get my CBR for free I’d have bought one of those.  There’s a reason they’re still in production.  

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/7/19 10:09 p.m.

In reply to cdeforrest :

Oh geez don't say that. That bike has become the hard to ignore option I don't want but actually do really. curse that place for having a NOS vfr800

cdeforrest
cdeforrest New Reader
7/7/19 10:56 p.m.

In reply to gunner :

If it’s got ABS, you’re pretty much looking at the final form of the perfect motorcycle. Naturally, they should knock off a hefty Amt for it being ‘so old’, but it hasn’t changed much since 2006. 
I was sold on the vfr after taking an uncorked vfr750 through the sierras, just listening to the sound and feeling the torque from the willing 4cyl. 

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
7/8/19 6:14 a.m.

Japanese UJM style bikes are the easy answer. For some of us though they simply aren't the right answer.

I've owned/ridden Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki. Capable, reliable machines. However, after having ridden some European brands the Japanese machinery just doesn't cut it.

I have the same reaction to Honda cars as their bikes. Great vehicles...for someone else. They are just Dullsville.

Kawasaki is sort of the Mazda of them all; they've managed to give them at least a modicum of personality.

If you've never ridden Euro bikes and don't know what you're missing you'll probably be happy with a KawaZukiYamaHonda.

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/8/19 6:48 a.m.

In reply to cdeforrest :

oh whew. it does not have abs. now I can just ignore it and go on. ;)

gunner
gunner HalfDork
7/8/19 6:55 a.m.

In reply to ddavidv :

See here, it is the problem. I'm already having fantasies of an all italian garage where I have a new fiat 124 parked next to a ducati hypermotard, and by the way that scrambler is pretty cool too.

You could say I have a dilemma which is why it's probably a good thing I can talk to you guys while I can't do anything until the BMW sells.

cdeforrest
cdeforrest New Reader
7/9/19 8:29 p.m.

And today I learned Ducati put their V4 in a Streetfighter naked bike. Ah, man.. my Monster had better watch it’s back. 

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
7/9/19 8:53 p.m.

In reply to ddavidv :

Truth.

I loved my Hondas, then I bought a 'Guzzi.

Two Guzzis and two Ducatis in the garage now. The handling and braking are phenominal. Power is good too.

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