2015 Motorbike Reviews & Ratings

Posted by Canstar Blue September 26th 2016

Motorcycles are a joy to own and a thrill to ride, but which brand is going to work out best for you? Our customer satisfaction ratings can help.

* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
Canstar Blue research finalised in July 2015, published in August 2015.

See Our Ratings Methodology

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Most Satisfied Customers | Harley-Davidson

We’re happy to announce that Harley-Davidson achieved a perfect five-star rating for overall satisfaction to secure our Most Satisfied Customers Award for Motorcycles. Harley emerged from a highly-rated field in which competitors BMW, Ducati, Triumph and Honda all achieved four stars overall.

Harley-Davidson rides away with our customer satisfaction award for motorcycles

The experience of riding a motorcycle is completely unlike driving a car; it’s a visceral, thrilling joyride at any speed, where the machine you’re sitting on feels more like a live animal than a collection of metal parts. Cars may be much more popular in the modern world due to the obvious advantages that come with size – such as extra safety and capacity – but the low costs, fuel efficiency and sheer adrenaline rush that comes with motorcycles ensures they command a significant, loyal following.

Just like other automobiles, there are a myriad of factors that influence your decision when buying a new bike; so which of Australia’s brands provide the most satisfying results?

At Canstar Blue, we rate a huge number of brands based on how satisfied Aussie customers are with the products they offer. The world of bike sales is a competitive one, and it takes high quality across a number of areas for a motorcycle to really stand out. We rated motorbikes based on criteria such as value for money, handling, comfort, fuel economy and more. And we’re happy to announce that Harley-Davidson achieved a perfect five-star rating for overall satisfaction to secure our Most Satisfied Customers Award for Motorcycles.

Harley emerged from a highly-rated field in which competitors BMW, Ducati, Triumph and Honda all achieved four stars overall. Behind them came the likes of Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha each with three stars for overall satisfaction. Several brands scored five stars in different criteria, forming a strong case for themselves if you’re after specific features from your bike; read on for a more detailed comparison.

Value for money

A significant 55% of the Aussie bike owners we talked to said that cheaper ownership costs were their reason for riding a motorcycle. It’s a compelling argument – bikes are much lighter than even the smallest car, which means they can be propelled with smaller engines that burn much less fuel; they’re also cheaper to buy than cars, with typical mid-range sports bikes usually retailing for well under $10k. Whilst these savings are offset somewhat by insurance and equipment costs, there’s no argument that a new motorbike represents good transport value.

If you’re simply looking for the best bang for your buck, you can’t go past Honda, according to our survey respondents. The Japanese brand was rated the maximum five stars for value, beating their nearest competitors Triumph, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha – each of which achieved four. Ducati, BMW and Harley are known for their high-end motorcycles and this was reflected in three-star value ratings for each brand.

We talk more about Honda in our more detailed analysis of the value for money award-winner.

Handling

Sixty-three percent of Aussie riders said they rode a motorcycle because it was exhilarating, but an exciting bike isn’t much good if you can’t handle it properly. Handling is as vital a characteristic in a bike as it is in a performance car – possibly more so. The five-star brand when it came to handling was Ducati, an Italian manufacturer well-known for its top-quality performance bikes. Other brands that did well in the bends were BMW, Triumph, Honda and Kawasaki, all achieving four stars.

We take a closer look at Ducati in our report on the motorcycle handling award-winner.

Reliability

A reliable bike means years of consistent riding and fewer expensive repair bills, making it a no-brainer to look for a brand which saves you both money and frustration. Two brands stood out with their satisfaction ratings for reliability – Harley-Davidson and Honda, with both achieving five stars. Notable runners-up were four-star scorers Suzuki, Ducati and BMW.

Learn more about Honda and Harley Davidson’s reliability award-win.

After-sales service

Bikes offer a much more hands-on experience than cars (literally), with the more involved nature of the ride often carrying over to being more invested in your bike’s maintenance and modification; with the engine and suspension staring you in the face whenever you hop on, it’s hard not to be interested in how it works. As a result, it’s even more important that getting your bike serviced is a hassle-free experience, and the same goes for any support issues you might have down the road.

For the highest-rated after-sales service, your best choices are BMW and Ducati, according to our results. The two Europeans both topped the scores with five star satisfaction ratings in this area. Also of note were the four-star performances of Harley-Davidson and Honda, with the remaining brands achieving three stars.

We talk more about these award winners in our after sales service award breakdown.

Comfort

A comfortable bike, with both a well-shaped seat and well-tuned suspension, is a godsend when you’re riding down a bumpy or unpaved road – both of which are all too common in Australia. Touring and cruiser bikes tend to be more comfortable than performance bikes, due to their more relaxed suspension and riding position, and so it proved in our satisfaction ratings. Harley-Davidson, the well-known American builder of luxurious touring bikes, was first across the line with five stars for comfort. BMW, Ducati and Triumph also did well with four stars each, whilst the more performance-oriented ranges of the Japanese bike brands saw them each score three stars.

Mileage

Fuel efficiency is just as important for motorcycle owners as it is for car drivers – you don’t want to be stopping every hour to refill your bike’s small fuel tank! Forty-five percent of our respondents said they owned a bike because it was cheaper fuel-wise, meaning that mileage is an important consideration for many. Those looking to save money at the pump should take a look at Honda and Harley’s bikes, with both brands achieving five stars for mileage satisfaction. The ratings were unsurprisingly strong across the board, with BMW, Ducati, Triumph and Suzuki scoring four stars, with Kawasaki and Yamaha on three.

Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 882 Australian motorcycle riders in order to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who currently own and have ridden a motorcycle in the last 3 years (excluding scooters and mopeds) – in this case, 733 Australians.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.