There’s nothing like the thrill of owning and riding a motorbike, but which make is going to be the best for you? Our customer satisfaction ratings may be able to 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 September 2016, published in September 2016.
If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle, then you’ll just get it. There’s nothing like the exhilarating experience of feeling every twist and turn of a perfect mountain road, as your bike almost becomes an extension of yourself. Like a third hand, when on the bike we come to rely on the machine as if it were a horse to its knight. Cars may be more popular because of the cocoon they provide to drivers, but nothing beats a bike for getting around on. Their low ongoing costs, fuel efficiency, commute time savings, and the sheer smile-factor you get from riding a bike makes it an extremely satisfying hobby to have. All of these factors ensure motorcycles command a loyal following.
Just like with cars – and virtually every significant purchase you make – there are a myriad of factors that influence your decision on buying a bike; so, which motorbike manufacturers produce the most satisfied customers? At Canstar Blue, we rate a huge number of brands based on how Australian customers are satisfied with the products and services they offer. The world of motorbikes is a bit of a tricky one; you can’t just look at the objective facts – the fact is, a motorbike rider’s heart is involved in purchasing a new bike just as much as their head. It’s an emotional journey, which is why the rigorous satisfaction results make manufacturers have to really stand out to earn an award.
We rated motorbikes based on criteria such as value for money, handling, comfort, fuel economy and more. We are supremely happy to announce that Yamaha achieved a perfect five-star rating for overall satisfaction to secure our Most Satisfied Customers Award for Motorcycles.
Yamaha emerged from a highly competitive field in which makes such as BMW, Harley-Davidson and Honda all earned five stars overall. Behind these three were Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki, who each achieved three stars overall. Several makes also achieved five stars in specific categories, which is handy to know if you’re after a bike with a specific standout feature. Read on for a more detailed breakdown of how Yamaha and the other brands earned their stars.
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A noteworthy 55 per cent of those surveyed said one of the top reasons for owning a bike was that it’s cheaper to run than a car. This is a fair point when you think that a bike is significantly lighter than most cars in existence, and hence use less fuel. Additionally, registering a bike for use on public roads is often much cheaper than a car. Another glaring factor is the fact that bikes are often cheaper to purchase than cars – often under $10,000 new. When you combine these three factors, you are potentially in for some savings.
If you’re simply looking for the most bang-for-buck, then our survey results say that Yamaha also wins out here. The popular Japanese make was awarded five stars for value for money, beating out Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki who achieved four stars apiece. There seems to be a theme here – the Japanese bikes are keeping owners’ wallets more padded. As BMW, Harley-Davidson and Ducati are all high-end brands, this is reflected in their three star value for money ratings.
It’s all well and good enjoying the road, but it’s no use if your bike puts you in a spin every time you go around a corner. As you are so closely connected to the road, it’s easy to tell right away if a motorbike cannot handle well. If you’re looking for a supreme twisted-road machine, then our survey results say look no further than Yamaha again, who achieved five stars in the handling category. Hot on Yamaha’s tail was BMW, Harley, Honda and Suzuki who all achieved four stars each.
It’s no use owning a bike if you can’t even get it out of the garage in the morning. Reliability issues are a pet peeve when it comes to bike owners, so choosing a reliable bike – especially if you need it daily – is a no brainer. In our 2016 survey, Yamaha again took out the top spot in the reliability rankings. If you’re looking for a well-oiled and a trusty machine then look no further than Yamaha. Trailing just behind in reliability ratings were BMW, Harley, Honda and Suzuki who again achieved four stars each.
Buying a bike is more than just wheeling it out of the dealership and leaving in a cloud of dust. Often, buying a bike is a much more involved and emotional experience than a car. So it’s important the bike manufacturer you buy from offers great service – especially after the sale if you have any concerns or issues. Two makes – Yamaha and Harley-Davidson – achieved five stars for after-sales service, so you may want to look at these bikes if service is something you’d rather enjoy than endure. In hot contention were BMW, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki, each achieving four-stars.
Yamaha and the American muscle Harley-Davidson proved to have highly satisfied riders in the after-sales department. And again, the Japanese brands proved consistent here. The German giant BMW also rounded out the four-star contingent, proving you don’t just have to be an American or Japanese brand to provide great after-sales service. Coming in last place with three stars was the Italian stallion Ducati.
A fab fast bike is all good until your rear-end goes numb and your back starts to kill you slowly with every passing bump in the road. Comfort is a huge factor for many riders, especially those who travel long distances. If you’re after comfort, touring and cruiser bikes cannot be beaten. This is due to their more relaxed suspension and riding position, where you seem to gently glide over bumps, rather than jolt through them like performance bikes. In the comfort ratings, Harley-Davidson took out top spot with five stars for satisfaction. In close quarters were Yamaha, BMW, Honda and Suzuki each with four stars. The more performance-oriented brands such as Kawasaki and Ducati each suffered a little here, achieving three stars for comfort.
As fuel efficiency is a big factor as to why people ride a bike, it makes sense to purchase a bike with good fuel economy. This is especially true if your bike is your everyday mode of transport. Overall 38 per cent of survey respondents cited fuel use as an important consideration when buying a bike. The state with those most concerned with fuel use was Queensland, with 46 per cent of respondents saying it was an important factor. If you want fuel economy, then our survey says to look no further than Yamaha or Honda. These Japanese giants each achieved five stars. Rounding out the list were BMW, Harley, Kawasaki and Suzuki each with four stars. At the bottom was Ducati with three-stars.
Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 1079 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 three years (excluding scooters and mopeds) – in this case, 797 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.