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Mar 9th 2016, 04:02 AM   #1
 galenernest's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Beijing

  Honda CBF190R and Shineray X6
Question Motorcycle Totem Pole

If you were to rank motorcycle manufacturers from best to worst, best being on the top and worst being on the bottom, what would your motorcycle totem pole look like?

Criteria: Joy of ownership. This is purposely ambiguous. Thinking of the joy of ownership, you could think about what's the most fun to ride, the least costly to own and ride, lowest maintenance, etc. Or you could rank in terms of other aspects of ownership, such as level of customizability, uniqueness, comradery with other owners, etc. Or whatever it is that makes a motorcycle a joy to own.

You don't necessarily have to have first hand ownership experience to add a manufacturer to your totem pole... you can base your rankings on whatever information you have. You don't have to list all the manufacturers. And we encourage you to explain your methodology in your rank. But let's avoid extreme brand-bashing and try to keep things positive.

Here's my totem pole:

Honda
Yamaha
Suzuki
Kawasaki
Ducati
KTM
Aprilia
Harley Davidson

My joy of ownership criteria leans heavily on rideability and affordability. I think of a motorcycle that always starts when I want it to, handles the way I like and is a simple, fun joy to own. Of all the UJM's (and I think in terms of overall value, the Japanese have got everyone else beat), Honda is simply the most predictable and reliable. If you want a machine that is a joy to own and a joy to ride, why not just buy a Honda and be done with it. I had tons of fun on Yamahas and I think they are a close second, maybe with a bit more of an "edge" or attitude to them. Honestly, all the main Japanese manufacturers are very close.

The Italians are great, but they cost $10,000 more and do about the same thing that a Japanese bike will... albeit with more style and more "wow." KTM's are fucking awesome, but have similar shortcomings when compared to a Japanese counterpart.

HD is pretty self-explanatory. The cost to performance ratio just doesn't work for me.

Anyway, that's my totem pole. Yours might look way different and I'm really interested in hearing why!
Mar 9th 2016, 07:03 AM   #2
 SilvieFox's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  welches, Oregon

  08Kawasaki Versys(Sylvester),72Suzuki RV90(vanvan),81Honda TwinStar(Bobber),Yamaha225,Honda Shadow
Honda
Kawasaki
ATK
Indian
Yamaha
Suzuki
KTM
BMW
Aprilia
Ducati
Harley Davidson

Edited by SilvieFox on Mar 9th 2016 at 07:40 AM
Mar 9th 2016, 07:03 AM   #3
 ChopperDr's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Buckley

  '98 HD FXD, '03 SV650 track
Interesting post. I picked up my 1998 HD FXD in October of 1997. It's on the second battery. Fluid changes and one set of plugs. I put in a Crane cam and higher compression pistons, but that wasn't needed. Otherwise problem free. Simple design. I like carbs.

BMW absolutely stirs my soul. I dig the German engineering.


Never had an issue with any Honda I've owned.


Italian bikes? Only if it sports a Rotax motor, otherwise no thanks.

BMW
HD
Japanese
Italians

Chop
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Mar 9th 2016, 07:51 AM   #4
DGA
 DGA's Avatar
Moderator
 
  Jan 2016
  PDX

  An Ape and a Husky
Aprilia
Kawasaki
Triumph
Husqvarna
Honda
Mar 9th 2016, 08:41 AM   #5
 
  Jan 2016
  Beaverton

  '13 636, '14 N1k, DR650
Kawasaki
Suzuki
Yamaha
Honda
EverythingElseWhoCares

I put many-a-miles on my bikes. My garage time is all ready pretty high compared to most riders. When bikes become really, really ridiculously easy to work on, it makes all the difference in the world to me.

My list is based on how easy it is to do "standard" maintenance (anything in the maint. sched. - not splitting the case).

Once you've changed the oil and adjusted the chain on a current gen Ninja, any other bike seems like it was built in the stone ages.
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Mar 9th 2016, 09:34 AM   #6
 liberpolly's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Seattle

  Ducati Diavel, Aprilia Scarabeo
Triumph
Kawasaki
BMW


Triumphs are just insanely fun. Ninja 250 also was lots of fun, while 650 was a disappointment. BMW G650GS was a fine bike, but with too many quirks.

Admittedly small sample to make any conclusions.
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Mar 9th 2016, 09:38 AM   #7
 tchase's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Buckley

Criteria: Joy of ownership. This is purposely ambiguous. Thinking of the joy of ownership, you could think about what's the most fun to ride, the least costly to own and ride, lowest maintenance, etc. Or you could rank in terms of other aspects of ownership, such as level of customizability, uniqueness, comradery with other owners, etc. Or whatever it is that makes a motorcycle a joy to own.


They all rank differently in this criteria "joy" of ownership

Hands down my Ducati, sure the CBR was reliable but boring, and had no interest to work on it or improve it. I admit "working" on the Ducati had more to do with $ but that changed over time I truly enjoy working on it. I never walked out to the garage just to "look" at my CBR :/
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Mar 9th 2016, 10:11 AM   #8
 sunofnun's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  renton aka the dirty south

  KTM SD 1290 / KTM SD 990 / TE300 / 150xcw / wr250 / CB350 / GROM / TTR50 / CRF 50 / XR100
KTM
Yamaha
Ducati
Aprillia
Beta
Suzuki
GasGas
Benelli
Kawasaki
Triumph
Bmw
Honda
Brammo
Derbi
MZ
Royal Enfield
Indian
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Harley's
Mar 9th 2016, 10:18 AM   #9
 
  Jan 2016
  Portland

Quote:
Originally Posted by tchase
Hands down my Ducati, sure the CBR was reliable but boring, and had no interest to work on it or improve it. I admit "working" on the Ducati had more to do with $ but that changed over time I truly enjoy working on it. I never walked out to the garage just to "look" at my CBR :/
This. I've had Hondas and Yamahas but only the MV and Ducati had me sitting on it in the garage when I haven't ridden in a while. After parking the car I frequently find myself patting the seat of the Duc when walking by it - the wife saw that and mocked me. I occasionally pat her on the ass when walking by but maybe not as often as the bike. I guess she is just jealous.

*Italians
*Other European - I keep eyeing KTM and the Triumph Triples. Zero experience with them but there is something mesmerizing about the upcoming Superduke GT. Really want to see that live.
*An extremely close third is Yamaha/Honda - simply because I have always had a good experience with them.
*If I had unlimited funds I would love a Ural w/ sidecar. Same with the Polaris Slingshot.
*I rode a HD Softail Slim on a test ride. Cool bike. If I ever mule meth I'm getting one of those.
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Edited by JohnK on Mar 9th 2016 at 10:21 AM
Mar 9th 2016, 10:20 AM   #10
 Suzuki Stevo's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Seattle ,Wa

  Burgman 400, TW200, Boulevard M50, 2018 Indian Scout 1131, 2018 Indian Chieftain Classic
EDIT: Ok...I missed this part "Criteria: Joy of ownership"

According to Consumer Reports..... Who makes the most reliable motorcycle?

Yamaha/Star
Suzuki
Honda
Kawasaki
Victory
Harley-Davidson
Triumph
Ducati
BMW
Can-Am

Edited by Suzuki Stevo on Mar 9th 2016 at 10:22 AM
Mar 9th 2016, 11:23 AM   #11
DGA
 DGA's Avatar
Moderator
 
  Jan 2016
  PDX

  An Ape and a Husky
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzuki Stevo
EDIT: Ok...I missed this part "Criteria: Joy of ownership"

According to Consumer Reports..... Who makes the most reliable motorcycle?
I wonder if new R1's glass gearboxes were counted in that...written in April of 2015...I guess not then.
Mar 9th 2016, 03:45 PM   #12
 Chrishil54's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  Kirkland

  2009 V-Star 1100 Custom
Suzuki
Yamaha
HD
BMW
Honda
Royal Enfield

Not sure why, but the Italian bikes leave me feeling meh.
Mar 9th 2016, 09:17 PM   #13
 alienbogey's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Gig Harbor

Harley Davidson
Ural
Indian
Moto Guzzi
Zero
Janus


The Japanese Honyamazukis I don't even bother to try to tell apart anymore. BMW's - meh, the famous engineering notwithstanding. I tried to like Royal Enfields until I sat on one.

My Honda 550 will always have a special place because it was my first bike, and my Suzuki sport bike for being young, fast and stupid and surviving it, but hands down my personal joy of ownership winner is my Sportster.
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Mar 9th 2016, 09:48 PM   #14
 el jefe's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  BFE PNW

  V-twins
I can't do it by brand, because companies make great bikes and crap bikes. Buell has a bunch of bikes I'd like, and then they made the Blast. Honda had the spectacular RC51 which was one of the biggest PITA bikes to work on ever. Kawasaki for making the H2R, but all of their bikes try to kill me. I'd have to say the brand that currently makes the most bikes that I would like to own is KTM.
galenernest likes this.
Mar 10th 2016, 11:46 AM   #15
bcj
 bcj's Avatar
 
  Jan 2016
  teh rock

  K1200RS SV650
Instructions unclear.

Waiting for someone to nail some up on a phone pole.
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