Reliability... - Wrist Twisters
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post #1 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Reliability...

I have mostly owned Japanese bikes (about 20 over the 37 years of riding). I have tried 2 Italians, and had more problems with those two (with only about 5,000 miles between the two) than all my Japanese bikes combined. However, on an Italian bike forum they are trying to convince each other that their bikes are as reliable (or more) and as easy to get parts for (or easier) than Japanese bikes.

My question is, have any of you had any major problems with a Japanese bike that weren't self-inflicted (e.g., formal racing or screwed up repair)?

Also, I would be curious to hear a couple of stories regarding bikes that went forever without problems. My neighbor down the street has a 70"s CB750 with about 40,000 miles that he bought new that still runs each summer, for example.

Later, Steve

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post #2 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 07:16 AM
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I have an older bike a 84 Honda V65 Magna that has 50,000 miles on it and haven't had a problem yet.
I just do preventive maintenance and don't seem to have a problem.

Paul

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post #3 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 07:35 AM
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My first bike was an 86' honda rebel 450 it 40k mi and ran like a champ. this bike was used and abused and i never had any problems on it I didnt cause.

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post #4 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 07:53 AM
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Calling an Italian bike reliable or maintenance free is like calling a Super Model down to Earth.

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post #5 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 09:22 AM
 
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Strange, I have had problem on from my Aprilla - My Guzzi ( a 1996 ) has delvoped a starter issue , but, thats to be expected. Having said that , the strange little issues are part of the ownership experience - it tlets yo uknow that your riding a motor-cycle , I perfer to think of Itallian bike break downs as a memorable thing - youll always rember when your comuter crapped out on you in the rain storm while going through balhville or when you had to push you Ducati for 6 miles when its gound wire come loose and you couldnt find where on the side of the road.
But in all fairness most new bikes, regardless of manufactor are pretty darn reilable.

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post #6 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIM-RC51 View Post
Calling an Italian bike reliable or maintenance free is like calling a Super Model down to Earth.
But, you can put up with a lot of crap from that "Super Model" before thinking of getting rid of her!

It's better to have loved and lost than live with the psycho for life!
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post #7 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 09:47 AM
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I never had a problem with any of my jap bikes. Put 50k miles on my 04 EX500 before I sold it.

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post #8 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 10:14 AM
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my first bike was a cb450 hawk... it ran like a champ took all the abuse i could give it and continued to run after it hit that buick between the passenger tire and the front bumper putting the front wheel completely under the bike breaking the frame and peeling the front part of it under the engine also... it was going approx 47 mph.. and all i got out of it was a bruised knee... (i had on a really big snowmobile suit) and i guess i flew and fell just right... that bike continued to start for another year sitting in my brothers yard untill we sold it for a guy to put the motor into a honda odessey



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post #9 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 10:46 AM
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I don't friggin get it. Breakdowns as a memorable thing? Yeah, I'd remember to sell the blasted thing. If I wanted to work on something, I'd open a gunshop. I bought my stuff to ride.

81 900F, 37,000 miles, alternator. I still miss you Baby.

Over 30,000 miles on my 919. And I ride that thing... wheel bearings, and a clutch lever switch. Cracked a front fender. Lots of tires.

Nearly 40,000 miles on the 929. Clutch lever switch, clutch. Lots and lots of tires.

00 250 Ninja. Beat on that thing mercilessly. 17,000 miles, nothing. Tires.

I was seriously considering buying a KTM Super Duke in 09. Probably won't happen unless I get a killer deal and get an extended warranty free. I've been th their website. they have a lot of problems with those bikes. Blown water pump seals, $700 rectifiers, as sorts of little things break. For $13,000, you'd expect MUCH better. Heck, I've tried to register as a member on their KTM site. There's a problem with that too.

Interesting thing about the standard KTM SD 990. It makes exactly the same HP and torque as a 919 with Satos and a PC.

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post #10 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 11:06 AM
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Jap bikes are damned reliable machines, I guess out of nessesity due to some of the places on earth they're operated. I have seen some of the first Honda 125 commuter bikes that are still running the roads in the PI and Malaysia. They may smoke and have been rebuilt in someones backyard but their odometers have turned over and they still run.
If everything were made as reliable, the world would be alot better for it. I've never owned an Italian machine but maybe one day I will own one of those Sexy MV Augusta Brutales, like the one I drooled on when I was shopping for my last bike.


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post #11 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 11:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper View Post
I don't friggin get it. Breakdowns as a memorable thing? Yeah, I'd remember to sell the blasted thing. If I wanted to work on something, I'd open a gunshop. I bought my stuff to ride.

.
Its a joke ! I dont like pushing bikes either !

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post #12 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 11:14 AM
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I have a 1974 Kawasaki Z1 with 53K. The only repairs I have done are adjusted the valves twice, replaced the shifter return spring, and replaced the cam chain tensioner, (they had change notice on this). I would say it's reliable.
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post #13 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb View Post
I have a 1974 Kawasaki Z1 with 53K. The only repairs I have done are adjusted the valves twice, replaced the shifter return spring, and replaced the cam chain tensioner, (they had change notice on this). I would say it's reliable.
When will you be selling it?

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post #14 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 12:13 PM
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I have never had any problems with my super model she does everything i ask of her, but then again she is only in my mind. The only bikes I have owned are hondas and I never had much trouble with them.

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post #15 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 01:08 PM
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In 1979 I bought a CBX wrecked from the insurance co., fixed it up, raced it in the Castrol 6 hour race, toured 2 up North Island NZ, toured South Island, toured North Island again, (all this over three years), then sold it to my buddy for more than I paid for it, and it never missed a beat. And that was then. I think they've gotten better since then?

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post #16 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 01:11 PM
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My first real motorcycle was a 1970 Yamaha 90cc HT1B enduro. I was the second owner. At 14, I rode only in the dirt and on trails close enough to my house that it could be pushed to, as I was not allowed to ride it on the streets, even for a short distance. Not even side-saddle. Really, Mom, I promise. Once I hit the dirt, however, I sometimes was gone all day. Kid heaven, it was.

I learned everything from that motorcycle, from how to fall down and not get hurt, how to climb a hill, how to cross a stream, how to land a jump to how to take care of a valuable (to me) machanical device. I learned how not to strip the heads of cheap Japanese phillips-head case screws and the ins and outs (sorry) of Heli-Coils. Tire changes? No problem. Waterproofing the airbox and tapping the cases to prevent vacuum-induced water fouling of the ignition? Figured it out all on my own. Chains and wheel bearings and suspension... all learned on this little Yamaha 90. Remembering how things came apart so they could be put back together just for the fun of it and much cleaner than when I started became a normal weekend for me. That little bike, more than any single other machine, taught me the bulk of what I know about mechanical devices, logical thinking and critical pathways.

When I sold it in order to purchase my Penton 175 (anyone remember those? KTM engine in a Penton chassis), it went to a... you guessed it, another 14 year old boy. He rode it, beat it, and then passed it on just like I did. Well, a few years ago I ran into the kid (now grown, naturally) and we began reminiscing about the old Yamaha 90. Turns out, it still exists, still runs and is still ridden by the grandchildren of the last fellow that bought it. We tracked the various owners over the years and as far as we can tell, it has had at least 17 (!) official owners. Mileage is unknown, as the speedometer was removed long ago in the interest of light weight and a 14 year old boy's desire to look more like the motocross heroes of the day.

And it still runs, 38 years later.

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post #17 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 01:21 PM
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I've owned all Jap bikes...3 wheelers, dirt bikes and 5 street bikes. Rebuilt the top end on my 2 stroke dirt bike (which is normal as you know) and never had any problems. My 3 wheelers were put through hell and never let me down. Had a Ninja for my first street bike and sold it with over 20,000 miles. One of the 2 CBR's I owned I sold with over 36,000 miles on it. All my bikes were always good to me and never let me down.


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post #18 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 01:36 PM
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It seems to me that any of us who has owned Japanese bikes already know we don't need to prove anything. We knew/know/will always know, that they are simply as reliable as a bike will be...

It's amazing how many Italian bike owners still contest this with.. "I bought my Duc or Aprilia or whatever because I wanted reliability"... I am not sure why people actually pay far too much for something only fractionally as reliable. Some of them are into inflicting pain upon themselves, I am sure...

I have also known a few guys who have wanted to try an Italian bike - just to see what they were like - you know, just to be different. Hey fair enough - to each, his own. I've also know the same guys who have sold them very quickly for one reason or another - unreliable, too expensive servicing them, slow as a wet week...

I am glad of having people around me who will buy these "other" forms of motorcycling. They let me know I have always spent my money wisely...

Oh,, I have owned about 30 bikes, starting from a Kawasaki S2 350cc triple and progressing upwards,, all made in the big J and not one of them has ever let me down in the reliability department. I have beaten a few of them up but they just keep coming back at ya...

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post #19 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 01:36 PM
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the ONLY harley i ever knew of that was half way reliable was by friend tony franco's 2003 heritage.. he bought it brand new and rode it daily for 44,000 miles and it to my knowledge gave him no trouble.. he is/was a harley tech and now works as a salesman at rick case honda.. he was hit by a car on it 2 months ago and it was totalled... almost totalled him but now he is up and moving again..

i think i have pictures somewhere.. if i find them ill post em



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post #20 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 01:53 PM
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'81 GL1100 Interstate. Bought new 8/6/81. Retired with 146,352 miles on the clock after 24 years of service, 48 States, 9 Canadian Provinces, and four coast to coast rides. Never left me stranded. Replaced with an '04 ST1300A

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post #21 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I have also known a few guys who have wanted to try an Italian bike - just to see what they were like - you know, just to be different. Hey fair enough - to each, his own. I've also know the same guys who have sold them very quickly for one reason or another - unreliable, too expensive servicing them, slow as a wet week...
I always wanted a Ducati, ever since I was little. So I eventually bought a Multistrada (the others were just too uncomfortable for me). After the initial 3-4 breakdowns I went about 1 1/2 years with only minor problems (and really big service bills). Being a slow learner in this area I traded it in on an Aprilia Shiver (beautiful and a great ride, when running), because it (the Duc) was a bit slow. In the six months of ownership I had to tow it to the shop 4 times, it had 3 recalls/service bulletins, and 3 engine maps (in addition to the original map). It was a great ride, but what is even greater is hearing my 919 purr each time I push the starter button (versus that moment of wondering what might happen when I push the button). Hopefully, I have learned, maybe......

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post #22 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 02:28 PM
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Like CBRXX and I said, owning an Italian bike or even a Harley is like dating a Super model.

The sex is always great, she is one sexy gal and you are the envy of all the other guys. When you are out with her, everyone looks at you. The problem though is her Jekyll and Hyde nature, you never know what she will do from one day to the next. And heaven forbid you have a tantrum - you are up the creek.

So... whether it is Ducati, an MV, or a Harley or V-Twin custom like Big Dog. You don't buy because it makes sense... at least you shouldn't.

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post #23 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 02:30 PM
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I bought a gorgeous and sexy 2001 748 Monoposto exactly one year ago. I sold it this past October to someone who had to have it. The infamous Ducati Desmoquattro valve issue was always a concern of mine. It ran fine each one day a month ride during the time I owned it. The rest of the time I'd just take the cover off of it and stare at the the garage princess. I wanted to get it serviced but adjusting valves and replacing the timing belts would've set me back about $700. And the parts were a bit much. My Italian love affair ended in less than a year. My 9er (or any Japanese bike) is like my wife. . .always there for me and reliable (and cheap to own??? I better watch what I say.), no matter the length of being together. The newer Ducs are more reliable with no issues, but one still has to deal with the expensive parts and service costs.


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post #24 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb View Post
I have a 1974 Kawasaki Z1 with 53K. The only repairs I have done are adjusted the valves twice, replaced the shifter return spring, and replaced the cam chain tensioner, (they had change notice on this). I would say it's reliable.
Dave's old Z1 gets through the twisties at a damn fast pace.

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post #25 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 02:45 PM
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I had a '94 CB400 Project Big 1 that did just over 100,000 Klms before I traded her for my 9'er. Started getting a little tired, but still went really well.

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post #26 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 05:36 PM
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I have known a couple of buddies of mine who owned ducati's (one had a 695 and the other had the first year 1098) and neither of them had any problems at all. Only thing they they were ever in the shop for was regular maintenance. I got to ride both of them and they were bad ass bikes.

IMHO, when you buy these bikes, you should go into it knowing that the parts and maintenance will be expensive. But from what i've seen, the quality of the new models are much better than they were. And considering that you only have to do the services every 7,500 miles, it really does not seem that bad to me.

Would I own one? Hell yeah (the new monster 696). For me, it's the enjoyment of the ride. I like my 919 but I really like the 696. I also like the aprilia sr50r factory scooter which I plan to purchase next year (my fingers are crossed on that one).

If you can afford a ducati/aprilia/mv, go for it.

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post #27 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 05:52 PM
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Sorry WIM-RC51, I've lived with it longer than my wife! I moved it inside from the garage last weekend. I have a real nice place to take it apart and do a good cleaning, it needs it after 34 years.
Mr Mike, too bad Philippe can't chime in he should know about "Reliability"!

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post #28 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 06:31 PM
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03 919 with ~19k. Battery. Bought it in June. Ride every day, rain or shine, longer rides on Sundays.

I thought everyone understood that whether it's bikes, women, cars, Einstein's Theory of Reliability is universal. It's Function OVER Form, where Form is expressed as Physical Beauty and is DIRECTLY proportional to the Work Function of Maintenance. Consequently, as Physical Beauty increases, Function collapses to zero.

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post #29 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 07:28 PM
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Out of all the Jap crap my familty has had (alot, say about 15 bikes, quads & PWC) the only problems I have had is on my 02 919 the stock chain was too long & on my dad's GP800R the fuel selector/petcock is garbage (both the first one & the one that replaced it under warranty).

I guess the exhaust pipe sheared off all 4-5 mounting bolts on a WaveRaider 700 I use but it was 10 years old & it was some big chop (what isnt big chop to a Raider )

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post #30 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
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Mr Mike, too bad Philippe can't chime in he should know about "Reliability"!
Here is a pic of Philippe's $15,000 POS Ducati.
The bike was plagued with electronic gremlins from square one. He would be out riding and it would either run on 1 cyl. or quit all together. The bike was in the shop over and over while the dealer threw new parts into it. Finally running good but the confidence was gone, Philippe sold the Duc. A week later the new owner reported that the rear wiring harness burned up.


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post #31 of 43 Old 12-05-2008, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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I asked the same basic question on the ZX10 site. There aren't too many bikes that lead a harder life on average. Not a single person reported a failure that was the bikes fault (except bikes with 40,000 ish or more miles). There is a guy who put over 70,000 miles on one in about 3 years. With the reports from them and the reports from here, it is amazing to me how well the Japanese make bikes. I still have a "desire" for the Ducati HPM and the MV Agusta Brutale, especially the new 1078, but I would rather have a bike that always runs, and is a great bike. By the way, I got the exhaust back today from the coater and it looks incredible. Hopefully I'll post up pictures by next Saturday.

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post #32 of 43 Old 12-06-2008, 04:52 AM
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00 Bandit... 8500 miles, head gasket was leaking.(no issues the next 8000miles)

01 F4i - Flawless (10000 miles)

01 RC51 - (bought used - retired around 10000miles) - ran uber hot. Transmission problems reared its head. Previous own never really had an issue with it, and I assure you he took care of the bike better than I did.

02 RC51 - (sold after 6500 miles due to frustrations)
1) over heated first week (spewing fluid all over the highway in traffic) took it back to the dealer, was told there was nothign wrong with it. THis cycle repeated about 8 times - took it to every honda dealer in town, no one would help. Ruined plenty of shoes!
2) wiring harness shorted out wiht about 800- miles on it. Took a while to find it, but sitting on the side of the road with a blown fuse sucks.
3) leaking gas tank, bike was 1.5 years old. Honda says, out of warranty

03 600RR (8000 miles) - Oil Burner. From day one. I can deal with it, but not what I call quality.

03 R1 (10000 miles) - Flawless

06 Tiger (32000 miles) - One O-ring needed to be replaced and the cush drive bearing made noise. Both replace under warranty with no hassle.

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post #33 of 43 Old 12-06-2008, 05:26 AM
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'81 GL1100 Interstate. Bought new 8/6/81. Retired with 146,352 miles on the clock after 24 years of service, 48 States, 9 Canadian Provinces, and four coast to coast rides. Never left me stranded. Replaced with an '04 ST1300A

Doc
I just bought a '81 as a restoration project
Bought the randakk kit for the carbs,got her runnin great
now time to take apart for a clean and paint
33,000 miles/700 bucks
rworm

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post #34 of 43 Old 12-06-2008, 07:03 AM
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my "other" bike is a 1981 gl1100 standard. progressive shocks and fork springs and a single carb. 238,656 miles and counting. original clutch. only repairs were a new starter and water pump. almost sold it when the headlight burned out.

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post #35 of 43 Old 12-06-2008, 07:36 AM
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my "other" bike is a 1981 gl1100 standard 238,656 miles
Holly crap thats alot of


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post #36 of 43 Old 12-06-2008, 08:02 AM
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Past and present rides...

2004 RC51...10,900 miles and counting

2002 Superhawk 996...sold with 10,500 miles...no problems

1997 CBRF3 Smokin Joes Edition...sold with around 12,000 miles...no problems

1994 CBRF2...sold with 36,000 miles...no problems

1991 Ninja EX500...sold with 25,000 miles...no problems


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post #37 of 43 Old 12-06-2008, 08:19 AM Thread Starter
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my "other" bike is a 1981 gl1100 standard. progressive shocks and fork springs and a single carb. 238,656 miles and counting. original clutch. only repairs were a new starter and water pump. almost sold it when the headlight burned out.
On the family road trip last summer I ate lunch with a group of folks on older Gold Wings. I asked them how many miles they had on their bikes and when they usually replaced them. If memory serves me, they had about 50,000-125,000. None of them planned on replacing their bike until 200,000 or more miles. Also, none of them had problems beyond what should be expected, aka wear items.

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post #38 of 43 Old 12-06-2008, 08:47 AM
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I learned everything from that motorcycle...That little bike, more than any single other machine, taught me the bulk of what I know about mechanical devices, logical thinking and critical pathways.
Great story. Yet another reason I bought the 919 now is my two boys are 11 and 7 and time for them to get out into the garage.

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post #39 of 43 Old 12-06-2008, 05:57 PM
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I sold a 1980 CB750F SS with 89,000 miles on it back in 1994, it is still terrorizing the streets of Warren,AR last I heard.

The only repair (note singular) was a broken throttle cable in the 78,000 miles I owned it.

I Can and will ride anything!
Bikes I own:
New addition 1978 CB750Four
2006 919
1994 home built springer
1984 KLR 600
1953 Servi-car (I gotta get this put back together)
1942 WLA (Gotta finish this one as well)
1985 Honda 200M ATC
1985 Honda ATC 70
1997 Yamaha Big Bear 350 4X4 ATV
Early 1984 Ironhead Sporty (Wife has laid claim to this bike)
1986 Sporty that I am putting a ironhead engine into
YEA BIGDAA I Gotta GUN!
It's not that I am punishing YOU, I am just taking YOUR money and giving it to LAZY Asses who refuse to get off the TIT of the Government...Obama to Joe the Plumber
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post #40 of 43 Old 12-08-2008, 10:30 AM
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Great story. Yet another reason I bought the 919 now is my two boys are 11 and 7 and time for them to get out into the garage.
From the sounds of it you might want to start looking for an older Ducati if you want them to learn outright repair cause all they'll learn is maintenance proceedure on your 9er!!


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Harleyville, South Carolina
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