Why You Don't Want a Jap or Italian Motorcycle

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Why You Don't Want To Buy a Jap, Italian, German or British Motorcycle

  People just make mistakes buying motorcycles, but knowledge is power... so, here's some powerful advice before you decide to buy a foreign made motorcycle.

 This article excluded Harley-Davidson and Victory brand motorcycles or any other American made machine.  This article is intended to expose the general flaws of buying and owning all Japanese (Star, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha), Chinese, British, German and Italian motorcycles.  

 This article will not be a performance related as many riders buy motorcycles on just the pure performance aspect alone and they do not care about other practical things such as;

1.  You may or may not pay more when buying a new bike.  You may or may not get a better warranty.  The price of the bike may actually be good, but watch out for the dealer mark-up and added fees.

2.  You can't get accessories that will fit the bike.  Handlebars, seats, rack, saddlebags, all sorts of things nobody makes or few do and that will jack up the price of these items.  It can cost you $2,000 or more with great ease just to get common accessories.  The manufacturer makes "limited" accessories, but you better like what they offer and you got to be prepared to pay their high dealership price.  And, if you don't pay the dealer to put them on?  The accessories warranty can be voided.   What to do? Prepare a list of items you will need for your bike then search catalogs and the Internet to see if they can be purchased and at what prices.  You don't want to pay $1,000 just for a pair of saddlebags do you?

3.  If you break down you got to pay the towing company more money to get your bike towed to the closest dealer.  Harley-Davidson has a dealer in every major city.  How about the brand you plan to buy?  You may have to rent a U-haul and tow your bike hundreds of miles to a dealership, so be prepared for such trouble.

"Good Luck Adding Accessories and Not Voiding Your Warranty!"   

4.  You will not appreciate the horrific poor quality mechanics many of these dealerships employ.  Some are just plain unprofessional, incompetent, dishonest and untrustworthy. 

5.  Many of these dealers love to threaten customers with, "We can void your warranty" to get you to agree to what they want you do authorize them to do.  I have had dealers play these games with me when trying to get them to perform warranty work on the bike.  Now why would they do this?  It is because they despise the manufacture despite that they sell their brand of bike.  Again, why?  Because the manufacturer rips them off on warranty repairs.  The manufacturer will tell the dealer they will authorize a 1 hour repair, but it takes 2 or even 6 hours to do the job in real the real world.  If you have hanged around these "power sports dealerships" you will hear them openly bitching and complaining about how they do not get paid for warranty work and how it always costs them money to fix the bikes.  Tough luck, I say to them.  They sure didn't complain when I bought the bike and they assured me I would get a factory warranty.  Beware of these dealerships.  I have never heard a Harley-Davidson dealer moan and groan about performing warranty repairs, but I have had my fill of hearing "power sports" dealers who sell not just motorcycles, but all sorts of things too.  Do you really want to do business with these people?  Can you trust them to do you right?  Don't bet on it.

6.  These bikes change models so often they are outdating themselves each and every year it seems.  The bike you buy new today could be an ancient heap of junk in five years or less where you can't buy engine parts with ease anymore.  Take for example Honda.  They were a great motorcycle company until they kept discontinuing popular models without logical rhyme or reason.  The Honda Valkyrie was a nice 6-cylinder bike that had a huge base of established riders and suddenly Honda just stops making it.  It devastated the customers and I wanted to buy one and they discontinued it at that time.   I then wanted to buy their VTX 1800cc V-Twin cruiser and discovered they again "discontinued" the 1800cc and downgraded to a 1300cc model.  Needless to say, I was not impressed and I did not buy it.  So, I figure I better check out their sporty bike and to my dismay they did it to the Honda Shadow 1100cc V-Twin and discontinued it to keep a measly 750cc toy.  I don't see a lot of people riding that little thing, but I did see a lot of 1100cc riders.  Again, they disappointed their existing and new customers.  And yes, I planned to buy the 1100 Shadow and discovered it was "discontinued" to my sorrow.  I then realized Honda is not a reliable company to do business with as the bike you buy may be "discontinued" at any time.  It means parts prices rise to astronomical levels too so watch out when you need to buy parts.  It may also mean parts are no longer available too. 

7.  These "discontinued" bikes is not just a Honda problem, it is a "foreign" bike problem!  All the overseas companies are in competition with each other to make the best bike using the newest technology and these advancements accelerate the demise of older bikes.  Of course, Harley-Davidson has discontinued models too like the Iron Head, Shovel Head, Pan Head, Knuckle Head, Evolution Big-Twin engines over the years, but you can still get parts for all these ancient beasts.  It takes dozens of years for H-D to discontinue a model in most cases, but always you can get parts for the bike and not be robbed with exorbitant pricing.  And you don't have to wait months for back-orders from overseas delivery.

"Incompetent Mechanics Will Service Your Motorcycle!"   

8.  Beware of motorcycle branded riding clubs.  For example take the Yamaha Sponsored Star Riders Club.  Most of the riders will own a Yamaha Star branded bike.  Without saying a word just riding around with them will create a desire to "belong" and you will want to buy a Star motorcycle.  They all say the bike is wonderful and the best.  Powerful peer pressure as a marketing tool sells bikes.  But everything in this article still applies the moment you do buy... you are stuck with the grief to come!

9.  Just walk into a Harley-Davidson dealership and see how you are treated compared to these foreign dealers.  No coffee, no popcorn, no nothing offered to you.  You are not really welcomed, but they want you to buy from them a new or used motorcycle.  After the sale, you will still not be treated nicely as you deserve.  I have been to dozens and dozens and dozens of these power sports dealers in dozens of states and I have been talked down to, intimidated, blasted with such loud and obnoxious music volume you can't even talk or think.  Most Harley-Davidson dealers will treat you nicely.

10.  The power sports dealer will absolutely rip you off.  Just take a peek at the prices of their shelf merchandize.  No discounts here!  These people are not your friends.  They will scalp your wallet.  I know because I have shopped in their stores and I just won't pay their obscene prices.

"You Will Pay Dearly For Those Routine Cylinder Head Valve Adjustments!"   

11.  If you do not perform your own routine service such as oil change, tune-up items and installing new tires be prepared to be savagely robbed by these gangs of thieves.  And yes, this does include Harley-Davidson dealers in this regards.  It is why I write motorcycle maintenance books to help riders avoid the high cost of general maintenance.

12.  Customizing these foreign bikes is hard to do.  Most riders want certain accessories that makes their bike look they way they want it to look.  But good luck finding companies that will accommodate you by supplying such parts.  You may be able to find exhaust pipes and a seat and not much else.  Some bikes you can get a ton of good stuff, so you need to verify before you buy.  Good luck trying to find nice wheels.

13.  Beware of oversize tires and special tires as they can be outrageously expensive.  If the rear tire is a monster in a wide 250+millimeter size you can pay $300 just for the tire and that tire will last half as long 4,000 miles as a standard size tire 8,000 miles.  We are talking just the cost of buying the tire, not installing it.  A big fat rear tire is horrible to ride as the bike refuses to negotiate turns and lane changes.  At slow parking lot speed a tiny stone will want to toss the bike down onto the ground.  Amazing, but true.  Even a 230mm wide tire is too much and too expensive.  Try to get a bike with a rear tire less than 190mm wide and not less than 150mm wide.    

     "Dealers Love to Sell Tires... They Make Big Money Robbing You!"   

14.  What if you want to change the gearing to get better fuel mileage and reduce engine revolutions and vibrations?  Can you buy the gears, pulleys or sprockets?  You may be surprised you can't buy them.

15.   These dealers may void your warranty or threaten to do so if you install aftermarket parts on the bike.  They much rather void your warranty and have you pay them for repairs than to rely on the manufacturer to reimburse them for repairs.  Watch out for these bums for that is what they are!  Hang around these dealerships and keep your ears open especially near the service desk area and see how repair customers are treated.  Listen to the "void warranty" talk.  If you hear it?  Run as fast as you can out of that dealership and go buy something else, preferably a Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200... it is the most trustworthy and reliable bike out there!  Read this article Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 & Why You Should Buy One  

16.  Many of the foreign bikes truly are fabulous machines, but you got to look at the practical aspects of vehicle ownership and who is going to perform warranty repairs and actually do them in a professional manner.  Dealers have mechanics, but many are incompetent.  Some have graduated from motorcycle mechanic schools and are still incompetent and untrustworthy.  There just is no telling what you are going to get.  Harley-Davidson has its own school for their technicians.  Honda has a school, but I find the dealer has the "option" not to send any of his employees to Honda School.  Hmmmm, this means your Honda won't be fixed by a Honda Certified Mechanic.  This is typical in the power sports industry with all foreign brands.  Too many dealers employ incompetent mechanics performing shoddy workmanship who are "not factory trained mechanics" so beware of this.  No wonder the manufacturers set a certain hour permitted for warranty work because the stupid mechanics never went to the manufacturers' school to learn how to do the job the right way.  I won't buy any more new bikes from power sports dealers.  I am going to stay with Harley-Davidson from now on.  If you want professionalism you'll get it with Harley-Davidson dealers.  Same with automobile dealers, most employ "factory trained" mechanics.

17.  You put your life in the hands of an incompetent mechanic.  When he makes a mistake it can kill or maim you into a wheelchair for the rest of your life.  Make sure the mechanic is factory trained.  I found one Polaris-Victory dealer telling me he had factory trained mechanics and discovered that mechanic was terminated a year ago.  He had no factory trained mechanics and they screwed up my brand new Victory and tried billing me for warranty work.  After being treated like this I said to myself, "No more of this dishonesty and unprofessionalism.  Go back to Harley-Davidson.  They don't mistreat their customers!"  Well, I did just that and I am now an extremely happy Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 rider.  Of course, you know by now, I despise the Twin-Cam Harley-Davidson engine, but the Sportster engine is "perfected" with "no defects" and well-engineered. 

18.  I guarantee you will be mistreated by these foreign dealerships.  The manufacturers have a "different" set of rules.  And guess what?  Those rules can be damaging to you.  Did you know you can not sue a foreign corporation?  You can't even haul them into court to enforce them to perform warranty repair!  That's right, you have no power over them.  The FTC can, but they don't fight individuals battles so you are out of luck.  If a dealer voids your warranty you are out of luck.  You have no jurisdiction in the USA courts.  You got nothing!

"It is Serious Grief When Your Vehicle is Discontinued!"   

19.  I dare you to look at another aspect.  These foreign companies are selling their wares in our country.  If a disaster takes place in their country the USA is right there to help them with military and financial aid.  When we have a disaster in the USA I don't see any of these companies giving aid and comfort to us.  I just don't see it at all.  Do you?  I do see Harley-Davidson performing all sorts of charities throughout the USA all of the time.

20.  You can't buy a new engine if you wanted to.  Some to most do not even offer a new engine.  It means you must pay for a complete overhaul and that can cost you more than the entire bike.  Regarding my British made Triumph the factory will not sell me a new engine!

21.  Parts are often not available.  Dealers stock just a few parts so you are out of luck if the dealer has no parts for your bike even if the bike is brand new.  If dealer must order parts they may take a month to arrive from overseas.  Be prepared for a long wait.  And if the model of bike or part is "discontinued" you now have a pile of junk on your hands.  You need to think of these things before you buy a new motorcycle.

22.  What if you want to install tall or pull-back riser handlebars?  Does the dealer stock them? He can get them one way or another.  Can he get you extended cables and brake line?  He could have them made, but it will void your warranty.  Can he get you extended wires?  He will have to fabricate them too and that will void your warranty.  It will void your warranty!  Don't you believe that it won't.  The factory will deny it because they did not make those parts.  The sad truth is these foreign manufacturers do not care about your comfort after the sale.  They do not make accessories to enhance your ability to be comfortable in posture.  However, Harley-Davidson sells the bars, wire and cable kits and they do not void the warranty.

23.  Resale value is a factor, but not much of a value these days as in times past.  All bikes depreciate too fast today.  Some of these foreign bikes are expensive to buy and they will drop in value fast.  You may say you plan on keeping the bike for a long time and that can be risky as it just may get discontinued, then what do you have?

"Dealer Dishonesty is Rampart in the Industry!"   

24.  Does the bike you plan to buy have to have its valve clearances adjusted?  Most foreign bikes must and it can be expensive to have a dealer do it for you.  It is time consuming if you do it yourself.  I am so fed up with valve adjustments.  I am glad I went back to Harley-Davidson's hydraulic valve lifters (except the V-Rod needs expensive adjustments).  Dealers can charge hundreds of dollars for these routine valve adjustments.  Good for them, bad for you.  You will pay the price or you will do the time!

25.  Talking about tires do not for one moment ever believe a dealer telling you that you can't install aftermarket and/or other brands of tires.  I know dealers that sell tires that cost three times more than what you can buy on the Internet and will last half as many miles.  This is to keep you coming back as a repeat customer.  These dealers are not your friends!  They are robbers, thieves, liars and cheats!  And don't believe them when they tell you that you can't use tire irons to change your tires for they are being totally dishonest with you.  They do not want you to change your own tires because they will lose money because they can't no longer pick your pocket of hundreds of dollars!

26.  You will notice these foreign motorcycles, especially the cruiser models, do not offer you the option or ability to adjust your handlebar position so you are not leaning too far forward.  And, they are so uncaring they put "no slack" in the cables, wires and brake line so you can insert 4" pull-back risers.  If you want to install risers you'll need to cut the wires and that will void your warranty 100% for certain.  What is wrong with these people?  Harley-Davidson always give slack to install handlebar risers!  The Japanese bikes are notorious for making large motorcycles to fit a very tiny person, but they will not permit that person to sit up or sit back into a comfortable riding position and, they will not even sell you the parts or kit to do so.  I find this terribly frustrating and I stopped buying their motorcycles!  They offer you "no solution" to obtain riding comfort.

27.  New Boxer BMW motorcycles used to be 100% German made, but the transmission is now made in Japan.  People are not going to like this.  Why the shift?  Getrag, who makes BMW transmissions, is now more interested in making car transmissions for China.  It means BMW is not so loyal to their motorcycles as we are led to believe after all.  Do you still want to buy a BMW? 

28.  Go back and read this article one more time.  Print it out and share it with your friends.  Take the time to do your research before you buy and perhaps you too will not want a Japanese, British, German or Italian motorcycle after all.  Perhaps, just maybe, you may want to buy a Made in the USA Harley-Davidson motorcycle and keep your country strong.  Think before you buy!  Support America!  - © 2012 and 2015 by JamesRussellPublishing.com 

29.  Parts & Labor costs are going through the roof in the last ten years.  It is now costing riders $1,000 just to replace a fuel pump in many foreign motorcycles.  Just to diagnose as problem is costing over $200 at many dealerships.  With Harley-Davidson these rip-off prices do not exist and easily cost 1/2 as much and (even lower than this with independent Harley repair shops).  If you buy a foreign motorcycle be prepared to be gouged financially when ever repairs are required, even if you do it yourself, the price of parts are outrageous. 

30.  Imagine you purchase a Japanese sportbike.  If the throttle position sensor fails will pay $1,000 for the entire throttle rack.  If you had a Harley-Davidson?  You would likely pay aftermarket about $50.

"Buy American Because We Are Americans!"   

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