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How costly motorcycle repairs can be reduced

Multistrada crash minor

Motorcycle companies don’t care how much it costs for repairs to a simple scratch or minor dent in a fender or fairing, or a broken lever – that’s one way to increase profits.

But there is no need for some vulnerable motorcycle parts to be so brittle and easily scratched, dented or damaged.

Even if you just drop your bike on the garage floor, the repairs on some bikes can sometimes cost thousands.

Harley-Davidson Road Glide rules - repairs
Harley-Davidson Road Glide isn’t troubled by a garage drop!

There have even been stories of people who have dropped expensive limited-edition bikes off the side stand and had the bike written off by the insurance company because replacement parts made it too expensive to fix.

It’s about time motorcycle companies investigated different materials and designs to ensure that a small incident doesn’t end up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs.

They could use softer, more malleable, scratch-resistant plastics for fairings and indicators, add crash bars or “bump pads” (like on the ST1300), and they could make levers out of metals that are able to be bent back into shape without weakening their structure.

These changes may make motorcycles more expensive to build and buy until development costs are defrayed, but even if you never drop your bike, scratch it or crash it, the high cost of replacement parts is still having an effect on your insurance premium.

Not only are most bikes brittle and easily damaged, but motorcycle companies inflate the costs of parts because you are a captive customer.

You simply must have that part to fix your bike, so they make them super-expensive.

To be fair, that’s not just about price-gouging; it’s also a matter of economies of scale. Motorcycle parts are never going to be as cheap as car parts simply because there are fewer of them.

It’s similar to tyre costs. Even though motorcycle tyres use less rubber, they are often more expensive simply because there are not as many produced.

  1. Ha! the timing belt for my st1100 over $200 bucks from honda
    Gates belt [exactly what honda uses] $35 from the states including postage
    Gouging ? Hell no!
    Fact is since ebay more and more people are realising how much we were
    overcharged in this country pre internet

  2. This situation is exacerbated by what appears to be a conspiracy in the insurance industry to unnecessarily maximise the cost of repairs. Recently, a mate crashed his BMW R1200GS LC. Because it was still roadworthy, albeit a little bent here and there, he continued to ride it for several months before all the parts were available for the repair (and that’s another issue – parts availability). The bike could have been easily repaired by replacing about $2k-$3k in parts. The insurance cost of repair – $13.5k – $17.5k. Then there was the cost of replacing riding gear on top of that. We all pay for this sort of excessive repair cost in our insurance premiums. What I don’t understand is that the insurers seems to be complicit in this scam, which seems to be contrary to the interests of the insurer, unless you account for the level of premium set by insurers.

    Further, owners have no say in the scope of repair. Surely the insurance industry could come up with a cheaper product that covered the cost of making the bike roadworthy only and repairing only major cosmetic damage, not everything exhibiting a slight scratch.

  3. I think it’s interesting that people can drop their motorcycle on the garage floor and it costs thousands to repair. A good friend of mine loves to ride motorcycles, and he was telling me that he had to get his bike fixed because he had dropped it. I will have to ask him how much it costs next time I see him.

  4. Australia has always been held ransom to these sort of things because there are not enough people to encourage smaller private outfits to supply parts. Add to that the government regulations which make life difficult for the small guy .This is because when the government “consults” with “the industry” they only talk with the big players , and if smaller industry groups are represented they are but one voice. So the big guys get to have reg in place which because of their size they can handel

  5. Same goes for consumable parts. I just handed over $250 for an LED tail light for my Triumph, as the old one was 50% gone. In the good old days it would have been a $5.00 bog standard bulb.

  6. there’s also the inflated costs that come from the needless year model changes, especially on cosmetic pieces. just because the factory want another bullet point on the press release to differentiate the MY2020 bike from the MY2019 they tweak the plastic or move a mounting point and so rather than a cosmetic piece working for 5 years worth of a model it’s got to be year specific … so we pay through the nose because they lose economy of scale

    there’s also less thought in the design process now around repairability / serviceability in general … my MY18 bike it much harder to work on than my ’05 and a lot of it seems to be for no reason … you’d have thought collapsing the Dyna and Softails into one produce line they’d have more focus on the ‘platform’ and customization and maintenance options (after all, isn’t that a huge selling point for a H-D) but it seems they’v gone more specific

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