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MCN  says:

You Ask/You Answer: Italian Reliability

"Has the quality of Italian motorcycles really matched the Japanese and Germans now? I'd love something with a bit more character than my Hornet 900, but don't want to have to employ someone to ride behind with a bucket and spade, scooping up all the bits that fall off. I know they've come a long way – but are they...

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  • Posted 2 years ago (19 November 2012 14:26)

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Sep 10

Posts: 1323

SatNavSteve says:

I have a friend who bought a brand new 1100 Monster this year and one day whilst riding, fortunately at 30mph and in a straight line, it locked up. It went back to the dealer who stripped it and couldn't find anything wrong. As soon as he got it back, he sold it. Next time it might happen at 70mph going round a bend!

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Aug 11

Posts: 11

Jconway651 says:

This again??

This question keeps coming up, yes they have come a long way. In my experience they have proven to be just as reliable as any of the Japanese bikes, however this reliability comes at a cost and with ducati its the expensive servicing schedule, which is time and mileage based. As mentioned below, learn how to look after it yourself or find someone reputable you trust to do it. The quality of finish is generally better than that of your Kawasaki's and Suzuki's and I found myself less worried about my aluminium swing-arms, subframes than steel painted items previously mentioned manufactures. 2 winters on my Kawasaki versys saw lots of spots of rust on welded steel subframe and fasteners and a slightly "tired" appearance. Similar maintenance regime/neglect saw my ducati 696 fare much better. That being said if your after a year round commuter don't go for something Italian or "sexy" I found it sole destroying looking at my monster (and 675) covered in shit and road salt. The versys suited the dirty "lived in look"

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Aug 02

Posts: 2753

spondonste says:

Italian bikes

I've had a few italian bikes and whilst they are more reliable than years ago, the ones I've had aren't up to the same reliability level as japanese bikes. None of the problems have been overly severe but rather niggly.

My husqvarna  had electrical shorts that blew main fuses (I replaced the loom), the neutral sensor needed replacing and the front indicator bracket snapped needing replacing.

My Tuono had issues with starting which required a new battery and new starter solenoid. A friend of mine with a Tuono also had similar starting issues and ended up having to replace his battery/ starter relay and sprag clutch.

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Nov 12

Posts: 6

birchie1 says:

I purchased these new covered this milage and only had these problems.

2001 748 18k a fuel pump

2005 Multistrada 24k only 2 probs a coil and a side stand switch

2004 Monster S4r 23k no problems, still owned

2011 796 Hypermotard 18k no problems used daily

Just keep them serviced as you would any machine and enjoy!!!! Cost wise my hyper has only 2 services to 4 on my wifes 990 duke, no brainer really.


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Aug 02

Posts: 1541

superbol says:

Have the guts to question Triumph MCN

a few years ago I very nearly baught a 675 daytona .But very glad I didnt , many stories have come to light about Triumph`s reliabilty.A regular poster on these forums Fuzzr had a night mare with his and theres the story of a 955 owner having problems with his bike cutting out and Triumphs dealer saying nouts wrong then strangely second owner gets hurt bad or killed .Yeah buy British but the product gotta be good !

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Dec 09

Posts: 2492

supermario says:

Italian bikes are fine

but you've got to stay on top of the servicing and maintenance. Japanese bikes can be ridden in all weather and dumped in the garage until next ride, but I wouldn't recommend that with Italian stuff.

I have a 2008 Multistrada 1100s and the biggest issue I've had in 30,000 miles was a fuse that constantly popped thanks to a blown side light bulb. Belts, oil and valve clearances are the big 3 to concentrate on, but even doing something as simple as giving it a regular wash and a tactical squirt of GT85 will make a big difference to the overall condition and reliability. Oh, and bin the stock filter for a K&N. Far superior bit of kit.

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May 08

Posts: 221

SHIVA_ says:

There is reliability & then cost of service

I think people who say German vehicles are reliable or Italians are not reliable are still thinking of 1970s.  It's like a bad superstition that is being repeated by people who have little current experience of neither. 

There is reliability and then there is cost of service.  Euro bikes always cost more to service than the Japanese.  But the price difference between the Japanese and Euro models, on many of their brands has basically shrunk to a point of being irrelevant.   For example the price difference at MSRP between a BMW K1300S and Kawa ZZR1400 (ZX14) is basically the same.  The BMW RR is just a hint more expensive than a Honda blade. 

Also keep in mind that both BMW and Ducati have increased their service intervals.  This is great news for us Euro bike riders.  The Ducati Diavel I tested had a service interval of 15,000 miles.

I recently sold a 1999 BMW K1200RS that I had since new with 80,000 miles on the odo.  However, my 3 year old K1300S is cheaper to maintain than that K1200RS.  On my old bike changing an alternator was a near 10-hour ordeal, because Germans and I think Italians too used to design bikes with no concern for cost of maintenance.  All that is history now.

Considering the recalls that we see from all brands, most bikes today are basically and relatively reliable.  Some of the failures to due to parts vendors than the manufacturers themselves.

Although, as mentioned, Euro bikes typically may cost a bit more to maintain than the Japanese, their fun factor and pride of ownership tend to well makeup for it.




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Nov 02

Posts: 1340

norris says:


Owned an Aprilia RSV Factory for over 6 years. It's done just over 60.000 miles. It let me down once when a connector got brittle being next to the engine, which took out the alternator. cheap fix at £70 for a second hand one and cut out the connector so it didn't happen again. Got knocked off it in June onto the central reservation, and it ticked over quite happily on its side.

The starting issues people mention are mainly the fact it's a big twin and needs a good battery to turn it over, try starting regularaly with a discharged battery, it'll destroy the starter clutch. If mines not been used for a few days, I'll put it on the trickle charger the night before. Never had a starting problem. The build quality is excellent, and as I'm rebuilding it myself, I've noticed the quality touches that aren't on the Jap bikes, mainly GREASE in unseen linkages, and o rings everywhere.

The engine sounds and runs no different to when it was new, the gearbox is actually better, the clutch is original. But I'm not a wheelie merchant,

Servicing?  I found out the guy I'd been using to service it, actually hadn't touched it. Took it to a main Aprilia dealer last year, and the mechanic said the engine hadn't been touched for years, but surprisingly not one valve needed adgusting and everything was in tolerance..

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brutale r


Dec 07

Posts: 3258

brutale r says:


very true my man but you will have most new trumpie owners after your blood

steve you talk bollox m8 its more like your m8s m8s dogwalkers sisters boyfreinds, mums friend at work,s sons gaylovers brother thinks he heard this down the pub that a monster broke down

i owned a Gilera back in the 70s and yep it was a pile of crap  also a bennie 254  4cyl 250 a little iffy  then a bennie se1 6 cyl great bike AND yes it broke down 5 times in a yr  but then my 750/4  honda did the same +

but ive had bikes from italy ,uk ,usa, jap, russia, spain ,germany,india and korera and i can honestly say they are all as good and as bad as each other .. the best bikes ive had are home built Norimps , Tribsa norkwak(Z900)

yamton850mh norvins

so MCN why the fuck post something like dont ask for posts on how unreliable and badly finished they are and what complete knobs bye them(the new age hardley riders/owners

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Sep 10

Posts: 1323

SatNavSteve says:

brutale r!

You're off again spouting about something you know nothing about. I'm telling you it is a fact this guys Monster locked up and had to be trucked off to the dealer and stripped. Its a fact that the dealer received it in that condition and then couldn't find a fault after for whatever reason. Would you feel confident riding that bike after? He's sold it and bought a BMW1200GS. Hope its not a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire?! If you want to believe differently then thats up to you but its really not nice coming on here and accusing someone of lying when you are not in possession of the facts. And for Gods sake, learn how to spell and punctuate.

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