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  #1  
Old 11 Dec 2010
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Brand Loyalty

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the Trip Reports on the Adventure Motorcycling site.

I think it is interesting that in the vast majority of reports that I've looked at they say they would take the same bike again often despite a long list of serious weaknesses such as too heavy, unreliable, doesn't cope with altitude or rubbish petrol etc.

What would it take to pesuade you to change to another brand?
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  #2  
Old 11 Dec 2010
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Like you I've wondered about this, but then I remembered how often I swear about my machines' faults, but they still do most of what I want, reasonably reliably and I've yet to identify anything better.

One thing I won't forgive is unreliability. Over many years I have owned two cars and one motorcycle that were so bad I would never a consider another of those makes (the UK's libel laws combined with my lack of desire to get into a fight with their many fans here mean I won't name them). On the other hand my (admittedly boring) family car is a 13 year old, 163,000 mile Mazda that recently let me down for the first time. Since I had been using it as a snow plough (the snow between the ruts was higher than the car's ground clearance) I'll forgive it this time, but it is on its last warning. My BMW K100RS was similar; total reliability despite equally total neglect. We'll have to see how it's replacement (Honda Pan European) goes, but the first 50k have been OK
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  #3  
Old 14 Dec 2010
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What has made me change a brand in the past is really not the bike or the car itself but the dealer/brand itself.
Hey everthing is going to need repair and even with good maintenance will eventually break down. But for me this is where the test begins for the brand. How quickly is the fault fixed and the attitude and helpfullness of those involved. Bad service and you wont see me again. Good service and you have got a repeat customer for life.
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Old 15 Dec 2010
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I used to be brand loyal. I had an idea that a certain brand (can you guess which one?) made more reliable bikes than the others. I had a series of minor issues and accepted the dealers excuses, followed by a major one that made me realise a) Pretty much all bikes are made to the same (shoddy) standards and b) (if you'll allow me to misquote Homer (Simpson)), it's the knowledge in your head not the badge on your tank that makes for easy trips.

By a series of mixed requirements like needing to carry a pillion on road trips as well as keep going in a Scandanavian winter I ended up with the Bonneville which I know my way round to the point or near total self reliance. I know where to get bits and they are common enough to be able to buy used on e-bay (which didn't exist when I used to be brand loyal). Likewise, I keep my MZ's because they are so easy to understand, fun to ride and worth very little if you sell. I'm learning the Brick as it does seem to have the functionality and support I'm looking .

I distrust certain brands due to experience of poor service. My dads Guzzi has been off the road for months at a time while we found parts (it's production spanned two model years, the Italians aren't sure which two though!). I only buy K100 parts from the independents due to a wish basically for revenge after my F650 hassles (childish I know). You'll struggle to get me in a Honda show room after the spares prices they charged me when I was a student (probably irrational, this was 20 years ago).

I think I'd say I'm loyal to models not brands.

Andy
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  #5  
Old 15 Dec 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
I think it is interesting that in the vast majority of reports that I've looked at they say they would take the same bike again often despite a long list of serious weaknesses such as too heavy, unreliable, doesn't cope with altitude or rubbish petrol etc.
Probably a lot of that is just the way people are wired up, and is why companies spend so much on advertising and marketing. You're much more likely to stick with what's familiar and buy the same brand again, rather than switch to a new and unfamiliar brand. So companies spend vast amounts just to get you to make that first purchase.

On the flipside, once you've made that purchase you tend to make an emotional investment in it, to convince yourself you made the right decision. So it often takes quite a few bad dealer experiences or reliability issues to make someone switch.

Sorry for the psycho-babble

L
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  #6  
Old 15 Dec 2010
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Yes, I agree here, I am loyal to a model rather than a make to the point that I think that the other models (especially the more recent ones) from the same company are rubbish.

My loyalty to this model (in fact a limited range of models using basically the same parts) is because it does everything I want it to do and I know it inside out. I have other bikes of other makes which have some advantages over my favoured model but just don't offer the complete rounded package without a lot of adaptions.

When my bike was new we were travelling around Africa for the entire guarantee period. Fortunately we had no major problems so no claims were made. Other bikes I've had new since have been badly let down by the manufacturers unwillingness to honour the guarantee which will affect my choice when I replace them but I fear they (the manufacturers) are all as bad as each other.
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  #7  
Old 16 Dec 2010
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Originally Posted by somemustard View Post
On the flipside, once you've made that purchase you tend to make an emotional investment in it, to convince yourself you made the right decision. So it often takes quite a few bad dealer experiences or reliability issues to make someone switch.

Sorry for the psycho-babble

L
Not babble, entirely true in my experience. It took a ten mile each way walk in the desert to convince me a certain badge didn't guarantee the function of the load bearing lip seal in the waterpump.

Andy
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  #8  
Old 16 Dec 2010
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Originally Posted by JHMM View Post
What has made me change a brand in the past is really not the bike or the car itself but the dealer/brand itself.

<snip>

Good service and you have got a repeat customer for life.
Agreed.

There are only three dealers within 60 miles of me, two of them are great, one is utter crap. For that reason alone I won't touch a Truimph or a Suzuki, which is a shame as I actually like the Truimphs! The two, three letter brands aren't represented in this area, so they ain't even getting a look-in! (which, from some peoples point of view is a good thing)

I tend to purchase based on the bikes use & dealer experience, I have three so day-to-day relaibility isn't something that concerns me hugely. I do have a favorite, and I've made a point of learning the bike, well enough to get it going if I need to. There's little point in moaning about your bike if you are stuck somewhere, but you do do need to trust the bike and your ability to get it moving, one way or another .

Then again, sometimes you have to take the plunge and see... I bought a Mazda 18 months ago, so far not a single problem and it's saved me over £2k in running costs from the old Landy... (but if this weather keeps up I'll be going back to British)
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  #9  
Old 16 Dec 2010
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I don't go anywhere near dealers, unless it's to have a quick wander round a showroom because I'm bored. I buy parts online (new and used) or get them off a mate (new) and try to do the work myself. If I can't do it, I pay a (qualified) man I trust who works out of a back street workshop £20/hour to do it for me. (I have a van to deliver/collect the bikes to/from him and he's only 5 miles away).

Why pay £60 to £90/hr and premium prices for parts to dealers for likely substandard service? That way I don't have to worry about there not being any dealers nearby or how good they are. Hence I can choose whatever brand I want.

There is a 3 letter brand with which I've only had a lot of bad experiences (the bike itself and their dealers I met in various parts of the world), so now when quizzed on it, I tend to go red in the face and mutter 4 letter words.

cheers
C
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  #10  
Old 16 Dec 2010
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Back in 2005 my plan was to buy a new bike and I looked at all brands but couldn't find anything that suited my needs. The only two that came close was BMW HP2 and KTM 950 SE. They both needed major modifications to be a traveler bike but at least it would be possible. After some research I found that it was better to keep the bike I had (R80GS) and modify it to fulfill my needs.

I have had bikes from SWM, Yamaha, Honda, KTM and BMW. In the old days I rode a lot of Fantic but I've never owned one.

For me the availability of parts are important. I think that if it's not possible to get parts for a 15 year old bike without waiting for weeks it says something about customer-service. Typically I wait three days for KTM (EXC) or BMW-parts, that's okay.

I will probably replace my KTM in a few years and might end up with a Husaberg or maybe a Honda or why not a Husqvarna (okay that's a BMW).
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  #11  
Old 16 Dec 2010
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Yep, it's not a brand question, but a specific bike question.Mon raison d'etre when purchasing is to choose something that suits me and my experience. Most riders scoff at my choice of bike but so be it, we are all different in our needs.

Partly though, there is still some snob factor in what we ride, and for myself it is a reverse snob factor. I love to take my bike to places where it is (arguably) totally unsuited, and then getting there despite the ostensible limitations of my steed.

The reality is that any motorcycle is more than capable to take us anywhere we need or want - witness the bicyclists that we bump into off the beaten track - and any specifc complaint against a particular machine is only a comment on its relative weaknesses, not a criticism of the machine as a whole.
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  #12  
Old 16 Dec 2010
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There are a lot of practical reasons to choose a certain model such as spare parts back up, dealer network, mechanical simplicity and suitability for our own type of travel (rider only or with pillion, luggage capacity etc.) but I think a lot of it is the heart ruling the head. As somemustard says, once we've made a choice, we then need to convince ourselves that we've made the right choice. I for one cannot be reasoned with on the 'it's just a machine' argument. I have three airhead GSes and each has it's own personality. The one I've had from new is the most important and always gets the best parts sometimes donated by the other bikes and is the only one that is used for travelling and will never be sold. More modern bikes are bought with a particular purpose in mind and don't seem to get under my skin in the same way - which is probably a good thing.
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