RECALLS are always a bone of contention. From one perspective they’re an indication of a fault in design or manufacturing and hence a black mark against a manufacturer. From another viewpoint they’re a positive action to remedy problems before they occur at no cost to customers.
In the past we’ve looked at the top 10 biggest recalls in terms of absolute numbers of bikes involved but that wasn’t necessarily a fair representation of the likelihood of a particular make or manufacturer being recalled. A single faulty component fitted to a large number of different models over a long period of time was usually the cause of large recall numbers.
This time we’ve taken a different approach, and instead of counting sheer numbers of bikes involved we’ve looked at figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to see which manufacturers have launched the largest number of recall campaigns over the last 10 years.
To make things fair, where multiple recalls have been issued simultaneously over several models for the same faulty part, they’ve been counted as one campaign.
10. Aprilia – 13 recalls in the last decade
Given that Aprilia’s reputation for reliability isn’t perhaps its strongest suit, there really haven’t been many recalls over the last decade. The single biggest one led to 1,892 RSV 1000s getting new swingarms fitted in 2006 after it was found the originals could crack.
9. Piaggio – 16 recalls in the last decade
Aprilia’s parent firm Piaggio comes in at number nine, again with relatively few recalls on its record. The biggest number of bikes were hit a relatively small issue – the seat strap on 2,687 Vespa PXs was found to have a risk of coming loose, and needed to be replaced.
8. Suzuki – 23 recalls in the last decade
In our last recall top 10, for the sheer number of bikes involved in a single recall, saw Suzuki at the top of the list. But that was just a faulty part that happened to be used on a lot of machines over a long period of time. With only 23 recalls in the last decade Suzuki is actually the best of the Japanese firms in terms of actual campaign numbers. Of course, its biggest is the recall that came at number one in our previous list, when 29,422 GSX-Rs needed new brake master cylinders.
7. Harley-Davidson – 28 recalls in the last decade
Harley might not sell as many bikes as some others on this list, but it’s fairly high on recalls with 28 over the last 10 years. The one that hit the largest number of bikes related to a faulty brake light switch and led to 1,916 examples of various models being called back in 2011.
6. Triumph – 29 recalls in the last decade
Only one more recall than Harley, but it puts Triumph a position ahead (or should that be behind?) on the overall list. The biggest campaign in the last 10 years related to a faulty regulator rectifier on 8,595 bikes that could lead to stalling. They were fixed back in 2012.
5. Ducati – 32 recalls in the last decade
It’s all very tight in the midfield here, and Ducati is midway along our list at number five. Since there are fewer Ducatis out there than many other brands, it’s unsurprising that the firm’s biggest single recall didn’t affect a huge number of machines. It was in 2015 and led to 2,605 Multistrada 1200s being called back for a possible fault in the throttle that could lead to it jamming.
4. Honda – 33 recalls in the last decade
From one of the smaller manufacturers straight to the biggest, and there’s only one recall in it between the two. With so many different models out there, Honda’s 33 recalls actually doesn’t seem bad at all. Equally surprising is the fact that its biggest recall of all in the last 10 years affected only 10,600 bikes; not a large proportion of the sheer number out there. It hit various models and related to the incorrect application of sealant on the starter relay switch, leading to non-starting and possible stalling.
3. Kawasaki – 37 recalls in the last decade
With 37 recalls, Kawasaki comes in on the bottom step of the podium. Once again it’s interesting to note that despite being a large brand with a lot of bikes on the road, the biggest recall didn’t affect a huge number of bikes. The single largest one hit 3,656 ZX-10R in 2012. The regulator was the problem, potentially causing charging problems.
2. BMW – 44 recalls in the last decade
Whenever recalls are mentioned here on Visordown it seems that at least one person will comment on the number of recalls BMW issues. And rightly so, it seems. But then again, BMW has sold the single most popular bike in the UK for several years now and is fast becoming one of the biggest manufacturers in our market. The real whopper during the last 10 years was a recall for the rear wheel flange on several models, with the original aluminium one being swapped for a tougher steel alternative. Some 23,427 UK bikes were recalled over the issue.
1. Yamaha – 49 recalls in the last decade
Yamaha’s spot at the head of the list came as something of a surprise, but looking through the recalls the firm has issued over the last 10 years it seems that Yamaha has often recalls very small numbers of bikes. That suggests it tends to react fast to stem problems before they turn into bigger issues. The single biggest one was a possible stalling problem caused by a faulty throttle position sensor. The same part was used on a wide variety of bikes and resulted in 14,384 being brought in for checks and replacement where necessary.