4. Recalls! Recalls! Recalls!


Vehicle recalls made headlines this year, most notably in the car industry with a massive airbag recall and an upcoming recall to correct Volkswagen’s emission test-dodging shenanigans. This year also saw a number of significant recalls affecting several thousands of motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson in particular had two fairly large recalls. In April, H-D recalled 45,901 touring motorcycles because of a problem preventing clutches from disengaging, and then in July, there was a recall on 185,272 touring models because of a risk of the saddlebags falling off. And that’s just counting models in the U.S.

Honda also had two big recalls. The venerable Gold Wing was subject to its third recall campaign to correct an ongoing issue with its rear brakes. Honda initially recalled the Gold Wing in 2011 and again in 2014 when it realized the original fix wasn’t working. This year, Honda finally came up with a solution that (hopefully) will solve the problem. The recall affected 145,219 GL1800 Gold Wing models dating back to its initial launch in 2001, and that’s only counting American units. If that wasn’t enough, Honda had a recall to fix a problem with a starter relay switch. The catch was the same faulty part was used on several different models, resulting in a recall on 45,153 motorcycles in the U.S. plus thousands more around the world.

BMW also had a large recall, affecting 43,426 K and R bikes in the U.S. (and about 367,000 worldwide) dating back to the 2005 model year, correcting a problem that can cause rear wheels to loosen.

Suspension company Öhlins also had a significant recall on its TTX36 rear shock. The component was a popular choice among OEMs, so the recall ended up affecting such notable models as the Ducati 1199 Panigale, Yamaha YZF-R1M, Honda CBR1000RR SP, and Triumph’s Daytona 675R and Speed Triple R.

Recalls can be a costly expense for manufacturers, but it’s even costlier if a company drags its feet. Triumph learned this lesson first hand after getting slapped with a $2.9 million fine by NHTSA because it took too long to conduct a recall. How long? Triumph reported the recall in the U.S. on September 2014, some 15 months after similar recalls was first announced in the U.K. in June 2013. Making things even less excusable, the same recall was also conducted in Canada in June 2013, and Triumph’s Canadian operations are run by same subsidiary in charge of the U.S. side of things.