Motoring / Cars and Bikes

BMW Bikes Smash Record, Harley-Davidson Hits Brakes

BMW Motorrad has set yet another half-year sales record while Harley-Davidson is facing scrutiny over recent brake failures.

Jul 09, 2016 | By Staff Writer

The news is full of reports of record sales of luxury and performance cars and this bonanza of record sales extends to the motorcycle world too. BMW Motorrad has set yet another half-year sales record, delivering some 80,000+ motorbikes and scooters to customers between January and June this year.

The new BMW motorcycle sales record, 80,754 two-wheelers, is a 3% jump on last year’s six-month total of 78,418, which itself was a new record. This pattern of record-beating quarters following record-beating quarters is all too familiar of course.

“As of June 2016 we were able to set our fourth six-month record in succession,” said Heiner Faust, BMW Motorrad Head of Sales and Marketing. “Based on this positive development we will now strive to achieve another sales record for the year as a whole.”

European Adventure

The biggest jump in demand has been from European countries, most notably Spain, Italy and France.

As for what people are buying, the company’s GS range Adventure bikes, are the biggest sellers. And with more than 25,500 examples snapped up over the last six months, it means that BMW is still the world’s most popular Adventure bike brand.

“In spite of a much tougher competitive environment, our two top-sellers, the R 1200 GS and GS Adventure, are asserting themselves very impressively on the market.”


Speaking of tough situations, competitor Harley-Davidson finds itself in bit of a jam. The purveyors of fine Hogs experienced modest growth in the first quarter of 2016 after a sales slide in 2015 but now have a more pressing issue to deal with. US safety regulators have announced an investigation into sudden brake failure on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, involving some 430,000 bikes stateside.

Sudden Failures

“Riders report sudden brake system failure occurring without warning,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has received 43 complaints.

About 430,000 motorcycles are involved in the probe, the NHTSA said.

Riders complained that the front brake hand lever or the rear brake foot pedal suddenly would not work. One complaint alleged that both brakes failed at the same time, resulting in a low-speed crash into a garage door.

The Harley choppers are equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) aimed at boosting driver’s control during sudden braking. The NHTSA said in a statement that owners are “either unaware of or ignore” Harley-Davidson’s directive to change the brake fluid every two years.

The old fluid becomes contaminated by moisture and allegedly corrodes the ABS actuator valves, resulting in the brakes failure to respond.

“While it may be true that the complainants failed to adhere to Harley-Davidson’s two-year brake fluid service interval requirement, the consequent sudden and complete loss of brake(s), without warning, is a concern,” the agency said.

Contacted by AFP, Harley-Davidson said: “We’re aware of and cooperating with NHTSA in its investigation.”

This story was written in-house, based on reports from the AFP

Back to top