J.D. Power: Consumers more willing to spend on bikes

J.D. Power and Associates' 14th annual U.S. Motorcycle Competitive Information Study revealed increased customer satisfaction towards bikes, less overall problems and a greater propensity to spend.

J.D. Power and Associates' 14th annual U.S. Motorcycle Competitive Information Study revealed increased customer satisfaction towards bikes, less overall problems and a greater propensity to spend.

Based on a 1,000 point scale, customer satisfaction research was conducted in six primary factors: product, build quality, cost of ownership, sales, service and warranty. Sales experience improved the most over 2010, increasing from 838 to 856.

Furthermore, build quality progressed, dropping from 133 problems per 100 motorcycles to 122 issues, while 50 percent of owners said they had no problems at all with their new bikes.

"The increase in overall satisfaction and the improvements in five of the six factors are very positive news for the industry, which is still trying to fully recover from the blow the economy has delivered in recent years," said Brent Gruber, Senior Manager of the powersports and commercial vehicle practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

Confidence in the economy could also be seen in the amount spent on motorcycles in 2011. Researchers found that the average price paid - $16,125 - is nearly $2,000 higher than 2010's figures. Accessory purchases were pricier as well, with customers' expenditures averaging an additional $1,340 on parts and accessories and $439 on riding gear.

In terms of brand popularity, May's Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index found that Polaris' Victory Motorcycle was the top-ranking bike maker.