Is Your Motorcycle a Lemon? Signs to Look for and What to Do Next

Motorcycles are more than just two-wheeled vehicles – they represent a way of life for many enthusiasts. Purchasing a new bike is an extremely exciting moment. But finding out yours was sold with defects is extremely frustrating, especially in the warmer months.

The good news is you be able to pursue compensation for the defective bike – and all other costs associated with it – via motorcycle lemon law.

This is thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Consumer Warranty Act, better known as Lemon Law. Lemon law exists to hold vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers accountable for selling defective products.

As a California lemon law firm, we want to explain how your defective bike may qualify for compensation from the manufacturer, and the next steps to seeking justice with a lemon law motorcycle claim.

Let’s discuss.

What is Motorcycle Lemon Law?

Lemon law exists across the country, but each state has its own set of rules that dictate what qualifies a defective vehicle as a “lemon”.

Under California’s lemon law, motorcycles and cars must meet the same criteria to be ruled a lemon. These include:

  • The motorcycle was sold with a written warranty; and
  • The defect(s) were reported to the manufacturer/dealer while the motorcycle was covered under warranty;
  • The defect(s) is substantial and impairs the motorcycle’s safety, functionality, or value; and
  • The defect(s) was not a result of operator error, neglect, or abuse; and
  • The manufacturer has made a reasonable number of attempts to fix the defect(s), of which were unsuccessful; or
  • The motorcycle has been out of service for repairs for 30 or more cumulative days.

Now, these are similar qualifications compared to automobiles, but there is one key difference in lemon law motorcycle rules.

In motorcycle lemon law California, the manufacturer may choose to provide a replacement of the bike or a buyback. The consumer gets to make this decision in an automobile lemon law case.

In other words, the consumer has less legal recourse for a lemon motorcycle.

For example, let’s say you are furious with your defective bike and never want to use a product from that brand again. In motorcycle lemon law cases, manufacturers may elect to provide a replacement bike – which will be the same model or one of similar value.

You would not have the option to request a buyback under motorcycle lemon laws.

Common Defects That May Indicate a Lemon

Sudden Loss of Power

A sudden loss of power in a motorcycle is extremely dangerous – and may indicate manufacturer defects. This problem usually takes the form of an abrupt reduction in acceleration, unresponsive throttle, or a complete shutdown.

If you experience any of these problems, take your bike to the dealership for warranty repairs immediately. Loss of power defects is one of the more common causes of lemon law claims for motorcycles.

Engine Malfunctions

Engine malfunctions come in all shapes and sizes – and can significantly impair the bike’s performance, functionality, and safety. Common symptoms include strange noises, frequent overheating, abnormal oil consumption, or problems starting up.

Persistent engine issues may suggest a manufacturing defect – and recurring issues may warrant a claim via California lemon law for motorcycles.

Brake Failure

Brake failure can be the difference between life and death on a motorcycle. Symptoms of failing brakes commonly include unresponsiveness, loss of stopping power, or unusual noises when brakes are engaged.

Recurring brake problems pose a serious risk to the rider – and multiple unsuccessful repair attempts may indicate a claim under motorcycle lemon law in California.

Uncontrolled Acceleration

Uncontrolled acceleration is a common symptom of engine problems – and is typically characterized by the motorcycle accelerating without rider input – or a failure to decelerate when the throttle is released.

This type of acceleration problem creates a severe risk to the rider’s safety and must be dealt with immediately. 

Fuel Pump Issues

Fuel pump problems generally involve inconsistent fuel delivery, sudden power loss, engine sputtering, and ignition troubles. This is a common recurring malfunction and puts the rider at serious risk of injuries or death.  

If there are any signs of fuel pump issues in your bike, you need to get it inspected by the manufacturer as soon as possible.

Steering Malfunctions

Steering malfunctions in a motorcycle usually involve symptoms like a wobbly handlebar, and troubles when turning or pulling to one side.

These issues may be difficult to fix – and severely compromise the bike’s safety. If the manufacturer cannot repair this issue within a reasonable number of attempts, you will need to file a California motorcycle lemon law claim.

Faulty Electrical System

Problems with the electrical system can be complicated. The symptoms can range from frequent battery drains, malfunctioning lights, and faulty indicators. Malfunctions may lead to more severe issues – like a defective ignition system.

If your bike has ongoing electrical problems, there is a good chance there are manufacturer defects – and you may be eligible for benefits under motorcycle lemon law in California.

Does Your Bike Meet the Criteria of Motorcycle Lemon Law California?

If you’re experiencing ongoing defects with your bike – and believe it meets the qualifications of motorcycle lemon law in California – it’s important to understand two things:

  1. Requesting lemon law benefits isn’t like returning an item to Walmart. It’s a legal process full of obstacles.
  2. Most manufacturers have no intention of providing lemon law benefits – and they have high-powered legal defence teams to help them.

A fair resolution for California lemon law motorcycles involves hiring a skilled attorney to negotiate with the manufacturer. Your attorney will fight to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your motorcycle was impacted by defects caused in the factory, and they must provide a fair resolution.

The Next Step

Hiring a motorcycle lemon law attorney is an easy process with no out-of-pocket costs. If your bike is proven to meet lemon law motorcycle qualifications, the manufacturer must pay for all attorney fees.

That said, most lemon law firms operate on a contingency fee agreement.

This means they get paid by the manufacturer AFTER they win the case – and they charge you nothing out of pocket.

At Cline APC, we help California motorcycle owners seek justice after purchasing a defective bike. We offer FREE consultations to understand your situation and whether you have a valid Lemon Law motorcycle claim.

Start the process today by calling 888-982-6915, sending an email to or filling out a free case evaluation.

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