How many miles do motorcycles last? When shopping for a motorcycle or a car, it’s common to look at mileage before any other listing information. But motorcycle mileage is different from car mileage, and it’s also not as important as you might expect.
Here you’ll find the answer to the question how many miles do motorcycles last, plus more on caring for your bike no matter the mileage.
How Many Miles Do Motorcycles Last?
Regular motorcycles last for over 50,000 miles, although at that point, people consider them old.
On the other hand, sports motorcycles become “old” at half that number since they undergo a lot of wear and extreme conditions.
50,000 miles is equivalent to 200,000 miles on a car. However, like a car, miles aren’t the sole factor determining the health of a motorcycle.
The motorcycle’s history, including how often it underwent routine maintenance, whether a person used it in rough conditions, and the climate all impact a motorcycle’s longevity.
Assuming a motorcycle is well maintained and is a high-quality brand, you may find that it doesn’t need any major repairs until it hits around 100,000 miles.
Factors Affect Motorcycles Lasting Time
Below are the main factors that have tremendous effects on a bike’s average life expectancy.
Type Of Engine
In a crudely simplified manner, greater engine capacities are produced for performance, while smaller-size engines are created for accessibility and efficiency. Note that this doesn’t mean that one bike engine type has a shorter lifespan than the other. Any type of motorcycle engine can survive a long time if it is well-maintained and operated.
A modest engine’s lifespan will be drastically shortened if it is pushed as hard as a superbike. For example, suppose you are riding a 1000cc motorbike and keep high-revving in low gear, similar to when you ride a dirt bike; you are damaging your engines and shortening their lifespan.
One of the most important factors influencing how long your motorbike engine lasts is probably your riding habits. A road racer who rides aggressively and regularly peaks RPMs is overloading and overstressing the engine of their bike.
Thus, being cautious while driving is a smart move. Given that you comply with the manufacturers’ recommendations, riding your bike frequently is wonderful for the engine’s longevity.
Maintenance and Caring
Following the owner’s manual servicing plan diligently and proactively has a major impact on your bike’s lifespan.
When doing an experiment where one motorbike has a diligent owner who keeps up with motorcycle maintenance while the other is ignored, we notice a significant difference between the average life expectancy of the engines of the two identical year model motorcycles varies significantly.
This means you may maintain your motorcycle engine running for as long as you are with a regular maintenance schedule. It includes all the thorough checks and lubrications described in your owner’s manual, as well as regular oil changes after extended use.
Motorbike engines that are air-cooled live longer than those that are liquid-cooled because of how they cool. The engine life can be expanded by being aware of the subtleties of each cooling phase and following proper riding etiquette.
For instance, if you have an air-cooled motorcycle model and are stuck in traffic, you can add a few years to the engine’s life by turning it off to prevent overheating from the engine idling without ventilation.
When you maintain a liquid-cooled motorcycle’s coolant condition and level, your motor will receive the same cooling bath whether you are traveling at a fast or moderate speed.
How to Make Your Motorcycle Last Longer
If you think you can leave your motorcycle for months on end in your garage and it will increase its lifespan, think again.
Regularly maintaining your bike, whether or not you use it often, is one of the most important things you can do to improve its longevity.
Below are recommendations on how to make your motorcycle last longer.
Change the Oil
Motorcycles need regular oil changes. The type of oil you use will determine how often you’ll need to perform an oil change.
Below is a general guide:
- Mineral-based Oil: Every 2,000 miles
- Semi-synthetic Oil: Every 5,000 miles
- High-test synthetic Oil: Every 7,000 miles
How fast you ride and the climate you live in also play a role in how often you should change your oil.
Always consult with your user manual for the most accurate details on changing your bike’s oil.
Cold weather is no time to ride a motorcycle, and often people toss their bike in a garage or shed, only to find it doesn’t function right when they pull it back out.
While keeping your motorcycle in a covered area is an important first step to proper storage, you also need to use a fuel stabilizer.
Additionally, it’s essential to run your bike engine for a few minutes every once in a while. That way, you won’t have to worry about unwanted fuel congregating in your bike’s system. Finally, consider removing your motorcycle’s battery before you store it.
Replace the Breaks and Tires
For as much as you work to take care of your bike, you may be surprised to learn that excessive washing can corrode the brake parts.
Riding and leaving your bike in the rain does so, too. Corroded breaks lead to your motorcycle overheating, dragging, and unnecessary wear and tear.
To prevent these issues from happening, you should replace your brakes and tires on occasion.
Take Care When Riding
You might enjoy driving aggressively or on rough terrain, but we guarantee your motorcycle doesn’t.
If you routinely accelerate and brake in short bursts, drive at high speeds, or on anything but smooth pavement, you’ll reduce how long your motorcycle lasts.
Of course, occasionally pushing your motorcycle is unlikely to do long-term damage, but frequent abuse will no doubt decrease its lifespan.
Waxing is an integral part of bike care in terms of increasing the lifespan of its paint. It creates a protective film that prevents fading, discoloring, and oxidation.
The frequency with which you wax your car depends on how often you use your bike and the typical weather conditions you ride in.
Monitor Tire Pressure
No one wants a flat tire, but especially motorcyclists, since they don’t have a way to get out of the elements if the weather turns bad.
The Motorcycle Industry Council recommends a 36 PSI for single bikers in both tires. If you have a two-person bike, the PSI should be 40 on the back tire and 36 for the front.
Nevertheless, you should consult with your bike’s owner’s manual to see their recommended PSI.
Caring for Your Motorcycle Engine
Regular engine care is one of the most significant factors when looking at the overall expected mileage. After all, you wouldn’t expect a bike that goes tens of thousands of miles between oil changes to last for as many miles as a well-cared-for motorcycle.
Keeping up with regular engine maintenance can ensure your bike keeps humming along no matter what the miles suggest. Taking care of basic maintenance—from oil changes to air filters—is the first step. First, oil changes every few thousand miles are crucial to your bike’s overall performance.
Checking (and replacing) the air filter is another essential step, as the filter can become clogged with debris and cause your engine to choke up. Air filters can be tough to access, depending on the model of the bike, but it’s an easy DIY with the help of your user’s manual.
Coolant is another easily checked item on your motorcycle maintenance list. The coolant avoids overheating, corrosion, and freezing, so no matter the weather, keeping the level consistent is a significant part of your bike’s regular checkups.
When High Mileage Matters
High mileage is a negative indicator when the bike you’re looking at is missing service records or has changed hands often. Similarly, it’s not a great sign if you look at a bike with high miles that was ridden by someone just starting out.
After all, breaking in the bike properly is a big part of ensuring its longevity over time. Ideally, you want to know the history of the vehicle you intend to buy, regardless of what the odometer reports, because there’s always more to the story than that number alone.
Even though 50,000 miles, for example, seems like a high number for a bike (especially considering it’s like 200k on a car), if those are well cared for miles, it could still be a smart buy. And if the bike is older with more miles, insurance costs could be significantly lower than on a newer bike.
Motorcycle Value Versus Longevity
When you’re shopping for a new bike (or looking to sell yours), you’re hoping for a good deal. After all, finances are a big part of the picture for most of us. But a cheap bike isn’t always the best deal, just like a bike with low miles isn’t always a smart buy.
In terms of value, yes, a bike with lower mileage tends to be worth more than a bike that’s racking up miles. However, a regularly serviced motorcycle with no known engine or other issues with a ton of miles is always a better option than a bike with a sketchy history and only a couple thousand miles.
You can reasonably expect a motorcycle with 40,000 miles, an impeccable service record, and a clean body to be worth purchasing, even though some riders would judge the bike as being high mileage. On that same note, an off-road bike with 40,000 miles will likely look rough and not perform well, as off-road miles are tougher on a motorcycle than street miles.
Although there are many factors within your control when considering how long motorcycles last, there are a few manufacturer-related items that impact your bike’s longevity.
For starters, there’s your motorcycle’s year of manufacture. Let’s face it—a bike built in the 90s will naturally have a shorter lifespan than one built in the 2020s.
The brand can also impact your bike’s lifespan, as certain motorcycle brands are known for producing higher quality products than others.
Make sure to do your research, as it’s sometimes worth it to invest in a higher bike upfront. If it buys you extra years of use, you’ll save money in the long run.
Finally, the engine impacts a motorcycle’s lifespan. The larger an engine is, and the more modern features it contains, the longer it will last. Nowadays, some motors can last into the 200,000-mile range.
What Is Considered High Mileage For A Motorbike?
20,000 to 30,000 miles is a bit excessive for compact sports bikes. Motorcycle mileage of 50,000 miles and higher is considered excessive for larger bikes. That being said, a properly maintained bike can endure well over 100,000 miles.
What Is The Mileage Limit For A Motorcycle?
It depends on the motor brand and model. Still, most bikes have a mileage limit of around 100,000 miles. Still, we have to remind you that it doesn’t necessarily imply the life of your car is over, though, whether you get there in two or ten years.
What Is Decent Mileage For A Used Motorcycle?
Suppose you’re referring to a motorcycle intended for regular street use. In that case, you might reasonably presume that any motorcycle with fewer than 10,000 miles on the odometer is considered low mileage and still has plenty of remaining life.
The majority of contemporary motorcycles should be alright after 20,000 miles in terms of high mileage.
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