How Many Miles Can A Motorcycle Last? [Answered]

Motorcycles, akin to cars, exhibit more wear and tear as mileage accumulates. Given the significant investment, it's prudent for potential buyers to grasp a bike's average lifespan. If a motorcycle is on your radar, the insights below, derived from comprehensive research, will be valuable.

It's simplistic to tag motorcycles as "old" at around 50,000 miles, especially when brands like Honda can push beyond 150,000 miles, and Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati, and Harley Davidson often range between 70,000 to 100,000 miles or more. Various factors, including engine quality, frequency of use, and maintenance regimen, sway the lifespan of your motorcycle.

If you’re interested in learning more about the intricacies of motorcycle longevity, then keep reading. In this post, we’ll also share a few tips to keep your hog humming for as long as possible.

How Long Does A Motorcycle Last? – A Few Numbers To Keep In Mind

Although there’s no standard age or mileage when a motorcycle dies, there are a few averages every motorcyclist should know. Keep reading to find out how long standard motorcycles last.

What Qualifies as High Mileage for a Motorcycle?

The term "high mileage" varies depending on the type of motorcycle. Generally, motorcycles are seen as high-mileage vehicles once they cross the 40,000 to 50,000-mile mark.

However, for sports bikes, this threshold is lower due to their exposure to harsher riding conditions, which accelerate wear and tear. They are typically tagged as high mileage, around 20,000 to 30,000 miles.

It's crucial to note that mileage is merely one aspect to consider when evaluating a motorcycle's condition. A lower mileage doesn't guarantee a problem-free vehicle, and conversely, higher mileage doesn't always imply a worn-out bike, especially if it has been well-maintained.

When considering a purchase, inquire about the motorcycle's maintenance history from the vendor. Understanding how the bike was used in the past (e.g., off-roading, used as a training bike, etc.) can provide insight into its current condition and potential longevity. The more information you gather, the better equipped you'll be to assess the motorcycle's value accurately.

How Many Years Can A Motorcycle Last?

A myriad of factors, such as maintenance, storage, and regular servicing, like oil changes, influence the longevity of your motorcycle. On average, motorcycles tend to last between 10 to 15 years, translating to about 80,000 to 100,000 miles, given proper care.

However, some well-maintained motorcycles can extend beyond this average lifespan, with engines enduring around 60,000 miles before necessitating a replacement.

What Is The Longest-Lasting Motorcycle?

The discussion on which motorcycle brand outlasts others is quite extensive online, with varying opinions. However, a notable study conducted by Consumer Reports in 2015 provides some empirical insight. This study encompassed over 12,300 motorcycles from 10 manufacturers, spanning model years 2008 to 2014. The findings highlighted Japanese brands—Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki—as the top performers in terms of reliability over a four-year period. These brands showcased the lowest failure rates, underscoring their longevity.

The reliability and longevity of a motorcycle significantly hinge on its maintenance history and the brand's reputation for durability, making these factors crucial considerations for prospective buyers.

How Much Does It Cost To Rebuild A Motorcycle Engine?

The cost of rebuilding a motorcycle engine varies widely due to factors such as the make, model, and age of the motorcycle, as well as the extent of engine damage.

Costs can range anywhere from $500 to $8,000, with a typical range of $3,000 to $7,000 for more extensive rebuilds, particularly for certain brands or models. It's essential to factor in additional costs like labor if you plan on hiring a professional mechanic for the rebuild.

For those considering rebuilding a dirt bike engine, the costs are generally lower. Rebuilding a two-stroke dirt bike engine can range from $50 to $500, while four-stroke engines start at $1,500 and can go up depending on the specific components that need replacement.

Tips To Enhance Your Motorcycle’s Longevity

Maximizing your motorcycle's lifespan requires a proactive approach to maintenance. Here are a few straightforward tips that can significantly boost your motorcycle’s longevity:

  1. Regular servicing and oil changes.
  2. Proper storage to protect from harsh weather conditions.
  3. Prompt attention to any mechanical issues or unusual noises.
  4. Adhering to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.
  5. Keeping the motorcycle clean and free of dirt or grime that could affect its performance.

By adhering to these simple yet effective maintenance practices, you can ensure a longer, more reliable life for your motorcycle, potentially delaying the need for costly engine rebuilds or other major repairs.

How Often Should You Get Your Motorcycle’s Oil Changed?

The frequency of your motorcycle's oil change significantly depends on the type of oil you use.

  1. Mineral Engine Oil:

    • Generally, it's advisable to change mineral-based oils every 2,000 to 3,000 miles or at least once a year.

  2. Semi-Synthetic Engine Oil:

    • For semi-synthetic oils, an oil change is typically recommended every 5,000 to 6,000 miles or at least annually.

  3. Fully Synthetic Engine Oil:

    • If you use fully synthetic oils, consider changing the oil every 7,000 to 10,000 miles or once a year.

These figures serve as general guidelines. The actual interval may vary based on your riding frequency, speed, and the climate conditions in your area.

For accurate advice on oil change intervals, it's paramount to consult your motorcycle’s user manual. Additionally, engaging a professional motorcycle mechanic in your area for personalized recommendations can be beneficial.

When you take your motorcycle to a mechanic for an oil change, the cost typically ranges between $25 – $60. Some mechanics may offer a motorcycle diagnostic along with the oil change for an additional fee, so it's prudent to inquire about this before scheduling your appointment.

Adhering to a regular oil change schedule is a proactive step toward maintaining your motorcycle's performance and longevity.

Regularly Check Tire Pressure

Maintaining the right tire pressure is a straightforward step to ensure your motorcycle remains in excellent condition. A quick check with a pressure gauge weekly can prevent unexpected flats on the road.

The ideal tire pressure may range from 35 to 41 PSI, varying with your motorcycle's model, tire size, and riding conditions. It's essential to note that carrying a passenger or a heavy load might require adjusting the tire pressure for safe and efficient riding.

While there are general PSI readings, they may not apply to all motorcycles. It's crucial to consult your owner’s manual for the accurate recommended PSI readings for your specific motorcycle.

For ease of checking, AstroAI provides a handy digital tire pressure gauge suitable for motorcycles, cars, and trucks, allowing you to ensure your tires are correctly inflated for optimal performance and safety.

Find out more on this Amazon link.    

Safe Storage During The Cold Season

Winter can be tough on motorcycles, leading to potential issues come spring for those who neglect proper storage practices.

To best shield your motorcycle from winter's harsh effects, storing it in a garage or shed is ideal. If indoor storage isn't available, investing in a waterproof motorcycle cover is a wise alternative to offer some protection against moisture and debris.

Click this Amazon link for more details.

A key winter storage practice is using a fuel stabilizer, followed by running your engine for a few minutes. This helps to prevent the fuel from gumming up the system, which can be detrimental over the long, cold months​. It's crucial to refer to your owner’s manual to ascertain the appropriate amount of fuel stabilizer and gasoline for your model.

If you’re looking for a good fuel stabilizer, take a peek at STA-BIL.

Click this Amazon link for more info.

Before putting your bike away for winter, consider removing the battery to preserve its life, as motorcycle batteries can gradually lose charge over time, even when not in use.

FYI: There are motorcycle-specific battery chargers available that can help maintain your battery’s charge during storage.

Check out this Amazon link for more details.

These measures are geared towards ensuring your motorcycle is ready to roll once the weather warms up, minimizing potential issues that could arise from improper storage.

Prioritize Your Safety Too!

While this piece focused on ensuring your motorcycle's longevity, it's vital to prioritize your safety on the road. Whenever you ride, wearing a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet can significantly enhance your protection.

For a deeper dive into the different types of motorcycle helmets and their benefits, take a moment to explore this VEHQ post featuring ten types of motorcycle helmets. Your longevity and your motorcycle's go hand in hand—stay safe and enjoy many memorable rides ahead!

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10 Types Of Motorcycle Helmets

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  1. Let’s see… I bought my Honda VTX 1300S in the spring of 2005 and have ridden in all 48 contiguous states and 2 Canadian Provinces, putting on 136,000 miles. I do my own oil changes about every 5000 miles and add STA-BIL beginning in late Autumn. The only month I haven’t ridden the X was when it took the mechanic 6 weeks to change the stator, my only major repair. Oh, yeah… it may be a Japanese brand but it was built in the USA.
    -The Ridge Runner

  2. The highest mileage bike I’ve ever seen was a 1000 cc airhead BMW with 500,000 miles on it! That’s half a million miles! The only work besides oil changes, tires and brake pads was valve adjustments and clutch plates. This was verified by the shop that did all the work on it.

  3. We service 1997-2003 Honda Valkyries. One customer has over 750,000 miles on his, at least a dozen are over 200,000 miles. We recommend oil changes at 5,000 miles. These were built in Marysville, Ohio. If you take care of a Valkyrie, it will last your lifetime. The engine and transmission are close to indestructible, it’s things like the final drive, universal joint, alternator, and carburetors that eventually need to be refreshed. I don’t know what type of motorcycles the author was writing about, certainly not any of the American made Hondas.

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