Just like cars, most motorcycles start to breakdown once they reach a certain number of miles. Since motorcycles are a significant investment, it makes sense for prospective buyers to know what a standard bike’s longevity is. If you’re thinking about purchasing a bike, then you’ve got to check out the research we’ve done on this topic.
As a rule of thumb, motorcycles are considered “old” once they reach about 50,000 miles. How long your motorcycle lasts, however, depends on multiple factors, including the quality of the engine, how often you use it, and how you take care of it.
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 Is Considered High Mileage For A Motorcycle?
Generally, once a motorcycle passes 40,000 miles, it’s considered “high mileage.” If you’re talking about sports bikes, however, you should cut this number in half. Since sports bikes have to deal with more extreme conditions, they tend to face a lot more wear-and-tear early on.
Keep in mind, mileage is just one of many factors when it comes to evaluating a motorcycle’s health. Lower miles doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t any problems with the vehicle and vice versa.
Be sure to ask your vendor for details on how often the motorcycle was serviced. Also, be sure to figure out how your bike was used (or abused) in the past (e.g., did it go off-roading; was it used as a training bike, etc.). The more info you have on a motorcycle, the better you can gauge its value.
How Many Years Can A Motorcycle Last?
How long your motorcycle lasts depends on dozens of factors, including how you handle it, how you store it, and how often you bring it in for oil changes. However, if you’re looking for a ballpark figure, you could expect a well-maintained motorcycle to last about 12 years.
What Is The Longest Lasting Motorcycle?
There are many debates online over what motorcycle brand lasts the longest, but it’s often hard to separate fact from fantasy. The only “scientific” study on the longest-lasting motorcycles was put out by Consumer Reports a few years ago.
Analysts involved in this study examined over 12,000 different motorcycles from 10 companies between the years 2008 and 2014. The bikes with the lowest failure rates after a four-year trial were all made in Japan. Indeed, the best performing brands in this study were Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki.
If you’re still dead-set on buying an American-made motorcycle, then you’ve got to check out this previous VEHQ.com post.
How Much Does It Cost To Rebuild A Motorcycle Engine?
Since every model is different, there’s a wide price range for a motorcycle engine rebuild. You should, however, prepare to pay over $3,000 no matter what motorcycle brand you have. Indeed, it’s not unheard of for motorcycle engine repairs to cost upwards of $7,000.
If you’re interested in rebuilding a dirt bike’s engine, however, the costs will usually be cheaper. Indeed, you could usually get these engines repaired for between $1,000 – $1,500.
Tips To Enhance Your Motorcycle’s Longevity
If you want to squeeze the most juice out of your motorcycle, you need to be proactive about proper maintenance. Here are a few simple tips that could dramatically increase your motorcycle’s longevity.
How Often Should You Get Your Motorcycle’s Oil Changed?
Determining when to schedule your motorcycle’s oil change will largely depend on what type of oil you use.
In general, people who use cheaper mineral-based oils should get an oil change every 2,000 miles. If you opt for semi-synthetic oils, consider getting an oil change about every 5,000 miles. Lastly, motorcyclists who use high-test synthetic oil could get their oil changed about every 7,000 miles.
Keep in mind, all of these numbers are general estimates. You may need to change your oil sooner, depending on how often you use your motorbike, how fast you ride, and how your climate affects the bike.
For precise advice on how often to change your oil, it’s always best to consult your motorcycle’s user manual. You could also speak with a professional motorcycle mechanic in your area to see what he or she recommends.
If you bring your motorcycle to a mechanic for an oil change, expect to pay between $25 – $60. Your mechanic might also offer a motorcycle diagnostic along with an oil change for a special fee, so be sure to ask before setting your appointment.
Regularly Check Tire Pressure
Another easy way to keep your motorcycle in tip-top shape is to monitor tire pressure. Using a pressure gauge for just a few minutes per week could save you from getting a flat while out on the roads.
According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, tire PSI should register 36 on both tires for a solo rider. If you’re traveling with a passenger, then the Motorcycle Industry Council recommends a PSI of 36 for the front tire and 40 for the rear tire.
Although these PSI readings are the industry standard, that doesn’t mean they’re accurate for your motorcycle’s tires. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for detailed information on recommended PSI readings.
AstroAI now offers a convenient digital tire pressure gauge perfect for cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
Find out more on this Amazon link.
Safe Storage During The Cold Season
For motorcycles, every winter is a season of “discontent.” Motorcyclists who improperly store their bikes during the snowy season often notice multiple issues when they try to ride in the spring.
The easiest way to prevent damage to your motorcycle during the winter is to keep it inside a shed or a garage. If this isn’t an option for you, then you should at least invest in a waterproof motorcycle cover like the one below.
Click this Amazon link for more details.
You could learn more about keeping you and your motorcycle dry on this previous VEHQ post.
During the winter, it’s also essential to use a fuel stabilizer and run your engine for a few minutes. This will dramatically reduce the risk that your fuel will “gunk up” multiple motorcycle systems. As always, consult your owner’s manual to figure out how much fuel stabilizer and gasoline is best 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.
To preserve your bike’s battery, you might also want to remove it before storing your bike. Even though you’re not using your motorcycle, it’s common for motorcycle batteries to drain power over time slowly.
FYI: there are also a few battery chargers on the market designed for motorcycles in storage.
Check out this Amazon link for more details.
Don’t Forget About Your Own Longevity!
Although this article has been about protecting your motorcycle, please don’t forget about your longevity! If possible, wear a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet to protect yourself on the roads. For more details, please take a few moments to read through this VEHQ post detailing ten types of motorcycle helmets.
Wednesday 8th of June 2022
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.
Saturday 20th of November 2021
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