The odometer is the first thing most buyers look at before purchasing an old motorcycle.
Using the number of miles predict how long the motorcycle engine will last is a good strategy but you must look at other factors as well.
How Many Miles do Motorcycle Engines Last?
Average motorcycle engines can last between 50,000 miles to 150,000 miles depending on overall maintenance, the number of cylinders, type of engine, model, and make of the motorcycle. Motorcycle engines can last more miles if they have not been involved in any crash or accident.
Motorcycles are powerful machines that are designed to provide high RPMs, quick acceleration, and sharp turning.
The general trend of motorcycle engines is that they last fewer miles than cars and other vehicles. This is because motorcycles are built with performance in mind.
You should not compare car and motorcycle engines on the same scale. This is because cars can last 3-4 times more miles than motorcycles. 25,000 miles on a motorcycle is comparable to 75,000-100,000 miles on a car.
Some motorcycle models such as Ducati Monsters and high CC Honda bikes can exceed 200,000 miles with good handling and maintenance.
Other low-quality bikes may break down even before reaching 50,000 miles.
How long does a Motorcycle Engine Last?
How long a motorcycle engine lasts depends on several factors:
Average motorcycles engines last between 50,000 to 150,000 miles. However, the mileage of the motorcycle is only one of the many factors which can be used to predict the life expectancy of the motorcycle.
2. Riding Style
The way a bike is driven plays a big role in how long it will last.
Some owners will start the bike and immediately start riding without providing sufficient time for the motorcycle to warm up.
Other motorcycle owners will ride a fairly low CC (250 CC) bike at very high speeds.
Abusing the motorcycle by it riding as hard as possible and not sufficiently allowing it to warm before riding are two ways to prevent the engine from lasting as long as it should.
A well-maintained bike can go a long way. Similarly, a badly maintained motorcycle can break down much quicker than expected.
Motorcycle maintenance is about making sure the brakes, accelerator, battery, wheels, fluids, oil, filters, and clutch are in good working conditions and are replaced according to the manufacturer’s manual.
Maintenance also means remembering the bike when it is not is use. You must regulalrly take it for a ride, since bikes start deteriorating when not in use.
4. Protection from the Environment
A motorcycle can break down prematurely if it is not shielded from the forces of nature.
Excessive heat and direct sunlight can melt and expand the plastics, paint, leather, and other components of the motorcycle. These components can cause damage to the motorcycle engine.
Similarly, extremely cold weather can lead to straining the components and moving part of the motorcycle. Rust from snow and ice can further this damage.
Overly dusty, windy, or humid conditions also play a role in lessening the lifespan of the motorcycle. Covering the motorcycle can help to reduce some of this degeneration.
Ideally, you should only ride your motorcycle in normal temperatures. The very least you can do is store your motorcycle indoors and protect it from the elements.
5. Type of Engine and Number of Cylinders.
Two-stroke engines have a shorter lifespan than four-stroke engines. This is because four-stroke engines have a better cooling and lubrication mechanism.
Similarly, single-cylinder engines have a shorter lifespan as compared to multi-cylinder; this is because they vibrate more often and are more stressed.
Furthermore, small-displacement engines have to provide higher revs in order to maintain the same speed as their higher displacement counterparts. Hence, small-displacement engine motorcycles tend to have shorter lifecycles.
6. Model and Make
A motorbike from a reliable company will last much longer than a cheap and low-value motorcycle.
Companies such as Harley-Davidson make some of the most reliable and high-quality motorcycles. These motorcycle engines can last hundreds of thousands of miles.
Low-quality Suzuki motorcycles make break down much earlier than expected.
The Cubic Capacity of a motorcycle plays a big role in determining how long the motorccyle will last. A low CC ( 125 ) motorcycle will not last very long if exposed to high revs and speeds.
7. Accidents and Crashes
A high-speed bike accident can lead to an entirely damaged engine.
However, in most cases, the motorcycle parts and engine can be repaired. It is easy to repair a mirror, battery, or clutch. But the damage to a motorcycle engine will have future implications.
A repaired motorcycle engine will never be like a new one. Keep in mind when purchasing that a repaired engine will have a shorter lifespan.
What is considered high mileage for a Motorcycle?
A motorcycle that has crossed 30,000 miles is considered to be a high mileage motorcycle. You should only buy a high-mileage motorcycle if it is been well-maintained, is a product of a reliable company, and it’s spare parts are readily available.
A motorcycle whose mileage hovers around 10,000 miles is considered low-mileage.
Everyone has a different recommendation for high-mileage bikes. Some motorcyclists only consider a bike to be high-mileage if it crosses 100,000 miles.
The mileage of a bike should not be considered the most important factor when determining its value.
A-well maintained Harvey Davidson which has travelled 75,000 miles would be infinitely better than a 125 CC Honda motorbike which has covered a mere 15,000 miles.
How many miles is too many for a motorcycle?
Over 75,000 miles is considered too many miles for a motorcycle. After this point you should only purchase a motorcycle if it is well maintained, a product of a reliable company, its spare parts are easily available and the motorcycle has not been involved in an accident.
A lot of motorcycles will start giving their owners trouble after the 75,000 miles mark.
At this point and beyond regular visists to a mechanic are the norm for many motorcycles.
A large number of motorcycles will not remain as smooth as before. You will need to regularly check the oil, breaks, clutches etc.
The answer to peoples queries regarding the 20,000 km and 50,000 km marks:
Is 20,000 km a lot for a motorcycle? 20,000 km is not a lot for a motorcycle. It is considered low mileage by many motorcyclists. Buying most motorcycles at this point is a good purchase as they will still have the ability to provide many more km in the future.
Is 50,000 km a lot for a motorcycle? 50,000 km is considered high mileage and quite a lot for a motorcycle. After this point, buyers should only purchase the motorcycle if it is well-maintained and a high-quality motorcycle.
How Many Years Does a Motorcycle Last? A motorcycle can last decades as long as it is a high-quality and well-maintained bike. There are several bike owners whose motorcycles from the eighties and nineties are still in perfect working conditions
A little care and maintenance can go a long way in extending a motorcycles lifespan by many years. Not revving the motorcycle at high RPMs and changing the oil regularly can make a world of a difference.
Motorcycles are built for performance and you should not expect it to last as long as a car. Cars are merely utilitarian machines whereas motorcyles drip energy, emotions, and passion.
This article is written to give you a realistic idea of what to expect from an old motorcycle. How many miles a motorcycle lasts is highly dependent on the company and model of the bike itself.
Buying an old motorcycle is an excellent idea since old motorcycles depreciate slower and retain most of their value. Good Luck with finding a great bike for yourself!