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How Many Miles Do Motorcycles Last? What You Need To Know!

black honda motorcycle parked on the side of the road

Whether you’re looking at buying a second-hand bike or are wondering how much life an existing bike has got left in it, it is reasonable to wonder how many miles motorcycles typically last. As a rule of thumb, cars can last 200,000 miles or more, and while it is possible that a motorcycle will last the same distance, it is very unlikely.

It is a widely used rule of thumb that you should multiply bike miles by four to compare it to a car’s expected mileage. So, if you consider a car to have a rough expiry of 200,000 miles, you should assume a motorbike to give up after 50,000 miles—though 80,000 miles is possible with impeccable maintenance and gentle driving.

However, this is an over simplified answer. The real, but longer and more complicated answer, is that it depends on multiple factors. How well has the bike been maintained? How often is it ridden? How many cold starts has it had to endure? Even the make and model of bike are relevant when answering this question. Below are some factors that will determine how many miles you can expect a motorcycle to last.

car and road divider

Make, Model, And Motorcycle Type

First of all, you should consider the type of motorbike. Tourers are built to last more miles than sports bikes, and those with big engines will naturally cover a lot more ground than smaller-engined bikes. Some manufacturers are renowned for building bikes that will go for tens of thousands of miles without any problems, while others are better known for cutting corners and saving money, typically leading to a bike with a shorter lifespan.

honda motorcycle parked on a hill
Image Credit: Wilbue, Pixabay

Ride Frequency

How often the bike was ridden is more important, in some respects, to the number of miles covered. A 10-year-old bike that has only been ridden 5,000 miles may not have a lot of mileage, but it is unlikely to be in the best condition and its infrequent use may well lead to it having a considerably shorter lifespan. Tires degrade and moisture, dirt, and dust can accumulate in the engine and parts if the bike is left to stand for months or years on end. If the bike is well maintained, it will usually survive longer if it is ridden regularly, rather than left down a drive for several years.

Riding Style

Like cars, bikes can suffer at the hands of riders. If the bike was constantly ridden with a pillion and heavy saddle bags, or if it was thrashed to the red line at every given opportunity, parts are more likely to have degraded and suffered damage. Therefore, hard ridden motorbikes will not last as many miles as those that were ridden more carefully, given time to warm up before being driven hard, and were ridden on roads in good condition.

Bikes ridden off-road tend to show more signs of damage and wear. If the bike has been used as a learner bike by several different riders, you can expect quite lot of damage and repairs to have been made.

male rider riding his motorcycle
Image Credit: TSKvado, Pixabay

Storage

Not only is the location where the bike was ridden important, but so too is where it was stored. If the bike was left outside, even under a makeshift cover, it will be showing plenty of wear. If the bike was stored in a garage or under proper cover, while not in use, then it should show fewer signs of wear.

Repair and Maintenance

It is worth remembering that it is the parts of the bike that wear down and not the bike itself. In theory, if a bike is well maintained and parts are replaced when they wear out, a motorcycle could go on forever, although there may come a point when there are no original parts left on the machine.

Repair and maintenance are critical to the longevity of all machinery, and this includes motorcycles of all types, sizes, and ages. If a bike is well kept, cleaned after a long ride, and has appropriate services and maintenance completed when needed, it will live a much longer and happier life.

car and road divider

Conclusion

Motorcycles are machines and all machines require good maintenance and care to ensure that they last as long as possible. However, the quality and even the type of bike also play a part in determining how many miles a motorcycle will last. Bigger engines and tourers will likely last longer, while bikes with small engines and sports bikes are likely to deteriorate sooner.

All things considered, a well-maintained bike might last 100,000 miles or more, while a poorly maintained bike might be lucky to reach 20,000 miles on the clock before it gives up.

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Featured Image Credit: Ralphs_Fotos, Pixabay

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