What’s High Miles For A Motorcycle? Let’s Talk About It

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Is your motorcycle clocking high miles and you’re worried about its lifespan? You’re not alone; even as a seasoned rider, this issue has crossed my path more than once. In fact, how we define ‘high mileage’ for a bike can vary based on factors such as engine types, maintenance habits, and bike usage.

This article aims to demystify the concept of high mileage in motorcycles and provide practical ways to extend their longevity. Ready for an enlightening ride? Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • The definition of “high mileage” can vary depending on factors such as the type of motorcycle and its intended usage. For sports bikes, high mileage may be around 25,000 to 50,000 miles, while cruisers and touring bikes can often reach up to 100,000 miles before being considered high mileage.
  • Factors that influence motorcycle mileage include the type of engine, riding habits, maintenance and care, and cooling method. High-revving engines tend to have shorter lifespans compared to low-rev ones. Regular use and conservative riding habits contribute to a longer lifespan.
  • To extend the lifespan of a motorcycle with high miles: schedule regular oil changes for better lubrication; store it properly in a controlled environment when not in use; replace parts at recommended intervals; ensure adequate lubrication for key components like chains and bearings.

Defining High Mileage for a Motorcycle

Defining ‘high mileage’ for a motorcycle isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. The figure can vary significantly, influenced by various factors such as the type of bike and how it’s been ridden and maintained.

For instance, sports bikes tend to have shorter lifespans due to extreme conditions they often endure, typically around 25,000 to 50,000 miles is considered high mileage. Cruisers like the Harley Davidson Breakout or Indian Scout are built for longevity and consistent rides; their high mileage starts from about 40,000 miles.

Conversely, touring bikes such as Honda Goldwing or Yamaha FJR1300 are designed for long road trips with impressive endurance – some even reach up to an astounding 100,000 miles before being classified as ‘high mileage’.

The sturdy dual-purpose or adventure bikes fall into the higher end of this spectrum too. These motorcycles like Suzuki’s DR650SE generally indicate high mileage at approximately 75,000 miles due to their design catering versatility in both on-road cruising and off-road adventures.

Therefore understanding what constitutes ‘high’ depends substantially on your bike model.

Factors Influencing Motorcycle Mileage

The type of engine, riding habits, maintenance and care, and cooling method all play a significant role in determining the mileage of a motorcycle.

Type of Engine

The engine forms the heart of any motorcycle – its type greatly influences the mileage and lifespan of your two-wheeler. For instance, a Harley Davidson with a low-revving engine is engineered to endure high miles without batting an eye.

The 117 Milwaukee-Eight V-twin engine on this classic machine is designed for long-haul rides, capable of chugging at lower revs while delivering impressive power.

On the other hand, sports bikes like Ducati or Yamaha R1 have high revving engines known for their extreme performance levels. These are not typically built for tremendous mileage; instead, they focus on speed and acceleration within shorter distances.

High-rev engines inherently undergo more wear and tear per mile compared to low-rev ones, thereby influencing what’s considered as ‘high mileage’. Consequently, motorcycles housing these engines might require more frequent maintenance or part replacements such as new brake discs and pads or air filter changes.

Riding Habits

Your riding habits lay a profound impact on your motorcycle’s wellness. Regular use of the motorbike, as opposed to leaving it in storage for extended periods, is essential in maintaining its longevity.

Keep in mind that motorcycles are built to be ridden regularly; long spells of non-use can lead to problems when you finally take them out for a spin.

Furthermore, how you ride plays a significant role too. Motorbikes ridden conservatively tend to have longer lifespans compared to those subject to aggressive throttle usage or ridden over challenging terrains.

Proper shifting techniques and not pushing your bike beyond its limits go a long way toward preserving the life expectancy of sports bikes like Yamaha R1 or commuter ones like Triumph Street Twin.

Maintenance and Care

Maintaining and caring for your motorcycle is essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. Regular maintenance tasks such as oil changes, filter replacements, and fluid checks are crucial to keep the engine running smoothly.

It’s also important to address any issues promptly, whether it’s a strange noise or a worn-out part, as neglecting them can lead to more significant problems down the line. Keeping your motorcycle clean not only enhances its appearance but also helps prevent rust and corrosion from affecting vital components.

By following a comprehensive maintenance routine and taking care of your bike diligently, you can significantly extend its lifespan and enjoy many miles of riding pleasure.

Cooling Method

I’ve always been fascinated by the various factors that influence the lifespan of a motorcycle, and one of the most important aspects is its cooling method. Motorcycles come with either air-cooled or liquid-cooled engines, each with their own advantages and limitations.

Air-cooled engines rely on moving air to dissipate heat from the engine, while liquid-cooled engines use a coolant to regulate the temperature.

Air-cooled engines tend to have longer lifespans compared to liquid-cooled ones because they have fewer complex components that can potentially malfunction or require maintenance. Additionally, air-cooling systems are simpler in design and often more rugged, making them less susceptible to failure in extreme conditions.

On the other hand, liquid-cooled engines offer more precise control over engine temperatures, leading to more optimal performance during different riding scenarios. They are particularly effective at regulating high levels of heat generated by demanding riding styles or extreme weather conditions.

As an enthusiast who enjoys long rides on my motorcycles, I appreciate both cooling methods for what they bring to the table. While air-cooling provides reliability and simplicity for extended journeys through varying terrains, liquid cooling ensures consistent performance even under challenging circumstances.

How to Extend the Lifespan of a Motorcycle

To extend the lifespan of your motorcycle, make sure to schedule regular oil changes, store it properly when not in use, replace parts as needed, and ensure adequate lubrication for optimal performance.

Regular Oil Changes

Regular oil changes are crucial for extending the lifespan of a motorcycle, especially for high mileage bikes. Here’s why:


  1. Clean and fresh oil lubricates the engine components better, reducing friction and wear.
  2. Regular oil changes help remove contaminants, such as dirt and metal particles, which can cause damage if left in the engine.
  3. Fresh oil improves engine performance by maintaining optimal viscosity levels.
  4. Oil acts as a coolant, absorbing heat generated by the engine and preventing overheating.
  5. Properly lubricated engine parts reduce noise and vibration, resulting in a smoother ride.
  6. Regular oil changes ensure that the engine remains properly protected against corrosion and rust.


Proper Storage

Storing a motorcycle correctly is crucial for extending its lifespan, especially when it comes to high mileage bikes. Proper storage involves keeping the bike in a structure and temperature-controlled environment to reduce wear and tear caused by extreme weather conditions.

It’s important to use a fuel stabilizer and periodically run the engine, even during periods of non-use, to prevent any damage from occurring. Additionally, regular maintenance should be conducted before putting the motorcycle into storage, such as changing the oil and inspecting all components for any signs of wear or corrosion.

By following these storage practices diligently, you can help ensure your high mileage bike stays in top condition for years to come.

Timely Part Replacements

Replacing parts on your motorcycle at the right time is crucial for maintaining its performance and prolonging its lifespan. Here’s a list of parts that should be replaced regularly to ensure your motorcycle stays in top shape:


  1. Brake Pads: Worn-out brake pads can compromise your stopping power and safety. Replace them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or when they become too thin (usually around 2-3mm).
  2. Wheel Bearings: Over time, wheel bearings can wear out and cause wobbling or uneven tire wear. Inspect them regularly and replace if there’s any play or roughness in the wheels.
  3. Steering-Head Bearings: These bearings help with smooth steering, and worn-out ones can lead to instability. Regularly check for any tight spots or looseness, and replace as necessary.
  4. Swing Arms: The swing arm connects the rear wheel to the frame of the motorcycle. It should be checked for cracks, excessive play, or worn bushings. Replace if any issues are found.
  5. Suspension Linkages: Proper suspension is essential for a comfortable ride and handling. Check all linkages for wear, corrosion, or damage regularly, and replace if needed.
  6. Fork Oil: Fork oil keeps your front forks lubricated and helps with smooth suspension action. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended intervals for replacing fork oil to maintain optimal performance.
  7. Tire Pressures: Keeping tires properly inflated ensures better handling, grip, and longevity of both the tires and other components like suspension. Check tire pressures regularly and adjust as needed.
  8. Tread Patterns: Tires with worn-out tread patterns can compromise traction and stability, especially in wet conditions. Replace tires when the tread reaches minimum depth levels prescribed by law or recommended by the tire manufacturer.


Adequate Lubrication

Proper lubrication is vital for maintaining a motorcycle’s performance and extending its lifespan. Regularly lubricating key components such as the chain, wheel bearings, and suspension linkages helps reduce friction and wear.

By keeping these parts well-lubricated, you can ensure smoother operation and prevent premature damage. It’s important to choose the right type of lubricant for each component based on manufacturer recommendations.

Remember that neglecting lubrication can lead to increased heat, corrosion, and unnecessary strain on your motorcycle’s engine and drivetrain. So keep those moving parts well-oiled to enjoy many miles of trouble-free riding!

The Role of Mileage in Buying a Used Motorcycle

When considering buying a used motorcycle, mileage plays an important role in determining its value and potential longevity. However, it is essential to remember that mileage alone should not be the sole deciding factor.

Instead, it should be considered alongside other crucial aspects such as the bike’s condition and maintenance history.

High mileage does not necessarily mean a motorcycle is worn out or unreliable. A well-maintained motorcycle with higher miles can often provide excellent performance and reliability compared to one with lower miles but poor upkeep.

Regular servicing records are crucial indicators of how well the previous owner took care of the bike.

Additionally, the type of motorcycle also influences how much mileage is considered high for that particular model. For example, touring bikes designed for long-distance travel tend to have higher mileages before experiencing significant wear compared to sport bikes built for speed and agility.

Ultimately, when purchasing a used motorcycle based on its mileage, it is vital to consider factors beyond just numbers on the odometer. Assessing maintenance records, general condition, and overall value will give you a better understanding of whether a high-mileage bike is worth your investment.

Benefits of High Mileage Bikes

When it comes to high mileage bikes, there are actually quite a few benefits to consider. First and foremost, high mileage is often an indication of a well-maintained motorcycle. If a bike has been ridden extensively and still performs flawlessly, it speaks volumes about the quality of its construction and the care its previous owner(s) have taken with it.

Additionally, high mileage can also translate into cost savings for buyers. Used motorcycles with higher mileage tend to be priced more affordably than those with lower mileage, making them a great option for riders on a budget.

Lastly, high-mileage bikes can offer peace of mind when it comes to long-term reliability. Many motorcycles are built to last well beyond the 50,000-mile mark, meaning you can enjoy years of trouble-free riding without worrying about constant repairs or breakdowns.

So don’t shy away from considering a high-mileage bike – they may just surprise you with their longevity and value for money!


In conclusion, high mileage for a motorcycle is not necessarily something to fear. With proper maintenance and care, motorcycles can reach impressive mileage numbers and continue to perform well.

Whether it’s a cruiser, touring bike, sports bike, or off-road adventure bike, regular servicing and a responsible riding approach can help extend the lifespan of your motorcycle. So don’t be afraid to rack up those miles on your trusted two-wheeled companion!


1. What is considered high mileage for a motorcycle?

High mileage for a motorcycle can vary depending on the make and model, as well as how well it has been maintained. Generally, motorcycles with over 20,000 miles are considered to have high mileage.

2. Does high mileage affect the performance of a motorcycle?

High mileage can potentially impact the performance of a motorcycle if regular maintenance and repairs have not been carried out. Components such as the engine, transmission, and suspension may experience wear and tear, leading to decreased performance.

3. How can I determine if a high-mileage motorcycle is worth buying?

When considering purchasing a high-mileage motorcycle, it’s important to thoroughly inspect its condition and maintenance history. Look for signs of proper care and maintenance such as regular oil changes, service records, and visible wear on critical components. Additionally, consider having a qualified mechanic perform an inspection before making a purchase decision.

4. Can I increase the lifespan of my high-mileage motorcycle?


Yes! Regular maintenance is key to extending the lifespan of any motorcycle, regardless of its mileage. This includes timely oil changes, fluid replacements, tire inspections/replacements,and routine checks on critical components such as brakes and chains.


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