Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingMotorcycles and Biking How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle – Does It Even Matter?

How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle – Does It Even Matter?

by Jordan Harris
How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle

Buying a used bike is not the same as buying a used car. Depending on the brand, motorcycles often tend to last more than cars. Similar to the way you are concerned about the mileage when buying a car, you should be concerned about the mileage when buying a motorcycle as well. But how many miles is a lot for a motorcycle?

The mileage in a motorcycle cannot dictate the exact value of the motorcycle. Even though mileage plays a role in the value of the bike, it is not as significant as a car. There are many more factors that affect the value of the bike, and these factors often tend to be more important than the mileage.

To know when you are getting a good deal, you need to exactly what you are getting. Here’s what you need to look for when buying a used motorcycle, and how important of a role does the mileage play in the condition of the motorcycle.

What Is The Most Suitable Motorcycle For You?

Before you buy a motorcycle, you need to know what you are expecting to get from it. Only by knowing your requirements and what type of motorcycle fits you best, will you be satisfied with your purchase. It doesn’t matter how many miles are on the odometer if the motorcycle you bought doesn’t fit you. And depending on the type of motorcycle, the answer for ‘how many miles is a lot for a motorcycle?’ could change.

How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle

There are dozens of different motorcycle types out there. They all have 2 wheels, but none of them are alike. Different motorcycles are meant to be used differently. For example, if you are an ‘adrenaline junkie’ and looking for a bike that can get you from 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds, you don’t want to buy a cruiser, you need a sports bike. So here are the main types of motorcycles and what are those models best for.

1. Standard

Often referred to as the ‘naked motorcycle’, these are the all-rounders of the world of motorcycles. These bikes offer an upright riding position, with the handlebars and footpegs placed perfectly so you do not have to reach for the handlebars, which allows you to get a comfortable ride.

They contain moderate size engines, so they are perfect for new riders. They are not that complicated and relatively easier to ride. These bikes have the balance between being a sports bike and offering comfortable riding. This type of bike would be a good choice if you are looking for a daily driver and riding around town to beat the traffic.

Engine size could vary anywhere from 125cc to 1000cc, though it is often much closer to the lower range of the spectrum.

2. Cruiser

Cruiser, also nicknamed the chopper is modeled and inspired by the large American machines back in the 1930s to 1960s. Harley Davidson is one of the leading manufacturers of these types of bikes. The V-twin engine is designed to provide low-end torque. The lower seat height makes it great for cruising.

How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle

The high handlebars and forward footpegs allow the rider to lean back while riding. Adding a couple of bags in the side will allow you to haul a lot more luggage and still maintain the style, unlike any other bike. With exceptional comfort, this bike is great for long rides.

It is not the best model to go after if you are new to riding, but with the low center of gravity in the bike, it is not hard to learn.

3. Dual-Sport

Dual sport is also referred to as an on and off-road motorcycle. It is similar to a dirt bike, but it has mirrors and lights making them street legal. Thus the name on and off-road bike.

They have a springy off-road suspension and are often coupled with off-road tires. Dual sports bikes are built to tackle any terrain. They have small engines so you won’t be able to get a lot of speed out of it, but that makes them more capable off the road.

Their lightweight frames and the smaller engine make them lighter and easier to handle. They often have a taller seat height and a higher center of gravity to give the rider more control which is necessary when riding through rugged terrain.

The ride is suitable for an inexperienced rider as long as he or she can manage to firmly plant their feet on the ground.

How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle

4. Touring

These are the epitome of comfort in bikes. They are designed for riding long distances and have enough storage space to carry a decent amount of gear. These bikes are famous for riding cross country. They have larger flaring to block out the wind and exceptional ergonomics to ensure a comfortable ride.

The bigger fuel tank and large engine along with a lot more components add a lot of weight to the bike. This might be one of the reasons to avoid this model if you are a new rider. The price tag on these motorcycles is relatively higher than other types of motorcycles.

There is also a variant called sports touring. Which is a mix of both a sports bike and a touring bike. They are a bit more sporty, fast, and light, but you will be sacrificing the comfort that you get from a touring bike.

5. Sports Bike

Last but not least, the sports bike. This is meant purely for the adrenaline rush that you get when you are ripping through a paved road at over 100 mph with the wind on your face. The forward-leaning style of the bike makes it more aerodynamic and allows you to cut sharp corners.

These have slightly higher seats so that while leaning forward there will be no obstructions. Although they look big and heavy, they are made to be light and made using a lot of aluminum to provide top speeds.

How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle

These are the main types of bikes that are commonly seen. Though there are a few more types of bikes, these models cover the majority of two-wheelers on the road.

By knowing what you want from a bike, whether it be, comfort, speed, offroading, or just something to learn the art of riding, you can choose a motorcycle type that fits you best.

How Many Miles Is Considered A Lot Of Miles For A Motorcycle?

Before buying a used motorcycle, one of the things to consider is the mileage. This is one of the first things that people look for when buying a vehicle. The same is seen when buying a motorcycle, even though the mileage isn’t the only thing that matters nor the most important.

A motorcycle is not something that often has significant mileage. On average a car is driven 10,000 to 15,000 miles per year. A motorcycle on the other hand runs much fewer miles. An average motorcycle travels only 3,000 miles per year.

The amount of miles traveled by motorcycle differs significantly from the model of the motorcycle as well. When you look at a touring motorcycle, they often tend to have much more miles than any other model. Even though they aren’t taken out of the garage often, when they do come out they get thousands of miles on the odometer.

While a touring motorcycle would get a lot of miles, a dual-sport or an offroad bike will be on the other end of the spectrum. They tend to have a much smaller number when it comes to mileage. The rest of the models often sit on the average amount.

1. How Many Miles Are Too Many Miles?

For a motorcycle, the number that is often said to be high mileage is 40,000 miles. Dor sports bike the number 25,000. The reason for the lower number of sports bikes is that they are ridden aggressively. That style of riding puts a toll on the engine, thus 25,000 miles is considered as high mileage for a sports bike.

Rather than being afraid of the mileage when buying a motorcycle, think about this. If a motorcycle has 40,000 miles under its belt, considering the owner rode it for 3000 miles per year on average, the bike is over 13 years old. This is what you need to be worried about more than mileage, was the bike maintained properly over such a long period.

Maintainance is much more important than mileage when it comes to used motorcycles. High mileage doesn’t mean that the motorcycle isn’t worth the price nor does lower mileage mean that the motorcycle was well taken care of. For all we know, it could have been sitting on a garage for a few years rusting from the inside.

2. Does Mileage Really Matter?

The short answer is no. Here is why many of us look at the value before buying a bike or a vehicle. These quotations come from sources like KBB, NADA, and a few other sources. These quotations take mileage and age into consideration. This is where people make a mistake, thinking a bike with a higher price tag is better.

In reality, the only thing that mileage affects is the value. If a bike wasn’t serviced regularly the odometer in it is just a number, the bike will probably have some serious issues. While a well-maintained bike with 100,000+ miles would be better and be less of an issue in the long run.

Mileage is important when buying a vehicle, but that is not the most important factor. This is especially true in motorcycles.

3. Is It Even Real?

Tampering with mileage is not unusual. Swapping the speedometer, unhooking it, dialing it back are just some of the ways to fake the actual mileage. These kinds of stuff can be even seen in digital odometers today. Motorcycles are much more at risk of this crime.

Tampering with a motorcycle speedometer is much easier than a car. So when the mileage goes past a number where it could significantly decrease the value, people tend to give a more favorable number, just to increase the resale value of the bike.

So before you make a conclusion based on the mileage of a motorcycle look at what matters.

What To Look For When Buying A Motorcycle

So what does matter when purchasing a used motorcycle? Keep your eyes peeled on these, rather than the mileage.

1. Maintainance Over Its Many Miles Of Use And Abuse

The importance of maintenance for a bike cannot be overstated. This is the important factor that determines, how long will a motorcycle last. When looking at maintenance you also need to look at repairs.

Motorcycles in the market aren’t cared for as you see the way that cars are cared for. This is because people depend on cars for their everyday transportation. This is not seen in motorcycles. You rarely see someone who uses a motorcycle as a primary mode of transportation.

For the masses, a motorcycle is something to enjoy. A hobby or a toy, which is a long way from a daily driver. People do not spend lavishly on motorcycles. They try to keep things as economic as possible. When you take your bike out for a ride once every you do not think about the maintenance of it over your car which you use 7 days a week.

When you are looking to buy a used motorcycle, you should always ask for maintenance records. Even though they aren’t ridden as often, they require maintenance. Even if the motorcycle was in a collision and had to be completely rebuilt can be a better deal over a motorcycle that wasn’t maintained as it should have been.

Records of maintenance can tell a good story about a bike. So before you check the mileage on a bike make sure to take a peek at the maintenance records.

2. Was The Motorcycle Ridden With Care Throughout Its Many Miles?

The way a bike has been ridden will also dictate how long the bike will last. An experienced rider or someone who wants to ride the bike the way it is supposed to be ridden, wouldn’t have put a lot of pressure on the bike. The engine of the bike should gain heat slowly. If a biker were to redline it just out of the driveway on a cold day that damages the engine over time.

For example, if someone were to ride the bike on the throttle 24/7 or shift without using the clutch, would’ve damaged the bike in many ways. This will definitely shorten the life span of the bike. The same can be said about overloading. Even if you own a touring bike, you should not load tons of stuff in it. If the bike was to carry 500 or 600 pounds over a distance of 1000 miles or more, that would damage the suspension of the bike.

The environment in which the bike was ridden is also a factor to consider. A dual-sport will suit perfectly in sand and dust. But a sports bike won’t fit in such an environment, this will also affect the bike.

3. Was The Motorcycle Ridden At All However Many Miles?

Something equally or much worse than redlining a bike on a cold day is not taking the bike out at all. As mentioned earlier, some people buy bikes as a hobby. After they’ve lost interest, the bike is left to sit in the garage for years. After a few years, they stumble across it and decide to sell it, this is a huge red flag.

Bikes like these will have low mileage and after a wash, they will look good as new. When a bike sits for a long time, the tires will degrade, seals will dry up and this will definitely affect the fluid flow, and unlike other vehicles, the major parts of the bike are exposed so rust could be seen in nooks and crannies.

This is a good example of why you shouldn’t buy a bike just because it has low mileage. The result of punishing your bike with your riding, or letting it sit on your garage for years is the same. Often a vehicle with a higher mileage would mean that it has been used. If the bike has been collecting dust for years, it is almost a certainty that the engine would have seized.

4. Never Buy A Bike Without Testing It First?

This is the point where you should either take the deal or simply walk away. After you have everything else in order, make sure to test drive it. If you are new to bikes, take someone who knows enough about them and let them take it for a spin.


Unless you really trust the seller, the only way to know whether he was honest about the details of the bike is to ride it yourself. Unlike driving a car, when you ride a bike, you feel like man and machine are in sync. You feel it. That is probably due to the lack of comfort when comparing it to the car, but that also allows you truly understand the state of the bike even after riding it for just a few minutes.

Ride it and feel it, before you buy it.

As you can see, ‘how many miles is a lot for a motorcycle?’ is not the first nor the most important question you need to ask.

Should You Consider Buying A Brand New MotorCycle

If you are concerned about the mileage in a motorbike you might think of buying a new one over a used bike. While a used motorcycle might be cheap it could cost more in repairs after you purchase it. Similarly, there are pros to buying a used one as well. Here are the pros and cons of buying a used bike and buying a brand new bike.

How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle – Used Bikes

The main pro of buying a used bike is obviously the fact that it’ll be cheap. Even if a bike was bought and used only for a few days, it is still going to cost a decent chunk less than when it was brand new. Another aspect that further reduces the cost is that insurance (for more insight, check out our guide on how much is motorcycle insurance and how to choose the right motorcycle for you) costs for used bikes are generally less. That will further reduce the cost of buying and using a bike.

Other than the above, a used bike is perfect for a new rider. ‘If you can get a lower price off a bike that has minor exterior damage like dents and scratches on the fairings and exhaust, it is even better. So when you are new to riding you do not need to stress about dropping the bike and damaging it.

The cons are that you do not know how it was treated in the past, thus there could be hidden costs. A bike that hasn’t been maintained properly, will cost a lot to bring it back to admirable condition. If you buy an older bike, it will also lack new technology.

The bottom line is buying a used bike is risky but the reward is worth it. The only way to reduce the risk is to research before buying the motorcycle.

How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle – New Bikes

Buying a new bike comes with a warranty and a clear history. And you do not need to think about the mileage either.

But it will cost a lot more to buy and insure. The value will also depreciate quickly.

It is often best to buy a used bike as long as you know what to look for when you buy a bike.

Facts about High Mileage Motorcycles: What Matters and What Doesn’t

  1. Mileage is not the only factor in determining a motorcycle’s longevity.
  2. The number of owners and how they treated the bike matters as well.
  3. The type of motorcycle and how it was used can affect its lifespan.
  4. Storage conditions can impact a motorcycle’s wear and tear.
  5. Odometer readings may not always be accurate.
  6. Proper care and maintenance are crucial in determining a motorcycle’s lifespan.
  7. The cost of repairs should be considered when determining if a motorcycle with high mileage is worth buying.
  8. The rarity, age, and price of a bike should also factor into the decision.
  9. The general condition of a motorcycle can provide contextual clues about its lifespan.
  10. If you love a motorcycle enough, the number of miles on it doesn’t matter.

Verdict – How Many Miles Is A Lot For A Motorcycle

Ultimately, mileage will not affect the capabilities of a motorcycle as much as other factors do. But the mileage will affect the value. If you are planning on keeping the bike for a while and reselling it, you are better off finding a bike with lower mileage. If not, try to focus or more on maintenance rather than mileage.

In reality, motorcycles will last as long as you are keen on maintenance. The average life span of a motorcycle is 60,000 miles. This means it’ll easily last over 20 years. Expect to pay around $800 every year for maintenance. Once you buy a motorcycle, make sure to maintain it properly. With proper maintenance,  motorcycles are known to last over 100,000 miles.

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