We all want to ride our motorcycles all our lives because of how attached we are to them. But let’s face it, things under the sun do not last forever, not even motorbikes. So, how many years can a motorcycle last?
Most motorcycles last for 10-15 years, equivalent to 80,000-100,000 miles, depending on good maintenance, proper handling, and correct storage.
Usually, the better you maintain your bike, handle it with care, and store it away from weather agents, the longer it’s likely to last.
The reverse is also true. Poorly maintained, poorly cared for, and carelessly stored motorcycles have the shortest lifespan.
Note, however, that a motorcycle’s lifespan or mileage is also dependent on factors like engine size, terrain, brand, model, riding style, and usage frequency, which we’ll discuss further in this post.
Let’s get into it!
Why Should I Care How Many Years My Motorcycle Will Last?
It’s logical to want to know the life span of a motorcycle to determine if it’ll serve you for a reasonable amount of time. That’s because they don’t come cheap.
Usually, the longer a motorbike can last in working condition, the longer you can keep it. And you will have enjoyed your investment for a long time before the bike gives up.
If your motorbike is too old, buyers will keep away from it because they don’t like spending money on motorcycles with higher mileage as such options have seen their better days.
How Many Years Can My Motorcycle Last?
As stated earlier, the average motorcycle lasts 10-15 years, depending on different factors such as maintenance, handling, storage, engine size, terrain, brand, and model.
However, you can expect some models to hit more years than that, especially top Japanese motorcycle brands like Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki.
Which Motorcycles Last the Longest?
Since we have a range of 10-15 years or even more in some cases, it’s clear that motorcycles don’t last the same time—some last longer than others under standard conditions.
For example, touring motorcycles last the longest with good maintenance as they are built from solid materials to withstand aggressive handling and long rides.
Overall, Japanese models like Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda last the longest, for the reasons we’ve mentioned, and so they make the best touring motorcycles.
Motorcycles That Last the Shortest Time
While touring motorcycles last the longest, sportbikes are the opposite. They stay fit for the shortest time. Sportbikes are made from slightly lightweight materials that wear out faster.
Furthermore, the bikes are aggressively and speedily ridden, improving their chances of wear and tear.
Of course, there are exceptions, especially when you observe better maintenance and do not aggressively ride your sportbike.
How Many Miles Can a Motorcycle Last?
In terms of miles, most well-maintained motorcycles go for 80,000-100,000 miles. In contrast, poorly maintained motorcycles barely reach 20,000 miles before breaking down.
What Is High Mileage for a Motorcycle?
There are so many theories about high mileage, which can be confusing. So, what is considered a high mileage on a motorcycle?
According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the national average yearly mileage for motorcycles is 2,000-3,000 miles. Anything above this benchmark is high mileage.
We could thus argue that once a motorcycle outlives its life expectancy, we can call it old, and you must take care not to buy a used bike whose expected mileage has been exceeded by a huge number.
We can also use the term high mileage, which differs between motorcycles.
For example, sports bikes have a life expectancy of 20,000 miles. Those that reach 50,000 miles because of good maintenance are said to be high mileage.
Likewise, touring motorcycles that register more than 80,000-100,000 miles are also considered high mileage bikes.
If you are buying a used bike, a high mileage doesn’t necessarily mean the motorcycle is too old. Some people really maintain and survive their bikes well by doing regular motorcycle tune-ups. Be sure to consider both the mileage and the bike’s condition.
Motorcycle Mileage Chart
Below is a chart showing the expected mileage of touring motorcycles against sportbikes.
|Poorly maintained sportbike||20,000 miles or less|
|Well maintained sportbike||Up to 50,000 miles|
|Poorly maintained touring motorcycle||50,000 miles or less|
|Well maintained touring motorcycle||Up to 100,000 miles or more|
Table showing the expected mileage for motorcycles based on bike maintenance.
Signs of Motorcycle Wear and Tear That Show a Bike Is Growing Old
You can know that your motorcycle is growing old and slowly reaching its life expectancy by observing the following signs of wear and tear.
- Fast-wearing tires
- Dirty exhaust
- Low-acid battery level
- Brittle gasket
- Rusty metallic parts like the chain and brakes
Motorcycle Parts That Grow Old Too Fast
Some motorcycle parts are likely to wear out faster than others, and they include the following:
- Brakes: Motorcycle brakes wear out faster from heavy braking and regular riding.
- Tires: Motorcycle tires wear faster because of aggressive riding.
- Engine: A motorcycle’s engine wears out fast because of poor maintenance.
- Handlebar grips: They become brittle because of prolonged exposure to the sun.
How Can I Make My Motorcycle Last Forever?
Knowing what wears your motorcycle down is critical to making it last longer. It’s worth mentioning that you cannot make a motorbike last forever since nothing really does. What you can do, however, is to make it last longer.
Here are handy tips to improve the life span of a motorcycle:
1. Regular Maintenance
Essentially, the level of motorcycle maintenance determines how long a given motorbike can stay operational.
Servicing the bike regularly, replacing missing or worn-out parts, changing the oil, and using cleaner fuel can help you boost the performance and life of your motorcycle.
2. Using Ethanol-Free Gas
It’s vital that you use premium-quality gas to boost your motorcycle’s engine performance. In that case, avoid ethanol-based fuels as they absorb water leading to clogging.
3. Proper Storage
4. Proper Riding
Riding aggressively only shortens the lifespan of a motorcycle. If you want it to serve you longer and avoid breakdowns, ride it less aggressively. Avoid heavy braking and acceleration on rougher roads.
5. Investing in High-End Replacements
The old saying that ‘cheap is expensive’ applies to motorcycles. Low-quality parts won’t serve you long, even if they are cheap. In contrast, high-end components may cost more but prove their worth in the long term.
Factors That Determine How Long a Motorcycle Will Last
The life expectancy of a motorcycle depends on different factors, which we’ll discuss shortly. These factors are the reasons some motorcycles last longer than others.
- Engine size: Motorcycles with a smaller engine capacity last longer than those with a bigger engine if well-maintained.
- Terrain: Motorcycles wear out faster on rougher roads than on smoother ones.
- Brand: Japanese models like Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki generally have longer mileage than German, American, European, and Austrian motorcycle brands.
- Weather protection: The more you protect the motorcycle from bad weather, the longer it will serve you.
- Usage frequency: The more frequently you ride, the shorter the lifespan.
- Model: Older models (even for the same brand) generally do not last as long as modern models. Nowadays, the technology and specs are more advanced to guarantee better quality than in the old days.
- Bike handling and riding style: Hard braking, fast acceleration, and huge jumps will wear out your motorbike down faster and shorten its lifespan.
- Maintenance: The lifespan of a motorcycle depends a lot on maintenance. The more you service and clean it, the more it’s likely to serve you longer.
Factors That Reduce Motorcycle Life Expectancy
Several factors shorten the lifespan of motorcycles. If you can avoid them, you are likely to improve the lifespan of your bike.
These factors include:
- Neglect: Not taking care of your motorcycle, especially not servicing and cleaning it, shortens its lifespan.
- Bad weather: Too much sun exposure makes plastic and rubber parts brittle, while rain makes the metallic parts rust.
- Crashes: A crash automatically shortens a motorcycle’s lifespan. Your bike could quickly become a write-off.
- Abuse: Riding your motorcycle too aggressively, especially hard braking and overloading, only shortens its life.
How Weather or The Elements Affect Your Motorcycle’s Lifespan
Rain, sun, and snow all negatively impact how long a motorcycle can last. The more you expose your bike to these elements, the more likely it will wear out and fail.
Here’s how the elements affect a motorcycle:
- Rain: Rainwater causes rusting of metallic parts such as the chain, engine, and frame. Rust weakens and eats the metal parts away, causing them to break and fail. It’s advisable to keep the motorcycle indoors or cover it outdoors to protect it from the rain and moisture.
- Sun: Too much sun exposure is detrimental to rubber parts such as the tires, hand grips, and gasket as it makes them brittle. It also makes plastic components brittle. It’s advisable to shelter the motorcycle to avoid the sun’s damaging rays. Buy a suitable motorcycle shelter.
- Cold: Extremely low temperature can make some parts brittle, especially plastic parts. Moreover, melted ice can wet metallic components, causing them to rust.
Common Motorcycle Problems You Should Worry About
A motorcycle that breaks down often or has a lot of mechanical problems is expensive to keep. You may end up spending more than the cost of a new motorbike.
You should replace your motorcycle once the problems start to pile up and drain your finances.
Here are common problems you should know:
- Tire wearing
- Rust, especially on the fuel tank
- Carburetor wearing
- Engine oil leakage
- Faulty brakes
- Bad battery
How Can I Outlive My Motorcycle?
We’ve talked about how you can make your motorcycle last longer. But how about you? How can you live longer than your motorcycle?
Here are our recommendations:
- Wear the right gear: Protect yourself during a crash by wearing the right motorbike gear. Wear a helmet, chest armor, fluorescent vest or jacket, riding boots, and riding suit.
- Ride properly: Avoiding risky stunts, high speeds, and hard braking not only boosts your motorcycle’s lifespan but yours too.
- Get fit: Look after your health and fitness by eating healthily and exercising to keep sicknesses and diseases at bay.
Generally, the maintenance, usage, and riding style hugely determine how many years a motorcycle can last. 10-15 years may be the benchmark, but it shouldn’t surprise when well-maintained motorcycles go past this.
People Also Ask
Though we’ve covered the basics on ‘how long a motorcycle lasts,’ there is still a lot to learn. Below are questions that most people ask about the topic.
What Is the Average Life of a Bike?
The average motorcycle has an average mileage of 80,000-100,000 miles if well maintained. In terms of years, you can ride a well-maintained motorbike for 10-15 years.
How Long Does a Motorcycle Engine Last?
A standard motorcycle’s engine can last 60,000 miles with good maintenance, while high-end options can clock 100,000 miles or more. So, once you attain the mileage, it’s advisable to start looking for a new motorcycle.
What Is the Most Reliable Motorcycle Brand?
Japanese brands like Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda are heavy-duty machines, making them the best motorcycles you can buy. According to a 2015 Consumer Report, they are the most reliable brands. Others include Triumph, BMW, Ducati, and KTM.