What Is High Mileage For A Motorcycle?

What Is High Mileage For A Motorcycle?

The question may sound quite straight forward, however these things rarely are. We could throw out a number, let’s say “30,000 miles” and that be the end of it, however we would be lying.

There are several factors that need to be taken into account when determining whether or not a motorcycle has a high mileage when it comes time to purchase.

Here we will take you through the factors that you need to take into account, as throwing a single number out at you will be a waste of everyone’s time.

Some of these factors that need to be taken into account when answering the question “What is a high mileage for a motorcycle” are:

  • The style of motorcycle
  • The brand of motorcycle
  • The previous owner/s
  • Maintenance

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The style of motorcycle

Different motorcycles are built for different purposes, thank heavens. Because of the different purposes that these motorcycles are built for they all have different “life” expectancies. If you are new to this hobby then for a basic guide to the main styles of motorbikes it is worth having a read of this article first, then the rest of this article will make a bit more sense. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular styles of motorcycle and how a high mileage on each should be taken into consideration.

Sports bikes – This is where we will see motorcycles such as the Yamaha R1, Suzuki GSXR, Honda CBR1000RR and a lot of the Ducati line-up. These bikes are built for high revs and often will be beaten around for a lot of their life.

Touring bikes and Cruisers – They may have the power to boot, however these motorcycles and built for the purpose of eating up the highways, where you would expect most of the work to be done at lower revs while cruising along. A higher mileage here is not as much of an issue as if it were done on a sports bike.

Different engines are built for different purposes, so if you are investigating the purchase of a motorcycle which has a high mileage then also take into consideration whether or not the type of engine was built for riding high miles.


The brand of motorcycle

Let’s take a look to the car world for a moment. If you had an original Volkswagen Beetle with 100,000 miles on it then you may not think twice about driving it cross-country. Find a car from the same time period with the same amount of miles and you will probably just catch the train instead. The same goes for the motorcycle world too. You have some makers who are known for building almost indestructible motorcycles and others who have their tow truck buddy ready on speed dial in their cell phone before going out on a ride down to the shops.

The key here is to research and find out which brands and particular models have the reputation of lasting the test of time.


The previous owner/s

The history of an individual motorcycle is one of the most important factors to take into account when you are ready to make a purchase. This can be a bit of a hard factor to determine at times because you may be buying from a dealer, or you may not have the most honest seller in the world. This is where you should take a look at:

  • Has this individual bike been reliable over the years? Just because a model is known to be reliable, this one could always still be a lemon.
  • Has it been in any accidents? Relatively straight forward, as previous major repairs increase the chances of future weaknesses.
  • What sort of riding has the previous owner/s done? If the high mileage is due to interstate trips on the highway every weekend then these are more likely to be “easier” miles for the engine than if they were miles spent at a racetrack.



Just like anything in the world, look after something and it will last longer. Find out if regular maintenance has been performed. A well maintained motorcycle with a high mileage will most often be a better buy than one with a lower mileage that has not been properly maintained.


So is it a problem having a high mileage for a motorcycle?

Just like much of this article, the answer is “it all depends”. There are bargains to be found everywhere, and of course if you have two bikes that are identical in every way including the price apart from the fact that one has a lower mileage, you would take the one with the lower mileage every time.

Just remember that “all miles are not equal”.


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