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How Long Do Motorcycles Last? (Motorcycle Life Expectancy)

You’ve likely invested a lot of time and money into purchasing your motorcycle. Now you might be wondering, how long do motorcycles last?

Every bike is different, and the answer depends on its brand and how well you keep up with its maintenance.

However, as a general rule, people view motorcycles with more than 40,000 miles as having high mileage.

The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to ensure your motorcycle enjoys a long life.

By the time we finish this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of motorcycle longevity and ways you can increase its lifespan.

How Many Miles Can a Motorcycle Last?

Regular motorcycles last for over 50,000 miles, although at that point, people consider them old.

On the other hand, sports motorcycles become “old” at half that number since they undergo a lot of wear and extreme conditions.

50,000 miles is equivalent to 200,000 miles on a car. However, like a car, miles aren’t the sole factor determining the health of a motorcycle.

The motorcycle’s history, including how often it underwent routine maintenance, whether a person used it in rough conditions, and the climate all impact a motorcycle’s longevity.

Assuming a motorcycle is well maintained and is a high-quality brand, you may find that it doesn’t need any major repairs until it hits around 100,000 miles.

How Many Years Does a Motorcycle Last?

Like a car, the number of years a motorcycle will last depends on how well you care for it and the quality of the motorcycle parts.

As a general rule, the lifespan of a bike can reach the low teens.

Sports motorcycles often have a much shorter lifespan, and sports motorcycle owners generally purchase new motorcycles before their current one lives out its lifespan.

Most Common Factors Impacting A Motorcycle’s Lifespan

There are three major causes of a motorcycle’s reduced longevity.

They include:

  1. Crashes: It’s no secret that riding a motorcycle is dangerous. A bumper type of incident that would nick a car can, unfortunately, destroy a bike.
  2. Neglect: Proactive maintenance is a must for increasing your motorcycle’s lifespan. Routine oil changes, proper storage, and tending to strange noises it may make are all critical factors in ensuring your bike has a long life.
  3. Abuse: Sure, it’s fun to ride your motorcycle hard. However, if you frequently use such behavior, especially if you do so in a cold climate, it will take a toll on your motorcycle’s longevity. Abusive driving significantly impacts the engine and transmission.

The good news is that you have control over two out of three of these items. And by reducing how hard you ride on the road, you’ll minimize your chances of a crash.

How Weather Affects Longevity

The weather might not be the first factor that comes to mind when you think of a motorcycle’s lifespan, but it has a significant impact.

Below are examples of how different weather conditions can impact your precious bike.

  • Heat and Sun: Destroys plastic, leather and promotes paint discoloration and peeling.
  • Cold: Makes bike parts brittle, and melted snow and ice cause rust.
  • Wind: Blows debris into your motorcycle, which can impact how well the inner parts of your bike function, especially if you live in a sandy area.

External Factors that Impact a Motorcycle’s Longevity

Numerous factors go into determining how long a motorcycle will last. The more of these factors you take care of, the longer your bike will last.

Examples of factors that impact your bike’s longevity include:

  • How well you store it
  • The type of terrain you ride on
  • Break and clutch maintenance
  • How fast you ride
  • The weather conditions you ride in
  • Whether or not you wax it
  • How frequently you perform maintenance on the tires, lights, fluid levels, etc.

Now, let’s take a look at how you can help increase the lifespan of your bike.

How to Make Your Motorcycle Last Longer

If you think you can leave your motorcycle for months on end in your garage and it will increase its lifespan, think again.

Regularly maintaining your bike, whether or not you use it often, is one of the most important things you can do to improve its longevity.

Below are recommendations on how to make your motorcycle last longer.

Change the Oil

Motorcycles need regular oil changes. The type of oil you use will determine how often you’ll need to perform an oil change.

Below is a general guide:

  • Mineral-based Oil: Every 2,000 miles
  • Semi-synthetic Oil: Every 5,000 miles
  • High-test synthetic Oil: Every 7,000 miles

How fast you ride and the climate you live in also play a role in how often you should change your oil.

Always consult with your user manual for the most accurate details on changing your bike’s oil.

Proper Storage

Cold weather is no time to ride a motorcycle, and often people toss their bike in a garage or shed, only to find it doesn’t function right when they pull it back out.

While keeping your motorcycle in a covered area is an important first step to proper storage, you also need to use a fuel stabilizer.

Additionally, it’s essential to run your bike engine for a few minutes every once in a while.

That way, you won’t have to worry about unwanted fuel congregating in your bike’s system.

Finally, consider removing your motorcycle’s battery before you store it.

Batteries lose their power over time, even when they’re not in use.

Replace the Breaks and Tires

For as much as you work to take care of your bike, you may be surprised to learn that excessive washing can corrode the brake parts.

Riding and leaving your bike in the rain does so, too. Corroded breaks lead to your motorcycle overheating, dragging, and unnecessary wear and tear.

To prevent these issues from happening, you should replace your brakes and tires on occasion.

Take Care When Riding

You might enjoy driving aggressively or on rough terrain, but we guarantee your motorcycle doesn’t.

If you routinely accelerate and brake in short bursts, drive at high speeds, or on anything but smooth pavement, you’ll reduce how long your motorcycle lasts.

Of course, occasionally pushing your motorcycle is unlikely to do long-term damage, but frequent abuse will no doubt decrease its lifespan.

Waxing

Waxing is an integral part of bike care in terms of increasing the lifespan of its paint. It creates a protective film that prevents fading, discoloring, and oxidation.

The frequency with which you wax your car depends on how often you use your bike and the typical weather conditions you ride in.

Monitor Tire Pressure

No one wants a flat tire, but especially motorcyclists, since they don’t have a way to get out of the elements if the weather turns bad.

The Motorcycle Industry Council recommends a 36 PSI for single bikers in both tires. If you have a two-person bike, the PSI should be 40 on the back tire and 36 for the front.

Nevertheless, you should consult with your bike’s owner’s manual to see their recommended PSI.

How Long Do Motorcycles Last Before Needing Repairs?

With all our talk of maintenance, you’re likely thinking in your head: okay, but eventually, my bike will need more major repairs.

That couldn’t be more true. If you plan to keep your motorcycle going strong by performing significant repairs when it comes to that point, the most common major repair will be the engine.

Every engine has its own longevity. The larger an engine is, the longer its lifespan.

Similarly, the newer a motor is, the longer its lifespan.

Since engines are one of the most common major repairs a bike needs, how long it’ll take for your motorcycle to require repairs varies considerably.

In fact, some people claim that their bike can last around 200,000 miles before undergoing engine repairs.

Manufacturer Impacts

Although there are many factors within your control when considering how long motorcycles last, there are a few manufacturer-related items that impact your bike’s longevity.

For starters, there’s your motorcycle’s year of manufacture. Let’s face it—a bike built in the 90s will naturally have a shorter lifespan than one built in the 2020s.

The brand can also impact your bike’s lifespan, as certain motorcycle brands are known for producing higher quality products than others.

Make sure to do your research, as it’s sometimes worth it to invest in a higher bike upfront. If it buys you extra years of use, you’ll save money in the long run.

Finally, the engine impacts a motorcycle’s lifespan. The larger an engine is, and the more modern features it contains, the longer it will last.

Nowadays, some motors can last into the 200,000-mile range.

Wrap-Up

You can expect your motorcycle to have a long lifespan if you provide it with routine maintenance and take care when riding it.

Although the quality of the bike you purchase plays a role in longevity, by following the tips in this article, your bike stands a good chance of outlasting the average motorcycle lifespan.

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