How Many Miles Does A Motorcycle Last?

One can assume that everyone wants to know how long their vehicle would last. Whether it is a bicycle, car, or motorbike. How many miles does a motorcycle last is a valid question that should be asked. The answer should also be known if one really cares about their motorbike.

how many miles does a motorcycle last
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What is motorcycle mileage?

Motorcycle mileage refers to how many miles or kilometers your motorbike can run at high speed using just one liter of gas. It also means how fuel-efficient your motorbike is.

Video: How Many Miles Does A Motorcycle Last?

If you prefer learning by video, this article is also explained here:

Let us take, for example, your motorcycle travels for five hundred kilometers which is around 310 miles on 16 liters of gas.

16 liters can be 5 gallons of gas.

The mileage or fuel efficiency of the motorcycle would be 31.5 km per one liter or 62 miles for one gallon of gas.

There is also a second meaning to the term motorcycle mileage. It also mean the reading of the odometer. A high odometer reading means that the motorbike would last long.

An odometer, also known as the odograph, is a tool in vehicles used to track distance. The odometer tells how much distance that has been traveled by any vehicle, bicycle, or motorbike.

The odometer could be mechanical, electrical, or electromechanical which is a combination of mechanical and electrical. In some countries like the US, it is called the milometer or mileometer.  

Some companies that make motorbike also use the term “high mileage” on their tires. This also means that the tires are durable and would last very long.

What is Mileage?

Mileage is also defined by some as the sum total of the distance that has been covered by your motorcycle. So, if you have ridden your motorcycle up to 20,000 miles, then that, in miles, is your vehicle’s mileage.

This figure is written on the odometer.

For the purpose of this article, we would take the last meaning of mileage. That is the total distance that has been covered by the motorcycle.

So, you may have heard someone make this statement, “I saw some bike, really cool, great and stuff. But it is too expensive for me.”

You also may have heard someone say, “The bike is so great, but the mileage is too high for my liking.”

If the issue you have is the first, the one of not having the cash, you just have to be frugal for a while. Save up and get the bike of your choice.

But if your issue is that you are discouraged because of the high mileage then we may have just something for you.

Many motorcyclists would want to use their bikes to the fullest capacity, enjoying everything about the bike to the last. But this excludes those who have enough money to get new bikes once they are bored with the old.

Are you interested in buying a motorcycle or you have one already? It is vital for you to know the average lifespan of the bike.

So, how many miles does a motorcycle last? There is no definite answer to this question and no easy way of answering it. But we would try to clarify a few things.

Ignore Mileage

So, what if we say you should not pay attention to the reading of the odometer? This is the simplest way to answer this question. There is a reason many people are asking this. Because it is common for bike outfits to keep hammering on mileage. They stress how important it is and how it determines the value of the bike.

This has put some rides into panic and high jump.  While truly the mileage of the motorcycle is an important part, it Is not the only part nor the only determinant.

People who are worried about mileage do not do so because they are concerned about what bike outfits say. They are concerned because they think the life span of their bike is at stake.

These kinds of people are not to be blamed. Most people save for a pretty long time to get a bike of their dreams. The bike was gotten using the money they worked hard, so hard to get.

Some riders usually sell off their motorcycle as soon as they see it is approaching the mileage unit that was named. This is as a result of the mileage issue.

The truth is this, the lifespan or longevity of the motorcycle is not determined by the mileage alone. There are plenty of options and stuff that affect motorbike lifespan.

It is hard for you to meet any rider and they do not have a morbid fear of the twenty thousand number mileage. This is the mileage that your bike would cover, and it can no longer perform at its best.

Most of them think that as soon as the bike reaches that number, one should drop it and go look for another bike.

But this is just some sort of ploy by manufacturers to get you to keep buying bikes after some years. Well, how are they still going to be in business if you do not buy a bike regularly?

If the mileage of twenty thousand is true, then you would not meet someone who tells you he has ridden his bike for years.

Many people have used their bikes for five to ten years and it is still working well. This is even after reaching and surpassing that set twenty thousand miles.

What actually determines how much your motorcycle can go or last is how well you maintain it.

Another thing that would determine how long the motorcycle would last is the engine size. If the engine is large, that is a sign or an indicator that the motorbike would last longer.

Also, the more recent the motorbike engine is, the lengthier the motorbike would last. New motorcycle engines built nowadays are better and far stronger than what was obtainable before.

A Kawasaki `ninja 250cc of the year 1995 and with a small engine may just give up at 20,000. Whereas a 1000 CBR100R made by Honda in the year 2011 can last up to 100000cc can keep working even up to 100,000 miles.

This simply shows us that there are some motorbikes which can still speed off without issues even when the mileage is above two hundred thousand.

Like we mentioned earlier, the mileage is just one part of the many factors that affect how long the motorcycle would last. Funny enough, the factors that would affect how many miles the motorbike would go are stuff you did not even expect.

What are things to consider when getting a motorcycle that will last?

Things to consider when getting a motorcycle that will last are:

1. Consider who rode the bike before now?

2. Consider the type of motorbike

3. Check if the bike has been in use

4. Check how the bike was used

5. Check where the motorcycle has been parked

6. Check if Odometer reading is correct

7. Check the condition of the motorbike to know if it was properly cared for.

Who Rode The Motorcycle Before Now?

Did you know that a motorbike that has been used by someone for a long time is more likely to last longer than one that is sold to a recent buyer after every few years? If a bike has stayed with someone for a really long time, it means that the person has been taking proper care of the bike.

But a bike that is constantly jumping from one hand to the other has a high probability that it would be treated with less care.

The rationale behind it is this, if the motorbike has stayed long in the hands of one owner, they are prone to take care of the motorcycle. You would know that they are taking proper care of the motorbike.

Again, if the rider or owner was someone older, then you know that it is a good sign. Older people tend to take riding gently. They would also have reservations as to how long and much they have been on the motorbike throttle.

Older riders are good when it comes to getting a bike. This is because they can pay well for their bikes to be maintained.

Young riders tend to be a little reckless on the throttle. The need for crazy speed is expressed in the superlative in young riders. And they really suck at maintaining a bike. Some of them see it as a waste of money to properly take care of the motorbike.

This may be because they do not have a stable income yet or source of money. Some do so because they are simply careless.

Also, a bike that has been handed down over generations so new riders could learn would have seen better days than one bought in the mall randomly.

What Kind Of Motorbike Is It?

This is a very vital thing to talk about. Many bikes that are gotten for the purpose of learning may have bangs, drops. They are also badly maintained. But a normal bike would be on the safer side.

Another thing to consider is the durability of the motorcycle type. Touring motorbikes may most likely be over five times better off than the off-road motorcycle. The touring motorbikes last longer because they have better fuel efficiency.

The touring bike has a low-rev engine. This means that the engine can do its work well without overbearing or wearing itself out. The mileage on touring bikes may be accumulated when the rider was playing smooth highways.

When one is on a smooth highway with a touring bike, the stress on the motorcycle engine is minimal.

On the other hand, if you place this side by side with motocross motorbikes that have small displacements, you will see a clear difference. The motocross is usually ridden hard and they require huge amounts of power.

These kinds of bikes are usually wrecked, cracked, and crashed. 

Additionally, owing to the type of terrain they are ridden on, it can affect the nature and entire well being of the motorbike. The sands, dust, water, and dirt can enter tiny spaces and this can affect the longevity of the motorbike.

These unwanted materials can even find their path to the engine, into bearings, and transmissions. These would simply help to facilitate the aging of the motorcycle. It would cause a decline in the functionality of the motorbike parts. And then the motorbike in its entirety.

The structure or the way the motorcycle is built also contributes to the longevity of the motorbike. Motorbikes have different engine layouts and structures.

Some bikes have engines that are flat or have inline-six. These types of engines do not possess the vibration which other engines have like the V twin 45-degree engine.

The motorcycles that air-cooled usually have a lifespan that is shorter. This is because the motorbike would need to up its game when the temperature is hot.

The design of the Chassis is a matter too. Motorcycles that have poor suspensions tend to allow shocks to get to chassis.

Also, motorbikes which are very light in weight are so at the expense of some other vital qualities. The materials used to make them are of course light too. And most times lightweight means a quality reduction or less durability.

This would lead to a subframe and frame that can be easily damaged.

Check out these other posts:

How Long do Motorcycle Batteries Last

How to change a motorcycle tire

How to buy a used motorcycle

How Often to Change Motorcycle Oil

What Is the Fastest Motorcycle?

How to Become a Motorcycle Mechanic

Video: How Many Miles Is Too Much?

This video explains the concept of mileage

Has The Bike Been In Use?

We are not asking if the motorbike is new. The question is, was the bike in use? Most times you would see motorbikes that have very low mileage because they were not in use. When you put them back on the road, you see that they start showing some problems.

If you let a motorbike to stay for long without use, the parts slowly become degenerate. This is the case with every vehicle. Moisture can start building up and destroy vital parts, seals in the motorbike may get dry, and the tire would even degrade.

If the motorbike was prepared for storage for a long time, some of these issues may not show up. But if the motorbike was just parked without being driven, then these issues will most certainly creep up.

There are other problems that could arise due to a motorbike not being ridden for a long while. rings and pistons can go stiff in their various bores. The fuel inside the tan can be stale, and the jets of the carburetor can clog.

The tanks of the gas can also begin to peel off and or rust.

Generally, a motorcycle that has a huge mileage and used properly will have fewer issues than a motorbike with low mileage but not in use.

How Was The Motorcycle Used?

So, the motorcycle has been in use. Good. How was the motorcycle used? Was the rider using it with uttermost care? Was the motorcycle rider constantly ravaging the bike? Shifting it without the clutch? Slamming the motorcycle down roughly after pulling wheel stands?

Was the motorcycle constantly overloaded? Was it a touring motorcycle? Did the rider go solo? How long did the rider bang engine off the rev limit? How did the rider warm the motorcycle? Gently? Or going from 0 to 1000? (from the engine being cold to straight-up use).

Did the rider use the bike in snow, dust, dirt, or sand? What if it was a motorcycle that was air-cooled? That spent the whole day chilling in the traffic.

These factors should be what we consider before we can say with surety if a bike would have a long life or not.

Where Was The Motorcycle Parked?

This may be also an aspect of the above question. Where was the motorcycle stored? Even when the motorcycle was used on a regular basis, a badly kept bike would wear.

The vinyl that is on seats could crack, chrome can bubble, and then peel off. The steel can also go rust, even aluminum can be oxidized, and paint on the motorcycle would peel off.

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The temperature of the place where you keep your bike after each ride would also affect the bike. Factors like dirt, precipitation, and moisture can all have their effects.

The motorcycle should always be kept in an environment that is monitored. Always check where you pack or store your motorbike.

What If The Reading Of The Odometer Is Wrong?

Did you ever think of this? What if the reading shown in the odometer is wrong? People can go a long way in getting rid of a motorbike for money. People can do anything to deceive. It is possible that the odometer has even be tampered with.

Mechanical units are prone to someone changing or replacing something in them. Speedometer can be swapped, replaced, and unhooked. One can tamper the odometer to read differently.

Some can even be faulty and thereby give wrong mileage which can be lower or higher.

Was The Bike Properly Cared For?

If you ask us, we will say that this is the chief amongst what would determine how much distance your motorcycle would cover.

Motorcycles on the average can be expensive to buy for some people. So, the best bet is to maintain the one you have judiciously. You are lucky if you are buying a motorcycle form someone who spends resources taking care of the bike.

However, if you get a bike that has been misused, you can take care of it properly so it would last.

On the other hand, if you purchase a bike that was well-taken care of and begin to misuse it, the motorbike will not last.

A motorbike that was misused and later taken proper care of will outlive one that is not damaged yet not properly cared for. That is just how important caring for the bike is.

Also, a motorcycle that has a high mileage could be made to last long. You do this by rebranding the major parts of the vehicle. This would make the motorcycle stronger and better than a low mileage motorcycle with basic vehicular parts.

This is exactly what happens with a motorcycle that has been restored. The motorcycle is normally found in a sorry state. Someone takes it and retouches the motorcycle. Some parts of the motorcycle are repainted, recoated, refurbished, or replaced.

A motorcycle that is old yet has served its owner for years can have huge mileage. Yet, when you replace the worn-out parts, they can look very good. And they can ride well too.

In the same vein, the motorcycle may have high mileage, but most parts are now new or retouched. The mileage on the odometer may no longer represent the actual age of that motorcycle.

How the motorbike looks generally is also vital in determining how long a motorcycle would last. Here is the truth. If the bike looks shabby, it is badly used.

How do you know that a bike is bad?

A bike is bad if the:

1. Factory wirings are sticking out

2. Paints are faint and scratched

3. Chromes are blemished

4. Tires are worn out

All these would even impact the livelihood of the motorcycle.

Should High Mileage Be A Discouraging Factor When Getting A Bike?

High mileage should not be a discouraging factor when getting a bike. High mileage alone is enough to decide whether you should get the motorcycle or not. This decision should come after one must have considered a variety of options. You have to know what’s up when you are getting a motorbike.

It does not matter what type of motorcycle you are planning to buy; mileage is not the ultimate deciding factor. You should open your mind and eyes and look at other factors listed above.

How Do You Increase The Miles The Bike Will Last?

If you take good care of your motorcycle and protect it from harsh weather, your motorcycle can go a great number of miles. Do you want to know a few things to do to help you with this?

Here is a list of what to do to increase the miles the bike will last:

1. Lubricate the bike regularly. There are many parts of the bike that rotates around the other. Make sure they are well lubricated.

2. Read the user manual and comply with everything written therein.

3. As much as possible avoid riding or parking in the rain. This would hurt the brakes.

4. Check valve adjustment.

5. Check the oil needed for bike and change at intervals.


How long your motorcycle would last depends on how well you take care of it. Endeavor to do so and your motorcycle would last for many thousand miles.

How Many Miles Does A Motorcycle Last – Related Frequently Asked Questions

Will Holding Motorcycle Clutch Affect Motorcycle Mileage?

Holding motorcycle clutch will not affect motorcycle mileage. It will also not have any other negative impact on your motorbike. The motorbike will simply go idle and roll especially if you are going downhill.

When you hold the clutch, your motorcycle engine will not also damage. This clutch holding will save you a small amount of fuel. It works the best when you are going down a steep hill. It helps to cool down the engine for some time and prepare it for the stress required in climbing the uphill that comes after going downhill. 

Holding clutch will also make you move slower, which is safe for your engine. Whenever you are holding a clutch, ensure you shift to neutral; this even saves more fuel.

How Do You Read Odometer In Kilometers?

To read odometer in kilometers, look at the number that shows up on the odometer. The number value will be in miles as that is the measure used in the United States. To check the distance of your trip, you have to note the number that is on the odometer before you set off. 

When you get to your location, also write down the number that is showing on the odometer. Subtract the initial reading from the latter reading. The number remaining is the distance you just covered. 

Now, to change that value to kilometers, multiply the number you got by 1.609. 

Alternatively, you can change the odometer reading to zero using the toggle handle, then start your ride. When you get to the destination, check the reading then multiply the number there by 1.609. 

What Motorcycles Have The Best Gas Mileage?

Motorcycles that have the best gas mileage are:

  1. Honda 300 Rebel: This motorcycle has a whopping 77 miles per gallon capacity. It is the most fuel-efficient motorcycle on the list. You can get gas into this motorcycle and be assured that the motorcycle will utilize it efficiently.
  2. BMW GS G310: This is the second on the list with 74 miles per gallon capacity. This motorcycle is quite small but possesses a grand engine.
  3. Yamaha SR400: The third on the list boast 68 miles per gallon capacity. The motorbike also has an air-cooled engine.
  4. Kawasaki Versys 300: This motorbike can go 65 miles on a gallon of gas.
  5. Suzuki 650 V-Strom: This bike is built for speed yet it has amazing fuel-efficient capacity. It can go 55 miles per gallon.

What Are The Tips For Getting The Best Gas Mileage Out Of Your Motorcycle?

Here are the tips for getting the best gas mileage out of your motorcycle:

  1. Avoid rough driving. The constant speeding and braking swiftly reduce the fuel efficiency of your motorbike.
  2. Regularly service the engine. When you do so, your engine will run better. Dirt in the engine reduces the engine economy.
  3. As much as you can, use the highway. A flat stretch of smooth roads with a steady speed would be better for your gas than rocky and curved roads.  Traffic is also one thing that reduces fuel economy. If possible, ride when there is the least chance of encountering traffic.
  4. Inflate motorcycle tires appropriately. When you do this, the friction between the tires and the roads are reduced and your motorbike can move smoothly with less need for gas.

What Are The Causes Of Bad Gas Mileage On Motorcycles?

The causes of bad gas mileage on motorcycles are:

  1. Rich running: This occurs when the fuel injector is sending in too much gas and less air into the engine chamber. This causes your motorcycle to waste gas.
  2. Gas Leaks: This is the most common cause of bad gas mileage on motorcycles. A lot of people have gas leaks without knowing because it only happens when you are riding the motorbike.
  3. Tight breaks: Sometimes, when you install a new brake, you fasten it too much and this stresses the motorcycle engine. The engine would now have to work twice as much in order to match the demand of the brake.
  4. High Revs: When you rev your bike constantly, you stand the risk of reducing the fuel efficiency of your motorcycle.

How Do You Calculate Your Average Miles Per Gallon?

To calculate your average miles per gallon, here is what to do:

  1. Go to the gas station and get a tank full of gas so the calculation will be accurate.
  2. For motorcycles with trip odometer, reset the reading to zero. For others, write down the number showing on the odometer.
  3. Keep using the motorcycle normally until the fuel gauge signifies that the fuel is almost finished.
  4. Get a full tank of gas again.
  5. Take note of the number of gallons needed to get a full tank.
  6. Write out the reading of the odometer.
  7. Now, divide the reading on the odometer by the number of gas gallons that it took for the tank to be full again. The result is the average miles per gallon.